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Old 04-28-2012, 03:00 PM
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Arrow Inquisitives - Turn 11

Wireburn and Quinn

The Olde Cobbler was quiet by the time Wireburn and Quinn arrived, which was well past one in the morning. The day had been quite busy and full, and Hawksley was ready for a good night’s rest. Wireburn was unburdened by the need for physical rest as such, but he respected his friend’s need for sleep. They were both ready to settle in and enjoy some peace and quiet for a few hours.

“Mr Quinn?” a familiar voice called softly from the shadows of the common room, surprising them both. A woman stepped forward and lowered the hood of her cloak. Ymaine smiled shyly from behind her glasses.

“You left word that you could be found here. I hope I’m not intruding, but I thought you should know that a Professor Quinn from Korranberg University arrived at Morgrave a little while ago. I overheard her mentioning your name to Larrian ir’Morgrave when she met with him. I believe she is looking for you... And this note arrived for you from someone named ‘Mardu’. I thought it might be important.”

Hawksley smiled warmly upon recognizing Ymaine.

“I do not deserve such constancy. Truly, Ymaine, you are a treasure. Please, sit, join us. Have you eaten? Are you thirsty? Refresh yourself and tell us of your day -- ours has been eventful, to say the least, but I would know of yours.”

The young assistant librarian blushed, ducking her head in an attempt to hide it from the dashing Mr Quinn.

“I wouldn’t wish to bore you with the details of my daily goings on,” she managed to say, amazed at her ability to form a coherent sentence under Hawksley’s gaze. “And it really is quite late. I wasn’t expecting to even see you, let alone stop for food or drink. I should probably head back and get some sleep...”

“That’s good. He can have a drink with me instead,” came a sultry voice from behind Wireburn. A petite young half-elf woman with a bob haircut slid around the warforged and offered her hand to Hawksley. She was lithe and lean and wore tight fitted clothing that showed off her figure. Her green eyes sparkled with mischief.

“Kestrel d’Lyrandar,” she smiled warmly. “You must be Hawksley. Love the name, by the way.”

Wireburn started, recalling the message he received earlier in the evening. Kestrels were small falcons. Up until now, he had thought that the cryptic clue was referring to his friend’s unusual moniker, but now he wasn’t so sure...

“Ms. d’Lyrander, a pleasure to meet you.”

He took the proferred hand and bowed his head over it briefly.

“It would appear you have the advantage of me. While I am indeed curious to make your acquaintance, at the moment, I am sorely tired after a very long day that has come upon the heels of an even longer night. I would be in your debt if you would accept my card and my apologies and allow me to call upon you at some later date, perhaps tomorrow.”

He bowed again, with a smile, handing her his card. He then turned back to Ymaine, offering his arm:

“My dear, if you would be so kind, I require some tea, perhaps a bit of cake and your assistance in dispatching both, preferably in front of a nice fire. I believe I know where all three can be secured, if you would be gracious enough to provide the fourth.” Ymaine blushed deeply, but did not refuse.

Kestrel stared at the card in her hand, then looked up at Wireburn.

“Did he just give me the brush off in favour of that, that...wall flower?” she asked incredulously. “What has she got that I don’t?”

“Among a great many other sterling qualities, I believe we can list ‘manners’ in the set of things my companion possesses that you lack. I bid you good day, madam.”

Hawksley’s eyes were cold in his otherwise pleasant demeanour, his words rimed with a hint of ice. He put his hand over Ymaine’s hand on his arm and set off to find a fireplace, some cake and some tea.

“Damn,” Kestrel swore under her breath. “I didn’t think he heard that.” She glanced at the wine glass she held loosely in her left hand. “Must’ve had more than I thought. Prolly shouldn’t be flying tonight...”

She turned to study Wireburn.

“Four arms? You must be a pretty handy guy to have around. No pun intended. Tell your friend the wall flower is pretty and sweet and better company than a drunk airship captain like me...”

She offered a mock salute to the warforged before moseying towards the stairs. She swayed only slightly as she made her way up to her room.

Meanwhile, Ymaine settled into the comfortable seat near the fire with Hawksley. She peered over her glasses at the handsome young man by her side, wondering what thoughts were lurking behind his steady gaze.

“You seemed a little, um, terse with the airship captain,” she ventured, hoping she didn’t offend her dashing companion. She hastened to add, “I mean, are you upset with her for bringing Professor Quinn to Sharn? Is the Professor related to you?”

Hawksley smiled affectionately at Ymaine.

“I found her rudeness towards you insupportable, my dear Ymaine. I will not have you disparaged, not while I have breath to protest and good right arm to fight with.” Ymaine blushed again, unsure of what to say.

He grimaced slightly...

“As for mother, well... Egad, Ymaine, that is a complication that is rather ill-timed. Ah well, we are all subject to the caprice of fate, no? In any event, please do share with me the contents of your day.”

He gestured to the server, seeking the promised tea and cakes.

“She’s your mother?” Ymaine squeaked. She pushed her spectacles up on her nose and took a deep breath. “My day really wasn’t that spectacular. Lots of cataloguing. I had to deal with several dozen volumes that were misplaced. Oh! And it seems Master Durion brought a certain priestess around to see to that child he found in the vault that was robbed. The same priestess a certain handsome young man asked me to arrange protection for, too. Imagine that. I must say I was rather taken aback by the messengers that brought me that request,” she said while hiding a grin. “You certainly do have a way of doing things, I must say.” A certain amount of confidence stole through her as she saw Hawksley squirm.

“But enough about my day,” she said, smiling genuinely at Hawksley. “Tell me about yours...”

“Heh... One must adapt to changing circumstances and make do with what one has. The day began last night, with a quarrel with a changeling, leading to a meeting with a businessman of some repute, some of it ill. Good Wireburn and myself then followed our assignment to this Raena Mordaine woman, the cleric of your acquaintance. It turns out a number of people found reason to seek her out, including that elvish fellow you’ve sought to connect me with, good Master Durion, as well as that artificer we know, Anselm D’Cannith...“

***
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:12 PM
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Default Durion

“What can I get for you, sir?” Sergeant Benson said from behind the immaculately polished bar. He was at least half the age of the youngest officer in the canteen, but his short-cropped hair was salt and pepper, and he face was deeply lined.

Durion's mouth turned up slightly in what a person who knew him might call a grin. That thought reminded him that all of those people were dead, and that made him thirsty.

He fixed the man with his thousand yard stare, the one that would look right through him into his very soul and asked, "What do you have to eat that would go well with what you have on tap?"

“I highly recommend the steak and potato stew with the Aundarian Stout, sauerbraten with the Thranish Bock, or the chicken with mushroom gravy to go with the Brelish Brown Ale. If you prefer a pale, then I suggest some Marches barbecue or perhaps the spicy Talenta curry. Sir.” Benson apparently knew his pairings.

“I wouldn’t do the curry,” one of the ancient officers called out from a nearby table. “Gave me wind that lasted a week! The Bock and the Brown are good, but the Stout - now that’s a damn fine pint, my good man!” The bearded human looked like he might’ve been around when the Last War started a hundred years ago.

Durion bowed respectfully to the human, then turned halfway to the barkeep. "The steak and potato with the stout, as my colleague suggested." Benson nodded and went about preparing the Master’s order.

Then back to the human, "How may I address you, sir?"

“I am Colonel Reginald Octavius Archibald Rutherford,” the old man said, nodding to the elf. “But you can call me Reg, or Rutherford if you prefer. First of the First, Company A.” Durion recognised the nickname of the Brelish 1st Army, 1st Infantry; they were legendary for their bravery and audacity. First into the fray, and last to leave the battlefield. The First of the First were what other units aspired to be. “And who might you be, good Master?”

Before he could answer, a nonic of dark, rich Aundarian Stout appeared at Durion’s hand.

Durion looked at the stout and looked at The Colonel, then carefully stepped away from the bar and gave the man his full rank and title, then raised the glass and saluted the man with it.

"To absent friends," he said, and took a deep draught.

“To absent friends,” came the chant from all the men in the canteen.

“Come, my good man, sit down and take a load off,” Rutherford urged. “I’ve the whole table to myself, and could use the company of someone my age.” He winked conspiratorially. “What brings you around? I’ve not seen ye round here afore, and I never forget a face...”

Durion finished his glass of stout and set it on the bar. A second glass, this one full, slid into his hand and he carried it to the table. He promised himself he would sip that one.

"Interesting story, that... I'd never heard of it before today. How did you come to be here?"

“Where, the Club?” Rutherford chuckled. “I’m so old, I think I was here first and they built it around me!” He wheezed slightly when he laughed at his own joke. “Seriously though, I been around this place so long, I can’t remember how I came to know of it. Out drinking with a fellow officer, probably. You never heard of it before today? And you call yourself a Master? Either you’ve had too many of those already, or you need a few more!”

Durion looked around the room for a bit and savored the taste of good stout in his mouth. "I don't remember much from before I woke up."

He swallowed, then took another sip and swallowed that. "We were about to be overrun and somebody had to plug the gap..."

“You kind of have that ‘I plugged a gap’ look about you, lad,” Rutherford sympathised. “You’re lucky to be alive! A toast! To holding the line.”

Durion looked at his glass and saw that was empty. He put it next to the others that were sitting by the empty plate. When had he drunk those? For that matter, when had he eaten dinner? How long had he been speaking? What had he said?

Rutherford was in the middle of a story about charging a line of Cyrans with nothing more than a horse, a bugler, and his personal valet. Apparently, the colonel owed his life to the bugler and the horse. The valet wasn’t so lucky, however. The old man had a far off look in his eyes when they met Durion’s.

“Enough reminiscing,” Rutherford said, wiping a tear from the corner of his eye. “I should be heading off to get some sleep. My physician advised I shouldn’t stay up all night, and the sun’s nearly up already! Ha! I’ll show her who can take care of himself! You should probably get some rest too, good Master.” The old man stood up on shaking legs, but refused to let that stop him. “Even if it’s only a trance, some rest is good for the weary soul. Maybe you can join me again and regale me with more tales of the Black Blades!”

Durion stood on equally shaky legs and gripped the old man's hand...

***
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:17 PM
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Default Han

One of the scouts looked right at Han and stopped. He was at least thirty yards away, but it was obvious to Han that the scout could tell he was a changeling. It was those damn goggles. The scout signalled the others, and they began making their way across the wooden bridge towards him.

So much for getting home and having a quiet night in...

Han waited patiently for the patrol, holding his hands away from his body to indicate he wasn’t armed or looking for trouble.....”Can I help you?” This seemed to catch the patrol off guard. They were apparently not expecting compliance.

The entire team took up positions with military precision; two covered their flank, two watched the sides, and two moved forward to deal with their detainee, with the scouts scanning all around. There were at least two different crossbows pointed at Han at all times...

“Do you consent to being searched for weapons?” the nearest Watchman said while leveling a crossbow at Han. “For your safety and ours, of course.” Somehow, it wasn’t terribly reassuring given that the patrol was obviously prepared for a fight.

“No not at all. In fact there’s a dagger in each boot, one behind my back and one up each sleeve.” Han said matter of factly, holding his arms up and away from his body. ”Oh and one more behind my neck. Almost forgot about that one.”

The two Watchmen before him looked at one another, then back at Han. Then, without warning, the man on the left hefted his crossbow over his shoulder and slammed the butt right between Han’s eyes.

Spoiler!

“Ooooowww! What was that for? I’m not trying to be a smartass. I’m saving you any and all trouble and cooperating. What the hell.” Han moaned as he held his face in pain.

“Hit ‘im again,” one of the scouts said as the Watchman raised the crossbow to do just that. “Knock him out already, will you?”

Spoiler!

“No good deed ever goes unpunished,” muttered Han. Moving slightly towards the attacker, he looked to tumble past him hoping his other friends wouldn’t risk a shot at both of them. His gambit paid off; three crossbows aimed at them, but nobody dared to take a shot at a target so close to an ally. Once past them, Han ran...

Spoiler!

The Watch reacted with speed, if not accuracy. Four managed to take shots at the fleeing rogue. Three of them were off target, but one scored a hit. Han felt the sting of a bolt in his left arm above the elbow, but he didn’t let that slow him. He put as much distance as he could between him and the patrol. He could hear at least a couple of the Watchmen pursuing him...

Spoiler!

Han grunted in pain, but kept running. Han chanced a glance over his shoulder to see where the goggle-wearing watchmen were, but couldn’t see them clearly enough to tell if they were still in pursuit. He took the first turn, and as soon as their line of sight was broken, he changed into an elf with blonde hair. Han kept going, looking for lefts and rights and a large crowd, or barring that somewhere to lose them.

The tactic seemed to work, as the changeling disappeared into the night. There were very few crowds in the lower levels, but there were plenty of twists and turns and places to hide. After about his fourth shape-change and thirtieth turn, he felt confident that he’d lost the patrol.

What the hell was that all about? Why did they attack him without provocation? Did they recognise him from before? Were they looking for him in particular, or changelings in general? If that was the case, how many were attacked tonight like he was? There were so many questions, and Han’s head was already hurting. He needed to get somewhere safe and get some rest...

***
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:18 PM
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Default June and Mardu

The couple made it to the Keldoran Inquisitive Services office at nearly half past ten. Both June and Mardu noticed some odd looks from a few mercenaries in the area, but ignored it as they didn’t seem to be a threat. But June had a distinct feeling she was being watched as they knocked on the door.

“Good morning,” Altus said as he opened the door for them. “We were wondering if you were going to turn up or not. Please, come in...”

[Response? Comments? Actions?]

Just as they were about to step in, a large and dark shape seemed to slink up behind the paladin. A massive black wolf poked its head past Altus and nearly startled the sorceress and half-orc. Honey-coloured eyes regarded the pair with interest, far too much interest for June’s comfort, then dismissed them with a sniff.

“I suppose that means you can come in,” Altus said by way of apology. “He arrived late last night. Raena can explain.”

“I can?” Raena said with a note of exasperation from behind the desk. The wolf had gone over and set his head in her lap, effectively preventing her from getting up. “Please, come in. I’ll be there in a second.” She then went about the business of trying to convince the wolf to let her up. It eventually capitulated, but only after the priestess took a moment to stroke the animal’s head affectionately.

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Old 04-28-2012, 03:19 PM
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Default Inquisitives Assemble...

It was at about this time that Hawksley and Wireburn made their way over from the Olde Cobbler. The former had a rather worn and tired look about him this morning, having spent a good deal of the wee hours chatting by the fireplace with Ymaine. It was only because the young librarian had literally fallen asleep mid-sentence that the inquisitive insisted that she head home to get some sleep. After securing a private sky taxi to take her straight to Morgrave, the young man finally sought out the warmth of his own bed for a few hours of sleep. Too bad it was too few for his liking...

Wireburn was unaffected by the need for sleep, but was aware of his friend’s condition. The Knight of Steam plied the scholar with strong gnomish coffee and a hearty breakfast to get him going, and insisted they head off to see Raena early. The warforged was ever protective of his companion, and kept a wary eye on the small group of halflings that happened past on the bridge. They were a rowdy group of warriors bragging about who would catch the most prey on their upcoming hunt, but nothing untoward happened; they hardly gave the inquisitives a second glance.

As they came up to Number 5 Cavendish Tower, they came across Durion as the elf disembarked from a sky coach. The elf was squinting at the brightness of the mid-morning sun, seemingly a little more rumpled looking than usual. But his uniform was pressed, and he offered a smart salute to the pair as he fell into stride alongside them.

The trio met up with Anselm at the door. The young artificer was looking a bit nervous at having arrived a little early, and seemed relieved when his acquaintances arrived before he had a chance to knock. Much to everyone’s surprise, a familiar, if average-looking, human arrived as well. Han tipped an imaginary hat at the assemblage, and waited for someone to knock.

The door was answered by Altus, as well as an unexpected, and rather large, black wolf. The wolf gave the newcomers a good long amber-eyed stare before he sniffed loudly and padded back into the office.

“He apparently approves. Please, come in gentlemen,” Altus said with a wry grin. “Raena’s new security system. Very effective at keeping away unwanted bill collectors...”

[Response? Comments? Actions?]

Aujeunotte and Mardu looked over from the couch, and Raena glanced up from making tea.

“You’re early,” she said by way of greeting. She looked very tired and seemed a bit distant, but she didn’t appear to be as terribly upset as she was the night before. “I’ll put on some more water for tea. Make yourselves comfortable. Mind the rug; it has a tendency to wander...”

[Response? Comments? Actions?]

***
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