Koll interjects, "and before you ask, 'what's in it for me,' well, just know that we'll be in your debt. Membership in Lord Viscardi's guild promises fortunes of which we have always dreamed of, brother. It will not be bad for you to have helped us secure a position there. I'm not ready to come back to the Tower Wolves. I have different path before me, now."
“My good man, thank you for your courtesy. We are visiting Waterdhavian nobles, but we are incognito as guests of Lord Viscardi. He was seeking a four leaf clover bathed in Lathander’s light. Naturally, we want to get him a silver charm, because a man of his refinement would not want a clover that can wilt and die.”
Not wanting to be left out, Lera adds, “And father is absolutely rubbish at jewelry. So I need to help him choose. We wouldn’t want to offend his Lordship!”
“Quite right, my dear. All the best shops are there, so there we must go.” He beams at the guard as if that explains everything.
Loro scratched his chin as he considered all the information given to him. "Hair from a bald man's head." He looked at Koll. "A 1000 gp diamond." His gaze turned toward Shanolia. "A shimmering shield." He looked back and forth between the three, before leaning forward. "It's funny how the world works. Haven't you read today's paper? There's some sort of contest happening tonight, and the reward for it is a 1000 gp diamond. Unfortunately, none of you look like you can carry a tune. It's also unfortunate for you that said diamond might just go missing before the contest can ever get started. Now, as I see it, you have two options. You can figure out a way to convince the Wolves downstairs not to steal that diamond. You might need a lot more pies for that." He gave Perrin a quick wink. "Or, you help us steal it. Use the gem for your little game, but once the game is over, the gem is ours, and we'll be all square. You know, I'll always accept you back, Koll. Pulling off a mission like this just might be enough to convince the pack to allow all of you in." Loro sat back in his chair, awaiting a reply.
The Watch guardsman frowns at Zamar. "Oh, you're that lot." He looks around to make sure no other guards are listening. "Look, Viscardi isn't Patriar, so even he has to have a writ to enter the Upper City." He lowers his voice even more. "I'm going to do you a favor. You're obviously nobles, and you look like decent folk. I'm going to let you in, but you need to go visit my brother's jewelry store, and buy your charm there. It's Dales Diamonds, you can't miss it. But don't go causing any trouble." The guard stands straight once again. "Very good, enjoy the Upper City," he says, waving you in.
"Just a minute, dear," Paela calls down. After a few minutes, she comes down the stairs once again, extra, extra, extra large undergarments in hand. "Here you go! Now, the stitching should be nice and tight, but don't go being rough with them," she says, giving Woe a wink. "Ah, right. Alton. Well, he's not in Baldur's Gate any longer. I heard he had been transferred to Wyrm's Rock. What was that? Two weeks ago?" She placed a finger on her chin as she thought.
"Three weeks ago, dear," Toddrick interjected.
"Yes! Three weeks ago. Callie! Stop throwing berries at your brother! I'm a little surprised you're looking for Alton. Does this have something to do with the undergarments?"
“Now Loro; I cannot agree to stealing. You’re brother here is also trying to stay away from that; it led him into trouble already. I’m here to help your brother through this new path in his life. So, I must decline your offer to help you steal but perhaps we can set up a trade instead. One of the items on the list we must get is a treasure map. We’ll trade you the treasure map tomorrow in exchange for you not stealing the diamond. You’ll have my word as a Paladin of Yondalla that we did not go after the treasure that the map leads to. Leaving it open for you guys to peruse. Does this sound like a fair trade?”
He’ll sit their patiently waiting for Loro’s response.
"Wyrm's Rock? Well, it's good to hear he has steady work. I was hoping he could lend an insignia, but that's no longer needed. I also wanted to let him know that his little brother isn't dead." Singe turns serious, his hair lay dormant, "I'll be here tomorrow night, just, don't invite all the family, it's not midwinter or midsummer. I especially don't want Mum getting involved with your..." Singe flails his hands as if trying to snatch the right word of thin air, "Match making! As soon as she hears, all the halflings in Baldur's Gate will know!"
Zamar thanks the guard and promises to do just that. With a smile and a wave, he and Lera pass into the Upper City. They stroll with purpose but not so fast that they cannot take in the sights of the city. As they stroll up Main Street, they Dale’s Diamonds comes into view. “This looks like the place.”
“I don't know pops, maybe there are *two* Dale's Diamonds here. Are you sure we have the right one?”
Zamar rolls his eyes at her. “If there was more than one, he would have told us,” he pauses, “and don’t call me Pops.” He shakes his head at her and walks into the store. “I’m looking for Dale!” he calls out. “His brother sent me to buy a charm.”
"Mid-afternoon!" She says, smiling at both of you. "You two look really good together," she says with a mark of finality. Toddrick gives a apologetic frown when she says this. "Oh, one last thing," she adds, "Alton found himself with the wrong crowd and he's deeply in debt. This is why the Flaming Fist demoted him to maintaining the stables. He's asked us all for help, but I fear he's heading down the same path Jasmine took. If you do visit him... see if you can help him."
"He outright hit you when he came begging for coin," Toddrick says, "Best we exile him."
"Toddrick! They don't need to know about that... He apologized right away and ran out of his own accord," she says.
"Stumbled out," Toddrick corrects her.
"Anyway, if you see him. Help him. You always knew how to keep him out of trouble." She gives the two of you one last, lingering smile before you leave.
After waving one last final goodbye, Singe closes the door behind him. "So, you have a nice family there! Do you want to visit your brother? Will we have time?" "No, it's not worth it. More importantly, two things: one, we never speak of this again! And two, you're not coming with me tomorrow." "All right, all right. You might not be able to see it, but I am double your age anyway... you need to find someone your age to play with. I'd be happy to set you up." Woe winks and sticks her tongue out. Singe forcefully ignores her. "Soooo, what are we going to do next? Could just try the shadier side of town and ask to change some money? Someone is bound to give us a counterfeit coin!" "Well, you know a few people in the city, correct?" "As I said, nobility, ambassadors, etc. I even have a writ for the upper city. But I think in this case that's not really helpful." "Same here. This may be a bit risky, but that human and the halfling did seem to be off to somewhere shady, they might get a coin or two. We might be able to get a modron if the others don't." "I was thinking about that. but once we meet at dusk back, the Hall of Wonders, might be closed? It was your idea from the beginning. let's go to the upper city, check out the 'hall of wonders'... and on the way keep our eyes open for those cup-tricksters... they might play with counterfeit coins" "With nothing better to do, let's go get a modron!" "Awesome!" Woe holds her hand out for a high-five. Surprising her, Singe does give Woe a high-five .
Zamar opens the door and calls out for Dale. Immediately he feels out of place. The shop looks like any other in the Upper City from the outside, but once you're inside the full magnitude of the class separation hits you. The shop is decked out in crystal chandelier, each shard enchanted to project light in the glass cases that house the jewelry. Certain shards project a colored light, highlighting specific pieces. The walls and crown molding make the interior look more like a palace than a shop, and everyone within is dressed in finery that makes Zamar and Lera's travelling clothes look like beggars rags.
"Hold!" One of the guards say. Both guards have their pikes crossed, preventing them from going further.
“We should probably have changed into our fancy clothes, huh Pops,” Lera communicated to her father through a message spell.
“I think outrage is the way to go,” he replied telepathically. “After all, we could not have gotten past the guards without being Nobles. And we have the papers to prove it.”
”Why are you asking us to halt? Can you not tell that we are Nobility? How else would we have gotten into the Upper City? Do you really trust in your guards at the gate so little?” Lera’s voice dripped with the haughty outrage she had heard her father use so many times. “We are in these clothes because we are incognito, and we are looking to purchase a small trinket here.
“But, if you would like to turn away two visiting nobles and potential customers...” Her father added, beginning to turn toward the door.
"Perseus, Cadmus, what are you doing?!" A man dressed in a gold-laced coat with an oversized silk ruff gestures to the guards dramatically. A few steps forward and the guards shift back to attention. "I am Daleus," he says emphatically, "And I welcome you to my personal emporium." He gives you two a quick once-over before shaking his head. Leaning in to Lera he whispers, "I tend to go incognito myself from time to time. The Waiting Swain is to die for."
He turns his attention to Zamar. "Are we looking for something in particular for your young lover?" He asks.
Koll sighs wondering if he's made a mistake coming here for help. He's not confident in Perrin's offer so makes a different offer that he thinks Loro will accept. He says, "I think our group has a good chance of winning the diamond. We have two bards on our team, after all. Here's the deal: if we win the diamond then I will give my share of the winnings directly to you, whatever 1000 divided by 7 is. That's not bad for zero work and zero risk on your part, right? If we don't win, or it happens that Lord Viscardi for some reason doesn't let us keep it, or these bards in my group don't want to share the winnings, then, then, I will help you steal it. I promise. That's a lot of risk for me. All you have to do is put your robbery plans on hold and in the meantime give us a little help with some of these other items. You could get us a counterfeit coin easy, right? And I'm sure you can give us good leads on some of the other stuff. As I said before, helping us get into the employ of this lord should provide reward enough. I'm not in it for the money any longer, brother. I'll share my fortunes with you. What do you say?"
Singe and Woe keep up a high tempo, trying to weave in and out of groups of people, blocking the streets. They are on their way to the gate to the upper city. On the way Woe starts talking to Singe in Halfling: "I guess you speak Halfling? Having grown up with this wonderful family of yours? This hall of wonders, what is it about?" Woe will keep her eyes open to find any street performers/tricksters on their way that work with/give you back coins for your win - but she cannot see any person who they could approach (rolled critical 1 on discord, perception) ... Singe keeps his eyes open too (rolled critical 1 on discord, perception), but it seems the two are looking too much at each other to notice anything happening around them…
"The High House of Wonders is the largest temple in Baldur's Gate. It is dedicated to Gond" Singe explains. "It houses many magical and constructed oddities. Modrons, shield guardians - I would like one of those one day - and other things to captivate curious Patriars""uhhhh, nice" Woe rubs her hands together in anticipation. "I don't know how we are to acquire anything, I have little money and I don't think it's wise to steal anything." Woe interjects: ”jep, got it, noo stealing”
"If I may pry, Woe, you said you know many a political characters, but I haven't heard your name before. Where do you work in Baldur's Gate?”
Woe continues in Halfling: "Well, I am here on an undercover mission you could say. Sent by one of the Friars - Duke Eltan. I am his personal functionary, running his diplomatic schemes and handling things that need 'persuasion'. I am very good at that - hopefully you will come hear me play tonight at the contest! My mission is to find out information about this new Lord Eldon Viscardi and what he is doing here in Baldur's Gate. I trust you not to tell the others!"
"And now it's your turn: Why are you not an ambassador any longer?”
“Well, um, uh, eee, I, uh, well” “yes?” “I was the head ambassador to a prosperous province of Tethyr, Talginl.”
"I like the countryside there! I grew up on Lake Esmel!! And I lived a couple of years in Murann, performing!!"
"Well, this was different”
"They had ore by the boat load. And they wanted to open trade with us. There was another diplomat, Junior Ambassador in title, but I considered him my equal. When we arrived, there were rules around night, we weren't allowed out of the residence and all the windows were shuttered and locked. There was a gloom, an ever present doom to the people we saw during the day. As if a desperation had fallen away to despair and resign. Any good wizard would recognise these signs." Singe hangs his head
"We went to dinner with the baron one night, about two months ago. Someone had improperly closed the shutter on the window in the carriage. We took a peak, we had to know what the baron was hiding… Ghouls - Ghouls by the dozen. They fed upon the flesh of what looked like a human women"
Woe is holding her hand up to her mouth in disgust and shock.
"Owyn asked about it early on at dinner. The baron was not amused to put it lightly. Owyn…”
Singe stops walking. He curses in an unfamiliar language.
"Owyn died that night, he fell over, cockroaches spilling out of his mouth.”
"I am so sorry"
Singe is crying. Woe puts her hand on Singe's shoulder, unsure how to react in the middle of the crowd. Seeing how upset he is she pulls him to the side, into a tiny tavern and motions to the bartender for something strong - and quickly!!
Singe stops speaking Halfling and goes into an unfamiliar language. Woe puts her hand back on his shoulder and encourages him to go on. It takes a moment then Singe gathers himself.
"I am sorry, but I don't understand the language you're speaking!”
"Yeah, I know, not many people speak primordial."
He pulls out a handkerchief and blows his nose twice. The bartender puts two glasses of 'dragon's breath' in front of them. "No," Singe is better now, not great, but better, "Drinking isn't good for cognition, without my wits, I'm useless.” "Water will do" talking to the bartender
"Drink that, you won't lose your wits from one glass. And then tell me everything.” Woe holds up her shot glass to cheer - "to our lost friends"
Slipping into Elvish, "Well, I ran, really couldn't do anything else. Thankfully, no one followed and I came across no ghouls. It took me about two months to make it back. So, well, here I am."
Singe takes a sip of the dragon's breath - it leaves his tongue burning, but it's kind of soothing as well.
Woe answers in Elfish: "I am sorry for your loss. It seems Owyn was a good friend? But explain to me why you have lost your position as ambassador? Baldur's Gate could have reassigned you?”
"God! That's strong! My usual ale is halfling-made, a little too sweet for most. But if Mum asks, you didn't hear that from me!" Singe laughs, it's clearly to break the tension.
Woe will motion again for the bartender to bring her another shot and to fill up Singe's water glass. She will pay 3 SP + an additional 3SP as tip.
"Well, returning home, I went to the tower of diplomacy. And well, Chief Ambassador Elama Caphaxath almost mistook me for a ghost… The baron had sent word that Owyn had died from disease and that I was missing, presumed dead. Elama suggested that I take a leave of absence, and that the record be corrected that I was in fact, still alive. We haven't cut ties with Talginl, but the mission there has changed, I suspect."
"I myself am considering finding new employment, it maybe awkward having a dead man walking in some circles."
Looking at the almost empty glass, Singe chuckles, "You know, some wizards have been able to replicate dragon's breath? I might look into it, it's always handy throw flame at people, not that I can't."
"Glad you're feeling better. This seems to have a big shock to you. Adventuring will certainly take your mind off things. Shall we continue?”
"Yes, let's. I apologize." Singe stands, "It's bizarre, you've met my family and now you know my story. I thinks that the fastest I've ever done that." He laughs, this time it's a full body laugh, filled with life, "Now no one will believe we aren't dating!”
"Well, you started asking!! But yes, I tend to have a charming effect... But I also trust you to keep what I told you a secret! I usually don't tell so quickly either..." Woe sends a tiny smile towards Singe. "Thanks again for sharing. I am sure we will work well together in the future!"
They leave the tavern together, heading straight to the gate of the upper city. When Singe and Woe arrive at the gate, Woe shows her writ to the guard...
"Koll," Loro sighs, "It feels a lot like you're trading one family for another." He looks over at Perrin and Shanolia. "I don't like that." His gaze lingers on the cherry pie for a bit before he continues. "How about this," he says, "You continue to work for us. Not in the open... you can continue your games with your new friends, go off on your adventures or whatever, but you keep us in mind when it comes to items and valuables that you procure in the course of your adventures. You scratch our backs, we scratch yours. Whenever you need to meet, send us a pie. We will set up a meeting location. If you need our help, we help. If we need yours..." He chuckles, "Well... you help."
He stands and turns his attention to Perrin, "We won't ask you to do anything... illegal, but the less questions asked, the better for both of us." He looks back over at Koll, "You've only just come back. Once you're a part of the pack, it's impossible to leave." He eyes Koll's tattoos. "We won't interfere with your acquisition of the diamond... if you agree to these terms."
“My ward, actually,” he says, “and my good luck charm.” He winks at Lera. “So, I thought a four-leaf clover pendant or perhaps a charm.” He looks around the shop admiringly. “Your brother at the gates to the upper city did not steer us wrong. Send him our compliments when you see him next. And, of course, when we return to Waterdeep, we will be sure to tell all our friends of the magnificence of Daleus.”
Scratching his chin, Koll considers Loro's offer, trying to figure out if it differs meaningfully from his own offer. He realizes that Loro wants to draw the others into his influence, as well. Looking to Shanolia he sees that she holds no objections. In fact, she seems intrigued by the notion of this proposed alliance. In Perrin's face, Koll sees his determined, irrepressible and wholly admirable sense of optimism. He says to Loro, "Well, it looks like we have a deal. So, can you help us with some of these items on our list?"
Loro walks over and gives Koll a hearty pat on his back. "I don't know about any of the other items you mentioned," he says as he returns to his desk, "But I do have a few of these." He pulls a small coin from his drawer and flicks it over to Koll. The coin soars through the air, its platinum shine reflecting the lamp-light. As Koll catches it, he sees the emblazoned image of a sun. "I wouldn't use it anywhere where the quality of the coin can be judged, but it's a good likeness to a Waterdeep Sun."
There's a knock on the door and a half-orc peers in. "It's time, Loro."
Loro nods in response. "Understood Vivicus. If you don't mind, I have other business to attend to. We have a few things in the works, so we'll be contacting you soon." He gives his brother one last parting smile before escorting the whole group out.
Daleus smiles and gestures for the two of you to enter. "She has an aura about her, that is for sure," he says. "We have a few religious marvels to Tymora if that's what you're looking for. No other items have been blessed as these by the goddess of luck, so you will find them no where else in all of Baldur's Gate." He leads you to a small display where four such items of jewelry reside. With a snap of his finger, a green light highlights the four items causing them to shine and sparkle in a brilliant display of their quality. Each item seems to be worth a fortune, well above any coin you would be carrying on your person. "Only the best for a noble of Waterdeep, yes?" He gestures for you to take a closer look.
Each piece of jewelry is a variation of a four-leaf clover. One looks to be made of pure platinum, lined with diamonds around each clove. The other is made of a strange green material that sparkles brilliantly in the light. An emerald is set in the center of each clove. The third looks to be made of silver, lined with gold. For some odd reason its shine is more brilliant than the others. The last clover bears its enchantment with pride, as each clove seems to hover a fingernail's distance from the center diamond.
“How much for the third one?” Lera asked, wondering if they’d even be able to afford it. “I worry though that an item as beautiful as these would make us targets for pickpockets. Do you have any simpler, more inexpensive items we could also peruse?”