"Well, it is nice to meet you Doozey. I do not often volunteer such praise, but know that you have chosen good company." Liela says this without smiling. The group has learned by now not to expect such show of affection from her, but her words feel truthful. After Graxx further introduces the halfling and touches on the subject of coin, she adds: "Good to know all members of Chaotic Relief are doing well. Also, yes, we may talk about payment." She turns to her left and opens a thick drawer. From within, she slowly pulls out five neatly tied velvet sacks. "I was sure all of you would return victorious. As such, I took the liberty of organizing your rewards in equal shares. Each of these five pouches contains exactly 90gp. One for each member of Chaotic Relief. You'll have to forgive me, Doozey and Biscuit. I was not aware the adventuring party was recruiting more members."
In the corner, the somewhat aloof Rorin finally picks up on Doozey's suspicious stares. The teenager looks at Utar, hoping the half-orc will come to his aid should things get rowdy. Unlucky for him, this is the exact moment Utar decides to step outside to look for Praxx.
Utar does not hear Neya's question, or Liela's response: "That is correct. The ships that were waiting at the docks finally moved out earlier this morning, while the other trade ships that were waiting for a free spot at one of the docks finally moved in. Trade is flowing again, and with that, so is my work. Dockworkers are still mostly brutish and careless, though. No regard for the products from which they make their livelihoods..."
Outside, Utar sees a busy boardwalk; quite busier than just a moment ago when they arrived at Liela's office. Some dockworkers are still going about their day, but most passersby seem to be walking towards the west side of town (docks are in the south portion of the city). Some are even moving at a brisker pace. Utar lets his eyes follow the path the crowd seeks and, surely enough, recognizes a dark-complexion gnome walking towards him, against the flow of Phlan citizens. Praxx carries a linen sack instead of the burlap one containing the baubles and trinkets he was tasked with selling.
Happy to see the bard was simply a little late, Utar refocuses on the crowd. Something has certainly happened. Certainly not an emergency, otherwise people would be panicking, but something of importance nonetheless.
Noticing that the half-orc is focused elsewhere, Praxx simply waves and makes his way into Liela's office. The administrator reacts by giving the small bard a tight hug, which is quite out of character for her. "I am happy to see you are well, Master Praxx." He answers: "Well and ready for whatever comes next," he winks at her. She blushes. After a brief pause, Liela hands the second to last reward bundle she had prepared to Praxx.
After a few more flirtatious exchanges between the two, Praxx finally turns to the group completely ignoring Doozey and Biscuit at first: "Treasure was successfully sold. I have an additional share of 50gp to each of you three." He says to Graxx, Neya, and Utar (assuming he steps back inside). "I have already taken my share, but I do not know what to do with Drazzim's."
Holding her own last reward bundle, Liela agrees: "Yes, what should I do with this last packet of90gp?"
Finally noticing the halfling and the mastiff, Praxx says: "Oh, sorry about that. This is official business of the one and only Chaotic Relief. Please don't mind us."
(OOC: To be clear, each of Utar, Neya, and Graxx should add 140gp to their inventories. There is an extra bundle of 140gp up for grabs. None of this includes the 300gp that Graxx collected from Hurn.)
"No need for the request, Lady Liela. I was not expecting a payment for something I have yet to do." He chuckles lightly. "But I thank ye for the thought all the same. And look forward to working with alongside you and the other members of Chaotic Relief, if you should have further need of their... our services." Doozey tips a nonexistent hat to her before letting his attention drift back elsewhere.
If Doozey is bothered at all about being forgotten, it never shows on his face. If anything, the lack of further attention on anything but surroundings and Rorin seemed almost inspired by anticipation than awkwardness. Plus Biscuit search for Lavender occasionally warranted more guidance out of halfling to keep from causing trouble. "Huh? Oh. Yeah. Well, hm? Ah! No worries Master.. Praxx, I think? I am Doozey, by the way." He said, hoping off Biscuit for a change to offer the deep gnome a handshake. "Doozey Redfoot, at your services. Er, well, at theirs currently. Technically speaking."He bobs his head in Graxx, Utar, and Neya's direction. "You need not mind me further." Doozey said.
"Neya, that works for me there will be a bit more when we get there."
Graxx looks to Praxx and produces 60 gold pieces and hands them to the gnome.
"I appreciate you selling the baubles. Here is what you share of our other business was. Thanks for everything. I hope to see your music well known all throughout the lands. Now, I'll let you get back to your... business and thank you for everything. Come Doozey. You are not in service to us. Just serving along side us."
After leaving Graxx will give Neya and Utar 60 gold pieces each while keeping 60 for himself. He will then hand 60 more(Drazzim's share) to Neya.
"Extra for the temple."
Graxx will then turn to Doozey and Biscuit.
"Do you have the capability to do magic damage? We may need to silver a few weapons and with your profession I didn't know if you had already taken care of that?"
Doozey smied sheepishly up at Graxx, unable to argue a point. When it later came to the arsenal, the halfling had to screw up his face in thought for a moment. "Expanded my last silvered bolt some months ago, truth be told. And I haven't had contact with my order for some time to request more." He admits offhandedly while scratching his head.
"Come to think of it. I should see a priest or cleric about some holy water here... hm... But is fine. I still have a less potent means to deal with the more resilient in my own way. So, no need to trouble yourself this early into our arran-... relationship."
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
When you realize you're doing too much: Signature.
Praxx seems a bit surprised: "I haven't left the party officially yet and you have already found a replacement? I can't say I am not a bit hurt. Nonetheless it was my choice to do so, and it is about time too." The gnome grabs the extra gold offered to him by Graxx and places it within his backpack. "Relighting the Lighthouse was a noble quest. I am glad I joined you in accomplishing it. However, I am an artist at heart, and one I shall remain. My place is here in the taverns of Phlan and beyond. My band-mates and I, led by our new manager Ortal, will work hard to see our careers soar, and we shall get started now..." He looks at Liela and gives her a wink: "Well, maybe we'll start tomorrow."
He continues: "Doozey, Biscuit, I hope you take to adventure better than I did. These here are not bad folk. Know that when the going gets tough, you may be pushed to make decisions you'll have to live the rest of your life with. This group is good at heart, and they know that these are the choices only heroes will take. I wish I had come to this conclusion while I still had the chance to tell it to Drazzim... but alas... I hope you can be a hero too. Here, this should help." Praxx gifts Doozey his adventuring rapier, and Biscuit his stack of beef jerky (rations (x3)).
Turning to Neya: "You are wise, resourceful, and controlled. Keep them from sailing astray. You might find this useful." Praxx shakes Neya's hand and gifts her the potion of climbing he never got a chance to use, or plans to, after retiring from adventuring.
Turning to Graxx: "May your horrendous body malformations continue to grow and make you stronger. Save those that need saving. Stay healthy." The bard flicks a potion of healing over to Graxx.
Noticing the half-orc is not paying attention, Praxx speaks to the rest of the group instead: "Tell Utar that I know he will always make the right choices, even if they are hard ones. May Torm always light his way." Even though Utar is not activelly listening, he feels the gnome's well-wishes filling his chest. Utar is gifted the DM's Inspiration Token that Praxx was holding on to.
He grabs Liela by the hands but continues to look at the group: "I officially resign from the adventuring party known as Chaotic Relief. Now go and close the door behind you. I have administrative business... I mean, and administrator's business... to tend to." He turns and begins guiding Liela to the back office. She giggles in excitement.
Before leaving, Graxx partitions the rest of the gold the party earned and everyone agrees to leave Drazzim's would-be 200gp portion in the party's account, so to speak. Biscuit also finally finds the source of lavender, which turns out to simply be a well hidden censer. With that, the group leaves Liela's office, led by Utar and his curiosity concerning what is happening outside. Rorin follows closely.
Utar: As you continue to observe the crowd moving in the same westbound direction, you begin to pick up a few of the comments the passersby are saying. One says "did they find him?" while another questions "what are they saying over at Podol Plaza?". A third commentator adds: "that's what martial law will do to you."
You are now all out in the street again, right in front of the docks, and can all notice the crowd moving in a similar direction. You know that Podol Plaza is located in the west portion of town. This happens to be the square where the Tea Kettle was once open for business. Torm's temple (for Rorin's treatment) is in a different direction, in the north end of the city.
(OOC: Those of you splitting the money should go ahead and add your respective 200gp each to your character sheet now. This includes the gold detailed in my previous post plus the gold Graxx distributed recently. Someone should also keep track of the "party's funds," please.)
An embarrassed(if only in hindsight) Doozey can only look away awkwardly for a time, mutely returning to early buried questions. Most get tuned out after that moment. But hearing his name again, he starts and dutiful meets Praxx's gaze. "I was too late the first time as well, Master Praxx. But, I resolved to make sure it would be the last." He says with a certain hollowness entering both tone and gaze as he accepted the rapier. Despite darkening mood, a grateful smile is mustered as Biscuit concludes the beef jerky to be safe enough to devour on the spot. All three days worth of jerky! Precious Jerky!
"Aye. We'll be just on our way then, Master Praxx. Good luck with your administrative duties."He says later on, alternating between waving to the gnome and wrestling Biscuit away from the censure. It is only after the group leaves and the door shuts that the halfling asks, "Wait a minute... Ohh... wait.. Ohhh... waitwait... So now he is moonlighting as musician, and whatever Lady Leila does now?"
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
When you realize you're doing too much: Signature.
Graxx smiles down at Doozey and his moonlighting comment.
"I like you. It appears there's no time to explain their... bond. Let us see what trouble has happened now and then onto the temple. The temple will still be there once we find out what's going on. It may be our next job."
(OOC: That's two votes for going towards Podol Plaza. I'll say the group starts walking that way but stop this post before you reach the plaza, just in case the other two PCs are against it and further discussions are necessary.)
Following Graxx and Neya's comments, the group starts heading west. The flow of people heading that way begins to become thicker the closer they get to Podol Plaza. On the way, the group passes a youngish human town-crier, who is repeating the same three announcements over and over, and ignoring all questions thrown at him:
"The Black Fist does it again. Sergeant Hurn relights the Sokol Lighthouse and saves Phaln's sea trade business!"
"Our good soldiers of the Black Fist have solved the Sinking of the Lyceum mystery. The criminal behind the evil deed of damaging the Lyceum's healing ward has been captured!"
"Head to Podol Plaza! The criminal is being brought to the gallows immediately. Make sure to bring your rotting vegetables with you!"
The group continues to move along towards the west end of town, now somewhat semi-guided by the moving crowd.
Caring more for seeing Rorin taken care of sooner than later, Doozey looks on incredulously as Utar and Graxx make for the Plaza. And over a hanging at that, as far as he could tell! "I hope their right about this being a job opportunity, Biscuit." He says to the off-tune chorus of the dog's whimpers over the congestion. Once more he looks to Rorin, and then to their surroundings for any platforms, ladders, or scaling in size buildings he and biscuit could perhaps climb to avoid the traffic but keep watch on things.
Here's what the party would know about Podol Plaza:
Podol Plaza is one of the main features of the west part of Phlan. The large open space, shaped almost like a perfect square, served as an open market for generations. It is surrounded by many houses and brick-and-mortar stores on its western, southern, and eastern boundaries, and owning a home at the edges of the plaza requires quite a bit of coin. A few well-known spots are among these lucky venues. Madame Freona's Tea Kettle is a bit rowdy despite the peaceful sounding name, but is a favorite of many locals. Amaunator’s shrine within Phlan also occupies a modestly-sized building on the edge of Podol Plaza, and is typically attended by one or two of the Yellow God’s faithful. In contrast, the Shrine of the Frostmaidem (Auril) is not usually staffed by the faithful. It is located in an alley off Podol Plaza and decorated only with the Frostmaiden’s symbol and a chipped, stone bowl.
The center of the plaza itself was once a bustling open-air market, but now only houses a handful of merchant carts; their awnings faded and tattered. The few merchants and farmers who do come to peddle their goods would typically have a hired sword at their side ready to shake down anyone who might be desperate enough to steal, though the Black Fist has recently cut down on such practices. Their lower ranks have begun providing protection themselves, no doubt filling their pockets in the process. Once the Lord Regent instituted martial law, a large wooden gallows was put together in the northern third of the plaza. Behind it, the Stojanow Gate stands tall and proud. This is a large twinned structure that serves more like towers than a gate proper. They are also the headquarters of the Knightly Order of the Black Fist. Utar and Graxx once entered one of the offices within to negotiate a reward with a petulant Black Fist bean counter for saving a family of peat farmers in the outskirts of town.
Not exactly fighting against the human current guiding them onward, Rorin and the latest iteration of the Chaotic Relief adventuring party (Utar, Graxx, Neya, Doozey, and Biscuit) all continue to move towards Podol Plaza. It is impossible to ensure all six of you remain next to each other, with more and more people joining the crowd and cutting into whatever space they can find. Just before entering the plaza proper, Doozey finds a set of crates that could be used to climb over the roof of some low homes by the eastern edge of the square, but reaching them from his current point in the middle of the crowd would be no easy task.
Eventually, the group stops as the shear amount of people between them and the gallows ensures that there is no more space left unoccupied. Each of you are a good 15 to 25 feet from each other, and the closest of you to the gallows is...(see below)... Doozey atop Biscuit, followed by Rorin, Utar, Graxx, and Neya in that order. Doozey is about 200 feet from the gallows, while Neya is about 250 feet away.
One is some sort of magistrate in fancy robes. Barely any skin shows through the many layers of white, golden, and black fabrics, and their face is hidden in the shadows created by an oversized hood. At this distance, it is hard to tell the gender of this person.
A tall and bulky human female covered almost entirely in shiny, dark-gray metal armor stands stoically facing the crowd. She carries a large shield that displays the same black and golden detail that her armor does, and a longsword is sheathed by her waist. The woman's chiseled chin looks familiar to Utar.
A small, elderly male gnome is bound by thick ropes. His hands and legs cannot move on their own, and his clothes are tattered. Utar, Graxx, and Neya immediately recognize this man as Rillo Leadstopper, the gnome that hired them some time ago to help find his daughter, Villonah (Episode 5).
The armored woman begins to speak and all the murmurs in the crowd stop immediately. "Master Leadstopper. You have a good reputation in town. There are some who have soured over your... eccentric personality, but most who know you can vouch for your kind heart and willingness to help." She pauses as her face visibly saddens. "Tell me then, that the rumors are lies. Tell me you had nothing to do with this and that my men have tried to play a silly trick on me. Tell me you are not behind the Sinking of the Lyceum, I beg you." The armored woman sounds genuinely hopeful.
"I did it!" says the gnome. "I single-handedly snuck under the Lyceum and used some of my clockwork inventions to bring it down. Those soldiers tortured my Villonah, Captain Burral. I had to make them pay."
The captain (highest ranking Black Fist you've seen so far) sighs heavily and says "Even if that is true, Rillo, you could have come to me. Through the proper channels. There is no reason for personal vendettas. The Black Fist stands for justice in the city of Phlan!"
Rillo mostly ignores the captain's comment: "I did it and there is nothing else to say."
Captain Burral responds: "Indeed." She unsheathes her immaculate longsword. "Under the rule of martial law and by the powers granted to me by the Lord Regent, I sentence you to death, Master Rillo Leasstopper. Your confession leaves me no other choice, regrettably."
Whatever doubt Utar had is gone once he hears the captain's name (SPOILER BOX BELOW is for @MB).
This is Aleyd Burral, Utar's former companion and captain during his first campaign fighting as a soldier of Torm (from your backstory). Except, she was a devout follower of Torm's teachings the last time Utar saw her, which was before the half-orc submitted himself to training at the Temple of Torm.
Time seems to slow down for a moment as the gnomish tinkerer begins to kneel on a wooden block and the Black Fist Captain prepares to swing her blade. The crowd roars as soon as the thud is heard. The captain lowers her head in respect but soon after, she and the robed figure, turn and leave the gallows towards the Stojanow Gate. Once they have cleared the gallows, the crowd takes it as a sign they are free to do as they please. Rotten vegetables begin to fly and hit the gallows, most of them missing Rillo's corpse by a fair distance. A lot of the projectiles never even make it to the gallows, and the crowd itself slowly begins to get covered in mushed foodstuffs. Chaotic Relief is no exception...
Getting caught up on the flow of the crowd, Utar tries to keep an eye on the other members of Chaotic Relief and particularly Rorin. He knows in the crush of the crowd he can't reach them, but if he knows where they are, that's enough.
As the small figure is brought out onto the stage, Utar's heart sinks, that gnome needed to get our of Phlan. His family was safe and now...
Any doubt Utar might have about the owner of that chin dissolves in an instant when he speaks. Burrel should be, well, not here, not in that uniform, not passing sentence on a man who just wanted to protect his daughter.
As the sword is raised above his head, Utar cannot help but call forth a memory, switching places for a moment with Rillo.
Looking up through blurred vision, Utar couldn't mistake Burrel stood over him, sword raised high, it's a pose he's seen before and it usually doesn't end well for whoever is on the other end. It's just not normal to be seeing it from down here.
Trying to stand, Utar find his side wracked by pain. Stretching out a hand he grips what feels like the handle of a dagger, hilt deep in his side. He coughs as he touches it, tasting something hot and metallic. Then...
Utar is back in the crowded square and the sword falls.
His hand is right around his amulet, his eyes fixed on the body of Rillo Leadstopper. He recites the litany of Torm as he was first taught it, nothing else seems appropriate. He recites it for the broken body of Rillo, that his spirit might be carried to it's rest and also for Villonah, who Utar can only think Rillo would want to see protected.
Utar continues to recite his prayers long after the crowd begins to disperse.
Graxx keeps his eyes on the gnome as his head is removed. He and the gnome didn't particularly see eye to eye but Graxx remembers the gnome saying he went to the Black First for help but had to bribe then and got no where. A story all to common that leads these people and most of the time their gold into the arms of Chaotic Relief. The Black Fist... So useless... They need to go...
Graxx takes in the scene and then turns to the others seeing Utar reciting his prayers he waits respectfully. Graxx moves to Doozey as he is aware he must know nothing.
"We helped the gnome at one point. Now is not the place to discuss. After the Cleric finishes paying his respects we will move on to the temple to put you at ease."
Graxx smiles at Rorin. One good thing will come out of today.
After Utar is done. Graxx will begin walking to the Temple.