"No no, if you are who you say you are, you're way too important to leave to those guys. I'll take you up." Brandt marches Milo up to Collinsworth. "Collinsworth, this halfling is saying that he's a corporate representative and you can verify that. Is he telling the truth?"
Not pausing and looking forward as he walks and talks, Arc tells Tarian, "Yes, I fully understand, however I expected we could do that as I brought you to the scene of the crime. For now, I'll fill you in on the general idea of what is going on," Arc at this point glances around checking if anyone is apparently following them.
Regardless of if he spots someone or not Arc will keep talking, "The foreman of the Cannith factories and spokesman for the strikers had business with me, however before we could conclude our negotiations, he found a package of his wife's fingers at his doorstep. He refused to negotiate further until his wife was found, so I traced a possible suspect to a alley. That is where I'm taking you now."
Thia was glad she had helped the veteran, but because of him she missed parts of the speech. Pushing her way forward, she managed to have a glimpse at the new machine that Sparks had praised in such lofty words. It looked impressive enough, but she couldn’t imagine the steel colossus to move. Even then, this was a far more technical solution than what she had expected. Her abilities lay in healing and medecine, not really welding and mechanical engineering. Still though, she was amazed at the possibilities that the future might hold.
Although the streets are densely packed in the Souk, the odd pair of Tarian and Arc weave through the mob, with Arc giving quick glances over his shoulder every now and then, and weaving unpredictably into narrow side alleys. He was sure that no one was following them.
The engineer couldn’t help but smile at the made up names, but if this guy was a con man, he might win him over to his side, once this halfling understood the importance of his project. He just had to make him see the potential of his railcoach.
”Thanks Brandt, I’ll take it from here. Do you know any place were we can go to talk? I’d like you to stay close, let the other guards watch the crowd in case people want to get too close to the prototype.”
Corti pauses a moment, thinking about what could go down, before agreeing. "I'd be happy to help however I can. I just want to make it clear that if things go downhill, I'm not going to fight. I can inspire your men, and I can even heal if it comes to that, but I won't fight." When she finishes speaking with Bellows, she walks towards some of the workers and begins to prepare them and herself for the march. She ensures that they all know a handful of marching songs, and works with a few workers and students to pull slogans from the songs.
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Thia’s eyes would widen in awe as she scanned the machine. Though it’s true that she is not familiar with engineering, she can definitely appreciate the knowledge and research that would of been poured into a project concept like this. As she scanned the stage, she watched the interaction of two men. She squinted, swearing she recognized one of them, perhaps from some of her errands she’d run for the guild. Thia’s curiosity getting the best of her, she’d try to weave through the crowd to follow them along the stage. “Are they going to talk to Sparks?” She’d mutter under her breath to herself as she watched the gnome approach them. She would try to blend in with the crowd all while trying to eavesdrop on their conversation.
Corti was heading to the Hill with the workers and Leo, singing worker songs and brandishing their banners. But as she looked around, she saw a fair few of them carry pipes, chains, wrenches, hammers, or shovels. She knew that they’d had a tough week, but to see them this prepared for a clash with the guards was disconcerting.
Sparks, not knowing the establishment, agreed to Brandt’s proposal and was about to descend from the stage, when all of a sudden an exhausted guard came running towards them and addressing Brandt: “Boss, it’s the workers, the Northern and Eastern Roads are blocked already, and other marches are arriving from the South and from the West. They’re still demanding a rise in pay, but some of the donors in the audience are getting nervous. What are your orders?”
Thia hears the guard’s warning. Damnation, that must be what Leo had warned her about in the morning. But why was he planning such a protest? What was his gain from all this? She was afraid that the blocked roads would lead to another panic, with more people hurt. On the other hand, she might try to speak to Leo directly and try to defuse the situation.
Hmm. ‘Possible subject to an alley.’ The crime itself probably wasn’t committed there, then, otherwise he would have called that the scene of the crime. Also made no mention of the subject themselves, and was looking for tobacco—or possibly a person, as Thorbek suggested, so the subject was unlikely to have been there when Mister Arc arrived on the scene.
Tarian looked at the fruit vendor she purchased from earlier as they passed him by. She waved and offered an awkward smile.
Foreman of the Cannith strikers had business with Mister Arc. Negotiations, to be specific. So Mister Arc here is either someone from Cannith or a rival. Strike negotiations are more likely to be done with the ones they are striking against, so for now I’ll assume Mister Arc is from Cannith. In either case, he’s someone important enough for the strikers to be negotiating with.
The foreman. Due to the strike, he’s out of work. If his line of work is anything like mine, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Of course, there is the possibility that, as a foreman, there’s some sort of policy in place to ensure that he gets paid even if there’s a strike. Negotiators are more likely to be paid, so for now, I’ll assume that he is.
Arc led Tarian down several more streets, through winding alleys and throngs of people.
Foreman salaries would be better than the common worker, but probably not enough to warrant attention from a crime boss. It could be a crime boss if the foreman slighted one somehow, but I don’t think that the two would have occasion to interact, unless the foreman’s into gambling. Possible, but I think I’ll shelve that idea for now. If organized crime is involved, it’s probably more that someone hired someone to do their dirty work. Either way, the only major transaction I can imagine being involved here is these negotiations. Big money is the most likely reason to do something like this, and for the foreman, big money is probably these negotiations.
First, I’ll need to know who—on both sides—knew ahead of time that the negotiations would be held… whenever they were held… and also knew where the foreman lived. Though I suppose the second point wouldn’t be as relevant if they tailed the foreman. Now that I think of it, they probably could’ve used the same method to abduct the wife. So, relevant: who knew about the meeting.
Next, the fingers. That’s a warning. A threat. If it was more serious they would’ve sent her head. She’s probably still alive, a hostage. Mister Arc didn’t mention a message, though. No notes, conditions for returning her alive. Either the foreman already received a message or Mister Arc didn’t check.
Tarian waved at the roasted nut vendor she purchased from earlier. When they were well past where the nut vendor could no longer see, Tarian rubbed her temple with one hand while grabbing Arc with the other. “I think I’ve figured out something important. You’re very hasty.” Tarian pointed back where they came. “Had you slowed down, you might have noticed that the fruit vendor and the nut vendor we passed are two ends of the same building, and you could just walk right through… if you were buying something.”
Tarian acted on a hunch, and called Arc something different: “So, Mister Cannith,” she let go of him, “let’s go over some other things you might have missed. First, who else knew of your meeting with the foreman?”
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"On the other side of the screen, it all looks so easy." --Kevin Flynn, Tron (1982)
Out of context, also applicable to Dungeons & Dragons.
Looking back at the crowd Thia knew there was no way she could see through the crowd to look for Leo. And she was much too short to look above the large group of people. Thinking on her feet, Thia made a decision
Strength (athletics)? to see if Thia can successfully pull herself up onto the stage to get a better vantage point 8
Intelligence (investigation)? Thia would already know who she was looking for (Leo) and would begin looking towards the commotion. She would try to scan through the crowd (hopefully from her new vantage point) to see if she could spot Leo 17
Arc gives a raised eyebrow at Tarian's deduction skills, "Very impressive. Good to see you are capable of basic deductions." Arc seems to give a genuine, but small smile, "If I sound sarcastic, I apologize, I mean it. But to answer your question," he sighs, "I cannot say. From my side of the negotiations, anyone within my family or higher then entry-level position in our administration, would have access to that information. I can't speak for who the foreman may have informed, be it intentionally or by accident. Thus, the list of possible suspects, if we were to dive down that rabbit hole, would be far greater."
He countinues to lead Tarian until they get to the alley that he previously found the 3 trails in and points at the house/apartment of the foreman, "Since you were able to deduce my family, I can only assume you were able to understand the foreman's position, and my own, in this matter. He's up there. Doing what? I don't know. He kicked be out as soon as he found the package I described. I was able to trace the tracks into this alley way, but the most I could find was that lead on the Tabacco."
Arc then leans up against the nearest wall and looks to Tarian, "Now, I do believe you are the expert here. I trust you to do what ever you need. I can promise either Gold or my family's favor, if you desire neither, we can discuss it. I will not, however, promise you anymore of my time once this is over, nor marriage into my family. I apologize if that sounds rude, but my parent," He gives a dry laugh, "Have made sure that I remind others that I am not to be touched by anyone other then who they chose." Arc visibly rolls his eyes, but eventually they regain their boredom and settle on Tarian, "Do these terms sound agreeable to you, Miss Tarian?"
“This is getting hairy, fast. Sparks, if you’ve got a plan to calm them down I’m in. I’m a good sneak and a better talker. But if not, we’ve got to get out of here. We can make it through the alleys.” Milo throws his cloak over Sparks to hopefully change his appearance in the chaos that’s brewing.
As they approach the Hill Corti calls for the worker's attention. "Friends! I know that I have not been with you a very long time and this may be overstepping my bounds, but I wanted to say that although we may encounter resistance, it is important to keep our heads. You are all intelligent, determined hard workers and that's what we need to show them. Hold the line, show no fear, but please, do not throw the first punch. Best of luck to all of us!"
Persuasion to keep it as nonviolent as possible on the worker's side: 21
The fisher smiled at Kerrigan once more: “I’ve got crabs with me. Plenty of them around here, but you gotta make sure you catch’em young. Bigger crabs have a nasty bite...” With that, he goes over to one of the piles and throws the tarp back, revealing a crate filled with small crabs piled on top of each other, all desperately trying to escape their fate, crawling over each other but more often than not finding nothing but air, until they tumbled back into the teeming mass of crabs below them.
Kerrigan shuddered, both at the sight of the crabs, and at the man in front of her. By now, the man was playing with the crow’s feather, which he had pulled from his hat band.
Brandt issues his orders, but as he walksback, he sees a slight student clambering up onto the stage, straining her eyes on the approaching marchers. At the same time, the halfling was trying to usher Mr Sparks towards the alleyways. By now, he could hear the workers’ chorus, chanting songs of solidarity and demanding more pay, cheaper housing, and better conditions. Things might get ugly between the crowd and the marchers, but he hada contract with Sparks, not with them.
Corti saw with some pleasure that the unarmed workers pushed to the front of the march, and, linking arms advanced as one line, all the while singing their songs. The had almost approached the hill now, and she could see a thin line of guards with truncheons standing between them and a massed throng of people who had attended the presentation by Sparks. At the sight of some of their bosses, she could hear some workers shouting insults, and others getting angrier even than that. So far though, they weren’t in the front ranks yet