The door to the apartment flung open and an enormous onyx-coloured half-orc who seemed much too large for the little door stood there, in front of him. In a voice like gravel, a volcanic eruption burst your way.
”Aye, that’d be me. Step inside.” With that, the half-orc stepped aside, letting Arc pass into a small ante-chamber that was joined by a square living room. The package was left on the doorstep.
The apartment was kept simple, yet homey and clean. The pictures on the wall suggested the reason why- they showed a graceful elven woman by his side. Following Arc’s gaze, John spoke again: “My wife, Sylvia. Keeps the place like it is.”
After taking a seat, John started, clearly having expexted Arc’s arrival. “We’re on strike for food. For water. For better homes. For medecine for our kids. It ain’t right. We work hard. Have been, all through the war. You said we’d be free. Most still can’t afford to live now. It ain’t right.”
Thia would look up at Leo and just blink, taken aback by his warning. She opened her mouth to instantly protest, but then she noticed something was off, he was tense. Her shock turned into a bit of a pout, “You know how excited I am about that presentation, I haven’t shut up about it since I got a seat for it.” Thia’s blue eyes frantically scanned Leo’s face, hoping it would tell her why she shouldn’t go. ”I can’t just... not go?” Minutes ago she was vibrating with excitement and now she felt like a deflated balloon, even her shoulders slumped a bit. She hugged her notebook to her chest, “There has to be a good reason Leo?” She’d ask in a hushed tone.
Leo darted a glance over his shoulder, before whispering to Thia: “ Fine, but stay further back, things might get messy. I hear that there’s gonna be a big protest or something; I don’t want you getting hurt. Please, promise?”
Arc mentally sighs, but reveals a very stoic look. As John takes a seat, Arc remains standing, hands behind his back, "I understand, and while in most cases, such things would be in plentiful supply, thanks to the very war that allowed for your freedom, it is not possible to provide all of those things in the abundance you desire. While I can sympathize with you and your friends and family's plight, unless you can repair the damage to various trade routes, farmlands, cities and much more, we ALL have to make due."
At this point, Arc takes a seat, "However, as I stated, I can understand your frustration and desire for better conditions. My family understands this as well, so we offer a compromise." He takes a moment to let his words sink in and let John think a little, "Help convince your fellow workers to return to work, and we'll impose lighter better safety guidelines, better equipment and provide free lunch meals to those working." Arc then lets the offer sit on the table (so to speak).
John growled: “Boss, listen. It’s our families that need the food. A free lunch for me don’t feed my wife. Better rules are good, but we need money now, to stay in our houses. We want to work. But we also want to have a life. Freedom is bitter, when it comes with financial chains.”
"A free meal here allows for another meal there. And as I just finished explaining, such resources aren't readily available." Arc's demeanor and tone have remained unchanged, "I can assure you, such conditions won't be permeant. Only until commerce and capital is allowed to provided for such needs. And if we're going to debate, Freedom, then might I remind you, that you are free. Unlike before, if you find these terms that unagreeable, you could always find new lines of work."
Thia would catch his nervous glance and furrow her brow. His whispering made it obvious the reason was not for open conversation. “What are you up too right now?” She made a gesture towards the location of her dorm room to go talk in private.
The luck’ll run out sometime, Tarian thought, turning the closed locket over and over again in her hand. They believed her lie that “Thomas Reed” had escaped her grasp. The wounds from the fight with Grumm sold that bit. She stared at the roof beyond the locket, lit by the midday sky.
There was not a thing about the locket that she liked. It certainly wasn’t a thing anyone from home would ever own, not that anyone in her village could make anything like it. But worse were the implications: what would cause someone to make such a thing; what sort of person would own such a thing; why would Captain Hector have such a thing; why would the captain want to kill her, and why didn’t he?
What bothered Tarian the most wasn’t any of these questions, though she had spent much of her restless night trying to piece answers together with what little information she had. She popped open the locket to look at her picture inside. How many others have seen this picture? And who are they?
No answers would be found in her tiny office/flat barely six paces square. Nor in the Docklands, I’d reckon. No, I’d best be seeking answers in another district. Forge might work, but I’d spend more money loosening tongues than I really have to spare right now. Uptown, though, I might find someone who might recognize who made it. But I’d probably have to show it around more than I’d ought, so unless I know for sure that they know who made it, I shouldn’t. Northward would be great, if I could get in there. She closed the locket. But maybe perfect in exactly the wrong way. I might ask the right person the wrong question and find myself dead over a cup of tea.
Actually, Tarian realized, looking out her window, tea sounds great right now. Off to the Souk.
John guffawed at that: “Boss, we like the work. But we can’t do it if we go hungry. If we need to take our kids to the healer. Or if we need to stand in the bread line. You use big words to say that nothing will change. So, nothing will change. Come back when you have a new offer.” With that, the onyx hulk got up from his chair, and opened the door, motioning for Arc to leave.
Only now did he notice the small sodden package on his doorstep. “What is this?” He unwrapped the small package, and let out a primal cry, like a wounded animal. Looking at Arc with a face frozen in terror, he lets out a single question: “Why?”
In his hands, he holds four delicate severed elven fingers, wrapped in paper. One of them has a wedding band, matched by the Half-Orc’s.
Kerrigan sucked in a breath at Artemis' words feeling her heart sink. While she tried to remain optimistic in the face of others, her mind immediately went to the worst case scenarios. Out all night in the rain. If she was lucky, she found a place to stow away, but as young as Alathea was, it was more likely that she spent the night in the rain, and if so, it was very likely she didn't survive. Or if she was lucky a kind soul took her in, but it was more likely that someone who took advantage of her would sweep her up and take her away.
At that last thought, Kerrigan felt that bit of simmering anger and tried to push it down as she offered Artemis what she hoped was a comforting smile.
"Alathea's a clever girl. I'm sure she just found a hiding place so good, the others couldn't find her, and she lost track of time. I can go look around the city if you want, I know a lot of the hidey holes"
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"All will become equal now" | "Cause we're going to shout it loud, even if our words seem meaningless. It's like we're carrying the weight of the world"
Marzira - Half-elven way of the Cobalt Soul Monk | Eberron tales: Alpha Marilena - Human warlock | New Udros Kerrigan - Kalashtar druid | Union
Thia just stood there for a moment in bewilderment as Leo slipped out of her sights. She really was not expecting this encounter when she left her dorm room. Taking a moment to gather her thoughts, Thia went through her mental check list, making sure she had everything she needed with her before continuing on her way.
I’m still going She thought to herself, hugging her notebook tighter to her chest.
Standing up, Arc's brow creases in confoundment, taking note of John's question, he directly replies, "This wasn't mine, nor my family's work. Trust me, while we did have a stick for these negotiations, (whichyousuckatbytheway), I assure you it doesn't consist of resorting to such underhanded or uncivilized methods." Recalling the gnome who came by just as he did, Arc does tell him of that, before asking, "Did you or the workers make any deals with anyone? Have any enemies? Also when was the last you saw your wife."
Artemis dried her tears: “You.. you think so? We’ve been looking all over, but please, if you could ask around...” Kerrigan sensed that Artemis had reached the same conclusion as she had, though she was not ready to acknowledge the possibility.
A few moments later, Brother Kobe stepped into the mother’s tent. He was an elder human with a stout build. His leathery skins was heavily scarred from a fire back in his youth. It left him blind, but the old man was revered by his community for his wisdom, which is why he was chosen to represent them at the Outer Ward Citizen’s Council. His voice was soft.
”Kerrigan? It’s good of you to come. Artemis and Alathea are dear to us all. But please, step outside for a bit.”
Kerrigan followed the elder, and once the tent flaps closed behind her again, Brother Kobe spoke up again: “We both know she would’ve found her way back. She’s the third child from the Outer Ward that’s gone missing. Someone is stealing children.”
The half-orc looked at Arc with bewilderment: “Leave! I don’t want to hear any more words! You were here wasting my time while someone was hurting my wife! If you truly care about us, find out who did this and where she is, and I’ll promise you that everyone will know of your kindness”
With that, he shut Arc out of his apartment, locking himself in with worries and grief.
Sigh outload, Arc makes his way down the steps, before muttering to himself, "Things could be so much easier...." Making one last sigh, he'll begin his investigation, looking at the ground for a trail that might lead to that gnome that ran by him earlier. If not.....he'd have to find a bounty hunter.
(Not sure what I should toll for this, so XP) Investigation: 20 Survival: 17
Arc has to look for all but two minutes, before finding the gnome again, a floor further down on a step ladder, repainting the patchy ceiling. It was immediately clear that he was the building’s superintendent. Still, he might have further indications as to the origin of the package.
I still have time Thia kept reminding herself as she maneuvered her way down the path she’d take daily to the library. She had been tasked with tracking down an old text for the master alchemist of her guild and figured she had some time to kill before the presentation. Even with Leo’s warning, it didn’t stop the excitement from bubbling up inside her, turning her walk almost to a skip. Thia needed a distraction, and there’s nothing better than occupying her thoughts with studies.
Arc looks down at the gnome, before walking down towards him. Once he's close enough to have a respectable conversation, he calls out to the short fey man, "Pardon me. I must ask you something." He stands in an obviously bored fashion, but his eyes still seem to be studying the gnome, as if looking for something.
(Insight check the gnome to get a feel for his mood/emotions) Insight: 12