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Chapter Sixteen: On the Road Again!

Psychie

Princess Psychie
As Oreleth continues to browse the wares, she hears Luna talk about training up. "Excellent suggestion, my friend. We shall have to look into that."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Ben and Misha shake their heads while Misha says, "We are the last people on Sharseya you want training you how to adventure, nor do we know a thing about your professions besides how to equip them, which, if you ask me, is the easy part of adventuring. Why, we hardly ever leave the city these days and my idea of an adventure is just getting ready to open our beloved store here before I've had me first cup of coffee!" Ben nods and chuckles when he hears this.

When this item is being examined, Luna and the rest of the Wayward Wanderers notice the Hand of the Mage is a mummified elven hand you wear around your neck.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus (Tag)

Even Misha shrinks away from the Hand of the Mage. So she turns to Otiorin for distraction. Cheerfully, she asks (and in part because she really wants to take her mind off of that mummified hand of a dead elf), "What are you looking for? May I be of help?"
 

Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
Otiorin Taletreader

Otiorin cast his eye over the assorted wares with only a cursory glance. The items he bore were more than sufficient for his needs, and he currently felt little need to add to them. However....
“I would be interested in those as well as a set of Masterwork Thief’s Tools if you have any,” he said, as he looked at the Cat Burglar’s Boots.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus (Tag!)

Hearing this request, Ben thinks quietly for a moment then looks to Misha and in the way that people who know each other well do, they communicate without speaking. Misha walks behind a particular counter and a few moments later, produces a blackened set of excellent-quality Masterwork thieves tools. "These are 100 gold," Misha grins as she lays out a cloth and places the set over the glass of her countertop.

Noting Otiorin's gaze, Misha does not bother to ask if the half-elf is interested in seeing the enchanted boots, but instead pulls the clean and sturdy pair from their shelf and places them beside the thieves tools for his inspection.
 

Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
Otiorin Taletreader

“Aye,” he said, casting his eye over the items, “these should suit me well.”
He withdrew the required value from his share of Count Varelys’ bounty and slid it across the counter.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter
Luna pauses for a moment, wondering, "Tell me, do you also provide training to advance our skills, or if you don't, can you recommend a good instructor that charges fair rates? I don't know about the rest of you, but I feel ready to advance!"

Then, Luna adds, "And I just realized that I have too many rings. I will need to take that Hand of the Mage for the 900 gp to make them all work!"
Kaerri glances dubiously at the mummified hand. "As someone else with more rings than can be used at once -- I suggest just swapping them out at need. Different ones for different circumstances, right?" She smiles, then adds, "And don't forget Oscar already offered to help with training at need, so soon's we're done here, you can head out to the wagon and see if he's got some time."

She wandered a bit longer, eying this and that, but finally settles on her own choices: the Brooch of Blending and a blue potion of light. "That's it for me today," she tells Ben, "but if you've got some ideas for things to add to my shirt -- something like that tunic of shadow jumping would be great! -- I could keep an eye out for what you need for 'em? I was afraid I'd have to go back to Asgard to find someone who could work on it!"
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Tag!

“Aye,” he said, casting his eye over the items, “these should suit me well.”
He withdrew the required value from his share of Count Varelys’ bounty and slid it across the counter.

"Thank you for your purchase!" Misha smiles appreciatively.

Cap'n, 2,100 gold pieces worth of gems have been deducted from Otiorin's monetary gains. I have added the boots and tools to Otiorin's Magical Gear. =)

* * *​

Kaerri glances dubiously at the mummified hand. "As someone else with more rings than can be used at once -- I suggest just swapping them out at need. Different ones for different circumstances, right?"

"Rrrrr..." Mamapaw scowls hatefully at the mummified hand, for while the ancient land of Shamballah is not the land of elves, every dweller old enough to stand on their own in that harsh and beautiful land knows well of the undead horrors called mummies.

Concerned, Misha sees the Felane's look and says, "If it is not to Miss Luna's liking, we can offer a full refund before it leaves the store?"

The Felane Druidess nods to Misha. With her feline eyes ablaze, Mamapaw looks to Luna, clearly unhappy with the item itself and not the Summerset Wizardess who has chosen it. "Luna, if you must wear that accursed thing around your neck, might you be obliged to cover it up?"

Powerpaw spies the hand of a dead elf around Luna's neck and looks surprised. "Whoa, Luna-face. Didn't tink you wuz inta necromancy or whatever dat is. Where Mom an' I comes from, only peeps seekin' da favor of da dead go around wearin' 'em. We don't tink less of ya for wantin' it; just be careful who sees it - it might be moar trouble den its worth." Mamapaw hears this and nods.

Bria takes one look at what's going on. When she sees the latest purchase, the Ko Healer gasps, spins around causing her brown hair to fly, and tries to find somewhere else in the store to be. While, from Luna's shoulder, Sparkle the Pseudo-dragon looks down on the enchanted thing and muses, not seeming for or against the thing. "It is like your father often said when he and I were Familiars - 'some magic comes with a price.'"

* * *​


I could keep an eye out for what you need for 'em? I was afraid I'd have to go back to Asgard to find someone who could work on it!"

Ben tugs on his beard in thought. "And yet you may, little shadow! What I require isn't tools, at least not that I'm aware, but knowledge! There's only one man I know of who has it - Agnon Most-Holy, that ancient relic of a man who does all that preaching for Thor! He and I had a chat during one of his rare visits to Highwind and he mentioned a special library of his. If you can find the time, show him your Asgardian Elven Chain, and see if he'll supply me with the knowledge I need and we'll make turning that fancy shirt of yours into something even stronger!" Ben claps his great hands together and grins as he looks forward to such a challenge.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter

Art by Peritwinkle
Character sheet
Hit Points: 99/99
Armor Class: 27
Touch Armor Class: 17
Shadow Illusion: 3/3
Shadow Call: 2/2
Shadow Jump distance: 80/80 feet
Defensive Roll: 1/1
Rogue Talent Resiliency: 1/1
Stinger -- uses of Slow remaining: 3/3
Charm of Bastet -- uses of Cat's Grace remaining: 1/1
Action Points: 14

Kaerri grinned. "Right, then! Next time I see him -- or if my new party here doesn't mind a side trip later -- I'll be sure to ask him! If his temple was closer, I'd ask for now, but I think we ought to finish with the kobolds' problem before we go a-jaunting that far north." She considered as she tucked away her purchases. "He comes here sometimes, you said? When was the last time, d'you know?"
 
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Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Tag!

Mamapaw moseys through the store, but the more she looks, the more she seems unsure. "Might... any of you have suggestions for a mother of golden sands and greenest jungles?" The Felane Druidess cautious pokes and peers through the store. "I... this is my first magic shop. I mean, the first one of any repute! Not like those snake-eyed, shifty-fingered devils who call themselves merchants in Akarabar! Why... this place feels quite reputable as to put all others out of comparison! Still... I could use the help." Mamapaw puts on her worried face.

About that time, a gnome - a young pretty little lass with long light blue hair and thin gray eyes wearing the livery of a Highwindian Dragon Rider, complete in fine green leathers and white hauberk bearing the hippogriff crest - comes waltzing into the store. "Light winds and sunny skies to you, Ben!"

Ben looks down and waves. "Good day to you, Twiney! What are you looking for?"

The gnome glances up at Luna, Oreleth and Otiorin with more than passing interest. "An adventuring group, the runner says! Anyone from the Wayward Wanderers about?"

"Yeah!" Powerpaw examines the small rider of the skies as he sniffs one of Misha's enchanted potions and licks his lips favorably. "Who wants ta know?"

"The runner's afraid to enter here. Something about a Mister Stewart the Steward returning your missive. She's outside if you'd be so kind. Can't miss her. Lively brown colt with a mane like sunfire wearing the King's colors."

"A colt?" Powerpaw makes a face as he reaches for another bottle.

Twiney puts her hands on her hips and looks long at the feline gladiator and the huge maul that he guards jealously. "Aye, great cat. In our lands, we call them... centaurs."

"A Highwindian centaur runner from Stewart?" Bria reluctantly puts down a smooth-looking cloak of comfortable coloring. "Oooh, I'll go and meet her if someone wants to join me?"
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Oreleth's ears perk up with the mention of someone looking for a member of the Wayward Wanderers, and she turns her attention over to listen closer. "I think I am done with my shopping for the moment, at least enough to step away from the counter and see what this messenger wishes of us. Master Ben, Lady Misha? I thank you for your time and the fine goods. Depending on what this messenger says, I may be back in for more!"

She looks over at Bria and smiles. "Shall we see what this messenger wishes of us, my friend? We can leave the others here to keep shopping, and get them if needed."
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter

Art by Peritwinkle
Character sheet
Hit Points: 99/99
Armor Class: 27
Touch Armor Class: 17
Shadow Illusion: 3/3
Shadow Call: 2/2
Shadow Jump distance: 80/80 feet
Defensive Roll: 1/1
Rogue Talent Resiliency: 1/1
Stinger -- uses of Slow remaining: 3/3
Charm of Bastet -- uses of Cat's Grace remaining: 1/1
Action Points: 14
Oreleth and Bria seem to have the messenger thing well in hand, while Mamapaw seems in need of a hand. Kaerri meanders over to her. "This place is reputable," she assures the druidess. "Best there is in Highwind, and a great many other places, too." She looks around once more, trying to do so this time from a druid's perspective. It's a little odd; while she's known more than a few clerics and rangers, she hasn't adventured with a druid. Still, there were some bits of lore a person couldn't help picking up along the way, especially if she hung out in the Adventurers Guild.

"This ring of Sacred Mistletoe seems up your alley," she muses, pointing it out helpfully, then pointing at another ring. "And take it from me, Evasion is pretty nice."

"And you don't use metal weapons, right, so how about one of these Bonespur daggers? Seems less creepy than the hand somehow, plus it'll be handy against some of the undead out there." She doesn't look at the undead in here, following as her literal shadow. She taps on the table next to the Quarterstaff of Entwined Foxes. "Could be fun."

The next stop is at the armor table, which looks rather metal-heavy now that Kaerri thinks about it. All but one, maybe. "Is studded leather OK? Or does it have to be plain?"

She looks over the belts. "A few things you might find useful here. Any of them, really, though I don't know how much riding you plan to do."

The next table provides a much easier choice. "Druid's Vestments," she says with a grin. "The Robe of Useful Items is handy, too."

There's a few things among the various headgear selections that catch the rogue's eye, pun intended. "Eldritch Scholar's Monacle, maybe...Eyes of Keen Sight... I'm guessing you don't need the Eyes of the Owl any more 'n I do... Those Storm Goggles are interesting, and the Fog Cutting Lenses. The Hollywreath Band seems your kind of thing? The Headband of Fortune's Favor looks neat too."

Kaerri looks over the footgear, then down at Mamapaw's feet. "I'd say any of these might come in handy sometime, if they fit, though I'd be partial to the Boots of the Cat or the Subtle Slippers."

"Gloves of Storing are always fun," is her next comment. "Healer's Gloves, for you or Bria, though she seems to have passed them up."

Among the necklaces, she points out the Lesser Aegis of Recovery and the Protective Ruff as being generally useful, but nothing strikes her as particularly druid-y except the Spell-sharing Collars, and if Mamapaw has an animal companion, Kaerri hasn't seen it.

It's a different matter with the cloaks and shoulder items. "Now there's something interesting," she says, indicating the Bear Pelt of the Bonebreaker. "The Shield Cloak is nice too, if you like shields." She casts a wistful eye on the Mantle of Life, but only says, "If that's not as far beyond your purse as it is mine, it's worth a thought."

Like the necklaces, the wrist items are more generally useful than specifically druidish to Kaerri's mind, but all the same she points out a couple. "Spellguard Bracers, for when you're casting. Or Vanishing Sheaths -- wonder how those work when you're doing your shapechange thing?"
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Tag!

Mamapaw's replies fall like leaves in a brisk wind.

"This ring of Sacred Mistletoe seems up your alley,"

"I do admit, that band has me charmed!"

"And take it from me, Evasion is pretty nice."

"It is? Oh, and I will!"

"And you don't use metal weapons, right, so how about one of these Bonespur daggers?

"Anything against those not-yet-in-the-afterlife-when-they-certainly-should-be is worthwhile in my book! Dratted undead! Oh, the scolding I would give them to just pick a side! Life or death - but nothing in-between!"

Kaerri's shadow sidles up beside her for a moment. The half-elf hears the faintest of whispers coupled with the sharp tinge of amusement in her dark tone. "Blazes, some of us weren't given a choice, lady! Hehehehe..."

"Is studded leather OK? Or does it have to be plain?"

Mamapaw raises a claw and recites. "'A Druid must wear armor bearing no metal whatsoever!' Tis an ancient pact that came into being long before this Kitty-face walked Sharseya, not that I think you are asking that I go against them."

"Healer's Gloves, for you or Bria, though she seems to have passed them up."

Mamapaw glances with confusion at the doorway where Bria and Oreleth just passed through. "Curious! Our most-harmless of boon companions did not look at anything for long except for the clothes. I overheard her turn away every attempt at getting help! Whatever is that monk of ours saving her coin for?"

Powerpaw crouches down and admires the selection of gloves. "Bet'cha I knows, Mom," the Felane says with a nod. "Dere's dis orphanage here in Highwind Bria likes ta talk abouts. Dey helps all da kiddos dat ain't got no moms an' dads because of da war." Powerpaw straightens, maul in paw. "Grab her by da ankles an' shake her upside-down, I'm tinkin' not a single copper'll fall outta her robes if she's gone dere first. Get whut I'm sayin'?"

Eris whispers to Kaerri in surprise. "Whoa. I knew Bria was a little angel goodie-two-shoes, but I didn't know she went that far!"

Or Vanishing Sheaths -- wonder how those work when you're doing your shapechange thing?"

Mamapaw scratches her chin. "Hmm. It should act as every other magical device upon our person." Then the motherly child of Bastet grins down at Kaerri and she seems to make a decision concerning the Wayward Wanderers' latest addition. "You are so kind to help a distant traveler like me with little things like this! Should our travels purchase us time in Shamballah, you will find me returning the favor, Kaerri of the Half-elves!"

With that, Mamapaw goes right back to the Ring of Evasion and in moments, she is speaking with Misha about its procurement. "My ally thought I should purchase this?"

"Your ally," Misha winks at Kaerri, "knows what she is talking about!"

* * *​

Psychie Psychie Tag!

Oreleth's ears perk up with the mention of someone looking for a member of the Wayward Wanderers, and she turns her attention over to listen closer. "I think I am done with my shopping for the moment, at least enough to step away from the counter and see what this messenger wishes of us. Master Ben, Lady Misha? I thank you for your time and the fine goods. Depending on what this messenger says, I may be back in for more!"

Misha stops what she's doing and offers a cheery wave. "You are welcome to return, child of the light!"

She looks over at Bria and smiles. "Shall we see what this messenger wishes of us, my friend? We can leave the others here to keep shopping, and get them if needed."

"Sure!" Bria waits for Oreleth to catch up with her so they can depart Ben & Misha's together. "Centaurs are such an open-minded people," the Ko monk ruminates. "I find it hard not to marvel at how they can live in a law-abiding city like Highwind and still get around so easily on a mountain city when they were raised in the plains in Shandra's Evergreen."

"Well, may Skerrit the Forester bless you for such thoughts, human!" A tall, shapely centaur wearing barding of cloud white and forest green with a back covered in straight apple-red hair and tail to match hears this and replies with a surprised smile. She is tying shut one of four saddlebags that stretch across her fine hooved hindquarters. The equine creature stands with a natural majesty that most civilized can only imagine, yet here she is in a city like no other - the only one in the world that proudly holds centaurs in some number as citizens. "You know the drill. State your names?"

The peaceful healer waits for Oreleth to provide hers before replying, "Bria of the Ko."

"Okay. Two missives here for you. I am to stand ready for your replies if you have them, which will cost 4 silver coins each, add a gold sovereign if you want an enclosed scroll case." Reaching into her hip pouch, the centaur messenger produces a pair of scroll cases, paper, a board to write against, and ink quills for your use.

Bria waves off the offer of a case. "Oh, I trust both your people and the crown under whom you serve. We Ko have come to understand - if there is one city in all the realms you can trust the mail to, it's Highwind!" Bria points upward just as a small dragon laden with saddlebags flies overhead. "Your services are not only trusted, but unique. Plus, you're a centaur! What is there to fear?"

Bria has made the centaur smile. "White winds, your people really are as kind as I've heard! Take your time in replying," she glances at the sun hanging in the sky. "You're my last run before my break."

The centaur messenger hands Oreleth two pieces of paper, both tied in ribbons, one brown and green, one white and green.

What does Oreleth do?
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Oreleth gives her name to the centaur, feeling amused and curious as to what this messenger might be here to tell them. She reaches out for the two pieces of paper, both rolled up so neatly. "Thank you. Let us see what we have in these, shall we?" Oreleth eyes both papers and decides to open up the one wrapped in brown and green first. With deft hands, she unrolls it and holds it to the side so that Bria can see what is on there at the same time.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
While Oreleth and Bria go outside, Luna is still mooning over the various magic items that she now has on her wish list but cannot yet afford, and continues to browse the potions. Finally, her eyes settle down on the three Potions of Cure Wounds on the third row. "I do recall that Oreleth already added some healing potions to her inventory, but it couldn't hurt that we have more. I would like to add these three to my Bag of Holding, please." She fishes out the needed 900 gold to make the transaction official.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Kaerri Kaerri Psychie Psychie Sherwood Sherwood

Kaerri

Kaerri of the Forest Eternal sees Mamapaw stride right up to big Ben the Smithy (whom she isn't really much taller than) and exclaim, "I am interested in purchasing your Ring of Evasion as recommended by my son's friend, here." Her blood-red eyes look kindly upon Kaerri as Ben follows her gaze to the twin-blooded rogue of shadows.

"What?" Ben grimaces. "Did she tell you to buy that particular ring?"

Mamapaw stands tall and nods. "She did and with great confidence!"

"Why, no one has had the wisdom to buy it ever since we crafted our Ring of Evasion and Saint blast me if I know why!"

Powerpaw leans over and chimes in. "I guess you could say da idea haz been evadin' 'em dis whole time! Har har har!"

"Okay," Ben confesses. "That wasn't a bad one. Let's get you that ring, ma'am!" Ben marches toward the counter with Mamapaw who gives Kaerri a wink of gratitude.

* * *​

Luna

Misha is a big woman; the physical equivalent of her beloved husband, yet her movements are as graceful as any starting Rogue's as she carefully plucks the potions from their perches and with delight only crafters and merchants know (including Oreleth), she places them upon the counter for Luna's perusal. "Hope you're fond of honey and raspberries, love. This batch of healing potions possess those flavors. Truth be told, I sip a little from my own batch every time I get a cough from our white winters. Clears my throat right up!" After double-checking the coinage count, Misha adds with a hearty smile, "may you only need them for such occasions! Given that you're in Kaerri's company, I doubt you'll be bored long. Girls like her seem to attract adventure to them while loves like Bria are always there to patch such people up!"

* * *​

Oreleth & Bria

The brown and green message only looks like paper - upon touching it, Oreleth the Wood Elf senses that it is not paper at all but some kind of tasty and quite-edible plant or bark that serves the purpose of paper. Unrolling the scroll reveals dark, glistening words - like hardened jelly. And one sniff from her Corellon-gifted nose confirms it - the "ink" is strawberry jam.

Inside its fresh contents, the following is there for Oreleth and Bria to consume with eyes, and perhaps later, their mouths.

Dearest Wayward Wanderers!

Oscar tells us you be lookin' for staff to attend the Wayward Wagon on your way out to Shandra's Evergreen to right the wrongs of Sharseya. After great consideration and talkin' to children and all, we've decided to stay put up here in Hobbitcrest. Our Seven Little Stars praise our every story inside the wagon with you starting with your daring rescue of we two hapless hobbits to our return to Highwind. Now that we are here, we've had enough adventures to last a possum's lifetime - and besides, thanks to you, we're the talk of the town!

We wouldn't be good neighbors and proper thankful folk if we didn't give you a care package of goodies fresh-baked from our (brand new!) oven - so please see our centaur messenger for a touch of our gratitude. Know we'll ever be includin' you in our prayers to Yondalla, for she's the goddess who never runs out of goodness for deservin' folks like yourselves. Do come by and visit us up top here in Hobbitcrest and we'll give you a proper Highwindian-hobbit feast you won't be able to quickly walk away from!

Seeing as we're leaving you poor and empty-handed, do ask Ben about Gori "Mithrilfist" Brightforge if you want a boon companion to take our place? He's a dwarf our family has counted on for years and as good as they come, plus he knows a thing or two about maintenance and dwarf-makings. Tell him we sent you!

Love and blessings,
Bonny & Whittle Meadowsweet
18 Windspire Avenue
Hobbitcrest, Highwind

P.S. The blueberry pastries are for Miss Luna and Lady Sparkle!

"These accompany the package," your Highwindian messenger grins.

As Oreleth and Bria look up from the post, your centaur messenger has pulled from her saddle bags a pair of hobbit-sized wicker picnic baskets covered in bright cloths to keep the contents warm. Inside, you find one basket filled with fresh pastries - the blueberry variety are on top and impossible to miss. You also see and smell peach, strawberry, and raspberry. The other basket contains hearty trail rations in the form of smoky flavorful meats, rich cheeses, and tasty bread. Both baskets are stuffed full - at least for the moment. =)

rustic-blueberry-tart-4.jpg
(Image credit: Simply Stacie)
 
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Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Kaerri Kaerri Psychie Psychie Sherwood Sherwood Tag!
(No one has posted for a week so I'm moving the story forward.)

The Wayward Wanderers exit Ben & Misha's Magic Shoppe with the married couple, arm in arm, waving to them. Ben roars, "Wayward Wanderers, fare you well and keep up the good fight for Highwind and all who call her home!"

"May the Good Saint and the Green Lady watch over you and keep you from peril!" Misha adds with a tone of a person who knows full well the dangers of the adventuring life.

"And may Bountiful Bastet and Marvelous Mielikki watch over you and your delightful shop!" Mamapaw waves with a glowing smile as she rubs the new metallic band gleaming upon her left paw. She gulps and glances at her smiling son, his sharp fangs showing. "Are you certain you don't mind?"

"MOOOoooOOOm!" Powerpaw waves her concern away as if it were a bothersome insect. "If Kaerri sez dat wittle ring will help ya, den I don't mind helpin' ta pay for it. I mean, lookit me! Lookit all dis Moar!" The Felane gladiator flexes his furry biceps and hefts the six-foot Maul of the Titans across his shoulders. "I didn't get here by meself - my buddies got me here. Buddies like Kaerri, Bren, da Wayward Wanderfaces... heck. Not so long ago, I wuz a prisoner in Bilal's caravan - now lookit me! Helpin' you get dat ring is da least I kin do. 'Sides, I'm yer wayward Kitty-face! If it wuzn't fer me, you'd still be back in Shamballah makin' music an' pawin' us kittens around da house!"

"Mmmm. I wouldn't even know Mielikki of the Green, much less be a Druidess," Mamapaw the Druidess concedes. She pushes her face and cheek across his in a Felane gesture of affection and Powerpaw chuckles.

"An' how interestin' would yer life be den, huh Mom?"

Just then, Bria comes rushing up, her brown and white Ko robes silently fluttering in Highwind's ever-present breeze. The peaceful healer wears a look of worry and confusion. "Fuzzy Goof? MommyPaw? We... may have some trouble."

Powerpaw pauses in midstride. "I hadda go an' jinx it, didn't I?"

Bria brings the Kitty-faces and any other Wayward Wanderers she can find (all of you) straight to Oreleth and the attractive centaur messenger. There, she displays the contents of the picnic baskets stuffed with little culinary celebrations. "First, these are goodies from the Meadowsweets! They won't be joining us, but they send their best baked goodies? It's about this second message."

In Oreleth's capable hands is a green and white scroll. You can see its contents, but can you make sense of them? Upon close examination, the scroll is written on expensive embossed paper (which the average commoner cannot afford), but despite your diversity, the writing isn't anything anyone in your entire party recognizes! It is a series of raised lettering with dots and spaces all placed in such a manner as to seem like some kind of... code.

Finding-Braille-in-everyday-life-aspect-ratio-750-425.jpg
(Image credit: Thomas Pocklington Trust)

Bria glances at it and back to you. "This came from Stewart's home. It seems vaguely familiar to me but... I can't place it. So why do I feel uneasy when I look at the lettering?"

There indeed is something strange about the lettering that seems to hint at urgency. But what?

What do the Wayward Wanderers do?
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter

Art by Peritwinkle
Character sheet
Hit Points: 99/99
Armor Class: 27
Touch Armor Class: 17
Shadow Illusion: 3/3
Shadow Call: 2/2
Shadow Jump distance: 80/80 feet
Defensive Roll: 1/1
Rogue Talent Resiliency: 1/1
Stinger -- uses of Slow remaining: 3/3
Charm of Bastet -- uses of Cat's Grace remaining: 1/1
Action Points: 14
Kaerri grins and waves at Ben and Misha, returning the latter's wink. "It's sure come in handy for me," she assures Powerpaw. "Well, evasion itself. I don't need a ring for it, which is just as well, I've enough to need swapping around as it is. What's up, Bria?" she asks as the healer comes running to them, looking worried. The shadowdancer follows Bria back to Oreleth (and the messenger centaur and the baskets), and listens to Bria's explanation. "Hobbit noms are always good!" she notes, sniffing at the baskets interestedly. But she finds the mysterious note even more intriguing than hobbit-baked goodies. "From Stewart's home," she notes absently in a mix of asking the more established Wanderers and thinking aloud. "Not from him? Can't know until we read it. But not the kind of thing you'd expect from him? Expensive paper."

Kaerri has picked up a lot of languages in her adventuring career. This isn't one of them, but you don't learn how to speak, read, and understand that many different tongues without some grasp of basic linguistic patterns. She reaches out to delicately brush a Rogue-sensitive finger over the raised dots. "Prob'ly in Common, which helps..."

Kaerri wants to roll Linguistics to see if she can decipher the message. Pathfinder 2 (which is where we're getting skill descriptions, last I recall?) doesn't have Linguistics as a skill, and instead files Decipher Writing under Society, which Kaerri has 5 ranks in. Will that help?
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Luna perks up at the mention of an unknown language. "I know! It might be something listed in my Callen Encyclopedia of Averlundian Adventures! It has served my father well for many years, perhaps he has come across something like this before, and has provided some guidance in the textbook!" She reaches into her bag of holding and pulls the aforementioned book from it, and begins to flip pages to see if her dad has had the forethought to put this in the book.
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Oreleth gladly hands over the scroll to Luna to allow her to compare it to the notes in her book. "I'll leave the details of divining this out to you guys. Unless it has something to do with making bows or being quiet, or perhaps negotiating a deal and managing the books, I'm out."

She glances at the other scroll and says, "Well, since the Meadowsweets are not interested in continuing their travels with us, I think that in order to avoid killing off one another with our lack of cooking skills we start to perform some interviews for a new cook and housekeeper for the Wagon. We don't need a gourmet chef, but when I cook, I have been known to burn water."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
( Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Tag!)

As the unusual and mysterious message changes hands, many impressions are made.

Kaerri Kaerri (and if he examines it, Otoirin) -
DM Note: No roll is necessary for this information; it is freely known to learned Rogues of your experience.

As languages go, experienced Rogues of your steel know that Braille is a very new language. While the many tavern-tales you have endured would have you believe it was brought into Sharseya by way of a crafty old thief who had lost his sight to time, its origins are in reality, far less exciting. Meant solely for the blind or nearly so, stronger legends of more credible origins tell it was created by the most-caring of scholars, a talented fellow who cared nothing for fame to the point they didn't even leave their name on the original book. Like Thieves' Cant, it is very, very difficult to find someone outside of its intended audience who understands it. Unlike Thieves' Cant, Braille is entirely written.

1. Danth once privately mentioned he took the time to study Braille because it was the only language he knew that required neither eyes nor ear to comprehend and convey - an extremely and singularly useful resource in the right situations.

2. There is a faint tingle coming from the lettering, a tingle not born of mundane origins, of this Kaerri is certain.

As the message is passed from Kaerri's hand, there is the unmistakable sound of a very deep, very male, and very confident chuckle that emanates from either Kaerri or something very near her. It is a brief chuckle of amusement that fades away as quickly as it came into being. Mamapaw turns to Kaerri. "What was that?" she asks even as Powerpaw and Bria look at Kaerri with knowing grins.

Sherwood Sherwood Luna pulls forth her spellbook and in no time has answers she did not have moments ago.
From her Lore: Arcana results: There is something definitely strange about the writing, or rather, whatever was used to create the lettering. This is no normal ink. It is called shimmersong ink. It is rare and probably expensive stuff usually only affordable by nobles, highly-paid artisans, or successful religious clergy. The ink comes from a combination of rare plants which can be found north or northwest of Highwind or far to the south in the Elven lands of Waterwind. Adventurers have gone on dangerous quests just for the stuff.

From her Lore: Occult results. Shimmersong ink is sometimes used in bardic writings or magical writings that convey emotion. To be sure, Luna knows that she will have to make use of her Detect Magic cantrip. If there is indeed magic at work here (and Luna is certain there is), and if the cantrip shows it to be of the Conjuration school, chances are extremely high that someone put forth great effort into procuring this shimmersong ink and using it here in a language completely unknown to Luna.

Good going combining those two Lore Skills, Sherwood!

Psychie Psychie Elves are magical creatures and the Wood Elves of Forest Eternal know the enchantments of plants and woods like few others. Their Druids are the envy of Averlund, yet one not need be a Ranger nor Druid to be one of Corellon Larethian's fabled children.

Elves who are sensitive by nature (and not all are) often have a light gift towards all things that possess magic. Gnomes have it too as do the rare dwarf, hobbit, and human. Just by having the scroll in her hands for a few moments, Oreleth detects something unusual in the message itself. Even being unable to read it, Oreleth can bet her bow that either the scroll or the ink or something else besides is hiding something hidden from the more brutish races like orcs, giants, andogres.

But to a follower of Solonor Thelandira and an Arcane Archer? Oreleth the merchant-daughter of the Forest Eternal quickly gets the feeling that if Luna, Otiorin, Bria, or Mamapaw don't cast a Detect Magic cantrip this message, then Oreleth certainly should. Something here is hidden from sight - there is a feeling in the message here - one of urgency and importance. It probably should not surprise the average Elf if the other non-pure-Elves in her party were to miss it.

One thing Oreleth knows (because she was present) - Bria must have sensed it - for she went from speaking casually to becoming driven-enough to want to share this message with her fellow Wayward Wanderers. That definitely didn't happen with the Meadowsweet's scrumptious gifts.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Luna spends a moment looking back and forth between her encyclopedia and the letter before looking up and saying, "While I have never seen anything like this before, but I have found many notes in my book about it. Also, there seems to be some magic at work here, neatly concealed in the dots on the paper! Give me a moment, and I may be able to get some more answers."

With an excited twinkle in her eye at the thought of discovering something new, Luna reaches into her mind to cast her Detect Magic spell on the scroll, looking on with interest to see what might come of this scroll.
 
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Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter

Art by Peritwinkle
Character sheet
Hit Points: 99/99
Armor Class: 27
Touch Armor Class: 17
Shadow Illusion: 3/3
Shadow Call: 2/2
Shadow Jump distance: 80/80 feet
Defensive Roll: 1/1
Rogue Talent Resiliency: 1/1
Stinger -- uses of Slow remaining: 3/3
Charm of Bastet -- uses of Cat's Grace remaining: 1/1
Action Points: 14
"Wave," Kaerri replies to Mamapaw's question. She tilts her trident slightly, then returns it to upright before it can bump into anyone (or get bumped into). "Speaking of whom," she continues, turning to face the trident and asking it directly, "Something you know about this that you want to share?" There's a hint of resignation along with the amusement in her voice, as if she half-expects the entity called "Wave" to refuse to answer, and she's OK with that.

When Luna starts casting, though, she raises a hand. "You might want to do that inside the wagon. Highwindians are pretty wary of open spellcasting. We don't want to cause a ruckus."
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
At this, Luna pauses her casting. "I was not aware of that. Back home, there is not such a problem with spellcasting in public. But lets not cause anyone to be put ill at ease, and we can garner more information inside the Grand Wagon. Shall we, my friends?"
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Passing by the four jade hippogriffs, the Wayward Wanderers enter the privacy and luxury of the Wayward Wagon and once secluded from the rest of Highwind, Luna casts her Detect Magic cantrip. After waiting the necessary moments to gain the most amount of information from the simple cantrip, Luna discovers...

...there is most definitely magic upon the scroll
...the magic is of two schools; Conjuration and Enchantment.
...the shimmersong ink contains the Conjuration school magic.
...the scroll itself contains the Enchantment magic.

It is then that Luna (and by way of being her curious familiar on her shoulder, Sparkle) realizes that whenever someone holds this scroll (not the scrollcase; just the scroll), they feel a sudden sense of urgency such as the feeling Bria felt when she first showed the scroll to the party. When Luna hands the scroll to Oreleth, it is then that Oreleth immediately feels a tinge of anxiousness, of immediacy, of urgency.

The written language here, set out in a very code-like fashion, is a great mystery to Luna.

* * *​

Kaerri

Wave's chuckling subsides. Inside Kaerri's mind, the familiar sensation of the endlessly-rolling salty sea and the deep male voice Wave has always possessed carrying across it. "My wielder... you have been presented with a tongue unknown to you. But what is this precious magic you yourself attached to me? Have I not been improved since our meeting in those deathly caves so long ago?"

* * *​

What do the Wayward Wanderers do?
 

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