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Author Topic: The Artist  (Read 282 times)


The Artist
« on: February 27, 2010, 03:56:17 pm »
Quest thread for the Artist series.


Re: The Artist
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2010, 06:48:03 pm »
*Andrew catches up Xanya and Ygraine, during the evening at the Miratrix Inn.  He sits on the floor, arms resting over his upright knees, leaving the chairs to the ladies.  He pitches his voice for the group only, keeping his eyes on the orc and quieting if the big drunk gets close enough to eavesdrop.*

We were here for what, one day?  *turns to Tugs* One day, right?  Before there was trouble.  I was here to sing and make some coin, spread my Rael songs about, and saw friendly faces by the fire.  So of course I walk over to sing a bit.

Jump in here, if I miss something.

We talked a while, and an artist set up nearby.  She was painting the lake.  She was very good and had a number of other paintings to sell.  We did some talking, I played a bit to aid her art, Zari tried to buy some of her work, and she left when the light faded.

We'd have forgotten all about that and moved on but the next morning a woman was found dead.  Dead...but horribly well preserved, a mockery of life.  She was sitting between two buildings on a chair, you could not even tell she'd been killed unless you looked closely.

The guards would not let anyone near enough to examine her and locked the town down - no one in or out.  But the kicker?  The artist we'd seen had painted something very similar to that horrible scene, although the woman was alive in the painting.  

We tried to investigate despite the lockdown and found the dead woman - girl, really - was the daughter of a traveling merchantman and had come to town ahead of him.  *he stops for a second*  When did someone her age get to be a girl to me?  Muse, I'm getting old.  Anyway.  The waitresses at the Inn knew her and were very upset.  Her name was Arren, by the way.  Pretty name.

*he takes a drink of juice, resting his arm over his knee again*

The town was in lockdown for what, two days?  Then they opened the gates, case closed, get out of here.  We did see the artist talking to a well-dressed man, who we later discovered bought some of her paintings.  We also found out this man bribed his way out of the city before the gates were opened.

As soon as we could we left in pursuit of him, but we didn't get even a few steps outside the city when we got word from a distraught youth that some neighbors had been killed.  We investigated.

*he pauses, his face tight*

A whole family, in their garden, the woman with her arm partially disconnected and re-attached such that it swung back and forth...the children, posed in a game...all dead.  *his face twists a moment*

At this point Milady Gala was able to expand on Sala's work - Sala Stonehill, do you know her?  She was in town with us until they opened the gates - and got a pretty decent idea of what had been done.  Gala?  *moves the conversation to her and leans back, nursing the grape juice with the loving care of an alcoholic nursing his last beer*

*after Gala explains the preservatives and lack of wounds*  So now we have many dead bodies.  Oh, and the sparrow - we haven't looked too deeply into that.  It was a tattoo they had...*listens as conversation moves around the sparrow tattoo, where it was found, its meaning*

After that we were redoubled to find the coroner since he had the first girl's body and we felt that would be key.  Also because being found near the latest group of bodies would look bad.  I'm not in the mood to explain anything to the Miratrix guards or any other law enforcement. *he doesn't elaborate, but his face is eloquent in its non-expression regarding his feelings on The Law*

Ellis and I started to try to find the coroner's house, ahead of the others, so they'll have to tell their tale here.  We went some ways on the rough instructions we had and found the man who bought the paintings walking his horse.  Jackpot!  But we needed a cover story, and Ellis might be crazy but she can think - suddenly I was "sweetie pie" and we were trying to discover the identity of the Artist so we could get a wedding painting done!  Brilliant *he grins wide, eyes sparkling*.  And I got to pat her behind without getting my hand cut off!  Although the jury is still out on that once we leave.

Anyway, after a -masterful- performance, if I do say so myself, we found out that a gentleman in a large house that happened to be in the same direction as the coroner bought the paintings using the man as a shill.  The guy's just a fence, or so he says.  We let him move on, because some things fell fast into place - who has the knowledge to do what was done to those people, a...coroner maybe?

The others caught up, and off we go to see a man about a body.  *another swig of juice*  

Once we arrived, Gala took a quiet look around - all we saw was the house and the tower, but the smell of death was heavy near the tower.  And there were no windows on the bottom floor of the house which seemed odd.

Tugs caught up last, and Ellis, being Ellis, walked up to knock on the door.  I ran up to keep the facade of engaged lovers.  The coroner opened the door - what was his name, Muse, I'm worse with names since I quit drinking - and we began to pepper him with questions.

He was smooth, playing into our ruse with his own.  Gala and Tugs stayed behind, and we "talked" him into showing us his lab where he dresses the body, although he refused to show us the girl.


The girl - shouldn't she have been down there?  I didn't see any bodies at all, if he took her back for examining, where was she?  Muse...we missed that...

While we were down there Gala and Tugs tossed the house.  *jabs the grape juice at them to jump in*

*after they speak what they found, he continues*  The coroner was answering questions, and we're spread out all over the lab, trying to look merely interested while we simultaneously peer under every rock, table, book and mirror.  In retrospect, really, we should have seen it coming.

He released some kind of gas with a chilling enjoyment, not evil, but scientific in such a cold way.  And I'm not ashamed to say - okay, maybe a little - that I was the first to go teats up.  Well, down - I was face down, yes? - okay.

Yeah, and that's not going to come off this velvet easy.  Nasty floor, very nasty.

I remember nothing after that until we awoke.  We were facing a pit creature, looked like the traditional rendition of a demon to me - gray flabby skin hanging from prominent muscles, overly tall but out of proportion - more upper body than lower, and leathery wings that flared out from his...hers?...who knows - back.

Here is where things got surreal, for me at least.  The creature seemed very proud of its "art" and asked what we thought of it, and told us - *he almost chokes* it was Ilsarian.

*Andrew stops here, sliding his legs all the way out until they bump the chair across from the couch, and sets his juice bottle down with exaggerated care*

Annwyl, Ellis and I had something to say about that.  Annwyl and I at length.  We tried to convince the creature that the art was not the issue, it was the killing to make it, and it threw dogma at us like a pro - but it missed the most important point.  I remember it saying "the medium is not important so long as it is done with one's spirit and love for the art"...which is in our Lady's sayings...but when I tried to explain the Heartsong, and how it is Ilsare and taking a being from it to create art is well, wrong - it wasn't hearing it.  It was a spirited discussion but the creature either could not face or more likely could not understand the side of Ilsare...*he stops a moment, his face very still, before he continues in a quieter voice.*  The side of Ilsare that is love, and life - how She is the song of Experience, and death, while natural and part of life, isn't to be forced for it.  *he seems troubled a moment longer, and he looks around for others to chime in their experiences*

It wanted to know how we wished to be posed after death.  At first a few of us asked with it's head stuck onto our various weapons, but I settled for requesting Ellis be posed on my lap.  I'd have asked for Annwyl but you'd have me raised just to kill me again *grins at Ygraine*.  And by the way, your ceela here *to Ygraine* finally could have no more of it and charged the creature.  Wild thing that she is *grins again*.  And before Ellis even!

It took no wounds, but summoned a mess of mephits and vanished.  The mephits we fought and defeated, by then with Gala and Tugs and the ones who stayed outside and figured out how to find us through the portals.

Portals, yes - getting to those.

We returned through the blue portal to the coroner's lab under the tower...I didn't mention that?  Sorry!  Under the tower, and the coroner was waiting along with another mess of mephits.  Is that the name for a group of them? A mess?  It should be.

Remember most of us had no idea where we had been or how we had gotten there, and were still fighting the effects of the drug used on us, and now this smirking coroner wants to kill us?  He didn't stand a ale's chance in the Dwarven Army of surviving.  Yeah, Beli told me that one Rocky *grins*.

Once he'd been thoroughly ventilated front to back and the mephits taken care of, we conducted another search, which didn't turn up much more except the obsidian dagger Ellis had - Muse, Ellis had it...Gala, did you keep it?  

Then we spent a lot of time examining the portals, Rocky and I helping Gala.  Ellis *shakes his head* jumped into the red one and was flung back out with scorch marks.  Crazy, that one - absolutely nuts, but I wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers *grins*.  Okay, alright, I'm all over the place, yes, I know.  Two portals in a room past the morgue.  One red, and one blue.  The red one turned out to be a communication portal, and so the pit dweller we saw was a projection which is why it took no damage from us.  The blue portal took us back to the area we were contained in.  We searched it again but nothing.  No prisoners, no indications it was anything but a place where the thing chose to give it's orders.

There was a lot of discussion but the final decision was to lock the tower with the coroner's keys and investigate the rest of the tower, which was empty...a shell, like a silo.  I went back to the house to take a look around and it was as they said.  The house was one personality, neat, organized...with the artwork, not all of it by the artist as I've said.  Which means there may be other victims, or the pit creature's influence was more recent.  I took notes of the names on the paintings that were signed, in case we need them.

Then we headed back here know the rest.

I left out that Ellis wanted to cave in the tower.  Gala says that it won't stop the portals from working, though.  We need to shut them down.  And - *he makes sure no one is listening, lowering his voice just enough that they can barely hear him* it occured to me, as I watched the orc over there, Tugs had the same idea I think, that he's throwing a lot of coin around.  He's a drunk and I know drunks *a half grin that fades immediately*.  And that coroner didn't look weak, but he was only one man.  He'd need help to tote four bodies to and from his lab since we determined the work was not done on site.  And someone without scruples...or too blotto to care...*raises an eyebrow at them.*  It bears investigating.

But we do need to shut those portals down, or deal with the creature, or something.  He's not going to stop, that's my gut feeling.   What about setting up a loop between the two, setting them into a resonance that breaks up the magic?  *leans in again, crossing his legs, and discusses the portals, what to do about Ellis, and the events so far....*


Re: The Artist
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2010, 07:45:59 pm »
*Tugs listens, taking occasional drinks from from something vaguely greyish and smelling strangely of stone.  After Andrew finishes his speaking, he adds more*

First off, I should add the parts that I know about, but not the others.

The fence we ran into on the road, I thought we should make sure he wasn't lying to us.  I followed him back to Miritrix, and into the inn.  He wasn't moving like someone with something to hide, he just walked in, got something to eat and drink, and made some small talk with one of the barmaids.  It looked like he wanted it to lead to something, but it didn't.  I did hear him discussing plans to move on from there, on to Nith, so I thought he looked like an honest fence *snickers*.

I hightailed it back to the coroner's house, and managed to find it just as Ellis was walking up to knock on the door.  Thinking it best to hide some of our hand, I found a shadow and slipped into it.  The coroner (Nelville, I think his name was), took the majority of the group into the tower.  He locked the door  to his house, but it wasn't a very complex lock.

Gala and I looked around his house.  Tossed isn't really the right word for it, Andrew.  Gala found a bunch of his notes and read through them.  She said he didn't have any professional information about being a coroner, but there was a bunch of notes about summoning and controlling mephits.  There were a bunch of pictures on the wall, nice ones, of various things, including a couple we'd seen before, ones by the artist lady.

I went upstairs.  The rooms looked like just sleeping rooms, nothing else.  No pictures up there either.  I heard something in one of the rooms, though, that turned out to be mephits.  Gala had turned herself invisible, and I was sticking to the shadows and they didn't notice me.  We got downstairs and shut the door on the stairs.  Apparently, they don't know how to open doors.

I did go back to check on the house again, while everyone else was looking at the portals.  I didn't see anything else of interest, and it looked like the mephits were still upstairs.  Oh, there was some gold jewelry in the house, but it didn't look like anything interesting.  I did notice that the pictures look like they're from several artists, so I don't think the lady artist had anything to do with it really.  I guess he was collecting fine art and wanted to make some of his own.  All the pictures in the house were definitely high quality.

*he takes a deep drink, and waits for the conversation to continue*


Re: The Artist
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2010, 10:59:11 am »
"Yes" says Rocky   " I agrees with all of that"

I dunno if that demon was actually a demon though as we couldnt chop him ter bits ter find out. Gala says taht the red portal thing can be used ter cast images and such so it could be some chappy playing us fer fools.

Whovere it were he wasnt in the place at the time and somebody has been paying fer the pictures and the loike. I reckon a demon would just tek em!

So I'm afte some blokey or missus who's besmirching the good name of them that supports Ilsare. Don't know why they does and I dont give two hoots fer religions but it aint nice is it?

Anyways thats me thoughts. The other is why folks takes 20 minutes ter think up tactics after the dwarf has told em whit he thinks. I knew them portal thingies would be linked ter resonances in the al'noth. jest because i startes playing me guitar ter one dont mean i'm it?

*practices some more windmill chords on his guitar whilst kneeling down looking in the mirror*


Re: The Artist
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2010, 09:11:45 am »
*sets the empty bottle down*

Let's discuss what we need to do next, then.

I'd like to know more about *a subtle head tip toward the drunk orc*...just so we can close up any loose ends, if my hunch is right.

Red portal, blue do we shut them down.  And *a half grin, half look of puzzlement* how do we figure out what pit the creature is speaking from?  I'd love to know that.   *looks around*


Re: The Artist
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2010, 07:19:00 am »
*Galathea comes down from her room, pulls out a chair at the table and places the scalpel infront of her*

*After awhile she looks up and begins to speak*

"I dreamt I was lifted  out of a dark place. The room shifted around me... no, I shifted.... something moved me you, guided you. I saw a woman's body pale and shiny and I felt I was being pushed into it. My vision becoming blurry red....."

"Then I awoke and this scalpel was warm."

*She looks around for a moment*

"Possesion, portals that shift images and illusions, beauty twisted into evil. It feels almost as if a corrupted servant... that is former servant of Ilsara is at play here. "

"Oh about the portal; Abiorn lives here, he should be able to cast a disjunction or similar to disrupt it."


Re: The Artist
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2010, 08:55:03 am »
*Andrew sits, unmoving, as Gala speaks.  When she says a corrupted servant of Ilsare, his eyes shift to Annwyl.*

I think we should find my snookums as soon as we can.  For our Muse, we need to resolve this.  

*he takes a look at the scalpel, then begins to slide his heart and clef necklace back and forth on it's chain as he listens to the others question Gala's revelation*


Re: The Artist
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2010, 08:36:40 pm »
*Tugs ponders a moment then speaks*

Do you think the scalpel is the cause?  I mean, is it still linked to the evil, the er, fallen servant?  Could we use it to track it back to its owner?

I still think that talking to that orc in the inn could prove interesting.  The bartender said he had plenty of true to spend, but he didn't seem to be doing anything in particular.

As for Ellis, I think she's on her own for the night.  Maybe she'll catch back up with us tomorrow, assuming they eventually open the gates again.  Or wait... is she an Ilsarian?  She sure likes her bow.  You don't think.... Was she here when the first killing occurred?  Wait, the coroner's obviously been collecting those paintings for a while, there were a bunch in the house.

I don't remember, did Ellis take the keys with her?


Re: The Artist
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2010, 11:18:34 am »
*Andrew reaches for the scalpel, and requests permisson to use Gala's room.  Assuming she gives it, he heads that way - everyone else is welcome to come but he specifically requests Annwyl's presence.

He sets the scalpel down on the floor and sits cross-legged in front of it.  He begins to sing, holding his consecrated silver heart-and-clef charm in one hand and Annwyl's hand in with his other.  He sings a prayer first, a devotional he's heard in the Breath of the Muse, just to clear his head and focus, then he sings for a frequency or a resonance in the scalpel's magic that might indicate whom the fallen Ilsarian might be.  Learning all he can from that, he sings scales and drones for a frequency that might disrupt the scalpel - but he does not do so if one is found, not yet.  Anyone with a sensitivity to the Al'Noth he welcomes help from, in whatever way they choose to focus.*


Re: The Artist
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2010, 12:07:33 pm »
* Lacking any skill whatsoever with the Al'Noth, Annwyl can only lend her faith and devotion to Andrew's prayer, as she stands beside him. She holds onto his hand tightly and places her other over her own charm at her heart.*