The Giggling Goblin (IC)

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Talanall
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The Giggling Goblin (IC)

Night, Urthan 27, 973 IR
The Giggling Goblin
Foreigners' Gate, Floresta, Aureshan Empire

It's the latest of late summer in the city of Floresta. The streets have been pitch-black and sweaty for the past three nights, as the new moon coincided with a heat wave that has finally broken as a titanic stormfront rages out of the northeast. Now the crescent moon has appeared and the air has cooled to a more bearable temperature, but the gutters in the city center are awash with rain.

Out here, in Foreigners' Gate, there are no gutters except on a few major arteries. The Imperial Highway stretches from the city's gate to the white bridge across the Ilog, and of course that's well-drained, carefully sloped and graded to keep it passable in even the worst weather. And there are a couple of cross-streets that have ended up paved with cobblestones and gutters that leave them usable by wagon traffic even in wet weather. But the Giggling Goblin isn't on any of these. It's tucked down a side street that's paved with nothing but a slop of mud and manure that in dryer times would be dirt.

If Oceus weren't having a mighty and torrential piss on Floresta tonight, the Giggling Goblin might be full of teamsters and sailors bent on spending some of their hard-earned pay. But the downpour has kept most of them indoors, disinclined to plod through the muck any more than they must in order to arrange for hot meals and dry beds. The tavern is almost deserted instead, which is probably just as well. You aren't here to socialize, and anyway there's no reason to do it here if you could instead be across town with the Argent Cyma. Tonight is the supper club's usual meeting night—drinks, dining, and then a light orgy or whatever it is that the regular members get up to in the back room that none of you have been permitted to investigate. The regular members are (mostly) ordinary people: merchants, mid-level government officials, senior scholars of the University. Not movers and shakers, but up and comers nevertheless. Worth cultivating.

You're members, too. Sure. But you aren't regular members. You aren't dues paying members. And your sponsors told you to be here. Tonight. To pay a little of the sweat equity that constitutes your side of the deal that brought you into the society.

The exterior of the Goblin was unprepossessing: well maintained, but there's little to recommend the place to someone on the street besides the sign hanging above the door. Establishments like the Goblin often keep the doors thrown open at night, so that the light of their lanterns and fires will stream out to welcome punters. That isn't how things work around here, though.

Voitto Hamalainen, the publican, is your contact tonight. Aside from your own sponsor, he's the only member of the board of directors that you know by name. The half-elf is currently haranguing a grizzled old man, who roars with laughter as Voitto rasps at him, "You're a festering, drink-sodden sore on the fucked-out, gaping asshole of my life, Marko. A real punishment from the gods. Now swallow your fucking whiskey and get out of here. Maybe if I'm lucky a runaway wagon will plow your crippled arse into the mud."

He favors you with a glare as you enter the tavern, but doesn't bother to greet you directly. Marko has obediently knocked back his drink and now holds out the glass, clamoring for a refill, which Voitto provides, gracelessly, "Lereina's glittering clit. Drink and make me suffer. That's all you do well, surely. Let's see the color of your money, then. If this were a charity I'd have hanged myself years ago."

Cronono
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Cragar Leadheart enters The Giggling Goblin with nary a sound but the slight squish of the water that is forced from his footfall. The dwarf wears simple robes and bears a completely unadorned shield. His boots, however, are wrapped in sopping wet hides that are the only splash of color in his otherwise unassuming wardrobe's grey, black, and brown color palette. The dwarf stops in the door frame to expel as much water as possible from the wrappings on his boots before entering the establishment.

His first few steps inside the tavern make slight squishing noises that are mostly covered by Marko's rather noisy display at the bar. Cragar makes his way to a vacant table by the fire. He produces two stones from his pack and wets them with some of the excess moisture from the various damp pelts wrapped around his boots. Once sufficiently slick, he begins fashioning the whetstones as he waits for others to arrive.

Darker

Shortly after Cragar's entrance, the door swings wide, slamming into the opposite wall. Stepping into the door, Gruum shakes violently, throwing off water in all directions. He quickly takes in the room, spots Voitto and walks purposely toward the publican.

Fixxxer
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Fricka enters with no special attention due. She spends a moment at the door to shake off the rain from her cloak, removing it to reveal a braided length of brown hair and, more strikingly, an hourglass figure with curves that seem accentuated by her choice in clothing. Perhaps there is a tiny bit of special attention due after all.

Fricka spends a moment hunting for a peg to hang her sodden cloak on.

deadDMwalking
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Not but a moment later the door opens again. A gnome is silhouetted against the darkness, a square of fabric held over his upstretched hands. He dumps it to the side of the door as a puddle of water nearly his size collapses from it. Dry despite the weather, he steps in, a smile on his face and in his eyes. He looks to make eye contact in a friendly way before settling on the figure of Fricka.

"My lady," he offers with a bow, "might I join you at a table? I admit I have not brought a companion this evening, and I so very much hate to sit alone. A bit of conversation is just the thing to shake off the unpleasant weather."

Darker

Gruum ignores the newcomers and instead drags a chair from Voitto's table. It creaks as he puts his weigh down into it. In a low, grumbling voice, he asks, "Are the drinks just for this flapdwodle or you are gonna' buy for the rest of us too?"

Fixxxer
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Fricka glances at the other gnome, quickly taking in his clothing and his manner. She sprouts a smile. "Charmed," she says. "But what shall we discuss?"

Obsidian_Spoon
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A bit damp, though dry enough to have been under a nearby roof, Faustus arrives with no flourish. He quickly takes in the room, his grey eyes almost as dark as the storm outside, then silently strides over to stand near Voitto. He crosses his arms and quietly waits.

Talanall
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Marko is already three sheets to the wind, even though it's still relatively early. He's either a complete lightweight, or else he's been drinking for awhile. The gin blossoms on his nose and cheeks suggest the latter. Drunk or not, he's still steady enough to slap a copper on the bar, and Voitto parts with another shot.

For the moment, the half-elf ignores Faustus, as well as the other new patrons who've just come in, in favor of telling Marko, "Swallow it down, fucko. Just like your mother should have done." Marko doesn't seem surprised by the continued abuse from the barkeep, or by his decision to ignore customers.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
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By the fire, Cragar seems content to simply grind away at his whetstone. Not quite dry since taking his place under the mantle, the dwarf watches the bawdy interactions as he continues to tend to his craft. The motion of his sleeve is exaggerated by the moisture and cleanly outlines the inexpertly hidden dagger strapped to his wrist. He doesn't speak - the dwarf simply grinds.

deadDMwalking
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Taking her response as an invitation, Gravington sits and introduces himself. "Gravington Eleward. I often find that when meeting new people the first subject of conversation is elements that we have in common. This doesn't look like the type of watering hole that normally attracts your type - definitely not the type that attracts mine. It seems likely that we have the same reason for being here. Perhaps we share the same interest in advancing our business interests and learning the secrets of a society of like-minded power brokers in this berg."

Fixxxer
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"Or we were both bored and decided to finally explore all of the wonderful goings on that the Giggling Goblin has to offer." She seems ready to burst with laughter at the absurdity. Instead, she sits. "Fricka Terramarina."

Talanall
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Voitto gives a bit of side-eye at Faustus, then demands, "Do you want a drink, or a suck of my dick, or what?" He's probably a foot shorter and at least eight pounds lighter than the human, but there's no sense that he has even considered that there'll be repercussions from addressing someone in this fashion. Just pure truculence.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

deadDMwalking
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"The pleasure is mine, I assure you." Gravington continues the idle conversation deftly covering the usual niceties of weather and current events. While they talk he subtly begins evaluating the others in the room that appear to be gathered for the same purpose. "I don't think we're the only ones here for the Argent Cyma - let me know if you'd like me to invite someone to join us."

Obsidian_Spoon
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Faustus replies with a "No. I want to know why I was told to be here. I'll wait until you're finished with...this." He nods at Marko. Faust at least move a little to the side and busies himself by studying the others in attendance.

Talanall
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At this point, Marko, plastered as he is, realizes that something weird is up with this social situation. His chuckling tapers off, and the stupid grin on his drink-reddened face takes on a puzzled cast.

"Eh? Who's this new fella, Voitto?" Muzzily, the old drunkard looks around the room, catching sight of Crag, Fricka, Gravington, and Gruum in addition to the big human. He ventures, "Huh, there's a whole buncha new people here. And all at once, too. Wow. Never seen any of you folks before."

Before he can continue babbling, or ask any questions, Voitto's hand emerges from under the bar, gripping the handle of a very simple, very businesslike looking dagger, "I got some business. You never saw shit, Marko." The old man goes saucer-eyed.

"Uh, yeah," Marko stammers, sucking down his refilled drink and stumbling to his feet. "It was just you and me in here tonight. Yep. And now it's time I left." He carefully avoids making eye contact with anyone as he heads for the door.

Voitto just watches him leave. For the first time tonight, he looks cheerful.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

deadDMwalking
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Since Faustus looks to be driving the action, Gravington is content to wait. The conversation had fallen off with the minor altercation and he does not appear to plan to resume. His attention is focused on the bar, but his eyes seem to be looking everywhere BUT.

Cronono
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Cragar looks at Voitto, then at Marko's back as Marko departs, then back to Voitto. For the first time the dwarf speaks. His voice is barely above a whisper - just loud enough to be heard by the publican but not quite at a conversational volume.

"Will he stay quiet?"

Talanall
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Voitto studies Crag, looking . . . not pleased. But satisfied, maybe. After a minute, he shrugs. "He probably wasn't paying enough attention to overhear anything serious. If I think he won't, or hasn't, you'll quiet him, but only then. No reason to risk stirring up trouble without a reason." His hand disappears beneath the bar for a second, and when it reappears, it's empty again.

"But yeah, let's talk a minute about keeping quiet," he continues, staring at Gravington in a not-very-friendly way. "You, the fucking lawn ornament in the fancy clothes that stand out like a gods be damned lightning bolt up an ogre's asshole because we're in a rough part of town. Graveldick, or whatever you call yourself. Now that we're private, you wanna refresh my memory about what I heard you yammering about? It couldn't have been about your membership in a clandestine organization, its name, and its agenda. There's no way your cockholster was warbling around something like that in my bar, in earshot of someone you didn't know."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

deadDMwalking
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"Surely not. I don't even know the agenda. Besides, nobody believes anything I say, anyways." Gravington fully expects Voitto to prove him right by not believing his denial.

Talanall
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"Someone believed you were going to be a fit for the business we do," replies Voitto, "because you said you would be. I get to decide whether it's true, though. Wanna guess what happens if I decide it ain't, Graveldick?"

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
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Cragar Leadheart carefully and quietly puts his whetstones away in his pack. He silently puts one hand on his shield and waits.

Fixxxer
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Fricka stays quiet, watching the interaction between the fop and the foul-mouthed keeper.

deadDMwalking
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"Guess? I'm sure I can imagine but please don't let me stop you from describing it in graphic detail. But yes, you can consider me properly chastised. I suppose I thought everyone here was in the know. My lips are sealed." Gravington proves it by shutting hisnmouth.

Talanall
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Voitto sniffs derisively.

"Gods and demons be fucking praised," replies the half-elf, bringing out a pipe of white porcelain, and tamping it full of something from a little cloth pouch from inside his jacket as he continues, "Let's get a few things clear, then. First, you're to stop drawing attention to yourselves when you're around here. That ought to have been totally fuckin' obvious as the order of the day when you're making a clandestine rendezvous in a place you've never visited. Second, you'll be taking your orders from me. Third, if you cross me you're going to regret it. And fourth, you're gonna regret it harder if you whine to the rest of the board trying to get a softer option. I am the softest, least exotically terrible fate that will befall you if you step out of line. Believe it, or go pump your sister in the mouth. I don't give a toss."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
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Cragar removes his hand from his shield. He nods, silently.

Fixxxer
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"Why are we here?" asks Fricka.

Talanall
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"You're here to get shit done, and get paid," replies Voitto, "without a lot of fuckin' philosophical questions. Some of what you do is going to be menial grunt work, but it's menial work that the board wants done. Some of it's going to be deep and dangerous."

"Tonight you're on bullshit duty, just because I'm fucked if I'm sending you to do something real after that performance from Graveldick and Fusty," continues the half-elf, sourly, "And we'll stick to that until I think you lot have had the stupid beaten out of you."

"One of the board members runs a brothel. Nice place. Clean girls and boys who're mostly there on purpose, fresh sheets, decent liquor and all that. Got a problem customer to take care of."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

deadDMwalking
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"I can live with those terms, and I can feel good about taking care of a problem customer. I don't even need to know why he's a problem, unless you think it'd be helpful. I do need to know how effectively taken care of he needs to be."

Talanall
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"One of the girls is a favorite at the club's weeklies. She's also a favorite with this asshole you're going to deal with for us, which is a fuckin' pity because he couldn't just keep it to a business arrangement. The guy caught feelings and started following her around. He didn't quit when he was warned off her, so he got a beating. Standard shit." The half-elf uses a splint of wood and a lantern flame to light up, and blows a cloud of smoke, "Still didn't quit. Eventually he found out where she was living, and paid her a visit so he could ask her to run away with him or some horse shit like that. She said no, and I don't guess I have to draw you any pictures about how it ended up. Had to take her outta the rotation with the club. The members were disappointed. And she was a good earner in her regular work, too. A real loss for everybody."

He fishes under the bar, and takes out a nice little box made of some kind of highly polished wood, setting it on the bar with a little click. "So, he's gotta lose something, too. Because he couldn't take a civilized hint. You're not gonna fucking kill him, though. I wanna be really clear about that. The girl ain't dead, and we're settling a score. You with me so far, Graveldick? No fuckin' ethical qualms to gall your good feelin's?"

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
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Cragar Leadheart removes one of the whetstones from his pack. He also removes the poorly concealed dagger from his wrist and begins sharpening it.

Talanall
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Voitto looks over at Cragar, and this time he's unmistakably pleased, "Someone's already getting the idea. I like that. Maybe this won't be a fuckin' nightmare all the time."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Gruum frowns at the exchange, "So, we go'in feed a guy his own teeth an' tell 'em to fuck off?"

Talanall
Talanall's picture

"Nah," replies Voitto, "Don't tell him shit, and leave his teeth alone. A man's gotta have SOME pleasure in life. Take this box with you, and bring it back with his dick inside."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

"Right, guess that makes some sense, turn 'bout and fair play and all that." Then Gruum chuckles to himself, "Heh, dick in a box."

Obsidian_Spoon
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Faust says, "You're sending a lot of us for one dick. Expecting him to have friends or guards with him?"

Talanall
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"No. He lives alone, above an alchemy shop over in the Vellum Quarter," Voitto points vaguely at each of you with the stem of his pipe, and adds, "The board isn't gambling any more than we have to, with this. We want it done quietly and according to directions. So we're going to send all five of you, instead of sending one or two and hoping you're up to the work. We don't want this getting out of control. If this asshole gets away and starts screaming for the Satrap's Guard, it's a problem. If the guards actually catch you . . ." he shrugs.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Cragar inspects his dagger. It glints in the firelight once or twice before he returns it to the holster in his sleeve. Gently, he picks up his shield and avoids any scraping sounds as the metal is dislodged from the wood. The dwarf stands up and quietly approaches the box. He runs his finger tips over it slowly before picking it up and gently resting it in his pack.

The dwarf looks at the others patiently.

deadDMwalking
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"Well, if I'm lucky he'll get a stone prosthetic and steal the moniker you have so kindly bestowed on me." Gravington looks around making sure there is nobody he has missed in the room. "It appears that this is a safe enough place to discuss the plans in detail? I'm sure that we'll find a way to work well together, but we're going to have to have a plan to keep him alive. Someone gets a little too vigorous with the application of a dagger and the plan goes to shit, now doesn't it?" The question is phrased rhetorically, but his gaze is on Cragar at that moment.

Cronono
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Crag reaches into his shirt and pulls forth the unholy symbol of Verio. The chains are quieted with strips of leather. It isn't a silent exercise, but it is much quieter than would be expected from the way the heavy iron sits around the dwarf's thick neck. With nary a word, the dwarf replaces the icon of his religious devotion back inside his clothing.

Fixxxer
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Fricka nods appreciatively. "Seems like there's our plan," she says. "Couldn't ask for better weather for a gelding," she comments wryly as she gets up and retrieves her cloak.

Talanall
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Tetchily, the half-elf points out, "You might want to hold your horse cocks for just a minute, and let me give you the name and description of the man and the name and street to find the shop. Or you could just find the first alchemy shop in the Vellum Quarter, drag some random asshole out of his bed, slice his cock off, and then never come back. That'd be fine, too."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
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Cragar waits for the half-elf, impassively.

Darker

Gruum seems pensive as if he is considering the offered alternate mission of randomly issued castration for a quick end to this mission.

Fixxxer
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"I assumed that was coming," says Fricka in a patient tone of sugar and honey. She dons her cloak and waits with her arms crossed and a sweet smile on her face.

Talanall
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Voitto leers back at Fricka, "Oh, it's coming alright. The man you want is Nerillus Philo. About as tall as Fusty, there," he uses the stem of his pipe to point at Faustus, "but wiry. Brown hair, about shoulder length. Usually pulled back into a ponytail. He's got a mole on his taint, so you can check for that before you clip his cock."

Transferring the pipe to his mouth, he takes a quick puff, then speaks around it in a gout of smoke, "He lives in the Street of Distillers. Look for the sign of Minka Gabor. That's the shop downstairs of him."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Obsidian_Spoon
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As he has neither a cloak, shield, or weapon to gather, Faust simply waits for everyone else to make ready or ask further questions.

Darker

Gruum stands, "So it seems like a good'v night as any. We doing this now?"

Cronono
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Cragar nods at Gruum. He walks over to the door with a soft squish with each step. He looks down at his feet, still moist enough to make noise and gives the hodge-podge of furs and pelts wrapped around his boots a disapproving stare. Looking back up at his companions, the dwarf waits.

deadDMwalking
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"Okay, I guess I have to do this. Claiming you're a cleric," he points to Cragar, "and that you have a knife doesn't constitute a plan. Who else is in the house? How many entrances are there? How do we expect to take him - alert or unaware?" Gravington hates amateurs, so he continues, "We could catch him as he's sleeping, or we could try to kidnap him. I don't think this very minute is the most opportune time, and if it is, someone should make a case for it. But what we don't want to do is show up and stand on his porch dithering."

Cronono
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The dwarf looks around at his companions and back to Gravington. Too quietly to be easily heard, Cragar asks: "How will you answer those questions if you do not see the house?"

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