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 Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]

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Sigismund

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PostSubject: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:37 am

In the early morning hours, Sigismund of Stormhall stepped towards the castle, armor basking in the brilliance of the rays of the rising sun.

To finally lay eyes on the castle itself was breathtaking, to say the least. It was an impressive sight to behold - with all of the security, it was hard to imagine that some creature could have managed to work its way through.

In his time, the Paladin had done a number of things which were difficult. This morning's meeting, however, would perhaps be one of the most difficult among them.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:35 pm

There is a gathering, somewhat too large to be a smattering of people, gathered inside the castle. The two paladins on guard give Sigismund a scrupulous glance that betrays their thoughts... The Slayer of Stormhall is surely what crosses their mind as they let him in; after all, orders were orders.

Wryn can be seen beside the King, His Majesty Jacyn Steele, the Larendarian monarch dressed in regal colored robes that denote his station. A silver and gold crown sits atop his head, the symbols of the Olympians engraved into the metal on each of its small spires. The King's guardian gives Sigismund a blue eyed glance, but no other acknowledgement. The Princess, for good reason, is not among the procession. But a keen eye would see a beautiful young woman watching from a window, forlorn hand upon the crystal clear glass.

The various nobles chat to themselves softly, waiting for this procession to begin. (OOC: Give me a Perception/Wis or Investigation/Int roll. Your choice)
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:10 pm

Sigismund had to pause for a moment as he took everything in. He could feel his pulse rise as the eyes washed over him. He knew what they were thinking. It was written all over their faces. He wanted to scream that it wasn't him, that all of this was just some sick jest.

But deep down, he knew the truth: It didn't matter. None of them cared, for if they had, he would not be in this unfortunate position to begin with.

Steeling himself, his nerves calmed and he prepared himself once more to have the most difficult conversation of his life.

He was a stranger here, and even in Wryn, he knew he had no allies. The Paladin would have to step carefully if he were to make any progress.

[OOC: Rolled 1+4 for Perception.]
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:17 pm

To make matters worse, the paladin would swear he could hear chuckles as people leaned in to whisper as he stood there, panicked. Every single person there was surely here for one reason and one reason alone. Had Wryn betrayed him, lied in the name of justice and judgement?

Perhaps, but there were surely more important matters at hand - as the paladin realized. As he calmed his brief flare of anxiety, he would hear the strumming of a larp stop. Footsteps, and a swishing sound...

"Excuse me, ser," a silver tongued, masculine voice said from behind the paladin - almost catching Sigismund unaware. "I do not believe I have seen you in the King's court before."
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:30 pm

Somewhere in this room, that woman was here. But before he could find her, someone spoke. He was obligated to respond to them.

Sigismund turned to respond to the speaker, hoping that this would allow himself to recover from his moment of weakness.

"I would imagine not. Sigismund of Stormhall is often not welcome these days, which would be why I have spent the last few years avoiding such gatherings as this." He knew who he was. Everyone in the room knew who he was. There was no point dancing around the issue. Like with treating wounds, it was best to just get it over with.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:40 pm

The voice belonged to a tiefling, wearing a charming smile and a long black ponytail. His horns were shaped much like a ram's, however instead of making him seem more intimidating they framed his rather handsome face. His tail swished behind him openly... and oddly enough, it held a fan which he brought towards his face to cool himself.

"Stormhall.... sounds familiar.... was it a song I heard it from?" the stranger idly plucks his harp with his index finger as he fans himself, losing himself in thought for several moments. Then, almost as if he had forgotten where he was, the man focuses back on Sigismund. "Yes! I know Stormhall! Famous for their wines!"

A beat. "Well met, Sigismund of Stormhall; I'd love to sample that wine if you have some. I'm Johann..." the smile widened somehow even more... did he know something? Was he really playing dumb? "Johann Stormghal."
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:54 pm

There was not a chance in Hades this one was truly so ignorant as he pretended to be. And surely, this one was attempting to play the fool, quite likely to bait him into acting in an uncouth manner.

Fortunately for Sigismund, this was a game that he was somewhat good at. He smiled politely, and nodded.

"Sad to say that I've not been back there in some years. Unfortunately, I have no Stormhall wine to offer, as a result. Though if you truly desire, it's not too far from the bay. Perhaps you might sample some on your way back home, unless the capital is your new permanent home?"

He couldn't place the Tiefling in the Stormghal family tree, but it seemed only appropriate that something which looked like a demon would hang from their branches.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:08 pm

Johann sighed, fairly disappointed in the response.

"Ah well; as you say, for the next time I visit. As for Bad Wolf Bay? It's been some time since I've been there.... can you believe the common folk there want to rename it Krinkletown?! Damned gnome, you think a spy wouldn't get so much glory..."

The tiefling begins to stroke his beard rather quickly, what appeared to be a bit of nostalgia turning to consternation.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:15 pm

An interesting reaction. Most interesting.

"I have to admit, I never imagined he would be so popular there either. It seems unusual for one to work so openly as does he, but I suppose that is why he is the spymaster, and I am not. I take it that you are a regular in this court then?"

It was obvious that Johann was no fan of the Gnome. The real question here, however, was whether those feelings extended into the rest of the family.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:26 pm

"You 'save the country,'" Johann replies mockingly, even using his free hand to make quotation marks as he speaks, "and everybody loves you. They always forget the bards after the songs are over. People like me are never the heroes, just the ones who sing about 'em.... if you don't mind me saying, ser paladin." Paladins were almost ALWAYS heroes in the most renown stories and songs.

The tiefling clears his throat and brushes the shoulder of his violet coat. "Often indeed. And even you have not heard of me, it seems," he adds in a melodramatic tone. "You must have just arrived from elsewhere, as you have not been back to Stormhall in years... ah, that makes sense! No wonder you have not heard of my exploits!"

A light bulb must have clicked in the bard's head... or something or another.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:32 pm

"Yes, I've been off 'saving the country' as you so eloquently put it, one village and thorp at a time. I'd only come off the road just yesterday, and learned about the unfortunate results of the wedding. I hope that you'll forgive my ignorance in this case, as it appears you do indeed have quite the talent for the dramatic. It is a shame that you are not more widely recognized."

A little flattery goes a long way - especially for someone as vain as this.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:44 pm

A flair for the dramatic? Now that was a given to anyone who had met Johan Stormghal.

"Yes, a shame that whole affair was," Johann replies, his mockingly jovial tone becoming a bit more solemn. "A wrong that will be set right, before long. Perhaps by a hero such as yourself?"

Another beat. "Forgive my jesting, ser. It is simply in my nature... though do let me compose the song about your triumph, yes? I will say you look like a man on a mission as it were, all conviction and purpose. Just like Captain Wryn over there. Tell me, how can Johann be of service?"
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:52 pm

"I had been hoping to speak with the Baroness Stormghal before the procession began, if at all possible. I have decided that I should be looking into the incident, because the last thing any of us need is a war between our countries, and every investigation must begin somewhere. It is my understanding that she happens to be the best source of knowledge in regards to the particulars of this incident, and I am deeply interested in what she might know."

It comes to him as a relief somewhat that at least on the topic of the Prince's death, there is common ground. Truly, he hoped to find that the Baroness was just as torn up about this as everyone else, but he needed to confirm for himself first.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:07 pm

A look of surprise makes its way to Johann's face.

"You want to speak with Snuggle Muffin? I didn't know you were looking into things... but I'll say it's right good to have a paladin of Apollo on the case! And why, I'm the best man to know. I guess that makes me your ally, in a sense. One moment ser..."

He gives Sigismund a playful wink, before entering into a somewhat pompous gait. A few moments later he returns, following behind the Baroness herself. Staceene is a tall, dignified looking woman. Her robes cling to her slender and tall form rather tightly, wavy auburn hair loose and spilling down to her shoulders. A quick glance would tell you that she is is in her mid thirties, trying to mask her age with makeup rather than via arcane means.

Everything about the way she walks, carries herself, and regards the paladin with her brown eyes suggest one thing. Haughty nobility. "You wished to speak with me, Sigismund of Stormhhall?"
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:17 pm

He had spent the entire evening, and a good portion of the morning, preparing for this moment. In all of his years, he never thought he would have the opportunity to stare the woman down, but for the sake of

"I did, your grace. Thank you for seeing me on such short notice, but I hope you'll forgive me if I get right to the point. I am here to investigate the matter of Prince Roderik's... current state of being, as it were. I was told that you have been looking into the matter of the demonic impersonator, and I am hoping that you would be willing to share what information you may have, so that we might serve justice as quickly as possible - and in a manner both kingdoms find satisfactory."

There was more he wanted to say. So much more. But for now, he would leave the other questions for a later time - there was more important work to be done here.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:29 pm

"Leave us, Johann." It was a command, as if she were speaking to a dog. The tiefling almost protested before doing as he was bid, retreating with his tail between his legs both literally and figuratively. She waits until he is gone before continuing.

"Ser Coleman trusted you, of all people, with this task..." the Baroness asks with an impassive glance and steely tone, cupping her elbow in her left hand and stroking her bottom lip with her index finger. She does not raise her voice, nor does she seek to save the paladin any face by keeping her volume low. Every word seems calculated. "The very same man who nearly failed the Princess and cost us the future of our Kingdom. Two peas in a pod."

It was clear who those two peas were. "However, far be it from me to deny those who seek justice a chance at redemption." That is what he wanted, wasn't it? "Shall we go somewhere more private, ser? No telling who... or what could be listening."
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:18 pm

Her words were not surprising, but that did not make them bite less. Still, at least they were expected comments.

"But of course," he said. That was all that needed to be, really.

There was a chance that she was just using this as a ploy to remind him of who was really in charge, but there was an equal chance that she spoke the truth. Having no reason to doubt her - given the circumstances - taking her words at face value was truly the only course of action.

He gave one last look across the room as he followed the Baroness.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:35 am

If anyone heard her, they pretended not to notice. Staceene leads Sigismund for a brief couple of moments out of the crowd, and into an open but private side room.

"This will only take a moment, if you are willing. Then we can speak and pretend we are about our own merry business." She removes two egg shells, each of a different color and sets them on a side table."This spell will allow us to speak telepathically with each other for a short time, without the presence of potential extraplanar entities, or some curious nobles in over their heads."

The Baroness removes her spellbook, thumbing through the pages, before setting on a spot. Then she looks to the paladin to give the affirmative beginning the casting.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:03 pm

He nods. Silently, he wonders if all this paranoia is worth the trouble.

Part of him worries that it is.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:10 am

It only takes a few moments for the Baroness to complete the spell; the two egg shells crumble and turn to dust as she gestures with one hand and speaks the necessary incantation. After she is finished, she closes her spell book and look to the paladin before heading towards the door.

I believe some of the nobility may be compromised, she continues telepathically. Someone....something in the city, or in the world, is sewing seeds of chaos. The demon did not come here of its own volition. It was summoned.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:32 am

Most distressing. Summoning a demon is no small feat, not even among your arcane circles I imagine.

The trouble, then, is knowing who. I will begin with the obvious questions: Who stands to gain the most from this situation? Who would wish for both crown prince and princess to be removed from the field of play?


Many thoughts entered his mind, but Sigismund did his best to suppress them. It was one thing to be overly trusting, but also another to be looking for threats behind every corner. He needed to be calm. Rational. To listen with an open mind and an open heart.

He would allow the Baroness to move ahead without him. To allow her to project the strength she desired. Best for those who would judge him to do so freely. Such things might become useful later.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:56 am

Staceene went to another corner of the courtyard, waiting for the procession to begin in a few moments.

I suspected Diona at first, so I scried upon them - they had the most to gain from their Prince's death in a foreign land. However, I do not think they are involved as I initially did. Not at the highest levels anyways...

A pause. No... it makes more sense for it to be the foreigners, if anyone - the Veshi. Their arrival lined up nicely with the prince's death. They speak strangely, carry themselves so haughtily... a nation of people undiscovered, unknown to the rest of the world? Perhaps they wish to own it in its entirety. It all made sense when the King's Will encountered one of them during their travels... the pieces began to line up, somewhat...

However, His Majesty does not wish to offend them so he does not act yet. Ever cautious, trying to seek peace with his own enemies... she almost spits the thought. Though I admit, their technology is amazing and we could lean much from them.

If the paladin approached the courtyard, he would notice a few of the Veshi foreigners - recognizable by their foreign outfits, olive complexions, thick accents, and interesting house sigils.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:02 pm

After several moments had passed, he too returns to the courtyard, looking out among the crowd. Spying the olive-skinned strangers, he ponders. Could it be so simple? Perhaps. Or perhaps not.

What do we know of the Veshi? I have only ever heard of them in passing.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:47 pm

We know they are skilled in magics, engineering. They seem quite eager to deal with both Diona and Larendar in trade. However, they are unwilling to speak much about their homeland or why no one has found it. 'The homeland can only be found if its is willing to be found,' they say. Their mystery makes them suspicious, in my eyes.
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PostSubject: Re: Into the Wolf's Den [D2, Morning, Ask]   Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:24 pm

Suspicious, certainly. But then again, it made a certain amount of sense - you wanted to avoid being invaded by foreign powers when you had items of power like the Baroness was describing. So not entirely unheard of.

Still, they were worth keeping an eye upon.

Magics and engineering. I can see why they would be so popular then. What is known of the demon that was summoned? I only know scant details about the incident at the wedding.
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