In a quieter, happier place, any old murder might end up the lead story on the front page. Even the Sharn Inquisitive gives this crime high billing, though; it just is second to the latest development in the court battle a party of adventurers is fighting this lazy, drizzly, early Dravago day.
The murder might not have caught our heroes' attention if not for the fact that the name is familiar to Gharta: one of her mentor's old adventuring friends...
The paperboy, a little goblin, stands on tiptoe and holds the paper Gharta just purchased as high as he can. "Here you go, ma'am."
Gharta grabs the paper and bows quickly. "Thank you!"
The paperboy grins toothily, adjusting his hat. "Sure thing!"
Gharta scans the front page for anything of interest.
Gharta: Eh, politics...
Gharta stops at a smaller headline near the bottom of the front page. A murder, apparently, and the victim's name seems vaguely familiar. "Patten, hmm... Where do I know that name from..."
Gharta thinks for a second, and sighs. "...Oh. Jagaar..."
The paperboy looks up at the half-orc's reaction quizzically after fetching another paper from his box.
Gharta: I should probably tell the others... Maybe we can solve this...
Gharta clenches her fist. "For revenge!"
Gharta looks back at the paperboy.
The paperboy raises an eyebrow at Gharta.
Gharta bows. "Thanks again."
The paperboy nods.
Paperboy: I dunno what's goin' on, but it's not my job to ask...
The paperboy shrugs.
Gharta walks around a corner, checks to make sure she's alone and takes a funny-looking stone out of her pocket.
Gharta looks at it for a couple of seconds, then holds it close to her mouth and speaks. "Hey, I just read the newspaper... Someone's murdered a friend of my mentor. I know it's nothing that threatens the world, but... He'd want me to do this for him, I know it. Let's solve this and bring the murderer to justice. Please?"
Gharta: Here's hoping they don't mind...
Gharta feels the stone hum slightly.
Gharta puts the stone to her ear to listen to the reply.
Prism's voice: "Word limit. Brevity. Meet at the place."
Gharta nods to herself, puts the stone away and starts heading towards the stadium where her door is.
The mysterious room in Hareth's Folly has been visibly swept and dusted, at least in the shared area. Also there are the table, candleholder, and candles Kyra managed to slip in.
Gharta looks around the room, which is apparently empty at the moment. "No one...?"
Gharta grunts and sits on the table.
Kyra appears in the common area and drops his janitorial disguise. "Sorry I'm-" he begins in an older, gruffer voice, stops, and taps the choker on his neck. "Sorry I'm late," he says in his normal voice.
Gharta nods to Kyra. "That's fine. I hope you don't mind this..."
Kyra puts his hands behind his head.
Kyra: No sweat off of my back. It'd be nice if you'd fill me in a bit more, though.
Kyra holds up a hand. "Actually, wait until the third gets here."
Gharta looks for the full article in the newspaper meanwhile.
Kyra unbuckles his staff and beings practicing with it.
Kyra eventually stops in mid-pose, and steps back. "OK, where are they? I thought I was late."
Gharta: I'm sure they'll be here soon.
About 15 minutes later, a door can be heard opening and closing.
Althea appears in the common area after a moment. "Ah, I was hoping you were here..."
Kyra glares at Althea.
Kyra: You're la... I... didn't give you a sending stone.
Gharta looks up from the newspaper and nods.
Althea: ...no, you didn't. What's up? And where's Liridon?
Gharta looks to Kyra, then back to Althea.
Kyra: He's dead, for all I know. Haven't heard anything from him.
Althea frowns. "That's not very funny. Anyway, I don't have anything specific, but... well, I had a feeling something might be wrong... so I figured I'd better check in here."
Kyra spins his staff over his head one last time before rebuckling it. "Wrong, eh?"
Kyra: Well, we're fine, and Liridon's probably tied up at work.
Kyra looks back to Gharta. "So, want to fill us in?"
Gharta: Yeah... I read the full article, it had some more details...
Gharta: It says there's been a murder in Greywall, and the victim is a friend of my mentor. All they know is that he was killed with a flaming sword.
Kyra crosses his arms. "Sound like anyone you might know?"
Gharta sighs. "We don't have much of a lead, but I know Jagaar would want me to try to solve this..."
Gharta: Oh, I think there's something more...
Kyra: I'm all ears.
Gharta: It says that some report having "heard a whoosh or felt a light breeze indoors."
Gharta shrugs. "Not sure what that's supposed to mean, though..."
Althea disappears briefly, and there's a faint scraping sound along the floor. She reappears holding a chair.
Kyra nods. "Probably best to start at the scene of the crime. Maybe our murderer left a trail of some sort."
Althea: I read the article... well, skimmed it would be more accurate... Do you have any idea why someone might have wanted this person dead, though?
Althea sits down.
Gharta shakes her head. "All I know is that he went adventuring with Jagaar..."
Kyra: Maybe Jagaar himself might have something for us, then.
Gharta: That might be a good idea... He lives in Northedge. Do we all go, or...?
Kyra shakes his head.
Kyra: At least one of us should go check out the scene of the crime, I think.
Kyra: The Guard has probably cleaned up by now, but you never know what might have been left behind.
Althea: I could probably find out a good bit at the crime scene. You two might want to head to Northedge and see what you can find out.
Kyra: Sounds like a plan.
Althea: Though if we are going to split up, it might be best to have a better method of contact than vague premonitions I'm needed.
Kyra muses again.
Kyra reaches into his pouch and tosses Althea his sending stone. "They each have one message left before they need to recharge. Here's hoping we don't need more than that."
Althea catches the stone, wobbles momentarily and disappears. You can hear a thump as she hits the floor somewhere. "Oof. Damn, I still can't get used to furniture having a flat side here."
Gharta: Hmm... Jagaar doesn't know you, though. How do I explain having you with me?
Kyra: ...That's a good point. Maybe I should go with Althea instead.
Althea: Might be best.
Kyra nods. "Let's get out of here, then. This guy isn't going to find himself."
Althea: I'll meet you outside.
Kyra: Good luck, Gharta.
Kyra wraps his scarf around his face and activates his disguise, switching his clothing to his hero guise. He does not, however, activate his light ability, and leaves as well.
Gharta: Yeah... Good luck.
The atmosphere in the largely Karrnathi district of Greywall is quite subdued right now; those few people out and about are, for the most part, strictly heading from point A to point B while watching their backs nervously. The tower floor where the scene of the crime itself occured is now guarded, if lightly; apparently they haven't completely abandoned the crime scene yet.
Guard nods to Prism and Vision as they enter.
Vision nods to the Guard.
Prism grins behind his mask. "Guess you knew you'd see us here at some point."
Guard: We were informed of the possibility.
Prism: Hee hee, always so proper. Mind if we go in and take a look around?
Guard: Just be careful. Anything you touch might include evidence we overlooked.
Prism: That's what we're hoping.
Prism bows courteously and heads past the guards.
Vision follows the Prism.
The place where the body itself fell is corded off with thin ropes and has another guard posted to shoo away nosy children and the like. The body itself is gone, but there's a chalk outline roughly detailing its position.
Vision looks over the scene carefully.
Vision heads toward the place where the trail of ashes begins.
Prism lets Vision do her thing, instead tracing a symbol in the air with his hand before placing it on his chest, then taking a sweeping look around the area.
Prism blinks and goes to check something else out back.
Prism: That's weird. Who would be sweeping back here?
Prism commits the broom bristle he saw to memory and resumes the search.
Prism makes his way back towards Vision while looking. "Find anything?"
Vision: Well, what I'm seeing is certainly consistent with the reported murder weapon... but...
Prism: But what?
Vision: There's no real sign of a struggle. The victim was stabbed, probably in the stomach, but it looks like he wasn't expecting it.
Vision: I wonder if he knew the attacker...
Vision examines the area beyond the trail of ashes, thinking on Prism's comment about sweeping.
Vision: There's something else I can do here that might help, but it'll take a while. Why don't we take a look at whatever it is you found of interest first?
Prism: He most likely did know the attacker, from the look of it, yeah.
Prism: As for what I found, it wasn't much. There was a bristle from a broom in the back alley, for some reason.
Vision: ...the back alley? Maybe you'd better show me.
Prism nods and walks that way.
There is, indeed, a small broom bristle amongst the unswept dirt.
Prism: Figured it might be something to keep in mind.
Vision: I can't imagine that got here from someone sweeping...
Vision looks around for anything else that might be out of place.
Behind the house next door, the other of the two flanking the crime scene, the dust appears disturbed somewhat as though by a light breeze.
Prism: Find something?
Vision squats down and gestures at the dirt behind the second house. "Gharta did mention something about a breeze being detected, even indoors..."
Vision frowns and heads back to the bristle.
Vision looks to the Prism and gestures to the bristle. "...do you have a way to check if there's any sign of a lingering enchantment on this?"
Prism: Sure do.
Prism waves his hand briefly.
Prism: ...Yeah, there's something going on there. Hard to tell what, though.
Vision: I'm guessing this may have been the attacker's mode of transport.
Prism nods, still concentrating. "Some sort of magic from the transmutation school."
Vision: Probably Fly.
Prism nods. "Most likely. Guess that explains that."
Vision heads to a position where she can see the crime scene and the area behind each house. "You might want to check with the guard and try to combine our observations with their results. I'm going to see what else I can find out, but it'll take a while."
Prism turns on his heel to go chat with the guard. "Let me know the minute you find anything."
Meanwhile, Northedge is as peaceful and lively as ever. Children play in the grassy parts of the towers and the indoor parts of the streets. Neighbors visit one another, and others simply go about their business. Apparently, few believe that the troubles in Tavick's Landing could reach here.
Gharta walks along the rail of one of the bridges, waiting for it to branch out towards Jagaar's home.
Gharta: I wonder if he already knows...
Gharta follows a smaller bridge leading towards Jagaar's home from the main bridge, stops at the door and knocks.
After a moment's pause, the door unlatches and opens. A blond-haired, green-eyed man with a stubble-covered square jaw opens the door with his left had while holding a rapier defensively with his right... then sighs in relief.
Jagaar: Gharta... thank the gods. What are you doing here? Please, come in...
Gharta nods quickly and enters.
Jagaar closes and locks the door behind Gharta, then finally sheathes his weapon. "When one of your own has been murdered, you can't be too careful."
Gharta: Oh... So you know, then.
Jagaar: Much of the city probably knows... it was on the front page, even if that letter of marque technicality is getting more attention.
Jagaar heads to his chair and seats himself. "I suppose former adventurers don't make as good headlines as current ones..."
Jagaar shakes his head.
Gharta sighs. "I'm really sorry, Jagaar, I know you were close..."
Jagaar nods slowly... "It's rough. Not as rough as it was with Medhas, not after getting dragged into the damned war..."
Gharta: Yeah, you've had it pretty rough... I'm curious though, what makes you think there's someone coming for you too? If you don't mind...
Jagaar: Well, there's no motive, and only two real associations I can think of that might have landed poor Patten this trouble... the Traveler, or us. Not everyone appreciated adventurers back in the day, you know.
Gharta blinks. "What do you mean? Why would anyone dislike adventurers?"
Jagaar stretches a bit in his chair. "Well, back then it was seen as a waste of a good sword arm that could've been helping king and country."
Jagaar: Of course, they didn't leave us alone after they noticed... at least Patten was able to scare them off with association with a religion. Maybe not the most organized or respected one, but they say things about the followers of the Six and all, and that can be enough sometimes.
Gharta nods. "I see, but there's no war now... It doesn't make sense..."
Jagaar: Hmm. Adventurers are the darlings of the press now.
Jagaar: But you asked, and that's why I'm being careful. You never know, we might've gotten someone upset. We did get people upset sometimes...
Jagaar: But, that's how it goes.
Gharta: So... you don't know anything else?
Jagaar shakes his head. "Afraid I don't."
Jagaar: If it isn't from being associated with us or draft-dodging, though, I'll bet you it has something to do with religious bigotry.
Jagaar: Patten was... Patten was a good, fun-lovin' guy...
Jagaar smiles sadly.
Gharta: Religious... That's an interesting theory, actually...
Jagaar: He... I-if he died just because he dared show the bright edge of that double-edged sword...
Jagaar grits his teeth and squeezes his eyes shut.
Gharta nods. "Don't worry. I-... They'll get this guy, whoever it was."
Jagaar: Heh, don't overstrain yourself, lass. If this person could take out Patten with one blow, he had to be good...
Gharta: But, we still have to do something! What if he goes after you?
Jagaar stands, drawing his rapier again and holding it up to his face. "There's a reason I'm being careful."
Jagaar resheathes the weapon. "I don't want you hurt, either."
Gharta smirks. "Alright... Just don't die, you too. The rules say it's personal then."
Jagaar nods... "I'm not saying you shouldn't take the opportunity if it comes. I just worry what would happen if you looked for this trouble."
Jagaar: But I definitely don't blame you if he shuts me up.
Gharta: I'm telling you, though, if that happens, I'll hunt him down myself.
Gharta draws her own rapier. "After all, you're my mentor."
Gharta: It's how it works.
Jagaar nods, smiling. "At least try and get some friends around you. We... we saved each other's lives I dunno how m-many..."
Jagaar trails off again, upset.
Gharta puts her hand on Jagaar's shoulder. "It'll be fine. Patten will be avenged. I promise."
Jagaar seems less able to contain himself, a tear squeezing out of his now-closed eyes.
Gharta sighs and moves closer, hugging him gently.
Jagaar half-chuckles, half-sobs. "You're a mite young to be hugging me, lass. People will get the wrong ideas."
Gharta lets go and nods to herself. "I'll get this guy."
Jagaar: If...i-if you're s-sure, just don't do it alone, a-all right?
Gharta: Don't worry, I won't be alone. I promise.
After about an hour, Vision's meditation on the murder site finally yields a flash of insight...
Vision seems to struggle briefly to keep concentrating, but keeps up her meditation for another ten minutes before opening her eyes and looking for the Prism.
Prism is standing directly behind Vision, hands behind his head. "So, find anything?"
Vision: The attacker was small, about this high. The attack took the victim by surprise, and the attacker was gone by the time the victim actually died... It's hard to be certain of much more than that, but...
Vision: There's a nagging feeling of familiarity about it. I think it's similar somehow to what I felt before I came to HQ...
Vision: We'd better get in touch with Gharta and see what she's found out.
Prism: I didn't really find anything out that we didn't already know, outside of the fact that it wasn't an ordinary "flaming" enchantment we're dealing with.
Vision: Blue-tinged, if I was getting things clearly.
Prism: And that the "wound was deliberately well placed." I didn't quite get that part.
Vision winces. "Yeah. You probably don't want to know."
Prism holds up a hand. "Then don't tell me. Give me my sending stone back."
Vision hands the stone over.
Prism palms it, then speaks into it. "Meet us back at the regular spot when you can; we've found all we can here."
Prism hesitates, then speaks again. "And Liridon, where are you?"
If Liridon is capable of answering, he isn't doing so...
Prism grits his teeth audibly. "Where in the name of all that's holy is he?"
Vision frowns. "I have a bad feeling about this..."
Prism: Me, too. Let's get going, maybe he just can't respond for some reason...
Prism hops up slightly and activates his boots, flying for the HQ on a path of light.
Vision: ...I'm going to have to get myself something like that sooner or later.
Vision makes her way back toward Hareth's Folly.
The drizzle has increased to a shower by the time the three make it to their mysterious headquarters to compare notes...
Prism removes his armor and sheds his shirt upon entering. "I wonder if it would hurt Prism's image any if I started carrying an umbrella."
Gharta takes off her hat and puts it on the table. "Try one of those instead."
Vision shows up shortly afterward, sitting down in her chair.
Gharta: So... did you find anything in Greywall?
Kyra shrugs. "Just that our guy flew in and out, used a strong flaming sword, knew what he was doing, and... well, Vision can tell you the rest."
Vision: There were no signs of struggle before the fatal blow was struck. The blow was from the front. Either the victim was very suddenly taken by surprise, or he didn't think he had any reason to feel threatened until the moment of the attack...
Vision: The attacker was fairly small... and we suspect flew in and out by way of a broom enchanted with a Fly spell.
Vision: I'd suspect there's a strong possibility the attacker was someone the victim knew and thought he could trust...
Vision: Can't be certain, though.
Gharta nods. "That's something, at least..."
Vision: Did you find anything that might give us some insight on motive?
Gharta: I'm not sure... Poor Jagaar didn't know much...
Gharta: He did appear to have two ideas. One was that it could be due to religious bigotry.
Gharta: Another was that someone has a grudge against old adventurers. Which might be why he was on the defensive.
Gharta sighs. "I'm not really sure what to think, to be honest.
Kyra: That doesn't narrow it down a whole lot...
Vision: There used to be some negative sentiment against adventurers in the height of the war, but that seems like a rather thin motivation... Unless there's something specific your mentor's group did...
Vision: What about religion, was there something unusual about the victim's beliefs or practices?
Gharta: The paper mentioned he was a priest of the Traveler.
Gharta shrugs. "Do you think that would be motivation for someone to kill him...?"'
Vision: Maybe, if they had some specific... tebbu shath! Why didn't I... nevermind, no time. We need to find Liridon now.
Vision stands up, disappearing from the common part of the room as she does so.
Kyra: Such language.
Gharta looks befuddled for a moment, then puts her hat back on.
Vision: If we're to split up again, someone should inquire at Liridon's place of work and someone should inquire at the temple. We are running low on sending charges at the moment, though, so we may just have to try each in turn...
Kyra shakes his head. "We can all go check somewhere and then report back here. I don't forsee any problems."
Vision: ...I do.
Vision: Nothing specific, but... sigh this is not good...
Kyra: Oh, right. I need to watch how I phrase things with you around.
Gharta: If there's no time, we shouldn't be standing here. You two check one place, I'll check the other.
Vision: There's a murderer out there who might be after followers of the Traveler. We've lost contact with a Paladin of the Traveler. And I've been feeling something wrong since before we first met up. Something like the murder I just investigated.
Kyra stands up. "I'll check the hospital."
Kyra: Gharta, you still have a charge on your stone. You go with Vision, and let me know if something happens on your side.
Vision: Let's go, then.
Kyra ducks back into his private section and disappears.
As the Swift Hawk and Vision reach Dragoneyes, they find it gripped by a sense of dread. Many of the changelings seem clustered together for protection or prepared to defend themselves. The casino known as Chance, where the temple to the Traveler is hidden, has an unusual amount of inward traffic, primarily shifters.
SwiftHawk peers at the old man. "This doesn't look like usual casino business..."
Vision: I have a feeling we may be too late...
Old Man looks up at the Swift Hawk's words. "Of course it isn't; the game turned deadly."
Vision looks to the old man. "Has... the Fairy Knight been seen here at all?"
Old Man shakes his head. "Wheels turn, and some blades go down as others rise."
Old Man sounds urgent even as he spouts such strange things.
SwiftHawk raises an eyebrow. "...What exactly is that supposed to mean...?"
Vision: ...Do you need any further help here before we move on?
Old Man shrugs. "Is this upstream, or downstream? Is it best to wait and find out?"
Vision: True... one of our number cannot contact us, however...
Old Man: Then go.
Vision looks to the Swift Hawk. "Send to the Prism. Tell him to stay and wait for us there."
SwiftHawk nods, takes the sending stone out of her pocket and speaks. "We're coming, wait for us there."
Vision: We'd best hurry.
SwiftHawk grabs hold of Vision. "You're right."
SwiftHawk floats upwards a little before flying off towards the Prism's location.
SwiftHawk: So, you understood what that man was trying to say...?
Vision: ...more or less. We're... probably too late to save Liridon...
It doesn't take long for the Swift Hawk to fly Vision all the way to the same fateful tower floor where the group fought the lightstealer Marisu a mere two and a half weeks ago...
SwiftHawk puts Vision down gently, then lands herself, somewhat exhausted.
Within, mere yards from the door to said hospital, some investigators from the Sharn Watch are combing a murder scene. Yamalle and Martin stand by the door, the former crying, the latter merely looking stunned and disturbed. There is no apparent sign of the Prism here, however...
Vision seems disappointed but unsurprised by the scene.
Vision heads for Yamalle and Martin.
Martin appears to be doing a rather poor job of attempting to comfort Yamalle, unsurprising given the frozen expression on his own face...
SwiftHawk follows Vision, still frowning. She looks at Yamalle and Martin questioningly.
Vision looks to Martin and seems to take a moment to find her voice. "H-how long ago... did anyone see it happen?"
Martin seems to take a few seconds before the words actually register; his head turns slowly to Vision, his expression still broken. "It... was four hours ago. W-we didn't see, but... I think I... heard... something ab-bout a goblin appearing and vanishing."
Yamalle sobs a bit more loudly for a moment.
Vision nods. "Thank you..."
Vision turns to the Swift Hawk. "I'm... going to see what I can find out... why don't you see if you can find the Prism."
SwiftHawk nods slowly, not saying anything.
Vision starts looking for possible witnesses.
SwiftHawk sighs and starts walking in a random direction, hoping to find Kyra.
After heading out onto the east bridge, the Swift Hawk barely notices a figure leaning on the east railing of the northern bridge out of the corner of her eye -- not the Prism, but simply Kyra.
SwiftHawk approaches Kyra slowly, stopping a couple of feet behind him and sighing. "Kyra..."
Kyra looks up, his face a mask of fury. "Someone is going to die."
SwiftHawk shakes her head. "I know... I know..."
Kyra: It's a goblin. And it has to be the same one.
Kyra looks back over the ledge. "Did they tell you anything else? I didn't press too much."
SwiftHawk: No, we... We didn't press much either...
Kyra: ...I have to go retrieve something from the temple. See what else you can find out, then go back to the regular spot.
Kyra ties his scarf over his face without looking up. "Then I will see you there."
Kyra places his hands on the rail of the bridge, pushes himself up, spins around to face outwards, and falls off of the bridge.
Kyra crosses his arms over his chest in freefall. "Prism flash!" With a burst of light, Kyra's Prism regalia appears and his boots activate, sending him sliding on a path under the bridge and off towards Upper Dura.
It takes five hours of finding the trail, following it to Menthis Plateau, losing it again, and rediscovering it, but eventually Vision manages to track one of the witnesses to the murder to Forgelight Towers, an aging neighborhood that manages to be unusually respectable despite its position in a section of the lower wards specifically infamous for tasteless entertainment. Rather than miniature bridges and short roads between towers, Forgelight Towers has several wooden structures built around and between the sturdier bases of the much taller towers. A few of these are small towers in and of themselves, and many of these are quite handsome for a place where dust tends to settle.
Once Vision spies the woman in question, however -- a human lady with brunette hair with greying streaks tied in a bun -- she's not alone, but being pestered by a grey-haired, pink-horned young tiefling woman...
Old Woman holds her stomach. "P-please, I really don't want to think about it..."
Diab sighs. "I'm sorry, but you don't want that happening all over Sharn, do you?"
Old Woman glares. "You just want to sensationalize... ugh."
Vision approaches the two. "I suppose my intuition must be second-class around here. Good afternoon, Miss Kearne."
Diab: Hm? Oh!
Diab spins to face Vision, pleasantly surprised.
Old Woman raises an eyebrow at Vision. "One of these new types of adventurers? Can't be bothered to be open, I suppose..."
Vision: Believe me, part-time fame is exhausting enough as it is.
Diab: I don't believe we've met, and I'm glad we finally can! As you've guessed, I'm Diab Kearne~!
Diab grins proudly.
Old Woman looks askance at Diab's overenthusiasm.
Diab pauses momentarily to flip the frontmost page on her clipboard over to access the next one down, then scribbles something on it.
Diab: So! What do you go by? And am I right that you're also here about the latest murder?
Old Woman shudders.
Vision: I go by Vision, and... that would be correct.
Vision turns to the old woman. "We... believe it's connected to another recent murder..."
Diab nods and writes. "Reports say the first sightings of you involved you rescuing the Prism; care to comment on that incident? Oh, and I entirely agree about the likelihood of connection!"
Old Woman holds her head. "I didn't want to be involved in something like this..."
Vision glances toward Diab. "I think we should stick to the matter at hand right now."
Diab pouts. "Oh, all right... but I still want a chance to discuss the rest later~!"
Vision turns back to the old woman. "I'm sorry, miss, but if we're right about the M.O., many more people may be in danger... Anything you can tell... us about the incident might be helpful."
Old Woman raises an eyebrow. "On what basis, miss... er, Vision?"
Vision: The attacks seem to be religiously motivated; the only common connection between the victims is their connection to the Traveler.
Diab blows on the ink on the current page to hasten its drying.
Old Woman: Hmm... it's certainly not as though many people go out of their way to hide that. Of course, half of them seem to pretend he's not one of the Dark Six, either...
Old Woman shakes her head...
Old Woman then shudders again. "Even Firelight might see violence if you're right, though... that's too close to home for my tastes. Just seeing something like... like that from visiting my old healer was b-bad enough..."
Old Woman places her hand on her stomach, looking nauseated.
Vision: Did you get a good look at the attacker?
Old Woman: He... h-he was a g-goblin. Olive s-skin, dressed in s-silver and grey... I-I couldn't see more than that, t-that little s-sword of his was too bright and took my at-t-tention... b-but I wish I h-hadn't looked... h-hadn't smelled...
Old Woman holds her head in her hands again, quivering.
Diab anxiously flips the first page on the clipboard back into place and scribbles furiously.
Old Woman: H-he w-wasn't there f-for long... a...ap-p-peared and v-vanished... b-but th-that p-poor young man... t-that b-body!...
Old Woman bursts into sobs.
Vision: Try not to think about the victim... Focus on just before the attack... did you notice anything out of place before the goblin appeared?
Old Woman chokes out, "H-he was j-just th-there... a-and gone... l-like inv-visibility or t-telep...telep-portation..."
Vision: Can you picture the scene from, say, a minute before he appeared?
Old Woman appears to be struggling to regain enough composure to answer.
Diab looks up from her writing, seeming mildly concerned and surprised.
Vision waits patiently.
Old Woman swallows uneasily. "W...w-well... th-there was a g-gust to the n-north... b-before and a-after... th-that's all I remember... please, l-let me go home..."
Vision nods. "Thank you for your time."
Old Woman uneasily makes her way towards one of the doors nearby, wiping her eyes.
Diab nods. "Thank you both!"
Vision turns to Diab once the woman has left. "I have a feeling it might be somewhat helpful for us both to compare notes..."
Diab: Well, the victim was Liridon d'Deneith. Paul covered the other murder, but it does sound awfully similar... What really gets me is that this person's not going after the weak -- these were two accomplished fighters he brought down with one blow!
Diab: The flash of that flaming sword has been described as blue or silver... hmph, he never writes down the interesting parts...
Vision nods. "I'd go with blue..."
Diab smirks a bit. "I thought silvery-blue sounded best!"
Vision: He appears and disappears without warning to take his victims by surprise...
Diab nods... "And apparently uses it really well! I don't think he could stab in the front like that unless he doesn't appear until it's too late..."
Diab: The wounds are so well-placed I bet it's invisibility. Teleportation wouldn't let him orient quick enough for that...
Vision: Oh, it's definitely not teleportation...
Diab nods and scribbles... "This'll be great to report~! Having some measures for detecting invisibility around could really help!"
Diab: So! I gather you're trying to stop this fiend?
Diab: So where did you come from all of a sudden, hm? Before the incident at the beginning of the coterminous phase a few weeks ago nobody had heard of anyone like you or this "Swift Hawk"...
Vision: Let's just say I'd been traveling.
Vision: What do you think about the perp's mode of transport?
Diab: Honestly, I'm really not sure...
Vision: In that case, I suspect it'd take a while, but people will put two and two together before too long... hmm...
Diab: Of course, there's one big question still out there -- if this person's attacking followers of the Traveler and big ones, how come?
Vision: I'm afraid I don't have much to offer on that point. Yet.
Diab: Hmmm... well, at least I have enough to write with~! Thank you, and let's make sure we meet again, OK?!
Vision nods and turns to leave. Looking back, she says, "Oh, by the way, if you want to make sense of the reports about wind, you might want to check with the Watch about a broom bristle at the first site."
Diab: OK! Which garrison?
Vision: Black Arch.
Diab trots off, grinning.
Earlier, Lannar is is in the room just off of the main one, thoughtfully writing sporadically on a low grade of paper until he hears someone entering the shrine...
Kyra walks determinedly through the entrance to the shrine.
Lannar stands, opens the door to the main room, then blinks and steps backward in surprise, taken aback by the attitude projected.
Kyra looks to Lannar and smiles fakely. "Good afternoon, Sir Lannar."
Lannar seems if anything more disturbed by the sudden change of expression. "Kyra?..."
Kyra makes a circle with his finger, indicating for Lannar to turn around. "We need to talk."
Lannar backs further into the study to let Kyra in, then seats himself again.
Kyra steps inside and closes the door behind him. "Liridon's dead."
Lannar pales. "Wh-what?... How could one such as he —"
Kyra: The halberd. I need it.
Lannar chokes on his interrupted sentence. "Kyra... are you certain?"
Kyra: I like the idea just as much as you do.
Kyra clenches a fist. "But someone's going to pay for this."
Lannar takes a breath. "Kyra, please try not to be hasty..."
Kyra: I've been thinking about it ever since I got the news. I cannot find any alternative. "Haste" is out of the question.
Lannar shakes his head. "Please, Kyra, listen... I fear that as you are you may take the more barbaric path in your quest for retribution. The Host's will is civilization..."
Kyra shakes his head in kind. "I am angry, but I haven't lost my head. The halberd is for protection, should the same fate attempt to befall me."
Lannar sighs in relief. "Still, beware of the Fury. ...If I might ask, how and why did he die to bring such rage?..."
Lannar pulls keys from his pocket.
Kyra shakes his head. "Someone... seems to be targetting followers of the Traveler."
Kyra: I may have little love for the Six, but... their followers are people, too, after all.
Lannar looks puzzled. "Then why is it that you fear for yourself?"
Lannar: Surely you don't mean to confront such a murderer alone...
Kyra: Because the Prism is going to put a stop to it. No one deserves to die because of what they believe in.
Kyra: And no. Not alone.
Lannar hands the keys to Kyra. "Just beware. This, too, is likely a person, however foul..."
Kyra takes the keys. "He gave up all claims to that when he began killing."
Lannar again pales, then clasps his hands and bows his head, praying softly.
Kyra smiles genuinely. "I'll see you tomorrow morning."
Lannar appears unaffected by the reassurance...
Kyra looks to the floor, and quickly runs out without another word.
Shortly, Kyra enters the mysterious room that is rapidly being turned into a headquarters for the dwindling group...
Gharta looks up as she hears someone coming.
Kyra appears suddenly. His staff is gone, replaced by a sick-looking, solid black halberd.
Kyra: When we find him, I'm ready.
Gharta peers at the halberd, seems about to say something, but stays silent and nods.
Kyra sits on the floor cross-legged, crosses his arms, and waits.
Kyra: Words are nothing. We still have no idea who this person is other than "goblin" and "mage."
Gharta: That... doesn't narrow it down much...
Gharta sighs. "We'll get him, though... Right...?"
Gharta: It's not supposed to be this way... Liridon was a hero...
Gharta sighs again, and lowers her hat to the point where it almost covers her eyes.
Kyra looks up. "Yes?"
Gharta: Why are the good ones dying...?
Kyra: Because evil exists in the world.
Kyra shakes his head. "Stop. Please."
Gharta sits down on the floor quietly.
Kyra: Evil exists, and there will always be people like us to stop it before things like this can happen again.
Kyra says nothing else, retreating into his own thoughts.
Several tense hours pass...
Vision appears a few moments after one of the doors can be heard closing. "Well, things seem to have settled down at the casino, anyway..."
Gharta looks up at Vision. "That's... good, I guess."
Kyra doesn't look up. "Please, tell me you found something."
Vision: Well, the eyewitness accounts confirm a number of the same details as the previous attack... Goblin, olive-skinned, silver and grey attire, flaming sword. Flies in while invisible, doesn't become visible until he's ready to strike...
Vision: The biggest hole we have is motive. We know he's targetting followers of the Traveler, and capable fighters at that, but that's about it as yet.
Kyra: Well, we have a skin color now. That's progress, I guess...
Kyra looks up. "You're not holding anything back, are you? My teammates have a history of not trusting the kid with evidence."
Vision: Hm? Is there something in particular you think is missing? You were there when we checked out the first scene, the second didn't turn up much besides a witness account of actually seeing the perp...
Kyra quickly shakes his head. "S-sorry, I'm just g-getting a little f-frustrated..."
Gharta stands up. "Does any of that give us something to go by?"
Vision: I'd say the most obvious place to start is to try to find out if anything's happened recently that might have been a catalyst for this...
Kyra blinks. "Wait a second."
Kyra: That color combination... it just hit me.
Kyra: If I didn't know better, I'd say this guy sounds like... a Silver Flame templar.
Kyra: It's not like them to be so covert, though.
Vision: Under the circumstances, I don't think we can say we know better. Still, I agree it doesn't sound like something that'd have official sanction.
Kyra: Maybe we should start there...
Vision: ...Oh, I did forget to mention one thing. Diab beat me to the witness I spoke with. She knows or will soon know just about everything we do on the matter.
Kyra nods. "That's fine. She snoops a lot, she could soon actually know more than we do."
Vision: She'll probably be looking for a Silver Flame connection too based on that description. Though she may be busy checking out a lead I left her first.
Gharta smiles a little. "I like Diab's articles..."
Vision: Have you spoken to her? I have a feeling she'd be eager for an interview if we get a quiet moment.
Gharta lights up a bit more. "You think so?"
Vision: Yeah, just take care you don't give away more information than you mean to. You've got two different lives to lead, after all.
Vision: Anyway, I think we might want to start with the Silver Flame temples in Deathsgate and Terminus, and work our way out from there.
Vision: See if there's anything... unusual that's happened lately that may have involved a current or former goblin Templar...
Gharta takes off her hat for a moment while her outfit changes to that of the Swift Hawk, then puts it back on again.
Kyra stands up, taking on a modified Prism disguise as he does so: dark red and blue have overtaken the other, normally rainbow colors of the ensemble.
Prism: I'll check out Terminus, then. Vision, go to Deathsgate and see if you can't find anything out; Hawk, you're on Diab duty.
SwiftHawk nods, having trouble hiding a slight glee despite the circumstances.
Vision frowns slightly.
Prism: If you run into ANY trouble whatsoever, find the others.
Prism: Do not do anything alone. If this... creature could do that to his victims, we wouldn't stand a chance alone.
Vision frowns more deeply.
Vision: ...I think 'murderer' is sufficient here, really. At any rate, don't forget that not all possible trouble we run into may necessarily be our perp.
Prism: Fine, whatever. Why are we still standing here?
Prism vanishes into his section of the room, his illusionary cape billowing out dramatically.
SwiftHawk looks to where Prism disappeared and sighs.
Vision shakes her head. "At least he didn't try to suggest another name to call him."
Vision: Let's go.
SwiftHawk nods to herself. "We'll get this guy, Kyra..."
Deathsgate — indeed, all of Middle Tavick's Landing — seems much more heavily patrolled at the moment; apparently Watch members from garrisons other than Black Arch have been redirected here in light of today's developments. Fear is evident in the eyes of those few who dare walk the streets even with the increased guard presence. Still, none of this is a hindrance to Vision, who soon makes it to the silvery-grey tower that rests upon a grassy platform held up by a combination of short towertops in Dragoneyes and magic where so many funeral rites are held — Deathsgate's Silver Flame temple. The temple seems as much at alert as any guardtower; indeed, it reminds one more of a military outpost than a place of worship at a glance, thanks in no small part to the iron gates that act as its entrances and the arrow slits at its higher levels. The aforementioned gates are currently closed and guarded.
Vision approaches one of the guards.
Guard peers at Vision. "And who might you be?"
Vision: I am known as Vision. I was hoping I might be able to ask some questions about the... recent situation...
Guard: Hmm... I don't suppose you secretive types have any identification papers?
Vision shows the identification papers for "Vision". "They do tend to become something of a necessity."
Guard takes out a wand, points it at the paper, and mutters something. After a few seconds, he puts it away again.
Guard: Well, what do you know.
Guard begins turning a crank, raising the gate.
Vision bows slightly and heads through the gate.
The ground floor of the temple doesn't seem like a temple at all. Aside from a silvery circular platform with a flame motif hovering an inch above the ground, this simply looks to be a defensible hallway with gates at either end and doors and arrow slits to the sides.
Given the hole in the ceiling above the platform, the floating platform is almost certainly a lift to the higher levels.
Vision heads for the lift.
Guard: The command word to go up a level is "encima". You need to be aboard for it to work.
Vision nods. "Thanks."
Guard: You're welcome.
Vision boards the lift and heads to the next level.
This level looks to be a room for public worship. A large, low altar is at one end, and benches ring most of the rest of the room. Everburning torches whose illusory fires are predictably silver in color ring the room.
A cleric seems to be using the altar as a small weapon practice area at the moment, working through some sort of kata with a sap. She looks terribly concerned. She nods briefly to Vision in the midst of all her other movements.
Vision nods and approaches the altar, waiting at a comfortable distance for the cleric to finish.
The cleric eventually puts the sap away and wipes sweat from her brow with a grey handkerchief. "Whew... I'm sorry about the delay. What brings someone like you here at such a troubled time?"
Vision: I'm trying to find out what I can about... the recent incidents.
The cleric raises an eyebrow in surprise. "Here?"
Vision shrugs. "Have to start somewhere. I can see everyone's a bit on edge this close to the site..."
The cleric nods. "Some of us are also out in search of the murderer — including Jasdeep. I hope he remembers to ask questions before firing that last shot..."
Vision nods. "How much have you heard about what happened?"
Cleric: Very little. Only that another follower of the Dark Six fell, this time a nominal paladin.
Cleric: I'm still not sure why you're asking here, though...
Vision: From what I have been able to gather, the attacker seems to have been a goblin with an array of enchanted items... And clearly someone both competent and bold, given the chosen targets and method of killing...
Vision: But something from one of the witness accounts was strange...
The cleric tilts her head. "Hm?"
Vision: Well, it seemed like they described this goblin garbed as if he were a Silver Flame Templar... That's a very... strange juxtaposition, all things considered...
The cleric pulls her head back at first... then sighs.
Cleric: Please don't mention that I spoke ill of him... but given Jasdeep, it's not much of a stretch of the imagination to picture such a thing. Surely with such methods we would be speaking of a convert, though; we never train our templars in such dishonorable techniques.
Cleric: Almost certainly a case of doctrinal error, as well...
The cleric shakes her head sadly.
Vision: Agreed, the method doesn't fit your order's M.O. even aside from having gone too far.
Vision: We don't have enough information to know where this person might be based, but both of the murders did happen near here...
Cleric: There are no goblins amongst the templars of this temple. The only one we had was a warmage, and she was put off by Jasdeep.
Cleric: I certainly hope that you're on the wrong track, in any case; it is difficult to convince others to abandon evil and embrace the cause of the Flame when people think only of the collateral damage caused by our inquisitions.
The cleric takes her sap back out and holds it up. "I favor this rather than the traditional longbow for a reason."
Vision nods. "Well, there are a couple other possible interpretations... Have there been any... unusual incidents in the past that might have involved an olive-skinned male goblin?"
The cleric pauses, then shakes her head. "Not that I can recall."
Vision nods. "Well, hopefully this whole mess will be behind us soon. I thank you for your time."
The cleric nods. "No evil is too small."
Cleric: And this is a great one indeed..
Vision returns to the lift.
Vision: ...though if she knew the alternative I'm starting to worry about, she might find she prefers her own fears to mine.
Vision makes it about halfway down the hallway to the gate, then staggers. "Oh, damn. That would complicate things..."
Upper Menthis seems relatively untouched by the activities taking place over in Middle Tavick's Landing. Students buzz about Morgrave University as normal, and the atmosphere is abuzz with an almost teenage sense of being above the city's troubles and able to observe from that distance. This late afternoon, Haftak's Books & Binding carries an upscale store's usual trickle of customers in and out. The balcony around the wooden double door features everbright lanterns, six mount stalls with roofs, and two wooden benches that face west towards the bridge the balcony connects to.
Swift Hawk walks along the side of the bridge to avoid the people coming out of the store. She reaches for one of the doors as another customer opens it from the inside, waits for him to pass and enters.
The permanent magic mouth spell that intones, "Welcome to Haftak's Books & Binding!" is triggered even by this method of entry. The bookstore part of this establishment is a strikingly large semicircular room with blue carpeting and tall, dark bookshelves that reach the 20' high ceiling.
Swift Hawk closes the door behind her and strolls around the store at her leisure for a while, occasionally stopping by something that looks interesting, before eventually approaching a counter. "Excuse me..."
Cashier: Yes, ma'am?
Swift Hawk: This is where Diab Kearne works, isn't it?
Cashier nods. "She works for the Inquisitive, out back. You'll need to check your weaponry with the sentry if you're going out back, though. And I think she's not back just yet."
Swift Hawk: Thank you. I suppose I'll wait for a moment, then...
Cashier nods. "Feel free to browse, or have a seat in one of the benches while you wait." He points past the counters to a wooden bench.
Swift Hawk nods back and returns to strolling around the store, this time browsing the shelves a bit more closely, even if little of it was of interest to her.
After a mere five minutes, a grey-haired, pink-horned young tiefling woman enters the bookstore, panting lightly. She immediately heads for a door in the back.
Swift Hawk notices the woman coming through, and waits for a moment before heading for the same door herself.
Sentry looks to the Swift Hawk. "Don't suppose you have your papers? I understand that was the political compromise reached..."
Swift Hawk nods, finds her papers and hands them over to the sentry.
Sentry scans them momentarily, his shoulder glowing briefly, then hands them back with a nod. "I'll need to hold your weaponry, then I can escort you to her office. Knowing her, you won't have much of a wait..."
Swift Hawk gives the sentry her rapier, as well as a shortbow that hasn't seen much use.
Sentry nods and leads the Swift Hawk into the hallway past the door, which features a lower ceiling. Machinery is audible past the left wall. "Stay with me until we get to miss Kearne's office, please."
Swift Hawk follows the sentry closely, although she can't help looking curiously towards the wall where the sounds come from now and then.
It's a short journey upstairs and through some more hallways to the office in question.
Sentry knocks. "Miss Kearne?"
Sentry: It seems that you're being treated to another of these strangely powered costumed adventurers you like — the Swift Hawk, now.
The door is suddenly yanked open from within to reveal a delighted, twinkle-eyed Diab. "Well, come in, come in~!"
Swift Hawk smiles and nods to Diab before entering. "Hello!"
Diab excitedly fetches her ink jar, quill, and several pieces of paper from her desk and sets them on a semicircular table, then sets herself in the middle of the flat side. "Have a seat!"
Swift Hawk sits down, lowers her hat a little and looks towards Diab. "I was sent here by the others."
Diab begins taking notes already. "Oh? I'm anxious to hear why!"
Swift Hawk sighs. "I can't really say for sure why I was sent here, but I have an idea. Did you hear that... the Fairy Knight is... dead...?
Diab coughs, accidentally tapping her quill on the paper and leaving a stain. "Wh-what?! Him too?!"
Swift Hawk: There was nothing we could do...
Swift Hawk shakes her head.
Swift Hawk looks right into Diab's eyes. "We do have a lead, though. The murderer won't get away with this."
Diab: Was... was it... er, did it seem to be... the same one on the loose?
Swift Hawk: If you mean the one that seems to target followers of the Traveler, then... yes, yes it does.
Diab stares for a moment... then dips her quill and starts firing off questions rapidly. "Was it a similar type of wound? Do you have any new leads thanks to this tragedy? Is there anyone at all who could revive him or is that beyond your group's connections? Does this mean that he is in fact a paladin of the Traveler as widely suspected? Is this a difficult matter for —"
Swift Hawk: Alright, slow down. Yes, I think the type of wound was the same. Also, apparently, a goblin is responsible for it...
Diab scribbles rapidly.
Swift Hawk stops for a moment. "...I honestly don't know if we can revive him or not. I hope so. But judging by Prism's reactions... I fear not."
Swift Hawk: As for his identity... I suppose it's not a big deal at this point... Yes, he was a paladin of the Traveler.
Diab nods, still writing. "Th-then the pattern is conf-firmed..."
Swift Hawk: Did you have any more questions...?
Diab squezes her eyes shut for a moment. "W-well... what have you pieced together about the murderer?..."
Swift Hawk: A male goblin, apparently... I think he had a particular skin color, but I can't remember what...
Swift Hawk stops to think for a moment. "There was also something about the Silver Flame..."
Diab: I suppose... the colors he was r-reported to be wearing would... would make sense that way...
Diab stops writing for long enough to wipe tears.
Swift Hawk nods. "We won't let him get away, in any case."
Diab: But... sneak attacks aren't like them at all...
Diab regathers enough to continue writing.
Swift Hawk: It makes sense otherwise, though, so we can't dismiss it.
Diab: Could the murderer be trying to frame... no, they wouldn't act so unlike the Church normally does if they were...
Swift Hawk lifts her hat a little. "I don't suppose you have any information other than that?"
Diab thinks. "Well, it seems almost like a professional assassin's work. To inflict massive, perfect wounds so precisely and so consistently..."
Diab: Even against trained warriors!
Swift Hawk nods. "Invisibility was involved, apparently..."
Diab: Right! I looked into that, and there are some ancient Dhakaani fighting styles involving becoming invisible for brief periods!
Swift Hawk: There are... Great. That could be very helpful. Thank you!
Diab: You're welcome~! Anyway! Followers of the Traveler are going into hiding because of this! The boat-shrine in Ship's Towers has even left port!
Diab: But if he's so determined he'd even kill the Fairy Knight...
Diab shakes her head in disbelief.
Diab: That might not stop him for long.
Diab continues writing even as she speaks.
Swift Hawk: All the more reason to get him quickly.
Diab: Then you do that and I'll try to meet my deadline!
Diab pauses in her writing.
Diab: ...Is this hard for you, too?
Swift Hawk looks down for a moment. "It's hard... But I can't let that get in the way."
Diab: I would like to interview you, but we both have work to do... I'd like to interview the Prism, too. And tell her something.
Diab keeps writing, uncharacteristically solemn.
Swift Hawk nods. "I should probably find the others. Your information might be helpful."
Diab: And yours is important!
Diab: Elegain will escort you back out. I have a story to write~!
The Silver Flame temple in Terminus is no mere itinerant's waystop, but a silver-painted stone and cement base from which to deploy troops in times of holy war. Were it any city but Sharn, the civilian entrance's location on the fourth floor would make the religious service aspect of this temple seem like an afterthought.
Terminus itself, one of the lower wards with the most actual ground exposed, seems to be showing more signs of people heading away from Sharn than towards it today.
Prism hesitates a good distance away from the tower.
Prism: This... might not have been the best idea...
Prism shudders, a tinge of yellow sliding into his costume's coloration. "I have a bad feeling about this. Maybe I should've asked Hawk to come with me..."
Prism shakes it off. "No, we all have our roles." The yellow fades as he activates his boots, sliding along a path of light a few inches off of the ground towards the tower.
The door in is closed, and a person in mithril full plate with flame designs guards it. "I'm sorry; identification, please? Standard procedure in a state of emergency."
Prism raises an eyebrow. "Oh, right. One moment." He shuffles around in his bag for a moment before producing slightly crumpled identification papers for the Prism. "Can never be too careful, especially with... y'know."
The sentry takes out a wand and points it at the papers for a few seconds, then finally slowly puts it away. "...You're the Prism? Really?"
Prism: ...Of course. What other shiny, rainbow-skating heroes do you know of in Sharn?
Sentry: I just thought that you were shorter. And tended to favor lighter colors... ah well.
Prism shakes his head. "Whatever you say."
Sentry takes off a gauntlet, then taps the large lapis lazuli on a gold ring underneath. "One to enter; open the gate."
There's a minor commotion behind the reinforced doors, then they swing open inward to reveal a wide-open, benchless, circular room with a thick, decorated pillar through the center and an altar at the far end with silver braziers to each side.
Prism nods. "Thank you, sir." Without another word, he walks into the large area, looking around with intent.
Two youths in templar's garb, one a human female and the other some kind of tigerlike humanoid, close and bar the door behind the Prism.
Prism makes his way towards the altar.
Aside from the open area for worship, two steep, gated staircases are apparent. Furthermore, a middle-aged woman in silver-grey robes is performing a few stretching exercises on the altar. She does, however, turn to regard the Prism when he approaches.
Prism: under his breath My apologies for using pretenses such as this, Lady Tira...
Prism tucks his hands in his sash rather informally, approaching the altar. "Hail, ma'am."
Priestess: Good afternoon... hm. Are you the Prism?
The priestess sounds doubtful.
Prism smirks. "I've been hearing that a lot today. Did I forget to comb my hair?"
Priestess: It's simply the selection of robes... never mind.
The priestess shakes her head.
Prism raises an eyebrow again for a moment, then shrugs. "I wish I was here under less sorrowful pretenses. Alas, I need to be blunt."
Priestess: Go on.
Prism lowers his voice, dropping the cordial sound of his speech until now.
Prism: My allies and myself have reason to believe that the recent deaths around Sharn may be connected to one of the followers of the Silver Flame. I wish I could convince myself this is not the case; however, the evidence has forced me here.
The priestess crosses her arms and glowers. "I cannot say I find this terribly flattering."
Prism lowers both eyebrows. "And neither do I. I know Lady Tira would not condone such conduct."
Prism crosses his arms. "However, the killer is known to wield a flaming sword, and to wear the silver clothing related to the Flame's followers."
Prism: I honestly pray that this is simply a ruse created to cast doubt on the Church, as I'm sure one such as yourself can understand.
Prism: However, I must cover every possible angle to ensure this person is brought to justice.
The priestess nods slowly... "There are certainly those who would see fit to shake people's faith in our mission, particularly some shifters. A mission I must say that I'm surprised that you yourself don't embrace..."
Prism shakes his head. "Far be it from me to decry those who have similar goals as myself."
Priestess: I simply don't understand why someone who appears ill at ease with the world as it is would follow the Host rather than aiding the Silver Flame in bringing perfection to the world.
The priestess shrugs.
Prism: I... well, let us just say I have my reasons and leave it at that for now, shall we?
Prism: As for the "particular shifters" you mentioned... what do you mean by "particular?"
Priestess: Hmm. As for the shifters... I cannot name any recent names, but there have been those who have taken it upon themselves to exact "vengeance" against us for the Silver Purge on behalf of their ancestors. Of course, there are also as many or more who embrace the Silver Flame.
Prism looks up. "I wonder whose ideals they follow that allows for such brazen attacks in the name of revenge..."
Priestess: It varied. Many were faithless, many more followed one of those accursed Dark Six...
The priestess spits these last few words.
The priestess shakes her head. "But if this is an attempt at defamation, it's a rather inept one."
Prism looks at the floor, musing aloud. "I wonder if this goblin is connected to these defamers..."
Prism looks back up, having dropped off that information. "Inept, eh?"
Priestess: It is the Silver Flame's will to cleanse the world of all evil, to perfect this flawed creation. Chaos must only be removed later, to prevent its resurgence.
The priestess sounds rather stern as she explains.
Prism nods. "So, to be direct, have you ever seen an olive green-skinned goblin roaming around?"
The priestess shakes her head. "Not here, no. But the temple in Boldrei's Hearth often deals with converts from Khyber's Gate."
Prism nods. "Then I should most likely redirect my search there."
Prism: You have been most helpful, Lady...?
Prism bows. "I would like to ask a favor. If you come across any information related to this investigation, could you please relay it to the Silver Flame temple in Hope's Peak?"
Katherine nods. "Very well."
Prism: Many thanks, Lady Katherine. May our paths meet again.
Katherine nods. "Indeed, Prism."
Prism smiles behind his mask as tinges of orange and indigo seep into his disguise, and he walks towards the exit.
Young Templar Lady: Hey!
Prism instinctively glances towards the source of the voice.
The young templar lady waves at the Prism. Her felinoid friend appears distressed and embarassed by this.
Young Templar Lady: Can I ask a question before you go?
Prism: Sure, ask away.
Young Templar Lady: Why is it that you fight evil with a longbow anyway? That's our usual weapon, not any of the Host's...
Katherine: Nasreen, please leave her be. She'll understand when she understands.
Nasreen sighs. "All right... Come on, Tempor, let's just open the door."
Prism looks a little confused as Katherine's interruption. "It's, uh... yeah..."
Nasreen and Tempor, the tigerlike creature, heft the bar away from the door together, the former of the two pouting and the latter blushing beneath his thin fur.
Prism looks directly at Tempor and smiles behind his mask. He then bows courteously to Nasreen. "Until next we meet, to all of you." With that, he strides out into the open air.
Prism quickly decides to show off and takes off into the air at as sharp an angle as he can without falling.
Tempor smiles warmly up at the Prism's departing form, then nods to Nasreen; they both close the doors.
Prism looks to the ground after he has a bit of altitude, and laughs a bit to himself. "I have fans."
Prism then sighs and shakes his head. "I know I said I'd come straight back, but I think I'm on to something... they'll just have to deal with me being late." With that, he streaks off in the direction of Boldrei's Hearth.
Boldrei's Hearth, like many of the lower wards, is comprised primarily of the merged bases of towers and thick support beams with various rooms squashed in. Here, the rooms are a glut of hotels, inns, restaurants, apartments, and occasional other trades, primarily those that could support the main businesses of the ward.
There are, however, two large temples here as well: one rather old yet well-kept one dedicated to Boldrei, and a pair of floors that have been converted to one of the Silver Flame. Even in this case, the entrances are guarded; here, though, it's by a tan-skinned goblin with a mithril breastplate.
Prism drops to the ground a short distance away from the entrance. "Good day, sir."
The goblin sentry nods. "Hello. Interesting choice of colors today." His voice is rather scratchy.
Prism shrugs. "Change of pace."
Prism fishes through his bag. "If I might enter, I have some business here."
The goblin sentry digs out a wand. "Excuse me if I have a little trouble using this to verify your papers... I'm not a mage."
Prism produces his papers. "Take your time."
The goblin sentry waves and points the wand at the papers with a murmur, then frowns.
The goblin sentry shakes the wand, then tries again. "Ah, here..."
The goblin sentry nods after a few seconds, puts the wand away, then calls out, "The Prism requests entry. Open the door!" He coughs a bit afterward from the strain.
Prism tilts his head slightly, replacing his papers. "Not feeling well, sir?"
The goblin sentry shakes his head. "Chronic condition."
There's a clattering behind the doors — oak ones reinforced with iron that look out of place in this spot — and they then open outward thanks to another goblin, this one with forest green skin.
Prism nods with concern, then bows. "Thank you." With that, he strides into the temple.
The room the Prism finds himself in is lined with doors, much like many towers in the district. However, marks on the floor and ceiling, and the independent look of the four decorated silvery metal pillars that surround the altar in the center, hint at the degree of remodeling that has occured to convert this place to a temple. Unlike in the previous place, the altar is unoccupied at the moment.
The goblin acolyte closes, bolts, and bars the door behind the Prism.
Prism jumps a bit, turns around, and chuckles, giving a positive hand gesture. "You have to appreciate the security here..."
Goblin Acolyte: We fight a war against evil itself. We have to be ready to stave off attacks by the enemy.
Prism nods, slowly walking towards the altar with no clear destination. "Understandable."
Goblin Acolyte: So what brings such a misplaced crusader here? Are you hoping to have Father Harlath guide you to the Flame?
Prism: I am indeed looking for answers, in a sense...
The goblin acolyte's ears perk up a bit with interest. "Oh?"
Prism: Might I speak with Sir Harlath? Is he here?
Goblin Acolyte: He's upstairs, supervising the exercises of some of the templars.
Prism nods. "Would it be any trouble, do you think?"
Goblin Acolyte: I should speak to him first. Wait here.
The goblin acolyte exits through one of the interior doors.
Prism nods, busying himself examining the altar.
The altar is grey granite with mica in it, ten feet square, two feet high, and has a small staircase leading up onto it on one side. The thick pillars start about a foot from each corner. Both the pillars and the side of the altar are decorated with flame sigils, arrowheads, and other symbols.
Shortly, a large number of people in templars' tabards, primarily goblinoids, march out of the door the acolyte went through in single file. A human in a minister's robes stands out amongst them.
Harlath looks to the templars as they properly arrange themselves in ranks at one end of the room, based partly on size, and nods. "To your rooms, please." The templars disperse.
Prism scans over the crowd of goblins, noting skin colors.
Prism quickly looks up to Harlath with a smile. "Sir Harlath, I presume?"
Harlath approaches the Prism. "Father Harlath, actually. I'm in charge of spiritual training, not martial; that's Gimbirri's job."
Prism nods. "My apologies."
Harlath nods, smiling gently. "It's all right; our hierarchy is often confusing to the uninitiated. Something many are confused to count you in particular among."
Harlath: It is a pleasure to see one such as you here at last.
Prism nods slowly. "Would that I were here under more pleasant circumstances..."
Prism: Is there possibly somewhere we could speak in private?
Harlath's smile fades to a resigned, grim look, and he nods. "I believe the library is currently empty." He leads the Prism to one of the doors.
Prism follows quickly behind.
The room is small to be called a library; it's more reminiscent of a workroom lined with books much like the one back in the familiar Hope's Peak temple to Boldrei. Father Harlath seats himself in one of the four sun-bleached wooden chairs.
Prism takes a seat as well, smoothing out his robe.
Prism: I'll get right to the point. I'm sure you've heard of the... murders around Sharn, as of late.
Harlath nods. "Once again, good people are dying because evil exists in the world. This is why the Silver Flame exists, to purge such flaws from the world."
Prism: Indeed. My allies and I have been investigating these crimes, as I'm sure you could guess.
Prism: And the investigation has...
Prism sighs. "It has led me here."
Harlath raises an eyebrow, then intones incredulously, "Here? Truly?"
Prism: I'm sure you understand that I must cover all angles of an investigation such as this, and I truly hope that I am on the wrong tangent.
Prism: I was able to get a physical description from someone who witnessed one of the attacks.
Prism nervously fidgets a bit with his hands.
Harlath sighs. "Go on."
Prism: The murderer seems to be an olive-skinned goblin wearing robes of the Silver Flame and wielding a powerful flaming sword of some sort.
Prism winces a bit as he says that, a very slight tinge of yellow working its way into his color scheme.
Harlath's eyes widen, and he pales. "That... is a rather disturbing description."
Prism tilts his head slightly. "Does that sound like someone you know?"
Harlath: I... I can see why you might have thought to look here. A-as you've noticed, I aid new converts to the faith, quite a few of whom become part of the Order of Templars due to zeal and, frequently, preexisting skill.
Harlath: Gimbirri's sister, Abimillappa, frequently enchants newcomers' weapons to become capable of projecting flames...
Prism crosses his arms. "And I noticed that three of your trainees fit the description..."
Harlath nods slowly... "Is there anything else you can tell me about the murders that..." He chokes on his words, then swallows, clearly highly distressed. "...that might help me narrow down who to call out to face justice?"
Prism nods, a bit of bluish-purple appearing in his robes. "All of the victims thus far have been followers of the Traveler."
Harlath nods... "I was... was hoping rather for some indication of methods."
Prism: Oh, my misunderstanding.
Prism: The person seems to approach his victim cloaked with some sort of invisibility and by flying; I found an out-of-place broom straw at one of the scenes.
Prism: The kills have all been very clean; whoever it is knows exactly what to do and where to hit.
Harlath looks distinctly surprised and confused.
Prism: And quickly escaped using presumably the same means.
Harlath: Why would Touushin see fit to turn against his former faith? Particularly as the Traveler is the member of the Dark Six who specifically must be eliminated last?...
Harlath looks down and wrings his hands, clearly distressed.
Prism: Touushin... so then you have an idea who the killer might be.
Harlath: If you are correct... I'm afraid so.
Prism leans forward. "Enlighten me."
Harlath: Though I haven't known him to own a flying broom...
Harlath: In any case... Touushin was raised to practice arts most foul by his parents of tragically misplaced faith. It is apparently an ancient family tradition, called ninjutsu.
Prism: Oh. That's good to know.
Harlath stands. "If you're right about this, I'd best check on him immediately."
Prism stands as well. "Your help with this is much appreciated, Father."
Harlath heads out of the library, across the way, and knocks on one of the doors. "Touushin, report immediately!"
Prism stands in the doorway to the library, keeping an eye on Harlath.
Harlath opens the door. "Touushin?"
Harlath runs over to the door out where the forest-skined acolyte stands at door duty. "Fakaan, has Touushin left?"
Fakaan: Well, yes; why, Father? Has something happened?
Prism makes a "tch" sound under his breath.
Harlath: I pray not. If it has, I fear that I may have failed in my own duties...
Prism walks over to the two. "Things happen. We fix the problems and move on. ...And any help you could provide in fixing this one would be much appreciated, Father."
Prism: That you have provided thus far shall prove invaluable, and I thank you for it.
Harlath nods hastily, clearly starting to tear up. "M-may the Flame purge such fallibility from me... Unfortunately, I have little idea where he could have gone. The only address I can give you is that of his parents in Khyber's Gate."
Prism nods. "As good a start as any."
Harlath: Allow me a moment to write it down for you.
Harlath heads back towards the library hastily.
Harlath shortly returns with a scrap of paper, which he shoves into the Prism's hand. "Fakaan, open the gate. We all must make haste."
The goblin nods, then goes through the process.
Prism nods. "Thank you, Father Harlath. I pray we bring this to a conclusion as soon as we can."
Harlath: As do I.
Prism gives a quick salute, then forms his trademark path under his feet and blasts off into the sky at full speed towards the headquarters.
Meanwhile, the Swift Hawk and Vision have been waiting at headquarters for over half an hour for the Prism to return, despite his earlier insistence that no one act alone...
Swift Hawk wanders around the room restlessly, occasionally disappearing into her own part of it. "He's sure taking his time..."
Vision: We can only hope that means he's found a useful lead.
Prism's voice carries in, his form unseen. "Guys, I've found -" Prism suddenly appears in the main area. "- who it is. We have to get to Khyber's Gate; I'll tell you on the way."
Prism's robes are more vibrant than they have been, with red, orange, and both dark and light purple brightly dominating the color scheme. A slight bit of yellow tries to be seen occasionally, as well.
Vision: Well, that's a relief of sorts... I've been slowly convincing myself we might not really know what we think we know ab— er, nevermind. Let's go.
Prism: See you outside!
Swift Hawk nods quickly and heads for her exit.
Prism ducks back into his area of the room and is gone.
Vision leaves quickly as well.
The three shortly regroup just below one of the many cracks in the earth that dates to the War of the Mark and leads into the Upper Cogs, this one in particular leading to a maze of tunnels that eventually become the massive district-city that is Khyber's Gate...
Prism nods to the others, and begins walking towards Khyber's Gate. "I'll give you the abridged version."
Swift Hawk follows Prism, listening.
Prism: Our killer seems to be a goblin named Touushin. While a follower of the Silver Flame as we suspected, he seems to be acting independently, if Father Harlath's words are true.
Prism: Touushin comes from a line of practitioners of ninjutsu, so we might be in for some trouble. Father Harlath gave me the location of his parents, which is where we are headed now.
Vision nods. "Hopefully it is as simple as that, anyway. I certainly don't like the implications if he wasn't acting independently..."
Swift Hawk: We're to visit the parents of a murderer...?
Prism: It's the only lead I was able to find as to his current location; he was not at his "home" at the temple of the Silver Flame in Boldrei's Hearth.
Swift Hawk shakes her head. "This can only be awkward..."
Prism looks annoyed. "Got any better ideas?"
Swift Hawk: No, no... If it's our only lead...
Vision: Agreed. We should be cautious, but this is probably the best course we have for now.
The residence the Prism was given directions to lies within a confusing network of interconnected passages. Some narrow passages are plugged and some niches in the rock further hollowed out in order to create homes for poor workers, primarily goblinoids. Only a few everburning torches stuck in the walls indicate that this might be civilization at all. The locale in question seems to be little more than a cave entrance with an ivory-and-purple curtain hung over it from within.
Swift Hawk: What a place to live...
Vision just shakes her head.
Prism: Nice place.
Prism looks very ill at ease.
Swift Hawk approaches the curtain. "Hello? Anyone here?"
Swift Hawk looks to Prism.
Prism shakes his head. "D-Don't look at me."
Swift Hawk looks back at the curtain, shrugs and pulls it back.
A ratty rug covers the center of this dwelling's floor. Three straw cots and a small wood stove made of cast iron ring the edge. A stewpot, saucepan, and frypan sit in a basket next to the stove. There is no apparent pantry.
Swift Hawk takes a quick walk around the dwelling. "No one here, it seems..."
Vision eyes the dwelling critically, looking over the walls and floor.
Vision puts an ear to the wall near one of the cots.
Vision taps on the wall.
Vision looks for a break in the wall.
Swift Hawk: Hmm? Are you finding anything?
Prism crosses his arms, watching the others do their thing. He himself begins looking for any signs of recent activity.
The place looks reasonably well-kept.
Prism: ...If you can't find anything, we should get out of here.
Prism: Knowing how ninjutsu works, we might not even be alone right now.
Vision tries to pull away a false section of the wall.
The wall swings with surprisingly little noise outward and to the left.
Swift Hawk peers at the false wall and nods slowly. "...I didn't expect something like that..."
Prism shakes his head. "I did."
There is enough light to dimly make out that there's a corridor, but not how far it extends.
Swift Hawk: So... Who goes first?
Vision: Someone with a light source, I suppose.
Prism: A light source, she says.
Prism steps inside the tunnel, an aura of light suddenly erupting from his body.
It is now clear that it's about a 15' long corridor, a mere 5' wide and 10' tall, which opens up on the left into a small room. The far wall of the room is 15' away from where it starts to open up. There's a tall piece of low-quality furniture with locked cupboards dominating that wall.
Prism: Awful lot of trouble to hide a pantry.
A hiss erupts from within the room.
Swift Hawk reaches for her rapier, ready to draw it.
Prism quickly puts a hand on his halberd.
Swift Hawk takes a few careful steps inside the corridor. "Let's see what that was..."
Vision follows the Swift Hawk, closing the false wall behind her.
As the trio fills the corridor, Kyra suddenly hears something snap under his foot... A net falls from the ceiling. While the Swift Hawk notices just barely in time to flatten herself against the wall, Vision and the Prism are caught!
Prism blinks to himself. "Fantastic. A burglar trap."
Vision: ...I suppose I should have anticipated this.
Swift Hawk: Can you move? This isn't a good time to be stuck...
Prism glares at Hawk. "I don't see you trying to help us out, here."
"...W-wait, it's you?..."
Prism absentmindedly speaks while trying to work his way out from under the net. "Yes, it's 'us.' Now if you'd kindly remove this net..."
Swift Hawk looks into the room, trying to catch a glimpse of whoever spoke. "Who's there?"
"I... I'm sorry. I don't want to hurt people like you, but I can't let you interfere... Please surrender..."
Prism struggles with the net for a moment, then shrugs, stops for a moment, then tosses the net straight up and over his head.
Vision: We can't do that either. Whatever this mission of yours is, it ends now.
Swift Hawk turns to Vision and tries to lift the net off of her. "You guys need to react faster..."
Through careful application of awareness of where and how to manipulate the net, the Swift Hawk manages to disentangle Vision with no issue.
"I'm really sorry about this..." Suddenly, the Prism feels a searing blade slash across his lower torso! Pain courses through his body, and its source is suddenly visible — an olive-skinned goblin in a silver tabard and grey cloak wielding a small sword of some sort obscured in flames of a bright silvery-blue.
Prism yells in pain, then grits his teeth. "At... at last we meet, Touushin..."
Prism holds the darkened halberd in front of his body defensively. "...Why? What do you have to gain from this!?"
Touushin vanishes again. "It's not me, but the world I hope to see gain..."
Prism spits at the floor. "Then you truly have no idea what you've done."
Vision: If there are no objections... I think castling would be in order.
Vision: You ready, Swift Hawk?
Swift Hawk: What are you going to...?
Vision: Save the Prism's life. Again. I hope. Just brace yourself, it's a little disorienting.
The space within the corridor seems to distort and twist for a moment; the Swift Hawk suddenly finds herself facing the pantry and the Prism is left standing between his allies.
Swift Hawk looks around confusedly. "...Wait, what?"
Prism doesn't say anything.
Swift Hawk: ...Well, our little extremist decided to turn himself invisible, hmm...
Swift Hawk braces herself and stabs the air in front of her, hoping to hit something.
Touushin: Extremist?! Chaos has to be eliminated to make the victory against evil complete, doesn't it?! I'd known something was terribly wrong with it...
Touushin appears as his brightly-burning sword is deflected off of a stud on the armor covering the Swift Hawk's lower torso. "Why do you yet defend it?!" He recovers from the failed sneak attack and stabs at the swashbuckler's leg instead; while this isn't as carefully-aimed, it does penetrate the leather and deliver a brutally self-cauterizing blow.
Swift Hawk takes a step backwards and grunts, glaring at the goblin.
Prism: Chaos. Feh. What of the evil half of that equation?
Touushin vanishes again. "Others focus on that."
Prism raises a hand over his head; a burst of positive energy erupts from it and envelops everyone briefly.
Prism: You know, Father Harlath was kicking himself pretty hard when I told him it was you responsible for all of this.
Prism: Yeah, hit him pretty hard. Blamed himself for how you had turned out, actually.
Prism: Prayed to the Silver Flame to remove his fallibility, even. Didn't exactly seem too happy about the situation.
Touushin: Y...you're lying! He spelled out clearly why the Traveler was counted among the dark gods! And I've seen some of the things my parents have done!...
Prism hesitates. "No, I would not lie about something like that."
Swift Hawk: Those you killed were good people... Isn't that all that matters? And what does that say about you?!
Touushin: Hmph, how many good people follow that path?
Vision: Anyone who fears oppression more than destruction.
Swift Hawk: ...You're not one to judge good from evil. You're the villain here.
Vision concentrates, and the illumination of the room seems to amplify nearly to that of a bright summer day within a matter of a second.
Prism's eyes light up along with the brightening of the room. "Thanks, Vision."
Swift Hawk: Shame that it doesn't make this guy any easier to find...
Touushin: Still, who have I killed that you're so sure didn't deserve it?...
Prism: Good, evil, law, chaos. You probably see yourself as a shining paragon of all that is good, and yet you deserve worse than death for judging and deciding who should die and taking the so-called "law" into your own hands!
Touushin: Then you leave me no choice!
Swift Hawk braces herself again and looks carefully around the room, then suddenly stabs at the empty space to her left.
The sword and its owner reappear just in time for his signature burning gutting move to begin tearing into the Swift Hawk!
Touushin looks pained even as he spins with his own momentum to swing down at the side of his target's left leg as a followthrough, at once slicing, scalding, and tripping the half-orc.
Touushin winks out once more.
Swift Hawk flinches and lets out a slight whimper, then leans on one knee, struggling to do as much.
Prism quickly releases a burst of positive energy. "C'mon, look alive!" He then reaches a glowing hand forward and touches Swift Hawk. "Hang in there..."
Prism quickly throws his hand up; another burst of positive energy erupts from his hand. "This is bad..." Swift Hawk's and Prism's wounds heal slightly.
Swift Hawk gets back up on both feet again. "...Thanks..."
Touushin can be heard hissing slightly.
Vision: I suggest you two back up.
There's another distortion of the space in the corridor and pantry, and Vision casually slips through it to arrive near the center of the small room. The room quickly dims back to its original light level.
Touushin: What the?!
Vision: Chaos should not be underestimated, in any of its capacities.
Swift Hawk closes her eyes for a moment and seems to concentrate on something, but is quickly interrupted as Touushin's blade slashes her waist.
Touushin is again visible due to the opportunistic strike.
Swift Hawk holds a hand to the wound as she backs up behind the Prism. "Bastard..."
Touushin, still visible, spins to face Vision. "I'm sorry, but you'll have to go down first..." He strikes the side of Vision's head, but oddly the blade itself fails to cut even as the silvery-blue, too-bright flames lick her. He twists the sword to try to bring it down to her shoulder, but by the time he brings it down he's surprised to find her out of the way.
Prism gathers positive energy in his hand again and reaches back, placing a hand on Hawk's shoulder. "Hang in there."
Vision: I've grown weary of hearing apologies from those who hold the power of life and death in their hands and choose death.
Prism turns back around, looking at Touushin, and does nothing but seethe.
Vision backs away for a moment, then suddenly reaches behind her with her right hand, grabbing a broom off the top of one of the crates.
Vision: But you'll have your work cut out for you; time itself fights on my behalf.
Touushin jumps and staggers forward a bit, as though slapped on the behind...
Swift Hawk frowns. "This one is pretty tough... Do you think we can still take him down this way...?"
Prism doesn't say anything.
Vision: I have my doubts. We at least have an identity and more details we can give to the Watch, but if we leave now we might not find him again until he finds one of us.
Touushin: ...You're not who I want to kill.
Prism sneers. "So you've said."
Vision: How do you know? You can't even seem to tell if your victims are good or evil if they hold little love for your law.
Touushin peers at Vision. "You seem awfully sure of yourself for a thief."
Vision laughs a bit at that. "Yeah, breaking and entering with intent to burglarize, I'm sure that's how an impartial viewer would see our actions."
Vision: But I am sure that your sense of self-righteous judgment would not stop you from unknowingly striking down one of our number.
Touushin: ...What would make you believe that I would mistake one of you for the true enemy?
Vision glares coldly at Touushin. "The fact that you already have."
Touushin blinks. "...Wh-what?"
Touushin looks around, then his eyes widen. "W-wait a minute..."
Swift Hawk lowers her weapon and nods. "That's right..."
Prism doesn't say anything, still on the defensive and beginning to tremble a little.
Touushin lowers his shortsword, whose flame vanishes to reveal a black blade. He stares at the ground.
Touushin sheathes the weapon.
Swift Hawk does the same. "Killing good men is hardly a good deed..."
Touushin nods numbly. "I'm... I-I'm sorry. I... I suppose I must answer to church and country alike, now."
Prism nods sternly. "Especially to Father Harlath."
Touushin takes the sheathed sword off of his belt and offers it. "Escort me; I'm sure you feel it necessary."
Touushin squeezes his eyes shut. "...I'm not sure that I'd even trust myself anymore."
Prism nods to the Swift Hawk, still holding the halberd. "You hang on to it."
Swift Hawk nods back and takes the sword. "If you think it's necessary."
Vision: ...that's a start at least. Mistakes like this... start when one no longer questions oneself...
Prism turns around. "Let us be off. Triangle-point formation once we're outside."
The three surround Touushin, equidistant from each other, as they escort him to the surface and eventually to the familiar, starkly out-of-place iron-banded solid oak doors that lead into the converted tower floors that the Silver Flame temple in Boldrei's Hearth are comprised of. The same brown-skinned goblin sentry the Prism met before is still on duty; he looks horrified and pained to see Touushin as he is...
Touushin stares at the ground.
Prism nods to the guard. "We decided this would be the best course of action."
The goblin sentry says in an even scratchier tone, now barely comprehensible, "I... I see..."
The goblin sentry coughs and tries to clear his throat...
Prism produces his identification. "If we might enter, we need to speak with Father Harlath."
Touushin: ...Don't bother, Akka. I'll do it once you've verified...
Akka: Th-thank you... cough
Akka takes out the wand again and points it at the papers... then sighs, which turns into a cough again. "Not now..."
Akka reattempts, studies for a moment, then nods to Touushin.
Touushin clears his own throat, takes a breath, then speaks with a raised voice. "I, Touushin, return in dishonor and shame. The Prism, Vision, and the Swift Hawk escort me to my punishment. Open the gate."
Swift Hawk looks to Touushin for a moment, then turns away and sighs to herself.
Prism maintains his stern look, replacing his identification.
Clattering resounds from behind the doors; shortly, they're pushed open outward by a black-haired halfling. Further inside, a man with dark blond yet greying hair in a minster's robes can be seen emerging from one of the many doors that line the walls.
Prism bows to the man, then steps aside wordlessly, having been between the Father and Touushin.
Touushin marches to Father Harlath, his head low and his hands folded before him.
Harlath glares down at Touushin with disappointed disapproval, then looks up to the others with sad appreciation. "Please, come in also."
Vision nods and follows shortly behind Touushin.
Prism walks inside as well.
Swift Hawk follows while lowering her hat slightly.
The halfling closes, bolts, and bars the door behind the group.
Harlath glares down at Touushin once more, angered and distressed. "Touushin... how could you do such things? To resort to force against chaos when far greater threats still taint Eberron goes entirely against the will of the Flame!"
Touushin winces, wringing his hands. "It... it's worse s-still than that... but I thought that you said it was evil's source, Father, and it is an enemy I know all too well."
Harlath: If I said such an erroneous thing, it was surely misspoken... sigh I fear I've sinned gravely through a lack of careful choice of words.
Harlath hangs his head. "Did I truly say such a thing?..."
Harlath looks at Touushin again. "I fear to ask how it could be worse."
Touushin: ...I... I-I have apparently brought low those... th-those pure of intent despite the Traveler.
Harlath: ...H...h-how did...
Swift Hawk nods. "Some, in particular, were as good as they come..."
Touushin: ...I... I should call attention to... to th-the absence of the Fairy Knight among their number...
Harlath pales. "Touush-shin, you didn't..."
Touushin hangs his head. "...I wasn't aware until they told me. For that alone I deserve no mercy from Breland or the Flame."
Vision: We all have lives outside our public roles. The Fairy Knight was a known follower of the Traveler in his.
Harlath: ...I see.
Harlath: Middle Tavick's Landing is... in Black Arch's jurisdiction, isn't it? They'll need the remainder of his enchanted items to examine.
Harlath looks down at Touushin again sternly. "As will we."
Touushin looks away.
Swift Hawk: If you don't mind... May I ask what will happen from here on...?
Harlath looks to the Swift Hawk. "He'll face the Silver Flame's justice as well as Breland's. I... regretably have little doubt that his guilt will be assured and punishment meted out by both."
Harlath: Likely, the Watch will reclaim much of his belongings as a fine, though the sword and augment crystal rightfully belong to the Church. As, in truth, does the tabard.
Harlath: If I recall their usual policies correctly, though, they'll likely allow you to take some subset as a reward after the trial.
Swift Hawk nods. "I see..."
Prism nods slowly.
Vision offers the broom recovered from Touushin's home. "...very well. I would have preferred we escorted him to Black Arch Garrison ourselves, but that's undoubtedly an unnecessary formality at this point."
Harlath accepts it. "Indeed; Gimbirri will lead some other templars in escorting him instead."
Swift Hawk holds out Touushin's sheathed sword without saying anything.
Harlath takes this with his free hand, likewise wordless.
Touushin: ...Did I ever deserve to wear this?
Prism shakes his head. "If we're not needed for anything else, then, we shall take our leave."
Swift Hawk: ...Touushin... Whatever happens, good luck.
Harlath nods. "Opiath, open the gate."
Touushin hesitates, then nods to the Swift Hawk.
Vision turns to leave. "...I'll be sure to let the followers of the Traveler know they're off the hook for a while longer."
Harlath glances disapprovingly at Vision.
The halfling acolyte meanwhile finishes reopening the door.
Prism: Leave them be, Vision. This hasn't been the best day for any of us, and there's no sense in making it worse.
Vision turns back. "Misunderstandings like this have consequences. I won't try to say who has what share of blame. But in all this, I have spoken to only one member of your order on this matter who seemed truly troubled at the tendency for some to strike first at a perceived wrong and question it later. It is not Touushin alone who has received an impression that those who associate with chaos are considered your enemies..."
Prism clenches a fist, it growing tighter and tighter as Vision speaks. As she finishes, he finally snaps. "I said leave them be, damn it."
Prism: The mistakes of the few cannot be attributed to the whole, and frankly, you're preaching to the choir.
Prism bows to Father Harlath. "Good day." Without another word, he leaves the temple.
Swift Hawk: It hit him hard...
Swift Hawk looks back a last time, then follows Prism.
Vision sighs, and leaves quietly.
Harlath sighs as well.
Prism is already in the air by the time the Swift Hawk leaves, and is not flying towards the headquarters; instead, he seems to be heading towards Upper Dura.
Touushin's expression is now a perpetual wince, as though being burned.
The door is closed behind the three.
Kyra arrives at the tower in Hope's Peak where his shrine to Boldrei is located, on foot and undisguised. He hesitates a short distance away as a newlywed couple and a small group of family and friends exits the tower, then nonchalantly makes his way inside.
Lannar is in the midst of picking up dishes from the tables as Kyra enters the shrine itself. Upon seeing him, he hesitates, spooked.
Kyra waves, smiling. "Need a hand, Sir Lannar?"
Lannar: Er... yes.
Kyra almost cheerfully begins gathering dishes, humming to himself... with the halberd still strapped to his back.
Lannar can't help but pay more attention to the halberd than anything else at the moment. In his distracted state, he fumbles with a stack of plates and struggles not to drop them.
Kyra looks to Lannar. "Maybe you should go drop off that stack before I have to find a broom."
Lannar: ...Perhaps. Though the dishes are not all that should be brought out back.
Kyra finishes a stack, nods, and heads to the back.
Lannar follows Kyra slowly.
Lannar closes the door behind them, then reaches for the door on the left into the hallway. "Kyra... might I ask..."
Kyra: Everything's been taken care of.
Lannar heads through the door and left into the hall, pale. "Did you... t-truly...? ...I-I mean... s-surely you've not... not fallen so far as to fail to leave his fate to Aureon?"
Kyra: The killer yet lives. He realized the wrong of his ways, and we turned him over to the very Silver Flame he follows.
Kyra sets the dishes down and unlashes the halberd, handing it to Lannar. "I only used it defensively."
Lannar sighs in relief — so much that he seems about ready to collapse from the loss of strain. "A moment."
Lannar turns left again near the end of the hall, into the kitchen area deep within the shrine. He sets the plates he's carrying onto the counter next to the sink, then returns to take the halberd back while removing the key from his pocket.
Lannar: You'd truly terrified me earlier, Kyra...
Kyra shudders. "Can't say I didn't scare myself a little..."
Lannar unlocks and enters one of the storerooms, halberd in tow. "Do you wish to speak of it? It seems as though guidance might very well be a great necessity at this time."
Kyra: Well, I... I know we did the right thing here, and I've come to terms with...that...
Kyra: But... sighs I think I just need to figure some things out on my own right now.
Lannar reemerges, locking the door behind himself. "Is it the death you've come to terms with... or something more terrifying?"
Kyra grins. "Always the dramatist, huh?"
Lannar shakes his head. "Not by intent."
Lannar: Shall we sit somewhere?
Kyra crosses his arms. "I...shouldn't. Mom probably already has the entire city watch looking for me."
Kyra: So thanks, but maybe we could do that later? Assuming I'm not grounded for a few months...
Lannar: May the Host shelter you from the worst of her wrath...
Kyra turns to walk out. "...Thanks, Sir Lannar."
Lannar: You're welcome. May Boldrei's love remain in your heart, Kyra.
Lannar: And may such hatred never again threaten to consume you...
Middle Northedge remains at peace; to look at Oakbridge, one would little suspect that a murderer's rampage needed stopping earlier. If anything, there seem to be fewer guards here — likely some were redirected to Tavick's Landing earlier. The thin, square wooden tower Jagaar's suite is part of remains outwardly untouched.
Gharta walks up to the door to Jagaar's suite and knocks.
Gharta: I told you I'd fix this...
Gharta smiles to herself.
The door opens to reveal an armed Jagaar again; he quickly sheathes his rapier and steps aside.
Gharta nods to Jagaar, takes off her hat and enters, still smiling. "I have good news, Jagaar."
Jagaar closes the door after Gharta. "I'm anxious to hear. In this situation, any good news is welcome."
Gharta: Well, you don't need to worry anymore. They apparently caught the culprit.
Gharta looks away for a moment. "It doesn't make up for what happened to Patten, but..."
Jagaar nods. "It's still more justice than happened the last time a friend of mine was killed, and I'm glad to hear it. I'm curious, though, how you learned before tomorrow's paper."
Gharta quickly looks back to Jagaar and shrugs. "...I saw him being escorted by those heroes. The Prism was leading their way and all. They had caught a goblin that matched all of the rumors I had heard."
Jagaar blinks. "A goblin?... Weird."
Jagaar: ...Are you all right?
Gharta: Of course I'm alright. Just glad that you don't have to worry anymore, that's all.
Jagaar shakes his head. "That's not what I mean..."
Gharta shrugs again. "Then what?"
Jagaar: Something seems to be eating at you, even knowing it's over.
Gharta sighs. "I guess... It's just that, well... I don't know, I'm just unsure about something."
Jagaar seats himself in a plush chair. "Anything I can help you with?"
Gharta: ...If someone does what he thinks is right, but it's actually wrong, and he realizes that... Even if what he did was very, very bad...
Gharta: Does he really deserve to be treated like a bad person...?
Jagaar raises an eyebrow at the question... then sighs.
Jagaar: Sometimes, people are dishonest, but you sound confident that this isn't the case here.
Jagaar: It can also be difficult, sometimes, to break from old habits.
Gharta nods. "But if they stop doing it when they find out they've done bad things, they're not really bad people, are they...?"
Jagaar: No, but sometimes other people need to be shown that wrong actions have bad consequences, regardless of having changed their minds.
Jagaar shakes his head... "It's brutal, but there's a type that needs to be scared straight."
Gharta: I guess...
Jagaar: It still isn't terribly fair, though.
Gharta: Maybe I shouldn't dwell on it too much...
Jagaar stands. "Tell you what. How do some ale-marinated mushrooms from over in Holdfast sound?"
Gharta lights up a little and smirks. "I don't think I'll argue against that."
After Vision makes the much-appreciated gesture of reporting the current situation to Black Arch Garrison, she heads to the still-tense lower district of Dragoneyes, and specifically to Chance.
The casino isn't as busy as usual right now, but it's now less obvious that anything's amiss.
Vision looks around the area carefully before approaching the entrance.
Nothing seems particularly amiss outside. Within, the bottom floor is bare but stairs lead up to the bells, clattering, and flickering above.
Vision heads up to the second level after a brief pause.
Though this floor of the casino is clearly below capacity, dice still fly, cards are still played, balls roll across roulette wheels, some of the various clockwork machines are still fed coppers, and the occasional suited man wanders through the aisles.
Vision briefly looks around for anyone bearing a familiar silver pendant.
Suited Man: Can I help you, ma'am?
Vision: I'm hoping to find the proprietor.
Suited Man: Ah; I'm sorry, but currently, Chance hopes not to be disturbed.
Vision: Under the circumstances, I do not find that surprising; however, I do have news that may be of some import.
Suited Man: I'll see what I can do, ma'am.
Suited Man heads for a lift up to the next floor.
Shortly, an ancient-looking human man with mismatched eyes, wild white hair around the sides and back of his head with a large wild attempt at a goatee to match, large robes of many shades of green, and a strange green cap topped with a decoration that features two large white feathers comes down the lift. Hanging below his beard is, indeed, Chance's pendant.
Chance: Hm, already?
Vision nods. "The culprit was one who turned from the Traveler to the Silver Flame. It seems he misunderstood their doctrine and believed chaos to be the true source of evil. He surrendered himself upon learning the true nature of his victims."
Chance facepalms and shakes his head while his hand is still on it.
Chance: People forget in trying to escape darkness not to blind themselves...
Vision: He will not again be a threat, I do not believe. He sees his error. I hope in time those who revealed that path to him realize theirs.
Chance: There is much to fear in this world. Some cannot accept living in such.
Chance: To those like them, even acceptance of fear is frightening...
Chance walks past Vision and towards the stairs down. "Thank you, in any case. I hope you like the torch."
Vision bows slightly and heads down herself after a few moments.
Vision waits until there are several steps distance between herself and the casino before pulling a sending stone out of one of her pockets.
Vision stares at the stone for several moments, then sighs.
Vision: I didn't involve myself in order to take someone else's place...
Vision shakes her head slightly and speaks to the stone. "Anyone needs me, I'll be at headquarters for the next couple hours."
Vision starts walking toward the vicinity of Hareth's Folly.