Lindure - Episode 1

Setting up the Dominoes (Keith GM - 3/17/09)

The Wild Heretic's Taproom has long been a staple hangout of many of Lindure's more interesting individuals. The current owner, "Laughing" Jekyll McMurry has done everything in his power to capitalize on this. He'll claim that he and the Heretic are the last bastion for free thinkers in Lindure…he even has a sign proclaiming it hanging above the bar. But at the heart of it, it's good for business. People like unique locales, and the Heretic is as unique as they come.

Sundays are home to a poetry slam and wrestling contest (One combined event), where opponents try to administer choke holds (both literary and physical) to one another. Tuesdays are home to a weekly blindfolded drunken darts contest, which provides loads of merriment, as well as practice for the local medical students. Today though, today is the star of the week…The Culture of Conspiracy group weekly meeting.

The Culture was founded by three likeminded individuals: a tiefling politician from the Telldor district named Verstaadt, a very elderly wizard named Rinn Eggren, and a crotchety old dwarf who is only referred to as "Bullshit". They first started meeting to discuss the oddities of the city of Lindure. More often than not, the subject of debate revolves around the mysterious society of 140, fabled to rule the city (and possibly other locations) due to their immense wealth and knowledge. More often than not, the culture is a place to drink, be merry, and come up with outrageous stories. Tonight is no different.

A young Halfling is currently in the middle of his latest idea, though it's an idea he's presented several times.

"I swear to you on my mother's grave, the 140 use their influence to rid the streets of the homeless! I've heard tales of "cleaner crews" that round them up and throw them into Rellek's Chasm!"

The bartender, "Mad Man" Martin McCullogh, realizes the Halfling may have had a bit too much to drink. "You're cut off Nick. Your mom ain't even dead, you're living in her basement. And we got tons of homeless, just look around!"

"I'll stand by my statements. You just wait. Make sure you keep your houses, else they'll come for you next!" the halfling mutters as he stumbles out of the bar.

"In-sane. Hey V, what gives tonight? Where's Rinn? I've pulled out a special bottle of Port for him."

Verstaadt wonders the same thing herself. Rinn is never this late for their weekly meeting. Luckily, it doesn't take long for the question to be answered, as a very disheveled Rinn stumbles into the bar. He walks up to Verstaadt, and hands her a note. "I'm sorry I'm late…I have some matters to attend to. I really can't stay."

Verstaadt glances down at the note as Rinn stumbles back out of the bar. "Meet me at Mayare's Fountain at 9. Do not be late, it's a matter of life and death."

The screams behind the young half-elf are nothing new. She tries to tune them out, focusing on the sound of her heart beating out of her chest, focusing on the movement of her feet, the balance of her body. But mostly, she's focused on not dropping any of the food she has in her arms, and finding her way back home. She quickly ducks into an alley, giving a nod to her partner in crime, an Eladrin named Shadow. She takes off past him, and he makes sure that the two men pursuing her run directly into him.

"What do you think you're doing? You could have killed me. I should have you two strung up for such an outrage!"

The two men, after getting their bearings, apologize. They realize they've lost the street rat. Shadow smiles to himself as he makes his way back to the Rat's Den. The den is a bit of a hospice house in the slums of Lindure, for those that don't have anywhere else to go. The food Kaira carries isn't just for her and her partner, it's to help feed the orphans and the other vagrants, at least for a night or two. Shortly after Shadow arrives, another young woman appears into the Den.
"That was pretty convincing back there."

The two take a defensive stance, before realizing the woman before them looks very harmless.

"I don't mean you any trouble. I have a job, and I need to hire a couple of people. It pays enough to get you out of this…horrible place." The disdain on her face shows that she regrets every second she spend in the Rat's Den. "I need an escort for two individuals, who need to get to the city of Aern, in the Ardot Empire. I'll pay the both of you 250 gold, up front, and another 1750 when you get back from Aern"

Despite their reluctance to trust anyone other than themselves, let alone an aristocrat, they need the money. "We're in." The woman smiles. "Just meet them at Mayare's Fountain at 9 tonight. Don't be late."

Lindure is a large city, and it grew up very fast. It sprawls, both out and up, for what seems like miles from the center of town. This size is part of what makes the city so grand, which helps bring in the tourism that supports the city. But Lindure's size is the downfall for many of the residents of the city, as it's hard for the security forces that keep the peace in Lindure to be everywhere.

Many use this to their advantage. Many like Ronald. Currently, he is ransacking the offices of Kellix Zel, a dragonborn sorcerer and politician, and rival to the woman that pays Ronald's paycheck. Though Verstaadt has the support of her constituents, Kellix has been gaining a large amount of financial support from some unknown backers. Ronald is in the middle of trying to find out who.

Ronald's skills are adept, and not only does he manage to find an interesting note that Verstaadt will enjoy reading, but he also manages to grab a nice new lynx-skin coat and hat, dyed a stylish pale blue color. By the time Elise, Kellix's assistant, comes up to investigate, all that is left is a broken window, and Ronald walking down the street in a new suit. He glances down at the note, to Kellix, insuring that he will get into office, as well as that Verstaadt will be "handled". It's signed with a symbol Ronald doesn't recognize, a fisherman's hook attached to a broken star.

It's been a fairly common night in the office for Verstaadt's lawyer, Lee. Being the lawyer for a member of the Common House of Parliament is usually pretty easy, as the duties required of Lee are fairly light. However, when it rains it pours, and Lee is currently knee deep in Verstaadt's records, trying to make sure everything matches up. Much to Lee's surprise, despite the late hour, a man knocks on the door.

"Excuse me, Ms. Lee? I'm sorry to bother you, my name is Harold. I received your name from another lawyer who said you usually weren't busy. I have a case I need your help on."

Lee shoots the man an inquisitive look. He appears to be a half-elf, though his name provokes confusion.

"It's a friend of the family. She's gotten herself into something, and gotten into trouble. I know she's innocent…I just need someone to help defend her. She and her associate have been charged with the murder of a local politician, and an elderly man. I can pay you 2500 gold."

The mention of money perks up Lee's ears. "You got yourself an attorney."

"Good. They're due to be arraigned at the northern station in the morning, you'll be able to talk to them then." The man will nod and walk off, into the streets of Lindure.

Verstaadt, concerned by the cryptic and unusual behavior in her cohort, Rinn Eggren, cautiously approaches Mayare's Fountain. She makes it to the edge of the trees that make up the park, and see's Rinn talking to someone odd…Verstaadt.

"Your note was cryptic Verstaadt. What did you want to see me about?"

"I found some important information, it's related to the fountain. Take a look, just under the ledge."

As Rinn looks over the edge of the fountain, the fake Verstaadt pulls her dagger, planting it into the back of the old wizard. He lets out a scream, before he is silenced by the assassin. Verstaadt looks on, as the image of the woman that killed her friend slowly turns into the image of her friend. Verstaadt, filled with emotion, shifts forward just a bit, allowing the assassin to notice her presence.

"I was expecting you a bit later, but no matter. It's been a while since I've actually had a fair fight." He draws his sword, and charges. Verstaadt lets loose a blast of Eldritch energy, barely missing her attacker. The man slices at her with his weapon, but misses, allowing Verstaadt to pull something out of her bag of tricks. She stares into the attackers eyes, filling him with a searing pain. He stumbles off holding his eyes. Verstaadt persues, and corners him in an alleyway. The man, angered, rushes at her. Verstaadt barely ducks out of the way of the charge, but manages to end the fight with just one word. As soon as she is close enough, she whispers the word "Final" into the man's ear, filling it with the secrets of the universe. The assassin collapses, rapidly shifting between various forms, until settling on a blank, pale white figure with a catatonic stare. Verstaadt then takes back toward the fountain, to check on her friend.

Kaira and Shadow approach the fountain, but don't see anyone in the area. They slowly approach, looking about the area. Kaira fears this to be a trap. Unfortunately, she's right. As soon as Shadow manages to notice the body in the fountain, it's too late for them to escape. They look up to see themselves surrounded by the Lindure Defense Force. Shadow, acting on impulse, rushes, but is quickly gunned down by crossbow darts, delivering a powerful electric shock to his system, knocking him out. The officers close in on Kaira. Before knocking her out, she overhears the guards: "I thought the report said there were two bodies here. Search the area."

Verstaadt looks on as all of this unfolds. Someone wanted her dead. And she doesn't appreciate it.

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