21 Brussendar (Grissen/Tuesday) 845 PD
After that day at the festival, Rinn drops Stubby and Tāmarai off at the Tal Dorei Embassy, and heads back to the Take Headquarters. Things are all pretty normal. He washes up, goes to his room. (No one’s been in it, by the tell-tales he’s set up.) Rinn blocks the door, puts a dagger under his pillow, changes into an old, nearly-worn out set of clothes for sleeping, and settles in.
And he dreams. It’s all normal at first (just odd, random things), but then his dream-self ends up on a hill over in Chalk Burough near Ivy Hall. When he first arrived in New Vasselheim, he heard that at night you could see the lights and glow of the ruins of Old Vasselheim from this hill, and he checked it out. Pretty, in a slightly scary way. That’s where he is now, seeing the lights and a plume of red smoke from there.
Rinn notices a storm starting to come in and most people leave to take shelter, but why bother? It’s just rain. That never bothered him before.
He watches it come in, and lightning strikes near Old Vasselheim up on the mountain, and a deep voice echoes: “Come.” Another lightning strike. “Come to my forge.” It’s challenging, but it’s all a dream, right? Rinn tilts his head. “Fine. Maybe I will.”
“Good.” is the rumbling reply, sounding pleased.
And Rinn wakes up. It’s still night time, only few hours later by the position of the moons. The sky is clear, but- it seems for a moment or two after he woke up that the air was charged, as if with a lightning strike. There’s splatters of water on the windowsill, as if it HAD been raining.
This is a little… odd. He’s not sure to worry about it, or dismiss it, or what. (So he goes back to sleep, one hand on the dagger under his pillow.)
Shopping at the Rat Docks
The next day! Rinn picks up food for breakfast (about 3 meals worth for 5 people, and simple things that will keep well- bread, hard cheese, hard boiled eggs, butter, honey and jam), and heads over to the TD Embassy. He’s already there, with breakfast spread out in the kitchen, and eating an apple from Stubby’s winnings by the time most people are up and out. (Except Tāmarai who is working on her hair.) (Yes, he totally snuck in.)
While they’re eating breakfast, a messenger arrives with a note for Tunk. It’s from the palace, the Empress requesting a meeting with him. Plus, bring a friend. Bob gets picked due to not opting out as fast as the others. But if Bob is going to do this, he first has some important shopping he needs to do first. So does Tunk (who nearly heads out the door before Rinn says he’ll take them.)
Bob’s important shopping? Magic mushrooms. Drugs. Which Rinn knows where to get, of course. (Hey, he knows cities, and he’s spent time learning the unique details of New Vasselheim, and you run all sorts of odd jobs for the Take.) It’s in the Rat Docks, a very shifty part of town that Rinn isn’t happy about taking them to, when Stubby says she wants to go as well. So of course Tāmarai will go with her young charge. So it’s all of them, to the worst part of town, with just a single escort.
Rinn cautions them all, and they head out. Quickest route there, through the (still on-going festival), where Bob sends his couch-familliar over to Tetsuo the Greased Gnome, but gets called out by Tetsuo’s manager. (Familiars aren’t allowed in the Greased Gnome wrestling contest.) The couch disappears, and they keep going into the seedier part of the Rat Docks, if such a thing were possible. Through alleyways, shifty people, and odd smells, until they come to a no-name, dark little store. Rinn ushers them in quickly.
Bob quickly spots what he’s looking for, and he and the nameless, genderless, old shopkeeper talk and haggle. When the shopkeeper finds out what exactly Bob wants the mushrooms for (healing PTSD trauma), they soften up and pull out some other sort of medicine/drug, sell it to Bob at quite a bargain. All is good-
And then Stubby steps over, and starts haggling to sell acid and poison, and possibly dragon parts. She does manage a few deals with the shopkeeper for the poison and acid, but they direct her to the Night’s Trinkets for selling off the dragon parts.
Tāmarai then also steps up to buy some hair sticks, and manage to convey what Rinn’s figured, that the shopkeep sort of stiffed Stubby on the price for the acid and poison, so she gets them for ⅕ the asking price.
(And overall, the shopkeep isn’t going to be ratting them out over this whole visit. Good.)
Tunk and Bob Head off, Tāmarai to the Xhorhasian Embassy
They head out, and it’s time for Tunk and Bob to meet the Empress! Rinn hands them off at a side palace door, (and he, Tāmarai, and Stubby take a collective step back). They wait, and eventually Tunk and Bob return- only to leave again. They’ve accepted a job on behalf of the Empress, going to the ‘godless lands’ to the south to explore, and have a cart, supplies and so on given to them for doing so. They head out, leaving the Tal Dorei contingent down to two, plus Rinn.
‘Tal Dorei’ might not be all of it, though. When they reach Embassy Row, Tāmarai heads to the Xhorhasian Embassy and talks to the guard on duty there. Pretty soon a couple of the ambassadors come out, talk to Tāmarai, and then ask her to join them inside. It seems safe enough, so Rinn says they’ll meet Tāmarai back at the Tal Dorei Embassy, while he and Stubby head off for more shopping/bargaining. The shopkeeper at the DrugStore mentioned selling the dragon parts to the owner of The Night’s Trinkets, so that’s where they go.
(Tāmarai meets up with the Xhorhasian Ambassador, Lanna Krynn. I wasn’t thinking to take notes of things Rinn was not privy to at this time, so I have no notes on this discussion. Please check Tāmarai’s notes on this Session for this information!)
Stubby manages to sell a dragon gizzard to the owner of The Night’s Trinkets, a store in the Chalk Borough District. (Which she squished down on the counter, and was amused when Rinn went a little green.) She got a good price for it, as well as selling off some vials of dragon’s blood. Enough to buy a blue gemstone she wants for… something. Afterwards, she seems fine with wandering around, and Rinn heads for the park with the hill from his dream, wanting to take a look, except-
It turns out that it was struck by lightning last night. Right in the area where he had been standing in his dream. No storms about, must have been heat lightning. Pretty cool, right?
No, not really.
Stubby doesn’t notice his bit of panicked introspection, and asks Rinn if they can go to the docks. He asks which docks, and mentions some of the other ones, and what they’re known for (not wanting to go back to the Rat Docks with just Stubby), and she’s vague. Just some docks and water, alright? So he starts them off to the riverfront at the edge of Chalk Borough . That seems good enough for Stubby, and she leans against the wall, takes out what looks like a pocket watch, and starts tinkering with it. Rinn also leans against the wall, both watching her and keeping an eye on everything else.
The little gadget Stubby was tinkering with starts buzzing, Rinn eyes it suspiciously, and starts tapping a finger against his leg. Stubby comments that now they can talk, with the water making noise, and the white noise from this, and with them looking out over the river, no one should be able to hear them. Rinn is both taken aback- this is a more serious, competent Stubby!- and worried about what would she want to talk about? Which she gets to the point rather quickly.
Is he spying on them for the Empress?
Which shocks a straight answer out of him. No, he’s not. It was part of the contract, but a separate part which he didn’t sign. It didn’t seem fair- though if they are here to do something against the city, he will let someone know. He likes New Vasselheim, it’s been good to him.
Then, the hard question. Does Rinn trust her? Hah, no he doesn’t, not really. Which apparently is a good answer for Stubby, as him saying ‘of course I do’ would have been totally suspect. The next question, though-
Can I trust you? How much can I trust you?
And… no one has ever asked Rinn that before. Not honestly, not sincerely. ‘Trust’ was only as far as someone was afraid of you, or of the consequences of betraying you. Of how much they owed you, or how much you owed them. There was very little actual ‘trust’ involved. He finally says that no one has ever asked him that before, which is very true.
Stubby pushes, and he answers back with a question- how much can he trust her or Tāmarai?
She says if he’s a good person, he can trust her, and Tāmarai. Just don’t ever hurt Tāmarai.
Then Stubby smiles and says she knows of a good experiment, and takes a step closer to Rinn.
He takes a half-step back.
Stubby leans in, angling so that her face (mouth) isn’t that visible, hidden by her hair and a hand. She then tells him her name, her real name, Lady Victoria Viqul Elaina Vessar deRolo. Rinn catches ‘lady’, and ‘deRolo’ vaguely registers as a high-born family from Tal Dorei. (Aside from those details he has no clue.) Stubby then goes on to say that she ends up dead, killed by the Empress, she’ll know that Rinn told them this bit of information, and that he’s NOT trustworthy. Rinn doesn’t think so- obviously he could just NOT relay that bit of information, and seem trustworthy. But anyways. Stubby is taking too much of a risk blurting this out in the open, in daylight- she’s not really being careful here!
She points out that is her plan! Getting people to see her, notice her, and think she’s just a kid and underestimate her- while it’s Rinn who draws attention to himself by trying to not be noticed. (Which he doesn’t believe at all.) And that he’s broody as well.
Plus, if she and Tāmarai are being watched, and since he refused to spy on them, then he’s probably being watched as well.
But he’s nice when he’s not being broody. To which he replies that he does NOT brood.
Stubby laughs, and gathers up her things and they head back to the Tal Dorei Embassy, just in time to run into Tāmarai.
This is a lot to process. All of it. So much all of it.