Start Status: Dinner at the Spoon
Start Location: The Tipsy Spoon
After dinner, the party splits up. A large contingent heads out to find the White Tulip (after the day's scouting, a few people know where it is). Others divide up and start looking for rooms. Before leaving the Spoon, Mendel and Smoke ask the barkeep about the various houses for rent around the city. He suggests they inquire at the Landowner's Partnership, an organization that represents many of the smaller landowners in and around the city. Everyone agrees to meet again at the Spoon tomorrow evening for dinner.
- Group heading to the White Tulip: Aaron, Brigg, Hagan, Nogg, Rennard, One-Eye, Candle, Javiera. Staying nearby: Adrienne, Jinx
- Finding another lodging: Mendel, Smoke, Xon, Sim, Maarek, Kessel
- Spending the night in prayer at the temple: Zenobe
- Unknown: Shade
When the main group reaches the White Tulip, they find a large, rather pleasant, if a bit rough around the edges, two story house on a narrow but paved side street. The sign above the door makes it clear the place is a business, so they follow Rennard, the group's spokesman, inside. Before going in Hagan quaffs something from a vial, then refills the container from a wineskin [he's explained to the group that he has access to a minor detect lie potion].
The door opens into a common room with several bench-lined tables, a fireplace with a few comfortable chairs, all empty, and a small bar. A man with a prominent pot belly and a shock of unruly salt and pepper hair stands behind the bar, studying a ledger. He greets the group when they enter, "Welcome to the White Tulip. I'm Mosk Inja, the proprietor. How can I assist you?" His eyes widen a bit when he sees the size of the group, but he retains his smile. "Rooms for all?"
Rennard goes into his spiel: “I am Rennard Winter, Paladin in the service of Holy Sarva. My fellow traveler, Nogg here – 'I'm Nogg!' interjects the somewhat dim fighter – spoke with your boy down at the docks earlier today. We’ve only just arrived and are in need of shelter for the night, and possibly longer. We also hear you have, shall we say, spiritual issues which have been detrimental to your efforts to find boarding guests...bad Brakti, if I understood the tale correctly? Tell us your situation and what you know of these Brakti spirits and, in return for boarding for the night for myself and my companions, we shall endeavor to solve your issue.”
As the paladin speaks, other group members notice people watching from a side door, a young man and woman who look alike, the young boy from the docks, and a slightly older girl. Mosk looks over at the group gathered at the door with a frown, and all but the boy vanish back into the kitchen. "Deven's been telling tales, I guess," he says with a sigh. Truth is, I don't know what the problem is. Food vanishes from the pantries, guests belongings go missing or get broken, and linens get mussed or torn. It's a proper mystery. Ordinarily, I couldn't afford to put you up without some payment, but I'm desperate." He looks at the religious icons held or worn by various group members. "Maybe you can help."
While some party members think this sounds fine, Brigg insists on paying the hostel-keeper. "It's only fair that we pay our way, and you have to make a living and pay your help too." Mosk looks relieved.
One-eye says, "Your boy said the house Brakti was driven off. What, exactly is a Brakti? We've never heard of them."
"Of course, they're not found in the old world. They're wee creatures, look like little chubby people," he pauses and pats his belly. "Imagine me, but only half a foot tall." If you coax them right, they stay in your home and help out with cleaning, bringing in wood, and things like that. We had one, but it disappeared right when things went wrong."
He pauses for a moment, looking over the group, then shakes his head. "All right then. Let me show you the rooms I have. Once you're settled I can show you 'round the place." Group members exchange glances, and Hagan gives a little nod. [OOC: Hagan feels Mosk's being truthful with the group.]
The hostel-keeper leads the way upstairs, pointing out 4 large rooms that can hold 6 people comfortably and 4 smaller single/double rooms. It's apparent there are no other guests in the hostel. The party chooses their rooms and then heads back downstairs, and Mosk starts an informal tour with Deven trailing behind.
The ground floor has the common room, a spacious kitchen, and living quarters for the owner and his two kids (Deven and the younger girl). The other two servants (who left while the party was settling in), stay elsewhere. The second floor has the 8 guest rooms (4 large, 4 small), a bathroom with several tubs in screened stalls, and a pair of large closets. A narrow winding stair leads up to a low attic filled with random chairs and tables and a few old crates, "Old linens and such," says Mosk. A slightly broader stair in the kitchen leads down to a brick-lined cellar divided into a well room, a storage space for food, and a general storage area with a few larger pieces of furniture pushed against the walls. A workbench at one end has a broken bench and a scattering of carpenter's tools on it.
Brigg peers down the well. It's stone-lined and quite deep. He can't see the water below. "The well gives good water?"
Mosk nods. "Hard to believe this close to the sea, but the architects and engineers that laid out the city said there's some kind of natural water source, a lake or series of ponds, deep beneath the city. Be careful though, that well is over 80 feet deep!"
Satisfied with the tour, the group tells Mosk they want to poke around a bit. He nods and heads back upstairs, warning Deven to stay out of the way. The lad sits on an upper step and watches.
Candle casts detect magic and pokes around the cellar, particularly the food storage area. The spell reveals nothing unusual. He also tries to in the building, and surprisingly finds nothing. "Do you have a pet?" he asks Deven.
The boy shakes his head with a sad expression. "We had a dog, but she ran off."
One-eye invokes the power of the White Tree, and tries to determine if attempting to contact the house Brakti will be beneficial. He receives a negative response.
Brigg and several other members prowl around the basement, looking for hidden or secret entrances. The only thing they find is a set of heavy iron bars covering an opening about 3 feet wide and 2 feet high in one wall. It was hidden behind a dresser. There's a rough, rock- and brick-strewn alcove at least 6 feet deep beyond. "What's this Deven?" asks Brigg.
"It's one of the tunnels that leads down into the old city. Da' says I can't go near it."
"Sure! There's old ruins, buildings, caves, and, well, all sorts of stuff down there! Or so I heard. Most of the entries are bricked over or blocked off like that one. "
After a bit more poking and prodding around the basement, the group heads back up to the common room. Hagan has a few more questions for Mosk (OOC answers follow)
What times of the night are Brakti normally active?
They move about any time, but mostly you don't see them. They're quick and have a way of disappearing if someone pays too much attention.
Is there lore about them which would help in deterring bad ones or finding a good one to re-occupy the home? (Like what kinds of foods would attract good ones or repulse bad ones?)
Brakti like fresh milk, clean water, and fruit. It sounds like 'bad' Brakti aren't common, but all of the creatures have mischievous streak. It's said they can recognize bad people and avoid houses where they live. A Brakti will make a nest in an out-of-the-way corner, and as long as it's undisturbed, will usually stick around.
Are they dangerous to people?
They're not really dangerous, but they're not above playing tricks on someone that annoys them. They like to be left alone.
Are their rules or religious prohibitions regarding these spirits?
The Central Orthodoxy frowns on having the creatures in homes and won't allow them in church-owned properties. White Tree followers welcome them. The other churches express no strong opinion one way or the other.
OOC: Since someone will likely ask, the alcove actually is a tunnel. It takes a sharp turn you can't really see from the opening. The heavy padlock is rusted shut and, as far as Mosk knowns, there's no key.
Some answers to the group's follow-up questions:
Alcove/Well - there were no signs of passage in either, but there are rungs (for maintenance) leading down the well. The alcove is floored in packed earth and stone. The bars are about 8 inches apart (a Brakti could fit, based on what you know). No sign the hinges have moved. They're well rusted. As far as Mosk knows, the Brakti never went into the old city. The creatures prefer spending time in the open air or warm and cheery rooms. It seldom visited the cellar.
No unusual odors in the cellar, other than the musty smell of an unfinished subterranean room.
Servants: They've been with Mosk for years and are good people. He's a little put out that you ask about them.
Brakti gifts - Mosk explains that some Brakti prefer to live outdoors, nesting under eaves or in trees. He used to leave food on the fireplace hearth in the kitchen. The Brakti nested in an alcove above the fireplace. Yes, there's an attic. See turn. The Brakti roamed the entire building, but spent most of its time in the common areas, kitchen and family rooms.
Brakti nests are usually neatly woven from sticks, cloth, and other flexible materials. They look like neat bird nests, but they have enclosing sides and a roof.
Mosk has never heard of anyone trying to steal a Brakti. They're intelligent and mischevious. It would probably be a bad idea. No known predators or diseases.
The Brakti vanished about a month and a half ago. The dog disappeared before then, two and a half months. Mosk isn't sure what happened to the dog. She roamed sometimes – there's a dog door in the kitchen – and she was getting old. A good-sized mutt.
No unusual guests or events near the time the dog and Brakti disappeared.
There are many entrances to the old city, but most are bricked/barred. It's the ruins of an old city that was here when the first settlers arrived. People aren't supposed to go down there, but Mosk knows some of the colony's poorer folk do sleep in the safe tunnels. Some of the chambers and passages serve as an impromptu sewer system, eventually feeding out into the bay.
There are rumors of deeper tunnels (like those used by the dock merchants for storage) in the cliffs. There's never been a complete survey of the tunnels as far as Mosk knowns.
Rennard detects no evil in the cellar.
End Date: July 18, 1027, Early Night
End Status: Brakti Hunt?
End Location: Various hostels in New Kavlin