Part 3: The Other Shoe Dropeth

"My name is Katria Saharkar - and i'm a friend of Ameiko's." A mention of 'heroes' doesn't seem to cause her to relax her watchfulness, or spark any sign of recognition. "I don't know about any 'heroes', but if the 'business' that you're here to conduct is against her interests... you'll have to answer to me." Her eyes narrow slightly, and she focuses on the halfling, looking first at the two outsized swords and then at the warrior himself, clearly evaluating him not as a child but as a threat. A veil, such as might be used in the desert to keep the sand from one's face, dangles unhooked from the side of her head-covering - a quick motion and all but the merest slits of her eyes would be shrouded in dark cloth.

Gozzik Redknife

The halfling rolls his eyes. "So your concern is to walk into the room, make vague threats at a number of well-armed people, and glare at us a lot. Good show. Run along, we're busy. I heard Ameiko is off doing chores. Go check the marketplace."

Katria's presence served only to stir the building tension and disquietude among those gathered. It was like poking a wary, annoyed animal with a stick - the results were bound not to be pretty.

There is a concept among well-trained martial artists called sakki, literally meaning 'killer intent'. It is the invisible but very much tangible force one feels when someone else glares daggers at them, sizes them up, or strikes. It is what humanoids ultimately use to provoke fear in each other, through the use of body language, the way they breathe, and so on - creatures like dragons and liches exhude concentrate sakki constantly by virtue of their very nature.

Katria might not have been taught the concept formally, but she can definitely feel an almost visible distortion in the ambient as Veritas projects his own sakki towards her - yet barely restrains it at the last possible second. Not only her, but his companions too. His crimson eyes almost literally pulse with barely-restrained anger at the implication that they actually brought this on the town's beloved innskeeper.

And just as quickly as it happened, he returns to his previous state. With a rispid tone, he replies, "We neither need give nor owe you any explanation. You may as well come with us if you intend to see to Ameiko's safety, but time used convincing you of our intent is time we could have spent looking for her. Let us go, friends."

Jan glanced at the door, where the female-probably young-was standing with a threatening posture, then to Gozzik, then to Veritas, both of whom were rather bothered and with the same ruffled hackles stance.

"Oh, shush and calm down, Mister Veritas. No need to be crude to rude behaviour." Jan gave the new girl a rather wintry smile and added, "Hi, hello, how do you do, Miss Saharkar? Are you a friend of Ameiko's? Sorry to burst your bubble, but we are also a somewhat close acquaintances of hers. I believe I can call her a friend myself, though a couple others here might need a couple more days and mugs shared before Ameiko can worm her way into their hearts as well."

A glint of a smile.

"Anyway, we're here to check up on Ameiko. Betty here," the woman gestured towards the halfling cook beside her, "had come to us, like how you seemed to have been called as well, by- Who called you again? Was it Elsie, or Ambhra, perhaps?" Jan tossed the names of one of the serving girl, and of the scullery maid that more often than not worked behind the kitchen and away from the customers' eyes.

"Did you perhaps come here after the goblin invasion, perhaps? That might be why you didn't recognize any of us." Jan added for the benefit of the newcomer.

"Oh, and like Mister Veritas mentioned, we are going to take a walk and look for Ameiko. Perhaps we can speak as we walk?" She asked as she vacated the chair she had been sitting on, and giving Bethana another encouraging pat on her shoulder to ease her worries.

The halfling's tone clearly grates on the keleshite girl, but that is nothing compared to the reaction when the half-elf unveils his killing intent, rolling off him in waves at the girl in the doorway to the inn. Without thinking, the girl's foot turns in, and her leg bends at the knee, her hand becomes a smooth curve and is suddenly set very low, as she falls into a defensive unarmed stance of one of the 'soft' martial arts. Her eyes lock to the half-elf's like magnets to iron, and her own killing intent, roused in an instant like a previously docile dog suddenly growling and spitting, rushes out to meet the half-elf's, equally matched and striving for purchase with a frenetic energy that shouldn't exist in someone not trained to use killing intent as a weapon.

Sensing the possibility of combat, the dark aura enfolding her becomes slightly more opaque, and two eyes open, catlike, on the form of the shroud, and gaze out lazily at the group in general.

Then the half-elf's killing intent fades away, and he resorts to rudeness like his halfling friend. The change leaves Katariah puzzled, as that kind of anger is not the kind that can usually be controlled once it has been expressed. And that feeling of danger... it's never been wrong before about when someone will attack.

Nevertheless, the muscled human woman with the knives begins talking, and if her scorn is no less rude, at least it isn't picking a fight. Slowly Katariah's hackles lower in the torrent of words, and she stands up straighter, the eyes disappearing from her aura as it goes back to sleep. They lower still further as Jan's listing of the servant girls' names leaves her feeling embarrassed - she couldn't even put a name to the 'betty' child who had served her in the inn, much less the name of the girl who had roused her this morning with the news that Ameiko had gone missing. Feeling embarrassed, and very much like a stuck up noble, Katariah stiffly changes the subject. "When one is called out with the news that friend has gone missing, and arrives at their abode to find a group of strange, heavily armed individuals standing around - I had reason to ask your intentions."

"Did you perhaps come here after the goblin invasion, perhaps? That might be why you didn't recognize any of us."
"I arrived shortly before the goblins raided this town. That is where I met Ameiko. She and I fought together. I left this town shortly afterwards - a friend of mine managed to lose a dagger in the leg of a goblin that escaped." Katariah's head tilted to the side, looking at the note left on the table by the party. "As for walking with you... would your destination have something to do with that note written in Tien l'ang?"

Gozzik Redknife

Originally Posted by Rejakor View Post
"When one is called out with the news that friend has gone missing, and arrives at their abode to find a group of strange, heavily armed individuals standing around - I had reason to ask your intentions."
"Unless that 'abode' happens to be an Inn..." the child-like halfling snorts, dismissively. Something about this abrasive woman with the dark cloud hanging around her obviously didn't sit well with the tiny man. "What do you know of the note?"

"That it is over there, on that table." Katariah points at the table Jan left the note on, and gives the halfling an odd look. Regardless, she steps out of the way of the door, and follows the party, or at least, walks with Jan while pointedly ignoring Gozzik, in wherever they are going.

Tom o' the Six Strings

Pain, thats what Brego woke to, light and sound seemed to conspire against him this morning and it caused him to be in bed longer than he had to. With his body rather firmly arguing against moving he tried his best to avoid the sun's gaze. The day prior had its ups and downs, and after a nice 'roll in the hay' he returned to have a drink. One drink became two, two became four, and soon enough the bard could barely sing for his supper, having barely made his way to his room to sleep away his foolishness.

Why have I not left yet?... This place is trouble, and it won't end well for me...
he thought, the sun's tyranny of morning beating into his face. He knew the answer, he hated admitting to it. He enjoyed the fame, enjoyed having people close to him, it felt like so long since he had either. Every piece of him told him his folly, but he couldn't quite deny the appeal.

With a heavy sigh and a few pained glances Brego would slowly get dressed and make his way to town proper. He had missed a meeting with the pretty elven tracker and he was certain his absence had been noted. He slowly made his way to the Rusty Dragon, that seemed to be their default meeting place. He chuckled slightly to himself at a saying he had heard a long time ago, something about how most adventures started in a tavern and how alcohol was the grease that made heroes move.

Entering the tavern he'd see his group gathered together, plus an extra. He did notice however that there was no Ameiko, this didn't alarm him, at least not yet. The woman was armed heavily, and looked to take herself too seriously, a strangely common problem in Varisia

"Good morning all... " he looked towards the keleshite girl Katariah "I like the hood, it sets off your features, gives a nice dark and mysterious feeling. I prefer a simple hat my self, I couldn't make a hood look good.
He says with a tip of said hat and moves to the other 'Heroes'

"So... I take it there's another task that demands our undivided attention in this town"
he said with a yawn, he looked slightly hung over, though in fairly good spirits considering

As Katariah unleashed her own hostility, he didn't seem to react. It seemed that despite his lack of a proper stance, his body was already tensed and primed to unleash violence at the drop of a hat. Yet he didn't, perhaps because her reaction was defensive in nature.

"That's good posture. Few openings. You probably practice a style based on focused attacks and misdirection." He observed idly, as if that came naturally to him. "I get the feeling you even leave those openings on purpose, but I wouldn't know for sure without a spar."

If it had a visual manifestation, Veritas' anger would look like a flame slowly receding into his body. Seemingly going out, but focusing in small embers rather than a large bonfire. It was like he was focusing that anger for a purpose.

Though he dismissed the joking nature of Tom's comment, it did bring to mind something important. "Call me paranoid, but I get the feeling Ameiko's disappearance is not coincidental. Sheriff Hemlock left town no more than a day or two ago, and already something presents itself calling us away from the city. We need better leads."

It was outwardly apparent that the half-elf was struggling to keep his urge for violence in check as he tried to think of the best course of action to take.

Focus. He reminded himself. Anger is your power, but it is not you. It is fuel, to be stored and burnt and stoked when the flames need fanning. Remember the master's words.

Gozzik Redknife

Gozzik, still slightly tense, noted as Katariah gravitated towards Jan. His expression changed, as something seemed to click; Oh, that's how it is. No wonder she is hostile to the men in the group. She must be a fan of the girl from the brothel. As he made the connection, he relaxed, his childlike face splitting into a slight smile. That's none of my business, then.

Listening to Veritas, he nodded. "Well, whether it is a distraction or not, it is something we will need to investigate. Especially if the people involved are the same ones willing to slaughter the citizens of this town, just to dig up some old bones. The town still has its guards, which the Sheriff has already increased; the town should be ok, but if we wait too long, something could happen to Ameiko," he opined, in his high, slightly melodic voice.


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