Siege: Hands off our Bread
Some enterprising inhabitants of the Boroughs have decided to take justice into their hands, if not the law. Carts of cereal are rolling out towards the gate into the Upper Boroughs when a small, orderly group of locals stops their advance. It's not a mob yet, but those carts of cereal aren't going anywhere.
This is a small scale scene, 4-5 players, mostly aimed at characters with an interest in law and order, the economy, or the well-being of the poor. There may be related scenes to follow.
April 4, 2017, 7 p.m.
Arx - Between the Boroughs
Comments and Log
1 Saik Guard, Bodyguard arrive, following Karadoc.
It is morning in Arx. The air is cold and humid. Along the road that leads through the Lower Boroughs, from the docks and up to the gate into the Uppers, a commotion is disrupting everyday traffic. It's far enough that it's out from under the Guard's immediate nose, but traffic's thinner than usual, and there have been complaints.
A group of around twenty men and women from the lowers have taken it upon themselves to cut off the road and conduct an improvised inspection of passing vehicles. While pedestrians and lone riders are allowed by, as well as a few carts, at least a small convoy of three, loaded with sacks, have been stopped to the side of the road, and it looks like they've been there for a while, enough for wheels to sink into the soft, damp dirt.
Reese arrives while adorned in her silvery steel plate. She has a pink sword at one hip and a steel mace at her other hip. A cloak of the Iron Guard hangs from her shoulders. A falcon is perched upon her right shoulder and a hound follows close at her legs. She is along with Luca. Reese looks toward the stopped carts and the crowd. A sigh escapes from her lips. "Well, I am on duty, I should go take care of this." She says to the prince.
From the Lower Boroughs, comes a hero! Well, no, not a hero. He's a scruffy-looking peasant. With gold earrings hidden behind a mess of hair and underneath a flimsy leather hood. He's also wearing some mildly-dirty leather armor, but only looks to be carrying a small, improvised shiv for a weapon, that can be seen. He's headed to the Upper Boroughs, but once he sees the commotion, he's stopped and looking about, trying to get a feel for what's going on... And to see if he knows the Low Folk conducting the 'inspections'. He's lived in the Lower Boroughs all his life after all. You get to know names after a while.
Karadoc had been ridign along with the cart, his guards flanking on either side of it. He was dressed in his white and green of his family, and looked mostly half asleep. He'd not even noticed the cart stopped for some time. "What's this now?..." He looked over those that had held up the wagons up front.
Silas is doing his routine look-around with his small guard retinue when he comes upon the scene. Initially he doesn't notice anything off, for it isn't in their immediate proximity, but a loud complaint or two has inevitably drawn his attention and he shifts his gaze to the three stationary carts. He attempts to guage who was the ringleader approaches, slowly, allowing the group plenty of time to respond to his impending arrival.
Joscelin is in the lowers checking on the warehouses and the flow of supplies, goods being dispensed and rationed a recent concern of hers. She's dressed in cottons and work clothes, leather boots, plain clothes save the work of her own trade to decorate them. Her coat as well, wool and beautifully made, was crafted by another crafter; it's common knowledge that Joscelin Arterius is proud of her Guild and enjoys being their walking advertisement.
She's speaking to a merchant who supplies her Guild with various fabrics, making sure he's been getting what he needs for his family. Walking along, conversing, the conversation between the two pauses, the Guildmaster's eyes on the commotion and the carts. "Messere," she says aside to the merchant. "Let me know if you need anything or you have any trouble, yes?" Her companion runs off and the jeweler heads over to the source of the fuss, eyes and ears open, the plump, pretty jeweler observant and quiet.
"Do your hot Guardswoman thing, Ribbons. I'm just here to admire." And...ya know, stab someone in the face if they try to hurt Reese. But can anyone really blame him? In any case, Luca's rich Lenosian accent is playful and relaxed as he's been for months, despite the possible violence and trouble they're heading into, clad unarmed for speed over defense today, apparently not imagining mobs of their own people are quite as deserving of the diresnake scale armor he takes into war with Bringers. He may regret that later when he gets shanked for his troubles. Still, he's bearing a dark cloak with the rising pommels of the viper-headed blades over his shoulders, so he's more than ready for trouble should it come. And hey, if it doesn't, at least the tight leather pants and flowy cerulean linen shirt make for a nice lazy Lycene fashion statement.
Reese seems relieved upon noticing that Silas is here. Yay the boss! She waves in his direction as if meaning to let him know that she is nearby. She gives Lord Karadoc and Joscelin a nod of greeting. Finally she turns back to Lura, giving him a gentle smile. "Okay, wish me luck." She starts to draw closer to the gathering of those around the guard. "May I ask what the trouble is?" She questions, lifting her voice to carry.
"That's our grain you got there. We need it for bread, so you're not taking it anywhere but the miller's, and at a fair price!" A rosy-cheeked, heavyset woman in a crude wool dress, with a red cap upon on her head and a club in one hand, stands at the front of the crowd, warning the carters with a loud, boming voice. She's a local, just a face around town, no one of great importance other than to her family and perhaps her employer. And so are the rest of them, laborers and homemakers.
The carters look at each other, then at the crowd, uncertainly. The woman isn't the only one with a club in hand, and others have staves with them, though none seem immediately hostile. Merely firm. Other than these, other locals and stragglers have gathered about to watch the show. The chill wind carries sounds of vague approval.
"They're taking our grain! Seen the price of bread? It's a shame, it's what it is, taking advantage of people!"
Working to get in towards the loudest of the mob, Joscelin clears her throat and tries to tug on the tunic of one of the carters, smiling brightly. "Guildmaster Arterius, neighbor. Where's your inventory slip and paperwork for this grain? What warehouse did it come from?" she asks him politely, curious.
Karadoc gave a nod to Reese, and hopped off his wagon, trudging along through the muk with a grimace. He looked up as the people started to speak up, "Prices are rising all over. It's why we've been working to keep the rationing fair through the city...." He looked them over curiously.
Reese sucks in a soft breath as she listens to the woman speak. She then turns her attention to Joscelin, nodding in response to her words. She seems to think she is handling it well. She then turns to Karadoc. "Oh." She says softly and with grave concern, suggesting she not fully aware of the grain situation.
Silas pauses briefly in his step when he notices Reese's wave. He nods back, offering a small smile, before continuing and halting a few yards away from the commotion. He inclines his head to look at Joscelin, eyebrows raising in surprise. "Fortune to have you here, Guildmistress," he notes. He turns to the crowd, taking note of the mood. "Lower your weapons," he commands firmly. "There won't be any violence here."
Karadoc looked over to the people, "Have you not been recieving your aloted rations?" He raised a brow, watching them curiously.
Does Luca look fractionally put out at the claim that there'll be no violence here? Maybe, but he's behaving mostly. Which is to say, he's just stalking along vaguely behind Reese and keeping his yap shut, smirking fractionally, or maybe he just has Resting Smirk Face. Either way, the prince at least isn't decked out in finery that'd immediately name him such, and he's not doing anything _too_ offensive, so we can call that a win for now. How long he'll manage not to mouth off though is anyone's guess.
Asher thinks a few moments, and nods his head a bit in agreement. Sure, the price has gone up. Makes sense that the Low Folk would do something akin to this. "Rations? I don't think everyone's been getting them. At even then, lots of families stretch things thin because they have to.
Joscelin gives a wink to Silas as she makes room for him, looking to the carter and the other workers, traders, even merchants here. She's calm, gold eyes clear, waiting to hear about where this grain has come from, exactly. "I hope it is fortuitous," she tells the Lord-Commander with a smile. "Every effort has been made to keep everything equal between the boroughs, I'd hate to think this is someone taking advantage, from either side of the city."
"Guildmaster? It's just the same we always deliver, we never had any trouble! It's all in order. It's all Mistress Allgood's grain. See?" the carter in the lead blinks and gestures back towards the sacks on the cart, all with the grain merchant's symbol on them. "Got papers for it, I guess." and he digs under his seat for a somewhat wrinkled piece.
The woman in front frowns, and looks back to Silas with a wary eye, studying the guards. "Not planning on any violence. Got a right to defend myself, don't I? This is just in case of Shavs." she lowers the club to her side, and points with her empty hand to the carts instead, "As long as they take that straight to the miller!" she yells out, then squints at Karadoc, "I'm sure the price of bread going up doesn't hurt you any, my Lord! But it's gone up again since last week, and there's just not enough for a whole family."
There's a small glance from Asher to Karadoc, as well. "Things are organized well, but there are a lot of folk in the city. Most of the poor still need to buy food to survive. So their children don't go hungry." There's a small click of his tongue. "Still," he gives a glance over towards the 'inspectors' who have made the hold up, "I don't think the Twelve would appreciate this kind of action. Work with the heart, not with force." Religious guilt works wonders, sometimes. Even on merchants, and so he looks to Joscelin. "Might be that some forgiveness and understanding and a bit of investigation on why prices are rising, could go a long way, aye?" There's a sly wink. "And maybe the Gods'll look kindly on that, too. Might even ferret out some bad eggs."
Reese sucks in another soft breath as she hears the talk of grain continue. She keeps her hand away from her pink blade, not wanting to draw her weapon on the civilians. "I think looking into the shortage and rising prices would be a good thing. I am sure that Princess Lark would like to know and would like to do what she can to help." She murmurs softly.
Luca can't help but give a quiet suppressed snort to the claim of clubs for Shavs despite...you know, the mass gathering of angry people. But he's still holding back, keeping cinnamon eyes shifting over the crowds, especially those nearer the blonde Grayson princess. He's slowly growing more somber as things progress, the smirk barest upward twist of one corner of lips, the eyes not laughing anymore. Maybe he's realizing the numbers involved, seeing the degree of anger, and counting the number of people here that could try to defend the carts. It's not a calculation that's coming out looking great for Team Lawful if this goes ugly.
Karadoc laughed long and loud when it was stated it didn't hurt him, "My good woman, I am from House Saik. I've nothing but grape flavored water and gruel since long BEFORE the seige started. Let along after." He looked to Asher, "Prices go up when demand does. There's been shortages across, and people making due. It'd be much worse than it is, had Crown Princess Lark not gathered together those with a mind to help the city stay fed, and our people strong." He gave a nod to Reese, and looked to the others. "Can I see your bill there?" He asked curiously.
The Guildmaster is frowning, listening, looking to Asher and raising an eyebrow at the younger man. "I only work with heart, most everyone knows that, but there shouldn't be a climb in prices, not one so high as to make people -hungry-," she says softly, taking the paper from the carter, looking it over to see that it's legit and in order. "And to be fair, madam, the rising price of bread hurts -all- of us. The silks know who grinds their grain and procures their foodstuffs, some better than most."
Gold eyes scan the page, and soon Joscelin is nodding, offering it to Silas for her perusal, should he like to. "This is all in order, nothing funny or forged. Basic receipt and being taken to a distillery."
Silas tilts his head, listening to the conversation but having little compulsion to contribute his opinion. Instead he concentrates on the problem in front of him. He accepts the receipt from Joscelin and gives it a once-over himself. "The carts will go where they are intended, according to this receipt. They are legally bound to follow it," he explains to the irate woman. "If there is any wrongdoing elswhere, we will fix it."
Reese nods in mute agreement with Silas, the Grayson princess is normally on team Lord Commander Silas though. She seems ready to back him up as needed.
"Ask him how come that bread's not going to the miller! Go on, ask him! We want bread, and there's hardly in the market at a good price, and he's taking the grain to the Uppers? We don't care about no demands going up, we want to pay a fair price for bread!" the rosy woman in front yells out. She's not talking to Silas or Karadoc, she's addressing the crowd. And the crowd starts to thicken, though it's still only around thirty or so directly in front of the carts. But it's a good show, so more people are drawn in for the entertainment value.
"A distillery! How's that right when there's no bread? My boys can't live on whiskey!" the ringleader bellows indignantly, and there's a slight rumble of assent, "Not even ale, whiskey!"
She looks to Silas and points again to the carts, "If that's not wrongdoing, what is? We can't afford bread, and she's taking our grain for fine whiskeys to drink in their fine houses. That's wrongdoing! We're not stealing. We just want them to take that to the miller." the woman she nods her head and folds her arms across her chest.
Asher nods slowly, thinking a bit. He clearly agrees or knows what the situation is in the city for the most part, even if this is the first he's heard of prices going up too much. "Might not be price going up on the delivery end, aye? Might be somewhere else. Think there should be a look-see starting from the shops, and work towards where the price went up." He's gently rubbing his chin. Thinking. "I don't doubt the goodwill being given, either," he notes as he looks to Karadoc, "House Saik is good folk." But then he hears 'distillery' and blinks a bit, looking to Joscelin. "...Wait. Really? I like to drink as much as the next man, but you can't survive on that." He ponders a bit. "How much coin is all this delivery worth? Thinkin' of buying it instead of letting it go towards strong drink."
Joscelin frowns. "Why is Mistress Allgood sending this to the distillery?" she muses to Silas, looking at the irate woman. "She makes a good point, this should be headed towards a miller."
Joscelin frowns. "Why is Mistress Allgood sending this to the distillery?" she muses to Silas, looking at the irate woman. "She makes a good point, this should be headed towards a miller." She passes the bill to Karadoc, too, to let the lord look over it as well.
Reese sucks in a soft breath as she lingers close by. "It should go to a miller." She agrees.
Luca's actually left furrowing brows and peering at the wagon at the accusation of it being for liquor. He's murmuring out a baffled. "Seriously? _Now?_" And then trying to peer over Silas' and Reese's shoulders to try and get a peek at the receipt to see if that's confirmed. Asher's idea of buying it gets a slightly grimaced nod of possible agreement, though without much expectation they'd be able to afford it. properly.
Silas sighs and rubs at his face. "If the distillery paid for it, where we think it should go doesn't really matter. It is theirs." He wrinkles his nose at Asher. "Though I suppose if the transaction is still open, it can be bought for a higher price. Otherwise it is pretty straight-forward. Mistress Allgood can send her goods where she likes, regardless of our opinion on the matter." He shrugs his shoulders. "Though perhaps she can be persuaded..."
Karadoc looked over the bill, quiet for a moment as his near half asleep eyes looked it over. "This is legitimate." He frowned a bit. Speaking quietly for the others close around, "Even buying the shipment out right will cause ripples through the market... And with timese as tense as they are... I believe I could likely speak with her, to arrange better use for us and profit for her, of her shipments. But that will take time. Time you may not have here and now."
"Look, I'm just driving my cart. All I know is Mistress Allgood lost a lot of coin when the warehouse caught on fire. The papers are in order, aren't they? We didn't have any trouble last week with the Guard or anyone." The carter looks from Joscelin, to Karadoc, then to Silas. "Everything's in order, m'Lord. You'll have to take that up with Mistress Allgood. I just hear the millers aren't paying as much, 'cause of the rationing and everything, too."
The protest leader nods her head as -some- of the higher and mightier folk agree with her, before turning her frown onto Silas, "How's that right? That's not right! All so she can make a little more coin? How's that right!?"
The carter looks around, to Silas and then to Asger, "Look, all we got is orders to take the grain to the distillery, that's all."
And then, there's a voice from the back, "Haven't seen Mistress Allgood since the fires! Maybe she's one of them Shavs in disguise now! Trying so starve us!" and the rumbling among the crowd grows louder, and hands clench their clubs and staves a little tighter.
Reese hmms softly. "Why don't we join the carts on their way to the Mistress Allgood and speak with her and try to buy her grain?" She murmurs softly.
Luca murmurs something too quiet for any but Reese, whom he's moved up behind closer in support of, passing a mildly glare past her to the rabble-rousing leader of the herd. He's not _quite_ reaching up for his blades, but there's a certain tension to the steel cord muscles under the flow of linen that speaks to motion prepared and waiting. He at least doesn't see this going over well.
Asher gives a shrug. "If it's bought and paid for, it's bought and paid for. But, she could still sell it for a higher price, buy more at the original price, and go ahead and make her whiskey." At the mention of Shavs in disguise, Asher turns and looks. "You all can't be serious. What would you do if she were one?" A gesture to the people with swords - and fancy ones at that - while still looking to the crowd. "How many folk here know who I am? Heard of the Dirty Rat?" Likely a small number either way, more for the alias than his face. "If you do, then you know this is what I do. I come into money recently, been saving for a rainy day. Well... It's raining. I'll see if Mistress Allgood can be persuaded with coin." A small shrug, looking over towards the 'richer' people here, with official titles and such. "Unless you lot want to deal with hungry, reasonably irritated folk what are scared for their families and willing to die for them."
Joscelin shares a glance and a few words with Silas, before she winces at Asher. "Hold there, fellow, buying -this- shipment doesn't solve the problem with the millers not paying enough or the distillery offering more, or the grain merchant selling it to the latter and not the former."
Karadoc checked charm + propaganda against difficulty 30, resulting in 12, 18 lower than the difficulty.
Joscelin checked command + leadership against difficulty 30, resulting in 36, 6 higher than the difficulty.
Asher checked charm + streetwise against difficulty 30, resulting in 45, 15 higher than the difficulty.
Reese looks over the crowd. "I am Princess Reese Grayson. We will escort these carts and attempt to purchase the grain and then we will bring the grain back here to help feed the people. But we have to follow the law and offer her silver in exchange. It would only be fair. But we will try to get this grain for you in a lawful and orderly fashion."
Silas checked command + leadership against difficulty 30, resulting in 32, 2 higher than the difficulty.
Reese checked charm + leadership against difficulty 30, resulting in 34, 4 higher than the difficulty.
Leta checked charm + athletics against difficulty 30, resulting in 29, 1 lower than the difficulty.
Silas hands the receipt back to the head carter, looking a touch sympathetic. He was aware these men were just doing their jobs, not intending to be villains. "She lost her goods in the warehouse fire and she is attempting to make the most of what she's got left. This transaction, by the looks of it, is finished. We could speak to her and have the Iron Guard pay for any proceeding shipments so they can be brought to the miller, however -- we can afford it." He looks aside to Joscelin. "Unless the Crafters Guild can find a more immediate solution to this problem." His eyes dart over to the man - or woman - loudly declaring Mistress Allgood to be a hidden shav. "Enough!" His voice is stridently raised.
Karadoc had nodded, and spoke along with the others, "We'll be going with the shipment, and we'll figure out what's going on here. See if we can't figure out a way to make her her money, and make sure all you get fed. I mean, worse case senario, I'll talk to Lark, and have a meeting with Rook, so we'll figure out something..." He kinda pettered out talking as the shouting about Shav's in disguise started up, and looked to the others.
The crowd seems to be mollified or, in the clase of Silas's yelling, mildly startled into quieting down for now.
A few nod towards Asher in recognition, and Reese and Silas also get uneasy looks of agreement at the mention of purchasing the cart loads of grain. This seems to satisfy most of the crowd, at least, not just thirty or forty or so gathered on the road, but the watchers as well.
Karadoc largely gets confused looks, like the names dropped don't sound quite right without their titles attached.
Others, however, rumble in agreement with Josceline, "That's right! What about tomorrow? If you buy it at the price they want, what's to stop them from doing the same thing tomorrow? Then what? She'll raise prices even higher!"
"That's 'cause she's a Shav! They look just like everyone."but this time the man's voice in the back is more timidly subdued, and its owner is trying to hide from Silas. It's all the yelling.
Luca grimaces to Joscelin's talk of whether it'll help and gruffs back at her. "It'd help these people in the short term. The bigger picture can be looked at when there isn't a mob being rabble-roused into idiotic violence, J." Luca pauses at that, glaring a little disapproving furrow-browed gaze over the Guards sorts at the woman leading all this problematic stuff. Oh gods, why does Luca open his mouth ever? He was doing so good and being quiet too!!! "Either way, maybe Mistress Allgood could be talked into at the least taking the difference in cost for what the distillery pays from what the miller's are until the discrepancy could be worked out by the Crown's people." After the rabble start to rouse the talk of Shav's in disguise again, Luca's growling out at the ring leader. "As to her being a Bringer or a Shav. Trust me, lady, if she is, she'll die soon enough. A number have been hunted down and killed already and there can't be many left at this point in the city since it's kept locked up tight and I can assure you I haven't found another for days. Calm yourself about that shit and stop trying to light fires where there aren't any!" Yup. Still totally not with the helping.
The Guildmaster listens to all of them, including Luca, then says, loud enough for all to hear, "Why don't we do both? Lord Saik, Lord-Commander Silas, Prince Luca, Lady Reese, you can purchase the grain outright at the distillery to inform them of what's happened, and I can take Mistress Allgood the might of the Guild ... and tell her that she and any others that send her grain to be made into -booze- instead of -bread- will have their Guild contracts restricted, or revoked completely. This is -not- the time for -money- and -greed- to prevail; all of us need to eat, from pauper to princess."
Reese looks to the others. "Well, lets escort the carts to Mistress Allgood?" She says. She then turns to the gathered crowd giving them a somber smile. "We will do our best in this matter." She says. Luca is given a nod. "That is true, Prince Luca, will not allow an enemy of Compact to live free in this city, unless they turn into a not-enemy of course."
Silas grunts as Luca goes on. "I think they got the point. Except that guy in the back." The one still yelling about her being a shav and attempting to avoid him. "The carts are going from Allgood to the distillery as the receipt dictates. This shipment is paid for -- there is nothing we can do, unless you then want an angry distiller and a different angry mob. Grain will soon be more valuable than silver." He then nods to Joscelin. "Speak with her. Make it more valuable to sell to the millers, if you have to. This siege won't last forever, thankfully."
Karadoc gave a nod, "Right... That's what I was saying..." He muttered a bit. He looked to Silas, "I'll see what I can do with the others."
Asher snorts at the crowd. "Listen, the Shavs aren't exactly in the right mind to be skulking about. You see one, and you'll know. They're quiet - silent, in fact. Bringers, on the other hand, tend towards violence. And Mistress Allgood has been here for... How long? Quite a ways before the siege?" His hands are on his hips, giving whoever said that Allgood is a Shav or Bringer a look of outright frown. "I helped kill one. One who tried to set a fire in the Uppers. Wasn't easy. But it got done. They want us to fight against each other. You let people handle it, and stop causing problems, y'hear? Something goes wrong, tell the Iron Guard. Tell an Inquisitor if things go bad. Tell a Grayhope, tell a Saik, tell /someone/ who you know will get things done and fixed. This will be over soon, and we can go about our lives in peace." A glance behind him, towards the people who will help take care of it. "And uh, just to make sure, splash a bit of holy water on Mistress Allgood, aye?" He winks. It's funny to him. He knows Allgood won't turn out to be evil, just a tad greedy.
"That's just what a Shav would say!"
"Why'd he mention lighting fires!?" someone else asks. "I hear the Shav Bringers have been lighting fires!"
"Quiet down, the princeling's not a Shav!"
"How do you know!? The one what murdered a Duke looked like a Seraph!"
At least part of the crowd is no longer concerned about prices. Good going, Luca.
"Someone fetch a Godsworn with holy water!
Good going, Asher.
The ones who are mostly concerned about prices try to shush the more panicky members of the group, or nod their somewhat reluctant agreement with the plans, such as they are, "But we need bread today too!"
The carter in front sighs and wipes at his face, "Look, it's like Lord Commander Mercier says, it's all paid for. You - you'll have to buy it from the distillery if you want it, that's where we're taking the carts. You can talk to Mistress Allgood if you like, though. I just drive the carts, that's all."
Joscelin flicks gold eyes to Karadoc, frowning at the man, before she settles the expression on Silas. "Can you make them listen to you? The distillery? I can grant you some authority on the Guild's behalf if you like, tell the distillery proprietor that it won't do him well after the war if he's remembered as buying food to turn it into drink, will it? I know a half dozen crafters that won't purchase from them again, if that's the case, and their reputation will sour, they'd lose their contracts too. It would work on them as well as Mistress Allgood; it's clear that their weakness is -money-."
"Oh for fuck sake." Luca's sighing out at the calls he's hearing, shaking his head and reaching down under his cloak and pulling out a simple canteen which he's holding aloft for the crowd. "I hunt the fucking things! I've got a shelf full of their skulls. Holy water burns them. This water has been blessed." He flicks the cap and pours some down on his hand, then with other hand in a blindingly fast motion is drawing the mirror-dark sabre from his left, diamondplate gleaming as he holds it upward. "Diamondplate burns them!" He holds it to his bare hand without effect. With an irritated flick of the hand with the canteen he showers droplets of the blessed water out over the crowd and proclaims angrily. "Stop being fucking idiots to people trying to help you!"
Silas checked command + leadership against difficulty 40, resulting in 30, 10 lower than the difficulty.
Joscelin checked command + leadership against difficulty 40, resulting in 53, 13 higher than the difficulty.
Reese checked charm + leadership against difficulty 40, resulting in 19, 21 lower than the difficulty.
Karadoc checked intellect + economics against difficulty 30, resulting in 55, 25 higher than the difficulty.
Asher checked charm + streetwise against difficulty 40, resulting in 29, 11 lower than the difficulty.
Silas furrows his brows at Joscelin's proposal, biting into his lower lip. "Not overly fond of bullying merchants, but..." That was really his brother's job. "Perhaps the circumstances call for such measures. I will see what I can do." It looks like he intends to join the cart parade too. As Luca continues to rant on and incite the mob further by calling them idiots, Silas reminds himself to never ask Luca to join the Iron Guard. "By the Gods, -shut up-! All of you!"
Leta checked stamina + seduction against difficulty 30, resulting in 22, 8 lower than the difficulty.
Reese looks toward Luca and her blue eyes widen with concern. "Luca!" She says. There is a warm flush to her cheek and she seems quite displeased with the southern prince. "It will be fine, we got this..." She says, sounding all uncertain and insecure. She probably isn't helping anyone calm down. Reese moves toward the parade of carts, intending to follow.
Asher ooc :cackle
Karadoc listened to the others, and shook his head, "You know... I've... A few people I can talk to. If you need bread today... I'll get you bread today. Give me an hour, and I'll have grain rolling this way."
Asher would have said something, but Luca got to it first. He opens his mouth, then closes it... And then opens it again. "Well, there ya go, people. We got in hand. Go home." He's then trying to get people to shoo, to go home. More at the behest of Luca than anything. "Spend time with your family! Don't be afraid! Fear means they win!"
The Guildmaster for the Crafters (and merchants') Guild is well known by both her peers and the families they have, as well as the traders they by from and so on, down the line, many with stable jobs among the commoners can credit the Crafters Guild for their good fortune. Perhaps it's this that helps persuade the people when her clear, mellow tones rise above the din of confusion and growing panic:
"His Lordship here is offering a to feed you now while the others take the grain on its way, to the person that -purchased it-." She raises a mollifying hand to the murmur that would rise. "The Lord-COmmander and his guardsmen are right, we need to obey the law in this. However, we won't last long as a civilized people if we have our own fellows, merchants and suppliers that live next door to us, price-gouging while we rationing everything. I vow to discuss this with the merchants, and make sure it's clear that greed is not worth souring their relationships in the city. When this siege is over, we don't want anyone worried about less-than-honorable actions that could lead to dire repercussions, do we?"
A dead mouse flies through the air in Luca's general direction.
A spoiled head of cabbage tumbles onto the ground at Silas's feet.
Reese gets a clod of dirt kicked in her direction.
Asher gets odd looks of disapproval and, "You go home! Or give us some of that money, then!"
A few people do start to scatter however, however, though a few more join the group. They are, eventually, subdued. That is to say, they seem to be accepting things for now, though many of them are still glaring at the Lycene prince. At least no one exploded into sizzling bubbles when sprinkled by holy water, though it's likely the holy water didn't hit the protesters in the back.
The rosy-cheeked ringleader waves her arms about to calm the crowd, though she does so reluctantly, and looks from Karadoc to Joscelin, "Fine! You get us bread, my Lord. But you better get us bread! And if there's no bread tomorrow, we'll have to go and fetch it ourselves!" she scowls, but backs up into the crowd as the volume of the protests go down after a rippling murmur of assent.
Luca just glares right back at the crowds, snapping the supposedly blessed water canteen shut again and with just as much speed as he drew it, swinging diamondplate blade up to slam home in sheath. He's giving Reese a look then, vaguely contrite, albeit still irritable, and he's keeping his trap shut from further trouble. Thank the gods for small miracles. Or at least thank Ribbons.
Karadoc let out a breath, "Well there's that then... Looks like I've got some work to do..." He huffed, and frowned, looking none too pleased at that.
Silas strides forward, gesturing to the carters. "Let us go so you folks may complete your job and get paid," Silas murmurs towards them, mindful of the crowd but intending to cut a path for them. His retinue is ordered to help pry the wheels from the mud they're stuck in. "The quicker we solve this, the better..."
A soft troubled sound escapes from Reese as she gets dirty kicked in her direction. Still it fails to actually harm the princess, being well dirt! She looks over to Luca. "Be good, Prince Luca." She murmurs in his direction, sounding a bit bossy. She then starts to move forward through the crowd along with Silas. She has yet to draw her weapon.
The Guildmaster relaxes a fraction, then moves to follow Silas, to help as she may, telling him quietly, "Let me talk to the proprietor of the distillery? I need to know how long this has been going on."
Asher gives a huge frown at whoever told him to go home. "Sod off, I /am/ home, rest my head down near the Murder." He then turns to the group actually trying to fix the problem. "Alright then. Not that I don't trust you all, but some of these folk don't. Mind if I tag along, make sure things go smoothly? Might ease their minds. The ones who decided to let you folk deal with the issue, that is." He pulls his hood down, finally, and maybe a bit of his earrings shine in the light. "Maybe even just to help get the bread delivered and stop a badly-organized riot."
The ground is slightly soft, but the wheels haven't sunk completely into the dirt. It takes some effort to get the carts going, and only a few of the crowd volunteer to assist with this. It doesn't take long to get the carts out of the mud, but that's still long enough for voices to rise behind the group, "Hurry up then! What's the delay over there? I've got hogs to deliver!"
It's under a colorful assortment of yelling and forceful encouragement, and under suspicious glares from the crowd, that the carts get slowly moving again towards the gates just up the hill, eventually followed by the rest of the horse-drawn traffic which had been backed up down the length of Beach Walk.
Luca spreads his hands to show how much he's behaving even while ruining the effect by casting a mild wink to Reese and quipping faintly to her. "Already with the wifely whip-cracking to make me behave? Just for you." He's shaking his head ruefully, then eying the crowd's reaction to things. Asher's talk of going with to see the delivery finished earning a bit of a snort. He's adding his own. "And I'll go just in case I need to cut off Allgood's head as an infiltrator, but I suspect I'm not anywhere near that lucky."
Karadoc walked back over to his cart, and motioned to his men to get it moving in the line. He called out to the others, "I'll be off, and see about gathering what I can for these people now. Send word after, and let me know if I'll need to adress this at my meeting with Crown Princess Lark."
Silas nods to Joscelin, offering a relieved smile. "Sure, I was hoping you'd come." He looks to the others who offer to join him and Reese. "Sure, the more the merrier, I suppose. Just no troublemaking on the way." Luca is given one lingering look, before he fixates his gaze ahead and continues to lead the carts in the (generally) correct direction. "Be well, Lord Saik."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Karadoc before departing.
Reese looks over to Luca. "Well, it is not my fault, you have issues." The Grayson princess says to the prince. She keeps close to Silas and she tries to help the carts make it over the dirt as she can.
Joscelin smiles at Silas, and looks to Karadoc. "Thank you, my lord, for your aid," the woman says sincerely. Her gold eyes look to Asher; she's trying not to chuckle at his antics. "And you as well."
"It's not charity we want, my Lord! It's bread to eat at a fair price!" one voice calls out after Karadoc. Another quickly cuts in, "We don't mind charity, though." in a tone that suggests someone was just elbowed in the ribs. But there are still angry and suspicious eyes among the more or less ragged, more or less dirty club-wielders. They'll likely be here, waiting.
Asher manages to help push the cart along, out of the mud. Or, it looks like it. He's doing his best, and he'll accompany it on as well. And hopefully, he'll be able to help there at the distillery... Or perhaps just in escorting the bread back. He tips his head towards Joscelin in a 'you are welcome' kind of manner. But clearly he believes words won't help right now.
"And yet you asked me to marry. What's that say about yours?" Luca can't help but quip back to Reese as he's setting off with them. He doesn't seem particularly hurt that _he_ doesn't receive any thanks from the people. Or surprised.
Karadoc gave a nod to Silas and Joscelin, and a wave as he rumbled along the way with his men.
Karadoc checked charm + economics against difficulty 15, resulting in 47, 32 higher than the difficulty.
Silas hasn't truly thanked anyone yet, in his defense! He eyes the ones who glare at them suspiciously as they pass by, but otherwise he's going to lead the carts and goods to their destination without any additional conversation. His retinue forms a protective ring behind the parade of ragtag... cart guards?
Meeka arrives, delivering a message to Silas before departing.
Max, an emperor tamarin arrives, delivering a message to Reese before departing.
Reese looks over to Luca and her cheeks warm with a pink hue. "I did do that." She says shyly, but for everyone to hear. She continues along with the cart, trying to be as helpful as she can.
Joscelin accompanies the guard, speaking quietly to Luca and Reese and the others, thanking them profusely for their loyalty and patience.
Luca casts another wink to Reese, clearly not the least bit inclined to keep things on the down low and utterly happy now that they're finally moving. He'll accompany all the way to meeting with Allgood if he gets the opportunity. Course, who is _really_ going to let him go up to random greedy merchant's and throw holy water in their face or something?
It's an uneventful trip, other than having to navigate muddy terrain here and there before the carts reach the cobblestone streets of the Upper Boroughs. Some of the protesting crowd tag salong with the small cart convoy, off to the sides of the road, some distance away, keeping track of the carts. But they don't want to miss the promised bread distribution, so most of them slip away. Then only a couple of urchins remain, marching along behind the carts and the Lord Commander of the Iron Guard and the Grayson Princess and the Velenosa Princess and the Guildmaster, and Asher too, as if they're keeping watch on their prisoners and parading their spoils about town.
One carter looks confused, "So we're going to the distillery, right? Not Mistress Allgood's?"
"Aye," Silas replies to the carter, then stops and looks over his shoulder at the man. "We -are- going in the correct direction, right?"
Joscelin elbows Silas with a smile. "You need to relearn your lowers, Lord-Commander." And then she blushes! That sounded wrong! She coughs, gestures. "Yes, we're going the right way. To the distillery."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Joscelin before departing.
Senza Luce arrives, delivering a message to Joscelin before departing.
Joscelin gets a plain sword of excellent make from a leather satchel.
The distillery is not very far, in one of the more remote southern corners of the Uppers, in a smal, squat, nondescript wooden building, with a wide open door downstairs, where a few barrels and bottles are displayed for sale, though many more seem ready to be carted off for sale. Some workers come down as the carts arrive, ready to lug the sacks of grain inside. There's a supervisor as well, making note of the amount of bags being lugged in, and a guard wrapped in a cloak and dozing off.
Only once the group are well away from crowds and on way to the distillery does he mutter to Asher, Silas, Joscelin, and Reese. "Just to toss it out there. The last skull on my shelf came from a Bringer that made itself look like the assistant of a woman he was going to assassinate. So...ya know, the whole holy water to the face idea isn't actually the worst one ever. But figured it'd go badly to spread that bit." He's notably doing so quiet enough hopefully not to get the cart drivers freaking out and spreading talk of face-changing Bringer spies. But bad enough he's putting this particular nightmare on these sorts that he is. Still, he'll not push for it as they go throught he motions of getting the cart unloaded and someone hopefully arranging the meeting with the merchant he apparently wants to test.
Joscelin is the Guildmaster, so she approaches the supervisor first if she can. "Greetings. Joscelin Arterius with Lord-Commander Silas. Where's the proprietor?" she asks, voice strong, clear and carrying. She has a very no-bullshit look on her face, and -not- pleased a bit.
Silas succeeds in leading the cart parade to their destination. He gestures his men to rejoin him at the front, but he lets Joscelin do the negotiating. He mostly stands there, looking stern and intimidating like a Lord Commander ought to. His blue eyes do drift over to the barrels and bottles.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Reese before departing.
Silas also murmurs his reply to Luca. It's inaudible, though!
Reese peeks over to Luca, nodding in response to his words. "It wasn't a bad idea, Prince Luca. The words that went along with the holy water, maybe they were." She says, but Reese seems to be calmed now. Her smile to him is gentle. She gets a message along the way, a few of them actually. "Your uncle just wrote me." She glances over to the supervisor. "So, who does the talking?"
"Why? Proprietor's ill. Poor man's got the gout pretty bad, he can hardly walk. Why, is there something wrong?" the moustachio'd supervisor, dressed in a bright green robe, asks of Joscelin, looking around at the Lord Commander and the rest. It's a worrying sort of crowd, and he looks a quite worried and pale when he takes them in, hugging his clipboard to his chest.Suddenly, there are rocks flying through the air. One hits one of the workers, another clonks against the side of the cart, a window shatters. And they just keep coming. The urchins have decided to launch an all-out assault against the distillery.
"Why, you little..." One of the big burly workers sets off at a run after the urchins.
Asher checked dexterity + dodge against difficulty 15, resulting in 25, 10 higher than the difficulty.
Silas checked dexterity + dodge against difficulty 15, resulting in 50, 35 higher than the difficulty.
Reese checked dexterity + dodge against difficulty 15, resulting in 23, 8 higher than the difficulty.
Luca checked dexterity + dodge against difficulty 15, resulting in 59, 44 higher than the difficulty.
Joscelin checked command + leadership against difficulty 30, resulting in 30, 0 higher than the difficulty.
Leta checked dexterity + athletics against difficulty 15, resulting in 27, 12 higher than the difficulty.
Asher checked dexterity + athletics against difficulty 15, resulting in 29, 14 higher than the difficulty.
Luca just looks kind of bemused when rocks start flying, his eyes turning to the source, head shifting millimeters to the left to let the one rock that comes for him pass by effortlessly. With an arch sort of brow, he's glancing to nearest worker sort and asking dryly. "That sort of thing happen a lot lately? I mean...not that I blame them much in times like these, but Abyssal shame and waste of whiskey if they managed to break a couple bottles.'
Almost immediately, Asher turns about. And the kids? Well they get a glare from the man of the Lowers. He spots out the tallest or otherwise oldest-looking kid, and darts after him, to catch up to him, grab him by the tunic, and wrap him into a headlock. Maybe Asher's fast and strong enough to do this, and then to drag the kid back to the distillery to explain himself.
Silas blinks when a rain of rocks falls upon them. He sidesteps one projectile which nearly beans in him the head, but hits one of the men in his retinue instead. Thankfully, they were all wearing helms! There's some sour grumbling from Leonard, though. He turns back to the supervisor with a grunt. "Perhaps we should do this inside? We still need to speak with him, even if he's abed."
Reese dodges the incoming rocks, but she seems troubled by them. She glances over the urchins an sighs softly. "Inside would be good." She says, agreeing with Silas.
Joscelin snaps at the workers that want to make pursuit: "HOY. REMEMBER WHO THE ADULTS ARE, HERE." If a woman can bristle, she's bristling. She gestures in agreement with Silas. "Yes, we do need to speak to him. -Now-." Her eyes narrow at the supervisor.
Silas also adds, in the direction of the kid Asher brings with him. "We'll toss him in a cell by himself and speak with his mother."
"What's going on? What's the meaning of this?" the supervisor ducks behind the nearest cart, giving Lords and Princes and all an accusatory glare, as if they are to blame for the flying rocks.
There are two raggedy young kids from the Lowers up front in the middle of the road, the taller of the two even grabbing an actual cobblestone to toss. There are a couple more, a short distance back, a younger boy and a girl, tossing smaller pebbles. They scatter to the winds as soon as they see people running towards them, but the taller of the bunch is caught.
The workers look angry, and one of them's already setting off at a run, when his steps falter slightly at Joscelin's voice. Asher runs past him to grab the urchin, so he shrugs. Another looks at Luca, "No, why the fuck would it happen, my Lord? We're just making whiskey here, who's got anything against whiskey?"
"Let me go! Let go! You're a Bringer too I bet! You got Bringer eyes!" the urchin kicks and screams as Asher drags him along. And that starts to draw a small crowd in this direction. The whole city's on edge, after all.
"Inside, then, sure, I'll say you're here!" the supervisor scurries inside the dark, fragrant, warm building, and quickly up a flight of stairs.
Reese looks over to Asher closely like she is checking to make sure he is not a bringer! "I think we should let the kid go. He is just a kid." She says. She then starts to follow the supervisor inside.
Silas nods and moves to hold the door open for the party. "Get in before more of them come along," he says to Reese and the others. "Troublesome kids are really the least of our concerns right now." He sniffs at the air, noting the scent. "Mmm. Candles?"
"Maybe the fuck because people are needing bread more than whiskey? Sacrilege, I know, but eh." Luca snarks back to the worker w ho answered, his cinnamon eyes shifting to the angry boy next and just shaking his head a bit, reaching up to rub at bridge of his nose as if starting to feel a headache coming on. He'll follow reese though, stopping when she does to look to Asher, murmuring to her with a laugh. "He isn't. I checked already." Wait, what?
Joscelin heads inside, letting Silas ask questions; she knows better than to speak to the supervisor about decisions above his paygrade, not his fault there's a siege and so on.
"More like I stabbed Bringer eyes, you little snot." Asher is angry, easy to see. But he's not /hurting/ the kid. "You ain't ever seen a Bringer. You don't want to. They look like people, but only almost. And then they look like monsters, changing shape." Attempting to turn the boy towards the distillery, where the others had gone inside. "Them's good folk. Prince Luca Grayson and Princess Reese Grayson, Lord Commander Silas Mercier, and the Guildmaster Joscelin Arterius. You think they're Bringers too? They probably killed more Bringers than you got family. So by Gods, you show them at least /some/ respect because they could be out there, killin' more. But they're negotiating to help get you /food/." At Reese's words, he looks up, and sighs a bit, letting the kid go, then looks back at the boy. "No more throwin' rocks. Unless you see a monster. An actual monster. But even then? Boy, you best run and hide if you do. Go on home. Tell the other kids. The Dirty Rat hears about you doin' this again, and he'll go have a few drinks with your mom, tell her all about it. Maybe see how she kisses, aye?" That's a threat any kid would be worried about.
Asher has rolled a critical success!
Asher checked command + streetwise against difficulty 15, resulting in 76, 61 higher than the difficulty.
"I'll teach him a proper lesson, better than what he'd get in your cells!" one of the workers says to Silas while rubbing at his arm, struck by a rock, and makes a threatening gesture, as if to strike the kid.
A small crowd gathers outside, more curious than restless, and the poor guard, roused from his slumber, tries to reassure them and wave them off. All seems while, in spite of the urchin's yelling, which continues, unabated, as he's getting dragged into the distillery. But then Asher lets him go, and the urchin just stares at him. Maybe he just lacks a parental figure in his life. So he nods, respectfully, "I'll do that. I swear on my mom." he promises. He looks at everyone else, mumbles "Sorry." and starts running!
In no time, the entire party is ushered upwards into the distillery owner's quarters. The man apparently lives just upstairs, or at least that's where he's staying. It smells like whiskey here, and old wood, mingling with a heady mixture of something stale and musty, bacon and incense.
The owner then appears, an elderly man with a large white moustache, in a long night shirt and a heavy fur cloak, leaning on a cane as he limps in through a door and lets himself fall heavily into an overstuffed chair, "Harumph. What's going on? How can I help you, my Lords? Guildmaster."
Luca looked a little taken aback at the 'Luca Grayson' bit, mouth opening half-automatically to correct, only to glance aside to Reese, arch a brow with some amusement and just shrug. As the guy goes on to lay out that tremendously satisfying verbal beat down though, Luca's left at the end of it just waiting for the kid to be gone, then going on to give a widely grinning slow-clap applause. "Fuck me sideways, that was amazing. Maybe see how she kisses! Heh! Bravo man. Bra-fucking-vo!" Laughing still to himself as he goes on with the group and to see the elderly man, the CHampion prince doesn't seem to be expecting much. But with another light grin to Reese, he's shutting up for now and letting the other's talk.
Asher watches the kid go, then turns about. And something strikes him. "Wait. I think I got one of them names wrong..." He's not entirely sure, though. Oh well. He shrugs. "Kid knows family names, all that matters." He waves it on, and follows along, smiling to Luca. "Thing is, I weren't lyin'. I'd try." But then he makes a gesture for the people to go about their business, to do what they need to do, and to take no mind of him. Asher likes the spotlight, but only for very brief moments in time. once into the owner's quarters, he'll find a wall to lean on, running fingers over his earring a bit, thoughtful.
Silas raises one brow at the speech Asher gives, but directs his attention to the owner when he appears in the doorway. He squares his shoulders. "The receipt we collected from the carters you hired revealed you bought a significant amount of grain from Mistress Allgood for, presumably, distilling. We'd like to know how long these transactions have been going on..." The Lord Commander's lips form into a thin, neutral line. "The city needs that grain for bread."
Reese looks to the fleeing boy and then to Asher, her blue eyes wide. She seems possibly impressed. She follows the others into the room with the elderly man. Her cheeks are pink, maybe she noticed the name that was Luca was given. She then has a smile for Asher. "It sounds right. Anyways.." She says peeking over to Luca. "How I kiss? It is you. You are the Lyceum." She then turns to listen to Silas, nodding along wit his words.
The Guildmaster approaches the owner, tilting her head and forcing herself to be calm and not angry. When Silas speaks, she lets him while she stays at his side, staring at the ill man, wondering what he says in response.
The distiller squints his eyes at Silas, then tilts his head to listen, in a way that suggests he's somewhat hard of hearing. "How-how long? I always buy from Mistress Allgood. I always do, hrmph. Never been any trouble before." The man tugs at his moustache and looks nonplussed at the whole party gathered in the room, "You came here about that? Hardly seems necessary, could've just sent a note, couldn't you? I need grain too, besides. Half my stock's gone up when the warehouses burned. It won't be good whiskey, won't have time to age, but I'll blend it in with the rest and, well, soldiers need drink. Hrmph."
Joscelin perches on the arm of the man's chair. "Armand. You've run Stocking's Whiskey Distillery when my -father- was a boy," she says quietly. "People, paying customers, want -bread- for their families. You can't feed whiskey to a child, can you? I don't want to take any of your business away, but we need you to help us with the demand, and right now, there are more angry parents wanting to feed their bairns than there are people that want to get drunk. -After- the war," she says, her lips twisting in gallows humor, "I'm sure that will be the opposite, with folks wanting spirits to help them sleep from all the horrible shit we've seen, yes?"
Silas emits a deep sigh. "The difference between then and now is obvious. The city is under siege. If the city falls apart, so will your business and livelihood, so I imagine you have some invested interest in seeing the city survive." Joscelin says the rest much better than he does, so he lets her lead the discussion from that point.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Silas before departing.
"Hrmph. Hm. There's - there's how many thousands of soldiers in the city? They'll need to drink. I don't buy that much grain, just what I need to keep the distillery running. What happens if it closes down? I've got debts to pay." the old man coughs as he sighs and flinches, thumping his cane against the floor, frowning, "I gave money to the Crown and I gave money to the Faith. I've armed my grandsons - armor and horses. The horses are dead. They're both fine, though. They're both fine, my grandsons. But I have debts. I'm just buying some grain, it's not that much. You talk to the grain merchants. The prices were going up before I bought anything. If I didn't buy now I couldn't afford to later, and then what?"
Reese hmms softly as she looks toward the man and then toward the others. "It is certainly a complicated situation." She murmurs softly, her attention back upon the brewer. "There doesn't seem to be quite enough grain for everyone have to have bread a descent prize. Do you think you could be talked into selling the grain?"
"If you are willing to part with some of your stock for higher than market price, then it could go a long way to help mitigate some of the tension in the short-term," Silas says in lieu with what Reese says, though he doesn't seem compelled to force the man to fork it over. "It looks Mistress Allgood and the grain sellers will be the ones we have to get to and... persuade."
Asher is taking a look around, trying to find information, anything he can see. But it's all pretty mundane, not exactly interesting. And so, he steps out, to the doors leaving the distillery, to await - and to make sure nothing else is going on outside that shouldn't. Like another Bringer attack.
Joscelin leans over to Silas, murmuring something to him. She looks back to Armand. "Messere Stocking, we aren't going to take away your supply of grain, but we will probably limit it and reroute it to the millers. People need to eat, we will probably cut you back to a quarter of the usual shipment, and not just you, but all the distillers. If people are hungry and watching their children starve, they will do destructive things to feed them. When the siege ends, and it -will-, things can go back to normal and you will be remembered as a man who knew how to buckle down as well as anyone else in the city." She looks around the distillery, wondering then, "You can do more than make spirits here. Do you make candles? Something needful that isn't whiskey."
Outside, there is small confused crowd gathered and whispering. Apparently, Armand Stocking is secretly a Bringer.
Joscelin checked charm + leadership against difficulty 25, resulting in 26, 1 higher than the difficulty.
Silas grunts when the sounds of a crowd gathering outside reaches him. "Stand by the door," Silas instructs the guards with him. "No one gets inside. The rest of you, stay away from the windows." He glances back at Armand and Joscelin. "We need to take care of this quickly."
"I've got stills, that's all I have. Stills and barrels. Can't make candles in stills and barrels, can you? Hrmph. Can you?" the old man bows his head and tugs at his moustache again, thinking as he does so as his bent shoulders bend lower. "That's fair. That's fair. For higher than I paid for it? If it's enough to cover my expenses for - well, I'd hired workers to be here today and I've put in orders for barrels, I'll have to pay for that. That's the best I can do. I need to pay my workers, at least." he winces again and lifts his leg, slowly, onto a footstool, sighing as he rests his slipper-covered foot. "But unless I can pay my debts... I'll need more time to pay. A little more time? Until the end of the siege."
Joscelin reaches out and squeezes Armand's shoulder. "The Guild can help you," she says softly. "I've given out a few loans to help folks in the Guild and associated with it, to help and get repaid after the war is done. You know how it works, we don't fuss at you, we won't pressure you. If your debts aren't too high, that is. Will you let me help you, Messere Stocking?"
Reese smiles happily when the man speaks of selling his stock. "Oh, that is good." She murmurs softly. "How much was the grain?" She asks. She then goes to the window trying to see the gathering crowd. "Wow, we sure do know how to draw a lot of attention." She murmurs.
Seeing this crowd gathered, Asher sighs and moves towards it. "C'mon now, you all know him. Old man, been here for years. Isn't a Bringer. He makes booze! Go on, go home. If he were a Bringer, wouldn't be such a kindly old man." He's making a shooing motion to the crowd. "Please. Nothing to worry about, we're just getting grain to help feed the needy."
"Aye, Mistress Joscelin and the Crafters Guild help their own. I can vouch for that." Even if he's never taken out a loan himself! He glances out a nearby window, looking angrily out at the crowd gathering outside. "But we may need to find you some protection..."
The crowd outside doesn't look as armed as the crowd in the Lower Boroughs. They're not gathered here for any reason, there's no deliberate action taken. There are rumors floating around, and wary fearful glances shot at the distillery and the guards outside as the locals lean over and whisper to each other. It's a more mixed crowd, people from the Lowers, people from the Uppers, laborers, servants, traders and random passers-by drawn to the crowd by the crowd itself. But the murmurs grow louder.
Inside, the old man twirls his moustache. Not in a particularly evil way. He just twirls it, then shrugs. "I'd be grateful for that, Guildmaster. I'll survive, I just don't want the place to close. I'll survive. Hrmph. Protection? Protection from what?"
Asher checked charm + leadership against difficulty 15, resulting in 22, 7 higher than the difficulty.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Joscelin before departing.
"There was an idiot earlier spreading rumors about people being secret Bringers. It seems he might have a few listeners." Silas rubs his finger between his brows in mild irritation. "I might have a couple of my men stick around a bit to make sure they all go home. And stay home."
Joscelin is thinking. "Messere Stocking, thank you for your help in this. Debts are a constant thing, everyone has to deal with them, and it's all well and good in peace-time, when we've all a means and there aren't armies outside our city walls." She starts chewing on her bottom lip. "I need to fix this. GIve me some time, I'll speak to a few people, try and find a way to lessen the burden of coin on everyone for the duration of this damn siege."
Amidst trying to get the people to all go home, Asher looks over his shoulder at Silas. "All due respect, Sir, but forcing them to stay home won't go over well. Maybe just talking to them nicely?" He looks back to the crowd. "No Bringers here. Go on, you have more important things than to worry about things don't need worrying about."
Reese sucks in a soft breath she listens to Silas words. 'I will talk to him." She murmurs. She then smiles over to Joscelin, looking all impressed.
Silas looks blandly at Asher. "They'll just stand around and look intimidating. If that's too out of line... well, too bad."
Asher chuckles a bit. "Oh, no. That's par for the course, Lord-Commander. That familiarity might actually help calm things down."
The old man rises to his feet again with a groan of pain, and limps slowly towards the window with his cane. "They'll forget about it. There's rumors flying around, a new one every day. No one knows anything. A war is one thing, but murder and treachery gets tongues wagging but good." he shakes his head, then looks over, "You can speak to Barnabas about the prices and the business with the carts. He'll work out the math with you, Guildmaster, if that's fine."
On the street, some of the crowd seems to take heed to Asher's words. A few lose interest, a few start to actively dismiss the notion. But the rumors aren't quite quelled, even if the crowd's excitement wanes.
"Hopefully," Silas replies to Armand, but he doesn't look entirely convinced. Paranoia was a dangerous thing, and it was growing by the day. "But it sounds like our business here is coming to an end. Joscelin, I trust you will get in contact with this... Barnabas?"
Joscelin nods to Silas. "Yes, I will. Thank you for your help, all of you."
Reese smiles gently over to Joscelin. "Thank you. I am glad you where here. I didn't know how to handle this."
The guildmaster winks at Reese.
The grin he then wears is a hint impish. "Joscelin knows her stuff," Silas compliments and opens the door, to exit. "Thank you for coming and helping, everyone. And thank you for listening to our concerns, Master Armand."
A daring crew of volunteers risked life and limb in a mad dash near the River Arx: Princess Reese Grayson, Prince Luca Velenosa, Lord Artorius Malvici, Lady Eirene Malvici, Mistress Leta Broadbent and Guardsman Sparte lit a cart aflame and charged into the Shav'Arvani lines, providing cover for a stealthy team led by Captain Magpie Grayhope of the Magpie, although reports suggest he wasn't sailing the Magpie at the time, to escape the blockade past the efforts of the foe to dam the river, and was able to collect a group of refugees, including several nobles of Bastion, and return them to the city safely, along with a cacheload of grain and other food supplies desperately needed for the siege.
All was not well with the group, however, for almost as soon as the gates had shut, disguised Bringers among them were spotted! Lord Killian Ashford immediately raised the alarm, and the revealed foes were fought and eventually slain by him, Prince Ainsley Grayson, Sir Armel Godsworn of the Knights of Solace, Agnarr, and Magpie Grayhope! Tales of their daring spread amongst the city. Rumor has it that Guardsman Sparte saved Prince Luca from drowning (before Prince Luca claimed another Bringer head for his collection) and that Prince Ainsley took a Bringer's head after being nearly sliced in half! Among other things, including tales among the archers on the wall of a throw by Sir Armel that /has/ to be an exaggeration.
Armand nods to all, politely, "Thank you." then limps back into the room he came from, just as the supervisor speaks up from the doorway, "I'm Barnabas. I can assist you with the matter of the grain. Will - ahem - will someone pay for the window? Does anyone know the name of that boy? No?" he bows and waves Joscelin along as he pulls up a ledger.
Outside, the crowd disperses, in time. No one's been arrested, there's no screaming, no sudden burst of violence. They lose interest. But they continue muttering as they spread out through the city.
Back to list