It’s morning. All were up late and trickle into the tavern around nine. Beck is very hung over. Eomer explains what he saw. He wants them to split up, try to get papers, try to find out about Endo. He explains about the soldiers with the helmets and asks the cleric to see what he can discover about them.
They break up to go to work, and Beck goes back to bed. Skeeve heads to a tailor and requests a fancy robe with his insignia, trying to get gossip in the meantime. His old robe is burned and damaged from acid, and he needs to replace it. The shopkeeper is very free with the gossip, telling Skeeve all sorts of gossip about people in the Bazaar, but not relating anything interesting or useful to their quest.
The shopkeeper tells him that a 10% discount is available for members of the mage’s guild. Skeeve produces the membership they recovered from Vormoth.
The tailor is very receptive but is disconcerted by the name on the membership. He promises to have this ready as soon as possible. He is suddenly going out of his way to get the order done quickly. He promises the robe will be done by afternoon, not tomorrow as he said earlier.
Skeeve is unnerved by this. He’s worried that Vormoth is famous, and the shopkeeper has spotted him as an impostor. Skeeve tips him 30g, trying to get him not to say anything about who he is.
Skeeve leaves the shop and looks for a place where someone might be interested in the staff. He finds a small place with lots of fancy canes and sticks, most without magic. The large man behind the counter is nodding a bit. Skeeve hands him the staff and he notices that this is a Lormanite staff. He explains that the Lormanites (the wizards up north) used to make staffs all pointy and evil like this. He pays 500 gold for it. As he is handed the money, Skeeve sees a shadow fall on either side of him. The shop keeper backs away. Skeeve wonders who has just stepped up behind him, but it must be someone imposing. Activity has more or less stopped all around, and the usual chatter of the area has stopped.
“Conjurer Vormoth”, comes a voice of authority from behind him.
He slowly turns around and sees a huge group of soldiers. Two full groups of soldiers (fourteen total) have spread themselves out behind him. They stand in such a way that no fireball could hit more than three of them and Skeeve could not draw a line from himself that intersects with more than one soldier. Apparently these men are familiar with fireballs and lightning bolts, and have dealt with wizards before.
Nevertheless, the men look worried. They all have their hands on their swords. Several of the younger men look like they may piss themselves.
Skeeve now realizes the shopkeeper didn’t think he was a fake: These people really do think he’s Vormoth, and are treating him like a very dangerous threat.
The commander speaks again, “Come now Vormoth. You don’t want to start trouble here with all of these people about. Be reasonable and come along with us.”
Skeeve waves his arm saying, “No, no, no. You misunderstand. I am not…”
As he waved his arm, the men flinch, as if expecting a blow. He can see there is really no good way out of this, so he agrees to go with them. They lead him (without laying a hand on him or disrespecting him) over to the keep, and up to the magistrate on the second floor.
Magistrate Noreeno shuts the door behind him. The office of Magistrate Noreeno is large and elegantly furnished. There is a large bookshelf on one side of the room, filled with a variety of books. There is a set of double doors, (which are open at the moment) which lead out onto a balcony overlooking the merchant’s square. Wind blows gently in, stirring the curtains while voices from the square drift in from below.
A stout cleric stand beside the desk, and two soldiers are posted in the door, guarding the door. The other soldiers return to their rounds, looking relieved.
Noreeno is surprised, “You are not conjurer Vormoth.”
“No, I’m not”, Skeeve admits.
The Magistrate rolls his eyes, “I just had a terrified shopkeeper in here telling me stories about how he’d just seen Vormoth here in town.”
“Yes, I used his mage’s guild membership. To get a discount.”
“How did you come by the guild membership for Conjurer Vormoth?”
Skeeve shrugs, “Well, I killed him.”
Noreeno is very impressed by this, “Killed him? I see. Well, well done. I assume you’re here for the reward?”
Skeeve pauses for a moment, and then answers, “Yes. That’s why I’m here.”
Noreeno replies, “I see. Well, in that case I just need to ask you a few questions. Just as a formality you understand. This won’t take long. So, while we talk, Galman is going to make sure neither of us can tell a lie. Then I’m going to ask you some questions. “
Galman the Cleric casts Zone of Truth.
“First question. Now, I can tell the answer to this just by looking at you, but I have to ask anyway: Are you with the northern army, the Lormanites?”
“Of course not. Are you employed by them? Gathering information? Mercenary? Spy?”
“Ever in the past?”
“I didn’t think so. I just had to ask, you understand. Just routine. Next question….”
“Ever killed any Alidian soldiers?”
Noreeno becomes very stern. The Soldiers at the door looked angry. There is a long moment before Noreeno speaks again. He turns to the soldiers at the door, “Gentlemen, would you please leave us alone for now?”
The guards smile and leave. It is a safe guess that Noreeno is about to dispense a little off-the-books justice and wants them out of the room.
Once the door is shut Noreeno turns to Skeeve. “I don’t care.”
He elaborates, “It’s a shame they heard you say that of course, but no harm done. I don’t care if you killed soldiers getting here. I’m sure you didn’t provoke them?”
“Of course not.” At this point Noreeno has Skeeve tell about the fight, how it started, and where it happened. He seems satisfied once he’s heard it. “This is not a big deal. Let’s just continue with the questions. How many people are you travelling with?”
Skeeve doesn’t want to tell him, but he can’t lie and doesn’t want to refuse to answer, “Six.”
“Very good. You’ve done good work, and despite the unfortunate run-in with our forces, you’ve done the Alidian army a great service. You’re entitle to the reward. You earned it.”
Noreeno then hands Skeeve 2000g.
Noreeno then tells Skeeve that he is in charge of issuing Travel Papers. He offers six sets of travel papers if Skeeve and his party will do a job for him. He asks that Skeeve find his friends and bring them in.
Skeeve agrees. They bid one another good day. As Skeeve leaves, Noreeno calls in the captain. He gives instructions that Skeeve and his friends are free to travel the city but they are not allowed to go south.
Crysis 2 has basically the same plot as Half-Life 2. So why is one a classic and the other simply obnoxious and tiresome?
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The Best of 2011
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2011.