Chapter 1b: Peter's Favor

"This laughter is not just strange, sir, but eerie," Stephan whispers back. "Andreas will wait by this door and I will guard the front, while you are gone. We'll see it if anyone leaves."

(Being so close to the edge of the town, you don't need to fly far to find an isolated spot. You cast Voice of the Bjornaer successfully. I'll assume you cast the spontaneous spells with fatigue and that you rest between them. So the total time you are away is about 10 minutes. I will treat the "Ears of the Dog" spontaneous spell as giving a +3 to hearing-related rolls. The duration for both spells winds up being Moon. Had you cast them non-fatiguingly, they would have been duration Concentration/Diameter.)

When you return, Stephan is near the front left corner of the warehouse, watching to see if anyone exits through the front door. As you descended, you saw that Andreas is still at the back door. Where do you land?

(OOC : with fatigue indeed. Duration is moon times a single roll from enduring magic but that won't probably change anything as they'll cancel when I turn human)

I land on the side closer to Stefan, then walk to him and ask "DId anything happened while I was away ? I'll try to look again though a slit now that my view has improved. Let's gather in the back where the voice seems to be located. We'll try to open the door. If it doesn't work with mundane means, I'll try to cast a spell to make the wood soft but I'll have to speak a bit loud for it to work..."

(For completeness' sake, Ibis Eyes of the Cat will last 5 Moons, and Ibis Ears of the Dog will last 3 Moons.)

"No sir, it's been completely quiet at this end of the building. I didn't see anyone leave."

You make your way to the back of the building again (Successful Dex + Stealth rolls), and check in with Andreas.

"Andreas has heard nothing more while we were away," whispers Stephan. "No other laughter, no other voices. Maybe they are now away from the door and further inside the building, however it was."

The three of you move up close to the door. Andreas reaches out tentatively, to touch it it. Nothing happens. He pushes gently. It doesn't budge.

I'll try to make the wood of the door soft so that when you'll push it it will bend and we can enter. There's perhaps no one inside, the voice might be some kind of magical manifestation, a ghost maybe. So be prepared and don't be afraid. We will be fine. As much as you can, try no to act in an hostile way to what we'll discover but at the same time remember that as a bird I'm quite fragile so keep me safe.

(I try to cast" Pass the Unyieding Portal" (MuHe 5) with a quiet voice in a fatiguing way ((Muto 7 +Herbam 0 +stamina +1 -5 quiet voice +dice )/2 - aura ?), If this doesn't work, I wait to regain fatigue and cast ii with normal voice)

(I think it should be (7+0+1+Aura-5+dice)/2, no? In any case, the spell is cast successfully; you rolled a 1 and then a 7.)

At your touch, the wooden door becomes soft and can be pushed to one side. The boards comprising the door overlap like the feathers of a bird's wing as they are displaced.

Looking inside, with your enhanced vision, you see nothing but a hallway leading into the warehouse, with a few doorways on both sides.

Let's make a quick scouting of the warehouse, we shall not stay too long. Do you have anything to light the way maybe a candle ? or an oil lamp ? If you have we can close the door behind us otherwise we'll let it open to get the little light of the outside light my way inside, I can't see in complete darkness. Our goal is to find who or what is producing these laughter or anything else suspiscious. The merchant said his ware house was full, we shall also see if he's lying. Go inside first I'll stay between the two of you.

Stefan whispers to Andreas, who pulls a candle from his bag. After some fumbling with a tinderbox, the candle is lit. Cautiously, the three of you make your way down the hallway. Each of the five doorways you pass opens into a room packed with barrels, which are stacked high up to the rafters. It appears that the wine merchant was telling the truth. There really is no more room in his warehouse to accept more shipments. The last doorway along the hallway opens into a small room that is empty, except for a single barrel at the center. On the wooden planked floor beneath it is a circle defined with sections of metal strips that originally held barrels together.

"Humm, we've definitely found something, don't cross the circle around the barrel, it's probably a kind of magical ward. Let's walk around the circle to light the barrel with the candle from every directions to see if there's any writing or marks on the barrel. Do you think it's one of Peter's barrel ? I might need some water do you have any in a flask or something ?"

Stefan hands you a skin of water. "It definitely looks like one of our barrels. I think I see the mark of Peter on it, near the top rim." Andreas, who is holding the candle, edges around the circle with his back against the wall. The circle fills most of the small room. Following Andreas, you see there are no discernable markings, other than the branded symbol Stefan indicated: a shield with a squirrel rampant.

(OOC ; I can't really hold a skin of water as a bird ^^)

"Pour the water on the floor near the circle, we'll see if if goes through it. I'll try to get the barrel without getting inside the circle, tell andreas to wait outside so that if something goes wrong he can get us outside"

I then try to cast Neptune's Imprisoning Arms (I made a mistake it's only lvl 25) to get the barrel outside of the ring, assuming it works I ask the grogs to pick a sample in Stefan's skin for further examination and put the barrel back where he was.

Realizing belatedly that you can't hold the skin, Stefan retracts it and does as you ask, squeezing a stream out that splashes across the metal bands. The water appears to pass freely into the circle.

((Before moving forward, could you provide more direction for how Stefan should pour the water for Neptune's Imprisoning Arms to work?))

(the spell won't work I misread it, and it is in fact lvl 30 it was errated)

Renatus hides his head under his right wing, embarrassed for a second "Hum, this probably won't work, I could use other means to get it out but it will be obvious that the barrel was moved and I'm not sure I could put it back into place. I might regret it later, but I'll leave it here untouched so that the merchant is less suspicious when we talk to him tomorrow. Let's get out before someone notices us, leave my clothes into the room, i'll change back into human and get dressed before we get out"

Renatus tries to find a small object, maybe a splinter of wood or a handful of dirt to bring an arcane connection and then heads to the back entrance with the two grogs.

"We'll get some sleep in the inn you selected and come back tomorrow to monitor the merchant's trade before we contact him"

Stefan leaves your clothes in the room with you, along with the candle, and heads out into the hallway. You are able to pry a finger-sized splinter from the doorframe of the small room. Once you make your way outside, Stefan is there waiting for you. But Andreas is not.

"I don't know where Andreas went, sir," whispers Stefan. "He does tend to get lost sometimes, but I don't know how he could in this case. Maybe he is still inside."

Sure enough, as you turn to head back in, out comes Andreas with a sheepish look on his face.

Renatus grins and gives Andreas a friendly pat on the shoulder as they head outside with the splinter in her pocket.

"let's move on to the place where we're spending the night, I guess I'd better follow your way Stefan"

Stefan nods, and turns to thread his way around the debris outside, back to the front of the building. Following him, you catch a brief but strong scent of wine breath on the light breeze coming from behind you. You can tell it's coming from Andreas, who is bringing up the rear. When you turn to look at him, you see several drips of wine on his left boot. ((I rolled a 1 and a 0 for you on a Perception + Awareness check))

Stefan, meanwhile, has stopped and whispers, "We also know where the merchant's house is. Should I take you there before we go to the inn? They are not far from each other."

Answering Stefan Renatus whispers "Ho, you know where the merchant is living that's great, let's go there, maybe we'll find some other clues." taking a severe expression he turns to Andreas and adds " Can you ask Andreas where he got this wine he's just been drinking ? If he stole from the merchant's warehouse I shall remind him how foolish this was."

After some heated whispering back and forth with Andreas, Stefan turns to you and relates, "He said he thought he heard the laughter again, in one of the barrel rooms, so he went in to see who was there. He didn't see anyone, but he found an open barrel. He assured me no one would notice any wine missing, because he didn't take that much. I told him he's still an idiot. He's got some left in his flask. He offered you some. Me too, but there's no way I'm drinking any wine or beer on this trip. My father would disown me, if he found out."

"Well nevermind if he's taking things like this i'll just let Caspar know, it's not just about leaving evidences. What's his logic, I'm telling this laughter can be from a ghost and he still drinks the wine, anyway... Your father seems to be quite severe !"

"Well, he is a magus, so if I failed in my duty to protect another magus he would at least never speak to me again." After a casting a disapproving look at Andreas, he turns to make his way out from behind the warehouse.

Once you've left the warehouse district, many of the houses and shops closer to the center of Neustadt display an unusually high degree of wealth, which is detectable even in the moonless night. Rounding a curve, you hear the revelry coming from a well-lit public house down the street.

"The wine merchant's house is just down there," says Stefan, pointing toward the pub. As you approach it, four men stagger out. They are clearly drunk, laughing loudly, and trying to support one another. The most sober of the bunch sees you and points out your presence to his buddies. They walk toward you unsteadily, slurring German at you. Stefan and Andreas step between you and the drunkards. "Sir," says Stefan, "These men say they do not recognize us, and ask what a ... shady fellow like you is doing out and about at night."

Seeing the display of wealth and the people partying, Renatus fears there might be infernal influence at work but keeps this for himself.

Renatus isn't really afraid of the drunk guys knowing they are no match for trained soldier, but he would like to avoid being noticed, and tries to make the best of the situation. "Tell them I'm a merchant and I've made a detour because I've heard there's some good wines in town. We arrived too late to make business and if they can tell us more about the wine merchant and his wine selection we'll be happy to offer them a round at the pub. "