With the familiar sea floor surrounding Neptas long behind you, you take note of too many ships on the surface above. You must be nearing the harbour of Clifton. Unconsciously, your hand drifts to the small gem you found. It warms to your touch, and you feel a familiar pull toward where the ships are heading - toward Clifton. A few minutes later, you come across a towering palisade of thick iron spikes. This must be how the people of Clifton blockade their harbour in the event of an attack by sea. Those towers of rusty iron rise high in the water, and you find yourself having to break the surface to go over them, or make your way into the shipping lane to stay beneath the waves.
Myst briefly considers the iron palisade, its iron spikes gleaming wicked red in the light of dawn. Perhaps their red gleam is an echo of blood spilled in battles past or perhaps an omen. Myst shivers at the dark thought and swims expertly toward the shipping lane, hugging the sea floor and taking a moment to appreciate the cool waters enveloping her body, breathing them in through the delicate gills behind her ears, and feeling her long silvery-blue hair tickle her slim frame – a swimmer's frame – as she kicks her long blue legs, muscles burning from the exhaustion of her lengthy journey to Clifton. She knows she must hurry if she is to use dawn's mist to conceal her approach, the beginnings of a plan forming in her mind. She can probably thicken the mist ever so slightly, create just a little extra wave in the seas crashing ashore, and with a quick prayer to Deep Sashelas – her people's sea God – for luck, she might be able to slip onto the docks unseen. Mist reaches into her backpack as she swims, pulling a thick black blanket free and throwing it over herself as a makeshift cloak. Of course, she will need to find something less conspicuous to conceal her blue skin once arriving but this will do for now. Despite her outward composure, a thrill of excitement rushes through Myst at the freedom and the adventure of it all.
You skim the bottom over to the shipping lane, where the rusted iron palisade is lowest before swimming over it. Seconds after you pass another ship enters the harbour, and you're forced to dive back down to the sea floor. Looking back you watch as the ship passes maybe a half dozen feet above those iron spikes. Part of you mind pictures those spikes, now raised, slamming into the hull of a ship. The sudden lurch as the ship comes to an abrupt stop, throwing everyone and everything not tied down forward. The gush of water as the multiple punctures flood the orlop. Slowly the ship would sink down on those brutal towers of iron as the water weighted the ship down. Eventually the tides would rip the ship from it's unwanted mooring, but at what cost? You shake your head to clear the dreadful images of drowned men floating in the sea.
You reach the piers that jut out into the harbour, where the ships dock. It's only the break of dawn, but already there are men about unloading ships. Some are blurry eyed with lack of sleep. others have angry red eyes for some reason, sickness maybe? You've only seen such eyes upon the visage of someone that has been poisoned by a sea creature or Wyvern. Traveling to the edge of the docks you manage to find a ladder that will lead up behind a stack of barrels. A large man with brown cotton pants, and a flowing white shirt that could use a wash is making trips back and forth from the stack to a nearby ship. The window between trips is small, but should be doable.
If you wanna do this unseen, I will need a DC 10 stealth check.
Last Edit: Mar 14, 2019 12:46:53 GMT -5 by DM-Delfon
Surfacing beside the pier, Myst nods approvingly at the dawn fog floating lazily off the sea which lightly caresses the workers as they toil. She quietly, almost sensually, begins to speak to the waters. Her words sound foreign and mystical but they roll unconsciously off her tongue, the magical language of water known innately by all Water Genesai. She gently caresses the waves around her and, as she raises her arms, millions of tiny droplets of water arise too, an unnaturally thick mist whose tendrils reach toward the dock at her command. A deep breath, a mere moment of hesitation, and Myst motions to the waves, commanding them to rise ever so slightly, lifting her toward the ladder. As she begins to climb, hands shaking nervously as she clasps the wooden rungs, she notices the unfamiliar pull of gravity that makes her limbs feel slow and heavy. For a brief moment she wonders how the sickly-looking men can bare to stand with the weight of their muscular bodies. She silently motions with her hands and water falls off her, drying her as she peeks over the dock's edge behind the barrels. Myst waits for the dock worker to pass, his steps slow and unsure in the obscurity of the fog, before pulling herself onto the dock proper. She lifts the heavy black blanket over to head to hide her features as she makes her way towards the City of Clifton, fingers encircling the warm, strange gem in her pocket, following its pull.
The gathers another barrel, leaving only four behind now. He then hoists it to his shoulder with a small grunt, you actually see his frame dip slightly as he takes the weight. After a quick adjustment of the barrel for comfort, he begins walking toward the ship as normal. You watch over the edge of the pier as he approaches, water droplets still falling like a soft rain below you. He stops directly in front of you, close enough that you can see that his boot laces are different colours. One set looking much newer than the other. You press yourself into the ladder, and train your eyes above as the man looks over the edge, his eyes squinting as he looks out into the unnatural morning mist. You're shocked that he doesn't look down at you, surely your heart screams out like a blown conch? After what seems like forever, but must have only been a few seconds the man's face vanishes from above you and you take a shuddering breath. After a few more seconds, you slip up onto the docks and make your way toward the city of Clifton, the warmth in your hand still drawing you ever Northward.
High above you, perched on the edge of the cliffs are the massive curtain walls of the Palace itself. On a clear day, the Palace can be seen from quite a distance - even from below the surface, but from here it's hard to see the Palace itself because of the sheer angle from you to the walls. Opposite the Palace is another walled district with what seems like another palace, this one smaller, but still grandiose. Golden rays of pure sunlight shine down on this building, even though the morning mists. Looking northward, you see the docks themselves. Dozens and dozens of buildings and many more people than you thought possible. Everywhere you look there are burly men lugging heavy looking crates, bags and objects. Sailors move through the rigging of ships like they were as unaffected by gravity as you are underwater. Most of the various buildings have signs, but their associated pictures don't translate well to your experience. Many of the larger buildings that have the look of storage facilities have armed guards outside, and if you get to close their posture changes to hostility.
You're ignored for the most part, everyone around you seems intent upon their own business. You do catch a few double takes as you make your way through the smaller side roads, mostly when someone manages to catch a glimpse of your blue skin. Even these don't really draw attention though, as you hurry away before anything serious comes of it. After about an hour of wandering you find that all roads in this district lead to a single main cart path, and that cart path leads uphill toward the main city wall. Peering closer you see that the gate through the wall is guarded by no less than a half dozen men - likely more. The stone still pulls northward, straight through that gate.
Myst, understanding that knowledge is key to a great plan, begins to gather information before acting.
At some point, curious folk will ask where she came from and why she arrived in Clifton so her first order of business is to ensure that her cover story is convincing. As a proficient healer, she could likely pass off as a traveler seeking medicinal work in the city - many of the inhabitant seem sick. Perhaps she will say she was turned blue in a horrible magical incident? Knowing that the Somerset Isles are relatively close – and since it is the only other human settlement Myst has actually heard of – Myst figures she should probably pretend to be travelling from there. First, she needs to know the names of the ships and captains with reputations for safe passage to and from the Isles. She will lie and say she traveled with them. But she will also need to know some of the basic geography and nobility of the Somerset Isles. Hopefully no one will pry much more deeply. Her palms grow sweaty at the thought of talking to a human, especially lying to one (her sisters always said she was a terrible liar), but the moisture is a comforting friend amidst the dryness of land and the growing heat of the sun.
Myst begins by noting the name of a ship that seems likely to hold passengers before she leaves the docks; while the ship name wouldn't be the greatest alibi, it would do for now. Myst also begins to search for a tavern down the narrow roads of the shipping district. If she is lucky, maybe she can find someone who would enjoy discussing their adventures in the Somerset Isles over a few ales – she could simply steal their story. Better yet, maybe they know something about the contaminated sea waters that are affecting her people. Her palms grow sweaty again at the idea of interacting with anyone. On second thought, maybe she can simply listen in on some conversations to gather information.
Nevertheless, great cover story or not, Myst knows she cannot enter the city through the main gate if the guards are too careful. With a quick prayer to her god for guidance, she pays attention to who is allowed to come and go, whether any papers are required, whether the guards seem open to bribery, and whether there seem to be any guard changes or interesting opportunities. Perhaps she can bribe a trader to take her with them into the city? She also assesses the wall – is it low enough to climb with a little help from her water bending? Is the entrance to the other district less guarded? Are there other entrances? Guard towers?
Myst needs to know: Name of a ship likely to hold passengers that she might see on the dock If there is a tavern outside of the walls (If she sees any taverns, she will visit at night when they are more lively and with more conversations to overhear) How hardcore the guards are More information about the wall itself (how far does it bend around; other entrances, etc.)
You take note of a likely passenger vessel, a sailing ship painted blue, bearing a name placard that reads "Sapphire Rover." You see a mountain of a man on deck, muscles stacked on top of muscles that are stacked on top of yet more muscles. He has slicked back hair, and a well groomed beard that looks more like quills than bristles. He's speaking with someone that you can't see from here, and pointing up into the rigging. A couple sits with their legs overhanging the water through the railing, chatting idly. While you watch, she laughs throwing back her head before leaning in and kissing him.
In your travels you come across at least a dozen taverns, most of which are quiet at this time of day, but a couple have a bit of life to them. One in particular seems pretty busy, even at this early hour. You see a few guard patrols moving through the streets, four men strong. They seem attentive enough, mostly just making their presence known. Assessing the walls themselves, you see that the entire cliff edge has a twenty foot tall wall built up from it. The only exception to this is around the Palace District, where the walls are fifty feet tall. Not that the height of the walls matters much, the cliffs soar over a hundred feet before the walls even begin near the mouth of the harbour. The height of the cliffs tapers down to nothing as the Harbour District rises up to meet them where the wall with the gate is located. The gated wall has a half dozen guards on it, some of which are walking back and forth while others are stationed in small archer turrets. The wall itself has arrow slits every so often, and from time to time you catch a bit of movement through them. You figure that a single person that was really good at remaining unseen might be able to scale over that wall on a moonless night. For you though, the gate seems your best bet for entry.
The guards on the gate seem to be ignoring the people coming into the Harbour District, or perhaps those people are being checked on the other side of the gate. Those that are attempting entry into the city however are each stopped briefly. Some people open their bags for a brief inspection, while those known to the guards and the better dressed seem to only get a cursory glance and a nod. One guard in particular seems friendly, and quite chatty, especially with those that seem new to the city, often pointing back into the city as if giving directions. The entire time you watch the guards, you don't see any coins being exchanged. If you watch long enough, another guard will come to replace one of the men at the gate.
With your reconnaissance done, where are you headed now?
Unfortunately, climbing those city walls with their dizzying heights and regular guard patrol seems impossible. To get past those guards she will need a decent cover story and, despite the unsavory task of actually talking to these strange humans, Myst's delicate blue features become resolute, her deep blue eyes determined as she scans the sign of the busiest inn, looking for a name.
Then, her blanket still wrapped around her head and upper torso, encircling her like cool waters and concealing her from prying eyes, Myst takes a few resolute steps into the inn. She notices that her blue hand, clutching the edges of blanket to hold it in place under her chin, has tiny droplets of water glistening on its surface. Myst curses softly, motioning for the water to vaporize into the air. Water Genesi often attract water from their surroundings – an unconscious habit that always seems worse when Myst feels nervous or afraid. Myst would have to be diligent to ensure it didn't draw attention.
Myst scans the pandemonium of the room, looking for a secluded seat to listen in on other conversations.
The signpost outside has the silhouettes of four sailor types, two appear to be fighting, while the other two watch with drinks in their hands. "The Carousing Sailor" is written underneath in the common tongue.
The moment you open the door of The Carousing Sailor, your nose is assaulted by the pungent scent of stale ale, old piss and blood. The floor is littered with filthy sawdust, some of which is almost muddy with spilled liquids. From the doorway you see men drinking heavily while playing various gambling games. A pair of men are arm wrestling with a small crowd gathered around them. Another two men are brawling in the center of the room, one of which holds a dagger slick with blood while the other clutches a seeping wound. Moving into the fray are three mountains of meat in the form of bouncers. While you watch the three of them beat the armed man senseless with cudgels, leaving him laying on the floor where he lay. One of the bouncers checks the mans pockets, taking a small pouch of coins with a smile. As they walk away, another man takes the fallen man's boots. The servers make there way through the crowds, skillfully dodging groping hands to deliver what passes for ale in this place.
Your attention is drawn to the eye of the storm, two booths at the back of the room that seem completely unaffected by the chaos around them. At one, two men chat in hooded cloaks. The other has a large well dressed man in a white nobles outfit, a large ruby on his left pinky finger. He is flanked by two gorgeous women on either side. The women are fawning over him, each trying not to be outdone by the others. You notice four men in suits standing causally enough, but can't help but notice their eyes constantly scanning the room for threats, they must be the reason for the relative calm near the booths.
There are no open tables, but there are a few open seats here and there. Nobody seems to be paying attention to you, except for the two bouncers just inside the door.
Myst takes a surprised step backwards, overwhelmed by the commotion and violence for a moment, before intentionally placing a blank expression on her face and starting forward into The Carousing Sailor. There is no where in Neptas as busy – or unruly. It takes all of her effort to consciously stop herself from pulling in nearby condensation for comfort amidst the chaos.
Despite being intimidated by the presence of the nobleman, Myst heads towards the back of the tavern. She selects a chair as close as possible to the relative calm, trying to look comfortable as she skirts the bouncers and the beaten man, lying in a pool of his own blood. After taking a seat she sinks down deep into the chair, trying to disappear. Still, Myst focuses her attention on the room around her, listening for any useful information while watching for signs of trouble. She quietly offers a prayer to Deep Sashelas for luck.
The two bouncers at the door smirk as you recoil from the madness that is the Carousing Sailor. No doubt they have seen that reaction on the faces of many an unsuspecting tourists, or newcomer to Clifton. One of them actually nods at you as you shore up your confidence, and make your way into the room. Nothing about this place rings true as 'noble' to you, even the well dressed man just seems to be playing dress up. He looks just like the other thugs in the room, just cleaner and better dressed. As you cross the room, the bouncers make their way back to their positions along the outside wall. You notice that the bouncers walk through the crowd easily, with a small pocket of empty space opening up around them wherever they go. It only takes a moment for you to realize why. The bouncers have no problem smacking a patron with those cudgels when they get in their way.
Unlike the bouncers, you have to push your way through the crowd. Sweaty men press against you, and even though they're moist, this wetness brings you no comfort amidst the chaos. Some of the men you believe to be intentionally putting themselves in your path just to make contact with you under the guise of incidental contact. One man says "Youss blue?" He says it with the inflection of a statement, but it somehow comes across as a question, perhaps it is his slurring speech? Is this another symptom of the sickness you've noticed affecting these people?
You make your way to the calm area at the back of the room, and two of the men in suits step toward you with their hands extended, palm up, "Just where do you think you're going missy?" One of them asks. From behind, one of the cloaked figures calls out, "Let her past Franco, but only if she looses that blanket. I've never been with a blue skinned woman before." The man that stopped you holds out his hand to take your blanket like a butler might take a visiting lady's cloak.
Last Edit: Mar 26, 2019 10:42:23 GMT -5 by DM-Delfon
Myst takes a quick breath in and hurriedly steps back. “I...I... no, thank you. I'll just be on my way,” she manages to stutter softly, droplets of water forming on her skin. Myst hastily turns away from the man, intending to leave the tavern – perhaps she could find a calmer establishment instead.
You dodge and push your way through the crowd, the sound of the two suited fellows laughing fading behind you. You slip past one burly fellow, and notice too late the groping hand of another going for your rear. You twist, knowing t won’t be enough, but the hand never makes contact. You glance back and see the cloaked fellow that called out holding a dagger to the groper’s throat. The man holds up his hands, looking properly terrified. The cloak swirls, and almost instantly vanishes into the crowd.
You finally make it to the pair of bouncers at the front door, and fear begins to rise when they seem amused at your approach. That’s when you see the cloaked man standing between them in the doorway. You can only see his smile beneath the shadow of his cowl. That is until he throws back the hood, revealing boyish features and short hair so curly it is almost ringlets. “You should take a care good lady. Refusing such an offer can be seen as rude by some.” He bows slightly, never taking his eyes from yours, “Perhaps we got off on the wrong foot. Can we start over?” He indicates himself, “I am known as Gecko.” He smiles then, a handsome man Gecko, especially when he smiles.
Myst's eyes meet Greckos, holding their gaze for a brief moment before softly replying, “where I come from it is rude for a gentleman to pursue a woman after she has already politely rejected him. Now please, allow me to be on my way, sir” - she says the last word sarcastically, surprised at her own brevity. Then, as if remembering herself, she looks towards the floor, heat rising into her cheeks while droplets of water drip down her face. “Guards, let me pass.” She cringes at her request, which sounds feeble and unsure, even in her own ears.
The two bouncers inhale slightly at your request, increasing the size of their already muscular bodies. It becomes clear to you that wearing a gray cloak in this place carries far more authority than a blanket. They make no move to clear your path. Gecko's smile doesn't falter, but it does change. Some of the pleasantness fades, and a bit of malice creeps in around the edges. You note a hardness that comes into his eyes, this is a man that is used to getting what he wants. The area around your conversation widens, as if the brutes and thugs that frequent this place can feel the tension in the air, "You're not where you come from, are you?" he asks rhetorically. "It would seem to me that you're new to Clifton, and don't know a damned thing about how this place works." Abruptly he is holding a dagger (DC 23 perception to see the motion), but yet he still seems completely at his ease. He uses the dagger to trim one of his nails, letting the clipping fall to the floor. The dagger vanishes as quickly as it appeared. "I was going to offer to show you around for free, just for the pleasure of your company." He shrugs, and the two bouncers smirk, "But since your company doesn't seem to be all that pleasurable, my services will cost you five gold. You know where to find me." He slips past you without a second look, and you can follow his progress back to the calm area at the back of the room by the small bubble of peace that opens up around him as he moves. You turn to leave, and the bouncers are still blocking the doorway. When you make it clear that you intend to leave the one that spoke before says with a smile, "There's a two drink minimum."
Myst watches carefully as Gecko makes his way back to his seat, wary of his return.
When her gaze turns back to the guards, she carefully considers them for a moment. A vision flashes in her head – she could command the water filling a nearby stein to splash the guards in the face and make a quick run for it. She quickly dismisses the idea but can't help a small smile at the thought of 'giving them their two drinks.' Instead, Myst does her best to hide her smirk and demurely asks, “how much?” After a moment's thought she adds, “you can buy yourself drinks or keep the coin for yourselves.”
You must be showing a little of what you were thinking on your face, as the bouncer that has remained quiet this far shifts his stance to be a little more ready. “Two gold” he says, then adds each with another smirk. If you pay (4gp) they clear a path for you, commenting, “You should take Gecko up on his offer. Clifton can be dangerous without a friend in the Shadow Hand.” To your back as you pass.
Myst considers the bouncers for a moment and then says, "I'll go buy a couple of drinks then" and heads over to the rowdiest part of the tavern, deciding she can't afford to spend her precious gold on this bullshit extortion (7+6 insight = 13 - I assume it isn't hard to tell they're extorting her).
She then looks for the biggest, burliest, angriest, LOUDEST man she can find, sends a quick prayer to her god for luck, and silently motions for the water in his drink to rise (she motions under the table to conceal the motioning of her hands), adding the water to the empty drink of a nearby patron. She then patiently waits. Humans seem obsessed with these strange drinks (she can't blame them, water is precious here on land); perhaps this man will cause a ruckus when he finds his drink suddenly gone and she can use the commotion to escape.
Stealth check = 7 + 2(guidance) +5 = 14 If you give me advantage for hiding my hands under the table or for the drunkenness of the crowd Stealth check = 16 + 1(guidance) + 5 = 22 Cast: Shape Water (somatic only)
(No advantage here, as there are plenty of observant people all around.)
The bouncers chuckle to themselves, and watch you as you make your way back into the chaos that is the Carousing Sailor. Finding your mark in this crowd is actually harder than you expected. The problem isn't scarcity, but quantity. You find a dozen men that would easily meet your needs in the first few seconds of searching. You ask your deity for guidance, and then as stealthy as possible move the water portion of his drink to another patron's tankard. The drink overflows over the man's hand and down into his lap. He curses as he stands and shoves your intended target. Your target laughs it off, and knocks back his drink only to cough and sputter as the not water portion of his drink does not taste like what he was expecting. Once he has regained his breath, he smashes the man that shoved him in the face with a viscous right hook. The man staggers back and knocks over his table.
You stand there stunned, eyes wide as you watch what your actions have wrought. The the man that shoved your target leaps at him, knocking him back into another table worth of patrons. They join the fray, as do the patrons that had their drinks knocked over after that first punch. Within seconds this entire bar is in an uproar. Men leap or are thrown through the air, it seems like everyone you can see is throwing a punch or kick. Chairs and tankards are smashed against faces or heads. The bouncers begin to hit anyone that looks the slightest bit hostile with their cudgels, working their way steadily toward the center of the room. The calm area guards have drawn short swords, and brandish them at anyone that makes a move toward the back area. The well dressed man, his female entourage and the gray cloaked men point out different parts of the melee to each other. The serving women have dodged to safety behind the bar, or into the calm area near the cloaked men. One serving woman that couldn't make it to safety has a bleeding gash above her eye, and is sticking as close to one of the bouncers as possible.
You have no idea if anybody saw you kick this off, but you don't relish the thought of sticking around to find out. Some of the crowd are pouring into the street, and there are too many people for the bouncers to try and stop them. You make your way out of the tavern and into the brightness that is the mid-morning sun. What now Myst?
Myst blinks in the sudden sunlight which is blinding after the relative darkness of the tavern. She doesn't dare dream of what might have happened if she had been caught. "Thank Deep Sasheas for the luck," she thinks to herself.
She scans the streets for a calmer establishment. Perhaps there is an owner hurting for money and willing to talk for a small price. Coin would be better spent on a bribery like that, rather than on those awful bouncers in the Carousing Sailor.
Worst case scenario, she can return to Gecko and ask for his help but - she shivers, remembering the malice in his eyes - she would rather not.
As you noted in your earlier travels, at least a dozen taverns can be found easily enough in the harbour district. You take note of each one so you can make an informed decision this time around.
The first tavern you come across is The Faded Peacock. It bears a sign depicting a peacock with feathers all fanned out, but the whole thing is depicted in a colourless gray. It has the feeling of a quiet place about it, especially now with only a single fellow inside making notes in a ledger.
The Chunk O' Pie, is both a tavern and a bakery it seems. Two bars on opposite sides of the room, one featuring bottles and casks and the other featuring a display case full of fresh baked bread, and a half dozen pies. You can see movement in what must be the kitchen area, and the place smells of fresh baking, but you don't see anyone about the premises.
The Pelican, it's sign featuring, wait for it, a pelican. Not just any pelican though, this one is wearing a sailor's outfit and is carrying a frothy tankard of ale. The decor has a distinctly nautical theme. The door is locked, and you see no signs of life inside.
The Cold Prince Pub has no sign at all, you would have missed it all together if it wasn't for the pale skinned fellow with a tankard sitting on the stoop. He is smoking something with a dank aroma that you've never experienced before. Just breathing in some of the smoke he exhales makes you feel a little light headed.
Tusker's Alley you don't feel overly comfortable approaching because there are a half dozen brutish green skinned humanoids gathered around the mouth of the alley leading to the tavern. As soon as you get close they all stop talking and stare at you.
The Dramatic Elf is an outdoor coliseum styled tavern. The bar itself is set into the base of the stage. You see a very old man with gray hair hanging loose and ragged to his shoulders. He wears overalls, and is barefoot while he sweeps the rows of stone benches and the ground around them.
The Steel Lion is a solid stone structure, unlike the majority of the buildings in Clifton. You can see five armoured figures sitting within, a woman with a pristine white apron that is built like a blacksmith is passing out plates to the armoured figures.
You don't learn a whole lot about The Winking Beaver, the doors of this three story building are locked and thick black velvet curtains hang in all the windows. You do catch sight of a handsome shirtless man sitting on the edge of the roof. He is sweaty like he just finished working out.
The Better Fiddler has a collection of tables surrounding two raised platforms, with a bar running along one wall.
The Well-Groomed Pike, its sign featuring a fish wearing formal attire complete with top hat and monocle. Inside you can see that one wall has been replaced with a massive aquarium teeming with fish and shellfish.
You can see why The Ghastly Alligator got it's name as soon as you glance through the window, a massive forty foot long gator hangs from the ceiling.
Of course, you can always go back to the Carousing Sailor (which you got +25exp for escaping).
Last Edit: Mar 28, 2019 20:21:59 GMT -5 by DM-Delfon
For a moment, Myst considers entering the Faded Peacock; that man seems educated and probably knows a lot about Clifton. Alas, she probably doesn't have a lot in common with him.
She also stares at the serving woman in the The Steel Lion for a moment, wondering if human women are any more sane than the men she's met so far. There do seem to be a lot of armored men in this place though. They seem dangerous, though calmer than the men at the Carousing Sailor.
But when Myst sees the Well-Groomed Pike and its beautiful aquarium she lingers, even allowing herself a longing sigh. Its colours remind her of home. The people in this place must have a solid head on their shoulders if they enjoy the ocean this much. “Deep Sasheas, please let this be a safer option” she prays, as she hesitantly steps forward, glancing through the door.
Insight check: 9 + 2 (guidance) = 6 = 18 to check if this place seems safe.
If it seems okay she will head in, thinking to herself, “I hope there isn't a two drink minimum.”
The door is unlocked and it opens easily enough. As the door begins to open, you're startled as a bell chimes above your head. You enter the room, moving past a table while you watch the aquarium. You see many species of fish that you recognize from the ocean around your homeland. You turn your head to face the sound of a door creaking open. You see a face framed by straight blonde hair peeking out into the room. The man makes eye contact with you, his hazel eyes seem kind. He steps a little further into the room until about half of himself is visible. He wears simple commoners clothing, with boots that go almost up to his knees. His long sleeves are rolled up, and his arms are wet to just below the elbow. "Can I help you?" He calls out, sounding both curious and hesitant.
“Hello, yes,” Myst replies, eyeing the man curiously and collecting her thoughts while her hands fidget with the heavy blanket still wrapped around her. “I am looking for a... a drink?” Myst sounds so unsure that the statement sounds more like a question. “A drink and a place to sit and rest... in decent company.” Myst manages to say the last part with a small smile, making it as warm as she can. This man is relatable. Water hugs his arms comfortably, his hesitancy is somehow reassuring, and his kind smile is the first one she's seen since arriving in Clifton. Yes, she can work with this.
Insight check: 12 + 6 = 18 Myst is trying to assess how much she can trust this man during the entirety of their interaction.
He steps fully into the room, and moves off behind the bar to dry his arms with a towel, "We're not actually open right now, I guess I forgot to lock the door behind myself when I came in." He gestures to one of the tables, "It's alright though, anything to get me away from those bloody dishes." He smiles then. "Is ale alright?" If you agree, he pours it and brings it around to your table. If not, he gets you whatever you're looking for. As he puts the drink down at the table, he says, "Is it alright if I join you?"
From the little you've interacted with him, he seems pleasant enough with nothing indicating deceit.
Myst once again smiles and says quietly, “ale sounds great. And I would love the company. Please, sit down.”
As the barkeep pours her ale and slides into the chair across from her, Myst carefully pulls off the blanket, revealing long, silvery-blue hair, still faintly dewy, and delicate blue elven ears. Her eyes downcast to avoid the barkeep's gaze, she carefully folds the blanket and places it gently in her backpack. She then softly sets the backpack at her feet along with the long length of driftwood – a makeshift quarterstaff – that had been secured beside it on her back.
Free of her burdens, she settles into her seat and finally looks up at the barkeep through long lashes. The thin blue fingers of her right hand encircle the stein placed before her while her left hand plays unconsciously with the silver earing that pierces the tip of her left ear.
“So this is your establishment?” she asks in her usual soft-spoken voice.
The stein placed before you is made of something resembling glass, but sturdier somehow. It has been carefully blown out to resemble the outside of a sea shell, without all the twisted interior which would be impossible to keep clean. The ale itself is pale, with a bit of froth on top that reminds you of sea foam. When you finally look up to the meet those hazel eyes, you see him gawking openly. His mouth hangs open, but there is a curl in the corners to shows the start of a smile. He seems to realize that he's staring at you, his teeth clicking as he quickly closes his mouth. He looks away at the aquarium wall, a bit of crimson warming his cheeks. "I'm sorry for staring." He says simply, not yet looking back toward you. "You're a Water Genasi, are you not?" He turns back to you then, glancing up and meeting your eyes, "I think you're beautiful." He says simply, but in almost a whisper. His cheeks are almost glowing with the heat of his embarrassment, "Please forgive me if I was too forward." He looks back toward the aquarium again, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand and pulling the front of his shirt away from himself with the other. He gratefully pounces on your change of subject, speaking almost too quickly to be understood, "My Grandfather owns the place, but he doesn't get around much anymore so I take care of it for him." He begins to turn back to look at you, but can't seem to raise his eyes past the tabletop where your drink sits. "My name is Yoseph, it's truly my pleasure to meet you."
“It's nice to meet you Yoseph. My name is Myst,” Myst replies, crimson in her own cheeks. She pauses for a moment, stopping herself from covering up with the blanket in response to his compliment. Instead she takes a small sip from the magnificent stein to buy herself time. She immediately regrets it, her nose crinkling at the bitter taste. She barely manages to keep herself from spitting it out all over the table and instead she tips the stein back to her lips and tries to inconspicuously spit the drink back into the mug.
Myst composes herself and finally asks, “how do you know about the Water Genasi? I thought they were a secret to humans.”
He smiles at your name, holding back a chuckle. You're not sure what he could find funny, but seemingly he is finding something funny in it. As if he read your mind he tries to explain, "Mist, with an I like fog..." He trails off then. Whether unsure of himself, unsure of his humour, or just out of fear of offending you you're not sure which. After taking a sip, and then carefully spitting it back into the stein he stands, "Excuse me for a moment. Please, don't leave." He holds your eye for a moment, not willing to leave until you assure him that you will wait here. He returns to the room only a moment later, entering the room as if he is being chased. He stops and walks the rest of the way into the room as if nothing was amiss once he sees that you're still there. He sets another glass down. This one is a normal wine glass at the top, but the steam is a sea horse. Not the most practical glass to hold, but it sure is pretty, "Try this." He says simply, filling the glass half way with a thin red liquid. It smells of strawberries, not that you've encountered those before, and it tastes like what it smells like, perhaps with a light sprinkling of sugar over the top. "My grandfather spent his life on the seas. He would still be out on a ship now if he had his way." He smiles then, favorable memories playing out across his mind, "He told me of an underwater city, Neltas, Neptas, Neldas. Sorry I can't recall the name." He pauses to find his place in the story in his mind, "He met a blue skinned woman from there. Apparently she was badly tangled in some fishing nets, and he agreed to free her if she would just talk to him for a time." He looks back to you earnestly, "I thought it was just another tall tale, but with you here..." He trails off again, "Is it real? Was he telling the truth?"
The taste of the wine is exquisite and Myst's taste buds dance for a moment before the wine turns sour in her mouth at the sound of her homeland's name. Myst swallows in one big gulp, feeling a rising panic before pushing it down.
“Neltas? Never heard it of,” she says smoothly, gripping the sea horse stem a little too tightly, its edges biting uncomfortably into her skin. She continues, “it could be true I suppose, but *I've* never been there. I was found by a human man on an island, where I had washed ashore somewhere in the lawless sea. The man raised me there alone. I think if a magical place like that existed, some sailors would have discovered it long ago...” Myst pauses, trying to look speculative.
“Anyway, when my adoptive father died, I decided to come inland to find work as a healer. And here I am. But I fear I am woefully unprepared for Clifton. I have no idea where to find work or even how to get into the city. I also fear that the people here will learn about my gifts and want to harness them for evil purposes.”
As if to emphasize her last point, Myst pulls water from the aquarium tank and begins to weave the shapes of tiny fish and dolphins (casting Shape Water). At a gesture from her, they begin to swim around the table, as if Yoseph and Myst were sitting at the bottom of the ocean. “A Water Genesi indeed; a secret I hope you'll help me keep,” Myst finishes with a small and genuine smile at Yoseph.