The Cheerful Tusk Tusk Intro

<Mina‘Haplo> [It’s generally accepted by historians that the oldest parts of the city of Paxia are the parts along the water. The city of course is built in the wedge between the River Pax and the sea to the east; the oldest parts being the outer 'v' of the wedge. It is here in the eastern side, the area known as the Docks Quarter of Paxia city, that our attention lies.-
<Mina‘Haplo> [The Docks Quarter of Paxia is a very large and busy place, and wildly varied, from the neat and well organised warehouses and shipping docks of the merchant guilds to the imposing and massive military drydocks of the Imperial Navy, to the countless dilapidated and ageing pubs, bars, sea shacks and housing that crowd the coastline.-
<Mina`Haplo> [In one such pub- the "Mermaid’s Mandolin", the crowd is especially busy, for the fishing boats and transports have just docked. Hundreds of sailors and fishermen have swarmed the bars, and the Mandolin is no exception. Amongst the seamen are, of course, the smatterings of foreigners, from the naive and easily targetted to the more guarded mercenary or adventurer.]
*Tusk enters the pub, looking left, and then right. He rubbed the top of a hairy leg on the shin of the other leg then wandered inside. Occassionally dodging around the feet of the larger guests, he made his way to a stool at the bar. With some slight effort he climbed up it without tipping it over and seated himself. He rapped on the bar a few times and waited, keeping an ear out.
<Mina‘Haplo> [The halfling was not noticed much in the Mermaid’s Mandolin. Ever since Helbeland, the ancestral home of the Halflings, had been conquered by the Empire of Arcolia, there had been plenty of refugees and other sorts flowing into Paxia from the mainland.-
<Mina‘Haplo> [It takes a while for service to arrive, but eventually a harried, balding old barkeep looks over at Tusk, sizing him up with a grunt. "What’ll it be?"]
*ChanServ sets mode: +oa Mina‘Haplo Mina`Haplo
<Tusk> ‘Pint o’ ale is all. Nothing flashy, my good man.’ Tusk gave the barkeep a winning smile. ‘You may also pull up a chair and serve me a story, oh, I do love stories, sir.’ He held up his chin on his palms, elbows on the bar. He watched the barkeep with a perhaps unsettlingly saccharine look.
<Mina`Haplo> ["Ain’t got any of the good stuff. Ain't got any stories for you either." Grunts the barkeep, taking out a halfpint (ha) tankard and filling it up from one of the barrels at the back of his shop. He then plonks it down to Tusk and holds out a hand.]
*Tusk sighs wistfully at hearing there are no stories to be told, though he still smiled. WHen the guard held out a hand Tusk shook it enthusiastically with his tiny one, grinning as, when he pulled his hand back, coin was left in the barkeep’s hand. He took his tankard and gulps it down with surprising speed given his size…
<Tusk> […When he sets it down again, half full, he shuts his eyes to listen in on anything potentially interesting going on within this new city.]
<Mina‘Haplo> [The barkeep doesn’t seem too amused at all with Tusk's trick, but he takes the coin and slips it into a pouch. The ale tastes alright. It isn't great, but it's okay. Meanwhile, the sound of other people's words start to filter to Tusk's ears…-
<Mina‘Haplo> ["What’s that you say? A Darkling seen over by Sommerset way?" "Yeah, they say it looked like a giant demonic cat…"-"The Magister-Dean of St. Evelyn's is in a bit of hot water, I hear-" "I don't believe this, shipping tolls have gone up a whole five shillings-" "It's no use complaining, have you seen the profit we're gonna make from selling those carpets? Four thalers profit per bundle-" "I don't like this, mate-
<Mina‘Haplo> ["What’s one of Allegro's boys doing with a mage's thingy?" "I dunno, but I hear it's giving Allegro's boys a real edge in the westside- they say the necklace can control minds.-" "Oy, those Elves in Hariel seem to be getting a bit antsy recently, huh?" "Hariel? We had a Hariel elf on us for our trip!" … And other words waft to Tusks' ears.]
<Mina‘Haplo> [Also for some reason, he can vaguely hear people talking about mudcrabs.]
Session Time: Thu Aug 26 00:00:00 2010
*Tusk grins even wider: ‘Aw, why so serious, barkeep?’ He quiets down and listens, his gently pointed ears often twitching. A darkling? And…the necklace. Mudcrabs?! He sips his ale quietly while trying to pick up on anything else the men talking of Allegro and the necklace are saying.
<Mina`Haplo> ["So he nicks it from one of the aides of one of the assistants of the Undersecretary of the Dee-Eff-Aay, and gives it to Jimmy ’Break-a-leg' Crickley." "What? Why ol' Break-a-leg?" "Well apparently, Break-a-leg used to be a bit of a hedge magician when he was a younger bloke. And so he apparently knows how to use it." "Huh. I didn't know that."]
*Tusk frowns, actually concerned now. A former hedge mage with something rumored to be able to control minds? Named Break-a-leg? He listened closer.
*Rynol has joined #2wizardsic
<Mina‘Haplo> ["I don’t like it." Says one tall chap decisively, frowning beneath big bushy eyebrows. "He's gone too far, nickin' summink from the guvment. Why, e'll bring the whole house down on himself, ol' 'Legro will! Now he's done that, the Mage-Eye-" The man stops, nervously, and the small gang of chatting sailors seem to ominously look up at the roof. A few of them knock on wood.]
*Tusk finishes his ale and hops off the stool. He makes his way over to the men he had been carefully listening to. "Excuse me, gentlemen." He gave the same winning smile he had given the grumpy barkeep and bowed low once spotted. Not a useful gesture, considering he doesn’t even come up to the tabletop…
*Tusk he took hold of the edge of the table and pulled himself up just enough for his head to clear it. "Hello there! I apologize, I am an aspiring bard, and I go from tavern to tavern to seek stories that’ll delight, mystify, perhaps terrify! Don’t suppose you gentlemen could pull up a chair for this poor tiny halfling and tell me more of this…Mage-Eye?"
<Mina‘Haplo> ["No." Grunts one of the men, but his comrade cuts in. "A bard, eh? Well, y’know, if you're a bard, why don't you play us some music? Then we'll see."]
*Tusk twitches subtly. "Why, sure!" Tusk didn’t want to draw attention to himself, both for the subject matter and because despite being a bard he wasn’t fond of being thrust into the spotlight. He pulled a simple flute from his belt and took a deep breath.-
*Tusk plays a stirring and cheerful song on his flute worthy of praise!
<Mina‘Haplo> [Quite suddenly, the bar goes dead quiet as Tusk plays- this is part of the unwritten contract between bard and audience, see. In bars and pubs all over the world, the moment music starts to play unexpectedly, the audience shuts up and waits to see if the bard is up to scratch.-
<Mina`Haplo> [… He is! And he also finds himself taking away some money from people who assume he’s busking. "So then!" Asks the earlier bloke, who is now more friendlier than he was. "What was your question, wee one?" A chair is found for the halfling. It looks supsiciously like a member of the 'baby highchair' family.]
*Tusk hops up onto the humiliating seat and crosses his arms with a toothy grin, rubbing two newly-earned coins together between his fingers. "This Mage-Eye sounds interesting. Ominous." His voice dropped a mite lower. "What do you know?"
<Tusk> *lower in pitch
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Ah. Well." The chaps lean forward, and lower their voices. "The Mage-Eye’s the street name for it. The real name's the… What is it, Theo?" "The 'Sentinel Scryin' Field'." "Thassright. But we call it the Mage-Eye. Basically, the guvmint here- the Council of Mages and the Emprah and all that, right, they don't trust the people. So they build this massive scryin' thing. It's this thing that lets the mages see anywhere. Into hom
*Tusk thought it was time to get to the nitty gritty. He looked from one man to another. "So you believe this Break-a-leg will be caught with the necklace?" he asked quietly, the mirth toned down noticeably.
<Mina‘Haplo> ["So you heard that, eh?" Says Theo, snickering gently, before nodding. "Yeah, course he will. They always is, aren’t they? See, when it's crim on crim, like… Imagine if one of Allegro's boys knifed one of Spyder's boys, the guvment wouldn't care. But you screw with a Mage, you steal the undersecretary-" "Aide of an assisant to the-" "Yeah, alright, alright, you're gonna bring 'em down on your head."
<Mina‘Haplo> ]
*Tusk nodded slightly, clasping his hands in front of him on the table in a more businesslike position. …While sitting in a baby highchair. "I hear much, but I am unfamiliar with both Allegro and Spyder. Care to enlighten me?"
<Mina`Haplo> ["Well…" They look at each other, before continuing. "Allegro rules the dockside. No one knows his real name, but he apparently is always good on his feet and can dance out of danger. He’s got all his fingers in all the merchant pies, see. He's ambitious, too- he's trying to spread his grip deeper into the city. He's fast and subtle; half the 'natural causes' of death in the city are due to him, I'd wager."-
<Mina‘Haplo> ["As to Spyder? Well, he’s a real mastermind, he is. He's based… Somewhere in the city, dunno where, really. People call 'im spyder because he's like a spider that also spies, see?" … Silence at this. "Anyway, he knows people everywhere, has half the city beggars in his pocket. Probably knows more than anyone- not including those who can use the Mage-Eye, of course…"]
*Tusk nodded slightly, thinking. "So Allegro has the necklace, then? Is there another who might know more about him?"
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Oh, ’course there will be, but you'd have to speak to one of Allegro's lot, wouldn't you?"]
*Tusk grins. "’Spose I would. Thank you kindly, sirs. For your aid!" Out came the flute. "Theo, yes? A song for you, and your friends. Custom-made! Just for you! Tailored like a fine suit to match the small bit of your life you so generously shared with me and dare I say, your handsomeness!" He held the flute to his mouth and licked his lips, then paused in thought.
*Tusk plays a song of songs, low in pitch and high in intensity for the man sitting across from the bard in the infant’s highchair!
<Mina`Haplo> [The performance is good enough to be memorable as the crowd start really enjoying it- the rest of the day passes by quickly enough, but by the end of it, Tusk has even more money than he did before…]
*Tusk grinned from ear to ear then left the tavern after saying his goodbyes to the men, and the barkeep. It semeed he had a job to do…
*Tusk is now known as Vint

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