• Solo • Portrait of a Baron

Once an isolated and dying township, an influx of academics, adventurers and thrill seekers have made Scalvoris Town their home. From scholars' tea shops to a new satellite campus for Viden Academy, this is an exciting place to visit or make your home!

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Doran
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Portrait of a Baron

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Vhalar 13, Arc 721

The uppermost floor of the former lighthouse, in direct view of the giant lamp that had been left there by the former owner, was probably an unusual place to do important research, Doran considered as he briefly turned his gaze away from the small desk made of dark wood in front of him and let his gaze drift across his surroundings. He had a proper office downstairs, but he came up here on a regular basis anyway. There was something about it that inspired him. Sometimes, he even allowed himself to daydream a little which was an activity that he rarely engaged in otherwise as it seemed counterproductive to him.

He found it easy to imagine what this place must have looked like once upon a time, when the lighthouse had still been in use and when the small dock that was part of his property had not been in a relative state of disrepair yet. Maybe, merchants ships had landed here on a regular basis and brought exotic goods from faraway lands. Maybe, he would even have his own ship once his work for Qylios had been concluded and once he had finally hired someone to repair the dock, provided that his job at the university left him with a little more free time, and import alchemical reagents, metals or even exotic plants.

He found the idea quite appealing.

For the time being, he focused on his notebook and the numerous papers that were lying in front of him again though. He had made considerable progress when it came to researching Enri von Smooglenuff. He was quite optimistic that he would be able to find the man himself. Just two trials earlier, Professor Fridson, a colleague of his, had told him that a man that might very well be Enri had helped out after the collapse of the docks and that the Order might still have records of him. He planned on visiting the Order later that trial; before he did so, he considered it prudent to go over what he had found out so far though – including the research that he had done before Qylios had given him her task.

When he had first looked into the matter of the Warden and Slag’s Deep, he had thought that Xiur had a daughter named Violunne. Later on, he had realized that “Mrs. Violunne Guffone” had simply been one of Enri Von Smooglenuff’s many anagrams though. He checked his notes in that regard, and then his notes on Admiral Mosra who had mentioned that Enri was one of the finest star cartographers he’d ever met, and the rest. He wanted to make sure that he had as complete a picture of Enri as possible when he visited the Order; besides, he hoped that reviewing his research would lead to a new realization.

Which it did, in a way.

He already knew that Enri resembled his Immortal father greatly. Considering how recently the collapse of the docks had taken place, one of the healers of the Order might very well be able to give him a more accurate description of Enri’s appearance though. If someone made a drawing of him, something that people could look at when he asked them about him, he would have a much easier time finding him, and he already knew someone that would hopefully be willing to help him in that regard.

She was currently in his laboratory, organizing a few alchemical reagents that he had recently acquired.
Last edited by Doran on Sun Nov 07, 2021 2:54 pm, edited 2 times in total. word count: 590

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Re: Portrait of a Baron

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When he entered the laboratory, Plia, his assistant, a young woman of mixed Eidisi and Ellune descent, was just filling dried herbs and mushrooms into glass containers and labelling them. Doran had decided that he wanted to work with local reagents a bit more while he was staying on Scalvoris and ordered a couple of things for that purpose.

He wanted to see what he could make with them.

When he greeted her, Plia paused, set the small bag with Steppers that she had been holding in her hand down, turned around and smiled shyly at him before she asked, “Yes, professor, what can I do for you? Is there anything I can help you with? I’ve been thinking about what we can possibly use these mushrooms for as well. Powdered, they could improve the taste of certain potions, for example”, she admitted.

“That’s an interesting idea, and I’d appreciate it if you could look into it”, Doran replied – he didn’t say so to humor her, but really thought that she should pursue that idea further. “For now, I have a request for you though. I’ll be going to town later to-trial, and I’d like you to accompany me, if you have time. I’d like you to try and draw someone.”

Plia furrowed her brow a little bit when she heard that. The idea of actually drawing someone made her feel a bit weird, to be honest, even though she knew that there was no logical reason for it. She’d been told that she was quite skilled, by Doran as well as by other people.

“Who do you want me to draw?” she asked. She felt a bit weird, but much more than that, she was curious. Doran wasn’t the kind of person that just hired artists to make pictures of people or things and hang them on his walls. He’d bought paintings in the past, but he mostly used the artifacts that he had acquired to decorate his home, things that he had some sort of connection to.

So, why that change of heart? Why did he suddenly want to have a drawing of someone made?

“Enri von Smooglenuff”, Doran replied. “I might finally know of someone who might be able to give me a comparatively accurate description of him. Do you remember that I met with Professor Fridson two trials ago?” he wanted to know. When she nodded, he proceeded to recount what his colleague had told him towards the end of their meeting. “I hope that having an actual picture of him will help me. Would you be able to draw Enri for me if one of the healers told you what he looks like?” he finished.

“I … I can certainly give it a try”, she mumbled before she abruptly looked up at him in order to meet his gaze, smiling slightly, because she was actually quite excited about his request now. “If you really want me rather than a professional artist to do something that important, that is.”

“I do”,
he confirmed. “I’ve seen some of your drawings and paintings. Which time would work best for you, Plia? I’ll pay you if you accompany me, of course”, he added, because asking her to do it for free just because she was his assistant wouldn’t be right in his opinion. He would have paid a professional artist, and she was just as good.

“This afternoon?” she asked. Upon realizing that her answer had sounded more like a question, Plia blushed and repeated in a firmer tone of voice, “This afternoon. We can go this afternoon, if you want. Making a pencil drawing would be easiest and fastest in my opinion, but if you want me to, I can take a couple of paints with me as well”, she offered.

“Pencils will be sufficient, thank you”, he decided, smiled at her and inclined his head – her agreeing to come with him was nothing that he would take for granted. A moment later, he gestured towards the herbs and mushrooms she had been working with and remarked, “I’m done with my research for the time being. Would you like to tell me more about your idea now?”

“Of course, professor”,
Plia replied. A moment later, her eyes lit up. Talking about her art always made her feel a bit weird and awkward, but when it came to alchemy, she was confident and loved sharing her ideas. Once upon a time, she had been shy in that regard as well, but that had changed. Alchemy was one of her favourite things to talk about!
Last edited by Doran on Sun Nov 07, 2021 2:02 pm, edited 2 times in total. word count: 779

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Re: Portrait of a Baron

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Later that trial.

“Did you consider joining the Order of the Adunih, back before you became Dean, professor?” Plia wanted to know as they approached the local Order Outpost and looked at Doran curiously. The young woman wore a sensible blue-grey dress with a matching cloak now, and she carried a leather satchel that contained pencils, paper and her sketchbook, among other things.

“What is the Adunih anyway?” she asked in a polite tone of voice and furrowed her brow. “Was the Adunih simply the founder of the Order - or is it a word that designates some kind of group?”

“That’s a question that we should ask Mrs. Augustin sometime. She might know more”,
Doran who was dressed in a fine deep blue suit that trial admitted and stopped for a moment in order to face his assistant. “As for my joining the Order, it never occurred to me that I should or could. For the last couple of arcs, my focus has also shifted from medicine to alchemy and history”, he added in a thoughtful tone of voice.

He admired the Order’s work, but he had never thought of becoming part of it.

“Faith Augustin? The Faith Augustin?” Plia asked rather than inquiring about the other matter further. She sounded amazed and blinked a little in disbelief.

“The one”, Doran confirmed with a nod and smiled slightly before he gestured towards the small, neat building that was in front of them. The front door was open, he noticed, just like it had been during his last visit. He liked that. He liked that people could just walk in.

The Order didn’t turn anybody away.

A lot had changed in Scalvoris over the past couple of seasons, he noticed as he entered, but this place was still the same. It was clean and orderly, and there was something about the people working there that gave him the impression of them being friendly and caring.

He stood there for a few moments, watching the healers go about their work and wondering if he should approach one of them or just wait. He was somewhat reluctant to interrupt them in case they were doing something important. He didn’t need medical treatment, after all.

In the end, a young man spotted him and Plia who had positioned herself behind him and who was being somewhat shy again now that the important moment was coming closer. He was a tall Biqaj with the pointed ears and color-changing eyes that were common to all members of his race and somewhere in his twenties, and he wore a green cloak.

“Sir, Madam, what can I do for you?” he inquired and looked them over. “I’m Dhatri. Are you in need of healing?” he wanted to know just a young boy wearing a green hat with a big red feather walked past. “That’s Squid”, he explained and waved at the boy.

“Squid?” Doran repeated in order to make sure that he had heard correctly and raised an eyebrow slightly.

“Squid”, Dhatri confirmed in a serious tone of voice and nodded. “He refuses to respond to any other name. The Order took him in a couple of arcs ago – or maybe it was the other way round. He more or less just showed up one trial. He seems to have taken a liking to Rami. So”, he continued and looked at Doran, expecting him to explain what he was here for.

“Professor Doran Thetys”, the Mortalborn introduced himself before he gestured towards Plia who attempted to curtsy slightly as she wasn’t quite sure how she was supposed to act. “This is my assistant, Plia Yishnai Velenar. Neither of us is in need of healing. I’ve come to make an inquiry though, about a man that helped out after the collapse of the docks and that told the children that were affected by the tragedy stories. I was told that the Order might still have records of him. I’d like to talk to one of you, whenever you have time”, he remarked politely – he didn’t expect the members of the Order to have time for him right now.

“I’d also like to make a donation to the Order, provided that you accept it”, he added. The arc before, he had donated some of the endurance potions that he had invented to the Order in the hope that they’d be able to use them. He had been planning on making another donation for a while now and decided to just combine that with his inquiry about Enri. He still couldn’t see himself becoming a member of the Order, but he wished to support it, nevertheless. The Order was doing important work in his opinion.

“We were all helping out back then, but you may want to talk to Rami in particular. She spent a considerable amount of time with the children, if I remember correctly”, Dhatri replied. “As for your donation – yes, of course we accept donations. We are always grateful for them”, he replied with a smile only for his eyes to widen when Doran handed him a bag that was filled with a number of onyx nels.

“I thought that I’d give you money rather than medicine or medical supplies as I do not know what the Order needs the most right now”, Doran explained to the Biqaj who thanked him sincerely. “As for Rami, I think I actually met her when I came here last arc”, he remembered just as Dhatri gestured towards a woman that had come through a door, carrying a box that was filled with rolled up bandages and gauze.

“Rami, Professor Thetys and his assistant – Plia, is it? - would like to talk to you about someone that helped out during the collapse of the docks if you have time”, he told his fellow Green Cloak who turned around and came closer, smiling slightly.

“I’ll just have to put these away. If you are willing to wait a bit, we can sit down somewhere and talk afterwards”, she offered.

“Actually”, Dhatri who was still holding the bag with Doran’s donation. “I was just going to head to Galena’s office – she’s the head of this branch of the Order – to inform her of your donation and your visit, but it would be more appropriate if you give her the money yourself”, he decided before he cast another glance at Rami. There was something slightly dreamy about it which made Doran wonder if he fancied his colleague.

It was none of his business though, and for that reason, he only inclined his head and remarked, “I appreciate that, Rami.” A moment later, he nodded at Dhatri and followed him to Galena’s office, Plia who looked around curiously – she had never visited the Order before – in tow.
Notes
Player wealth isn't measured in nels anymore, so I deducted 20 WP from my ledger. The sum that Doran donated corresponds to that.
Last edited by Doran on Sun Nov 07, 2021 2:36 pm, edited 3 times in total. word count: 1175

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Re: Portrait of a Baron

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Galena had given Doran the impression of being somewhat harried; she had been very grateful for the donation though and mentioned a number of things that could be done with the money – Doran had left it up to her what she would ultimately wanted to use his donation for. He had also told her why exactly he wanted to talk to one of her Green Cloaks – as the head of that particular Order outpost she should know in his opinion.

He wouldn’t discuss important things with one of her Green Cloaks without her being aware of it.

Sometime later, Rami, Plia and he were sitting in a small room that was currently empty. They were around a wooden table. The Green Cloak had filled three cups with herbal tea that had been sweetened with honey. She took a sip from her own cup before she asked Doran and Plia, “So … what did you want to talk about? The … the collapse of the docks, right?” she remembered and smiled a friendly smile. She gave Doran the impression of being a little unfocused at times. She reminded him of some of his students back in Viden in that regard.

“Indeed”, Doran confirmed with a light nod while Plia simply looked on and listened to them. “Two trials ago, I met with my colleague Professor Tag Fridson from the Institute of Metaphysics in order to ask him for his help regarding a task that the Immortal Qylios gave me. Lady Qylios wants to know how Enri von Smooglenuff was involved in the events that led up to the Forging”, he explained before he paused in order to give the young woman the opportunity to process what he had just said.

For a moment, there was a somewhat bemused expression on the Green Cloak’s Face. A moment later, she blinked a little – meetings with Immortals weren’t so commonplace as to not cause a reaction. Finally, she said, “Are you a Blessed of Qylios, professor, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“No”,
Doran replied in a calm and polite tone of voice even though it was obvious that he wasn’t – Qylios’ blessing was impossible to hide. “I bear Xiur’s, Ziell’s, Cassion’s and Daia’s blessing”, he explained. After telling her which blessing he didn’t have, he considered it to be appropriate to also tell her who had marked him rather than not saying anything.

“Professor Fridson told me about a man that helped out during the collapse of the docks”, he continued after the young healer had nodded before he pulled out his notes – he had written down what exactly his mortal colleague had told him. “That man, Professor Fridson said, helped look for survivors, comforted them and visited the children that had been affected by that catastrophe and told them stories. He seemed to have a gift for telling stories. There was something extraordinary about him.”

“Both Professor Fridson and I could not help but wonder if that man might have been Enri. Enri cares about Scalvoris and seems unlikely to not be there during a time of crisis. I was wondering if you remember the man that my colleague mentioned, and if you would be able to describe him so that my assistant can attempt to draw a portrait of him. I’d like to talk to him, and if I know what he looks like now …”,
he continued only in order to stop and look at the young healer questioningly.
Last edited by Doran on Sun Nov 07, 2021 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 587

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Re: Portrait of a Baron

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“It was such a tragedy”, Rami began in a somber tone of voice. “The collapse of the docks happened more than three arcs ago, but I still remember it as if it had taken place yesterday. I don’t think I’ll ever forget. There was a woman that was trapped under the rubble, for example. Both of her legs had been broken, and her husband was lying next to her, dead. I remember children screaming for their parents, and parents who didn’t know where their children were. Faith Augustin was in charge of the relief effort. She made sure that the volunteers had whistles so that they could alert someone if they needed help, and masks to protect them against the dust. She did an amazing job. She also had the Garden of Remembrance built”, she said, momentarily getting a little lost in her story before she focused again.

“So, that man you mentioned, the man that you think might be Enri von Smooglenuff”, she continued and took a sip from her tea while Doran and Plia waited. The Mortalborn didn’t pressure her or ask her to get to the point, he simply listened and occasionally took notes, to make sure that he would remember what exactly she had said.

Pressuring someone when they were talking about a tragedy was unacceptable in his opinion, and it would likely also be counterproductive when it came to his investigation; besides, he appreciated hearing more about the work that the Order had done during the collapse of the docks. It had been a catastrophe, but the Order of the Adunih and the countless volunteers had been a light in the darkness. Without them, so many more lives would have been lost that trial.

“He volunteered pretty early on”, Rami said. “He helped find survivors under the rubble and reunite family members with each other. There was nothing that he refused to do, no matter how hard it was, although I remember that he admitted to not being a healer. After Mrs. Augustin had gotten the base camp and the field hospital set up, he offered to keep the children there company. He told them stories, adventure stories, of hope and courage and bravery. I think he made up some of them on the fly. I’d never heard them before, at least. The children smiled when he talked to them.”

“I remember how happy I was to see them smile again. That was such an extraordinary thing. His focus was on the children during the relief effort, as I mentioned, but he didn’t ignore the older people either. I remember that he held a grandmother’s hand and comforted her while her granddaughter was being operated on, for example”,
she remembered and shook her head for a moment before she continued. “As for what he looked like … where am I supposed to start?”

“Did he resemble the following man?”
Doran wanted to know and subsequently described Xiur as he knew him, dark-haired and dark-skinned. He didn’t provide Rami with too many details though as he didn’t want to influence her. He just wanted to help her remember a little bit.

“There was a strong resemblance to the man you just described”, Rami said and took another sip from her tea before she simply finished it. The Green Cloak who was easily distracted and prone to daydreaming sometimes appeared to be utterly focused now and furrowed her brow in concentration. “But the volunteer – Enri – was not an exact doppelganger. Alright”, she decided and nodded. “I think I can describe him to you now. Let’s get started”, she said to Plia who smiled shyly before she pulled out her sketchbook and readied her pencil, and an eraser in case she needed to correct a mistake.
word count: 639

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Re: Portrait of a Baron

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For the next while, Doran did not say anything, but simply watched and listened so as to not disturb the two women and possibly make them lose concentration. Rami described Enri, Plia attempted to draw him, Rami shook her head and corrected Doran’s assistant. It was obvious to the Mortalborn that the young half Eidisi struggled slightly – she was good, better than good, in fact, but drawing a person that she couldn’t see, but that was only being described to her, constituted a challenge. Gradually, the drawing took form though. What had started out as a very rough sketch, began to clearly resemble a man’s face.

Doran found himself fascinated, both by Plia drawing – he had never been particularly talented in that regard – and by the fact that he was looking at Enri’s face for the very first time now. Up until now, he had only known that he resembled Xiur – Stan had confirmed that during their meeting in the Glass Temple the season before – but not more.

Of course, he was aware of the fact that there might be slight inaccuracies. Enri seemed to have left a lasting impression on Rami, but it had still been a while since she had last seen him. Nobody but a Blessed of Vri would be able to recall every detail of someone’s appearance after all that time, no matter how memorable the experience in question had been.

It was just as the two women finished their work and looked over the drawing once more, their heads close together now, that something occurred to him, something that he had not considered before. Enri was not only a Mortalborn of Xiur; he was also a Blessed of Cassion, from what he knew, and that meant …

“My apologies, Rami, but do you remember if he had a scar like this one?” he wanted to know and rolled up his left sleeve in order to reveal what appeared to be a large, vivid, worn scar. The Green Cloak looked up from the drawing and moved a little closer to Doran before she inspected the scar, furrowing her brow slightly as she did so.

When he nodded, she let a finger run across it.

“Does the scar bother you?” she wanted to know and withdrew her hand again.

“It doesn’t hurt, if that's what you mean”, Doran replied in a calm tone of voice. “It was given to me by an Immortal. It is the blessing of Cassion.”

“I think he had such a scar”, she said, momentarily sounding a little unsure before she nodded. “Yes, he had a very distinct looking scar, but it wasn’t on the left arm, like yours. He had a scar on his right forearm, a prominent, dark scar that looked different from the scars we normally get to see at the Order. Is Enri a Blessed of Cassion, like you?”

“He is”,
Doran confirmed with a nod, smiling, because he was almost completely certain that the man that volunteered during the collapse of the docks had indeed been Enri now.

When Plia handed him the finished drawing, blushing slightly, he thanked her before he took a closer look. The man that she had drawn had an obvious resemblance to Xiur. This had to be him. This was him.

Considering that the man that Rami had met had been a Sojourn on top of everything else, he had no doubt.

“I thank you for helping me and giving me a bit of your valuable time, Rami”, he spoke in a sincere tone of voice once everything had been said and done and extended his hand for her to shake before he finished his tea as well. He didn’t want to hold the Green Cloak up any longer – there was without a doubt a lot of work that needed to be done.

“I’m glad that I could be of help. I hope that you’ll find him”, the healer replied before they bid each other farewell. Doran did not simply put Plia’s drawing into his bag; he carefully inserted it into a folder where it would be protected as it was quite valuable in his opinion.

He finally had a face to go with the name and all of the stories that he had learned. He knew what Enri looked like now; all he had to do was find a man that matched the drawing and had a scar on his left arm. Sojourners could always recognize each other on sight which would help as well.

He only had to figure out where Enri might be now.

There was, he realized, a distinct chance that he was still on Scalvoris, or on Scalvoris again. What Rami had told him had confirmed that Enri was someone who was there for the island during times of crisis, and there had been no bigger crisis than the war against Slag’s Deep in recent history. Not only the fate of the island, but the fate of the world itself had been at stake. Maybe, he had helped when Ziell’s winter had covered the land.

Maybe, he was helping the victims of the war now.

He was just thinking about that when he heard Plia’s voice – they were making their way back to the lighthouse now where Doran wanted to review the notes that he had taken.

“I'm not sure why I was ever worried. This was quite an interesting experience”, the young woman admitted in a soft tone of voice and smiled. “What will your next steps be now, by the way, if you don’t mind me asking, professor?” she continued and looked at him with obvious curiosity.

“Figuring out if Enri was on Scalvoris during the war, and if he might in fact still be here”, he replied. He realized that Qylios had never asked him to find Enri once more. She just wanted to know how he had been involved.

He might be able to learn something about Enri’s relationship with his cousin Araman Musizu (That had been the Warden’s real name. He had been a Pirate Lord.) and what he had known by reading books or talking to other people.

He couldn’t help but wonder if Enri knew that Araman had been behind the collapse of the docks, for example, and if he had ever tried to dissuade his cousin from his plans – Cassion had told him that they had been as close as brothers once.

Only Enri himself would be able to tell him the absolute truth though. Books might be inaccurate, and witnesses might already have forgotten certain things or be biased. Besides, he wanted to thank Xiur’s son, for helping Scalvoris and for being a beacon of hope when things seemed impossibly dark.
word count: 1142

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Re: Portrait of a Baron

]


Experience: Tier 2 plot advancement.

Magic xp? No.

Collaboration: No.
Renown: +15
Injuries/Overstepping: None.
Loot: A portrait of Enri von Smooglenuff. The faithfulness of the likeness remains to be seen.
Wealth points -20 donation to Order of Adunih.

Skillplay: Appropriate to level.

Knowledge:

Tier 1 Knowledges:

Etiquette: Don’t interrupt someone that might be doing important work
Investigation: Having a drawing of someone makes it easier to find them
Investigation: Asking questions to jog someone’s memory
Investigation: When interrogating someone, it’s better not to pressure them
Investigation: Taking notes during an interrogation to prevent misremembering things

Tier 2 Knowledges:
Research: Reviewing your research so far can be helpful

Comments

Dhatri, Rami, & Squid sounds like it could be a law firm in the wizarding world.

The opening where Doran is atop the lighthouse daydreaming about what it must have been like in the past sets a tone of wistfulness and curiosity about history that fits well with the topic of the thread.

Four NPCs feature prominently in this thread, and they are presented as distinct personalities. Plia especially comes through, with her modesty and shyness in spite of her obvious talent and value to the situation.

Making an identification sketch was a creative idea; doing such is obviously pretty challenging, although someone who is Expert at Art could have a reasonable go at it. Showing the witness the picture at every stage of creation would be crucial to its success, and fortunately Plia did that.

Enjoy your rewards!
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