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Feeding some poor kids. To a spider. Maybe.

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.

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Woe
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Best Three out of Five?

Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:18 am

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Date: 1st of Cylus

As the days had been getting colder, anticipation for the celestial event that preceded Cylus grew in Woe.

His master had been kind to him in his servitude, relatively speaking. He'd given him gifts on his birthdays, which itself was on the fifth of Cylus. He'd also made him kill a few of the other slave children that populated the household in rituals. So it was a mixed bag.

It helped teach young Woe that there was a reason many cultures put their male children into hunting trips as a rite of passage. Knowing whether they were willing or able to kill or not showed where they ought to fit into society. In some societies, the ones who had a successful hunt without regret would become warriors. Those who hadn't perhaps would become beggars, gatherers, or medicine men. In Erastus' household, the fact that he'd broken down emotionally afterward meant that Woe became a clerk and sometimes a disciplinarian of slaves rather than an executioner, but just by taking part in the ritual and successfully sacrificing slaves had ensured his place in Sintra's cult as a hatchling.

Many of those rituals happened during Cylus, whether by design or coincidence, Woe couldn't say. Nevertheless, the fact that he received gifts during this time had instilled in him some liking for the pale season of things dying.

Now the moon moved in front of the winter sun, and the celestial event began. No more time for philosophizing. Woe turned from the event, shielding his eyes with his hands, while observing it through the periphery of his vision. When the alignment was finally completed, the land was bathed in a pale darkness like a starless night.

He took his hand away from his brow, and looked at the source of the darkness, shrugging. It was then he was glad to have the idle time, after two decades of slavery under Erastus, to do as he pleased. He still had his duties as a jailor and slave driver, to be sure. But that only made these moments more precious.

He walked off toward the entrance to the gate. Passing the guards, it wasn't long before a letter was pressed into his hand, given to him by what appeared to be a slave child in the uniform of Erastus' household. He unfurled teh parchment, and read:

Dear Woe,

I have need of your services. More importantly, there's a poor mother in Lowtown who needs your help. Her husband died in the conflict of Saun 716 as a soldier. It's not fitting that his widow be forced to suffer hunger and hardship with five mouths to feed. I want you to make the situation right in my name. I will reimburse whatever expense is necessary.

Truly yours,
Erastus.
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Woe
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Best Three out of Five?

Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:35 pm

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The information from the coded message was clear enough, though the language to the naked eye may appear innocuous. Erastus always had a way with words. A way that Woe tried to emulate as much as he could, although where Erastus had a glib and clever tongue, Woe had a more malleable and agile mind. Still, he learned what he could, and this message was another lesson.

The instructions were clear. Woe would have to convince the mother by force or charm to give her children up into slavery. She would of course be compensated for whatever loss she accepted, if she gave them voluntarily. If not, well Woe barely ever had to worry about that. In truth, he preferred to fail on the merits of his argument rather than resort to force. If he could earn someone's good will, that was always more useful to him than a corpse. But on the other hand, he couldn't disobey a Weaver. To do so invoked the disapproval of Sintra.

He needed to look the part of a successful, freed slave, if he had any hope of convincing the mother that her children would be better off in Erastus' care. Erastus would not pay for Woe's personal expenses, that was beyond the purview of this document he held. He'd have to get himself some better clothes, regardless of the cost, however. It was said that colored, finely woven wool was in season. Wool seemed most appropriate and economical given the cold weather.

His first order of business decided, he went to fetch what gold he had, and then made his way toward the nearest tailor shop.
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Woe
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Best Three out of Five?

Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:56 am

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The trip to the tailor's was expensive, consuming precious coin and time in the amount that it took to fit the clothes to his slight physique. Of course, he couldn't spare many trials for a suit to be made up for him, nor could he afford the textiles or labor.

In his time in the shop, he'd seen several articles he would've liked, but didn't necessarily need. A large, green velvet cloak with rare fur trim and gold chain. A burgundy velvet coat, embroidered in gold. These, he knew just by looking at them, were out of his reach.

"Now," The seamstress said, finishing her pitch, "You'll need one piece that brings attention away from... the least attractive of the garments you've chosen for this suit. I presume you're here shopping, hoping to get into the masquerade ball?"

Ball? Woe nodded, "Yes, of course."

She cleared her throat, wringing her hands nervously, "Well, more daring outfits have been attempted at such functions... Those black shirt and pants, those boots you insisted you wouldn't replace, the black wool cloak with ribbon trim and chain fastener... Green wool gloves..." The seamstress seemed like she was going to be ill. Woe surmised she must have been wary of her reputation, in providing clothes made from poorer materials to one attending such a high function.

"Don't worry Ma'am, I won't tell anyone you made them. I don't want to harm your reputation as a tailor." Woe gave her a halfhearted grin, trying to reassure her.

She sighed in relief, "Thank you. In all honesty, most of the articles you chose were made by my assistant. I'm a master tailor, and I wouldn't handle wool or any lesser fabrics, nor would I dye anything in primary black. Those ingredients are better for my apprentice to learn from, so she can move on to the more noble materials as she learns her craft."

None of this really mattered, although now that he knew about the masquerade ball, he seriously considered attending this event. As for his assignment for which he was purchasing the clothing...

A poor mother who could barely feed herself, let alone five children, would only see someone who could afford to cloth himself in warm fabrics that were dyed in more than one color. She'd see metal jewelry and chains. Not to mention at least one article a high-born prince would consider laughable, and a pauper impressive. She wouldn't see the cheap dyes, the lesser workmanship, the shame on the seamstress' face as she sold these articles off to the man. A man that came as a former slave, to impress on the mother that her children would want for nothing in slavery. To many it might have seemed a tall order to keep the incredulity of it all off of his face, but that was simply Woe's job.

She guided him over toward a more well-appointed rack. By this point, he was beginning to have second thoughts. "On consideration, I've decided I won't be needing new clothes, afterall. But would you allow me to buy a rucksack with shoulder straps?"

The tailor seemed almost more relieved that he wasn't buying the clothes than she did, and she nodded, bringing him over toward a shelt where there were several canvas rucksacks. Woe chose one without much inspection, and she rang him up. He was foolish to come here, thinking to impress the young mother. He would be able to convince her with the clothes he already had. There was plenty to go on without spending a small fortune in what he had for new clothing.
IC Expenses
1 large, light-duty canvas bag with shoulder straps 8 sn
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Woe
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Best Three out of Five?

Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:01 am

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Woe realized very well that technically Lowtown was his home, but by Sintra, the filth in the central portions was unbearable. A plague of rats and other carrion scavengers roved the streets. Filth piled up, defenestrated from high windows of apartments without a care for anyone standing below. There were even some districts set to off-limits by the guards of the Iron Hand, quarantined because one sickness or another had taken root.

He had to walk into one of the aforementioned apartments to get to where this woman was living with her children. The sounds of a heavily lived in area hit his ears fully. People fighting, fucking, laughing, and just generally going abouto their forsaken lives. Woe had no expectations that he'd be able to 'rescue' the children from a life such as this, but he had to try and get at least some of the children out of there. They might die by each others' hands, or by Erastus', but Woe believed they'd have a better chance at a future under Erastus' protection.

Not that he had any misguided concepts of altruism. Woe knew very well this was all part and parcel of Sintra and Labrae's practice of abducting children to serve in the Webspinners as hatchlings, and hopefully as weavers someday.

Woe knocked on the door when he arrived at the correct place. He could hear children fighting and bickering, one other crying, and yet another couple of them laughing and playing. This situation hit a bit close to home for Woe. Was he 'rescued' by Erastus from a similar origin? He wondered idly if given a choice, he'd stay with his parents, wherever they might be. In the back of his mind, he knew he had to kill them someday to please Labrae and her mother. Just as one or more of these children would have to do the same for this poor mother. He shook that thought away, as soon as it occurred to him. A guilty conscience wasn't the best foot to stand on in negotiations.

The door was answered after a long wait, and at the other side stood a withered woman of middling age. Not much older than Woe, if he had to guess, but weathered from child-rearing and desperate poverty. "What do you want?" She asked, looking him up and down.

Say something that won't alarm her, say something that won't sound creepy. "I came from Master Erastus. He said your children are in difficulty."

At the mention of Erastus, her reddened brown eyes narrowed, "That old bastard, living uphill from here? He sent some pretty letters a while back, asking me to give over some of my children to be his apprentice. I'm a widow of a soldier. I won't have my husband's children working in a stinking tannery the rest of their lives."

One of the children, a young girl about the age of five came up behind the mother, tugging at her skirt. "Mama, what's a tannery?"

Woe knew he had to tread carefully. Failing to manipulate and also revealing Erastus' true motives were explicitly forbidden by Sintra. The old man could've made it easier for him, however, having more sense than to lie and then sending him in to clean his mess. Of course a widow of a veteran soldier would've had some pride, and felt obligated to raise his children well. However, from the sounds of bickering coming in the other room and her haggard look, she was having a hard time of it. "Doesn't the King award the widows of fallen soldiers with something to show for their loyalty?" Woe asked her, still standing at the threshold.

The little girl's eyes welled up in tears at the mention of fallen soldiers. "What did he say, did... did Papa...

"Oh, now you've done it." The poor mother sneered at Woe, turning to her daughter. "No no, honey, I've told you time after time. Daddy is a sailor, he left on a ship and has been trading along the coasts of Idalos. Now go play with your brothers." The girl ran off, and was soon out of earshot.

"I'm... I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..." Woe was cut off quickly by the woman, who spun on her heels to slap him.

"It isn't bad enough to get these idiot tradesman soliciting my children for Immortals know what purpose, now I have some cretin telling them point blank that their father is dead."

"So none of them know?" Woe's eyes reddened and tears began forming from the shock of having been struck. It brought back memories that he'd rather let stay buried. The effort to conceal his emotions must have reflected well on the woman.

"I'm sorry, I just get so emotional about this"

Woe stretched out a hand to comfort her, to which the woman recoiled, "Can I come in? I'm a good listener. If you won't let me help your children, maybe I can help you out."
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Woe
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Re: Best Three out of Five?

Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:34 pm

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She let him in before long, and they both had seats opposite the other. They had a short bout of small talk, through which they developed a slight repoire. Woe did steer the conversation toward the issue of adopting some of her children. He set the plate for it to be broached, yet said nothing of taking them away. Being too hasty in offering succour might turn her off to him.

Woe looked at her, sussing out whatever weak points in her morale might persist. After taking a moment to determine her level of resistance to the idea of giving her children over, he shrugged. "Listen, my benefactor, Master Erastus can't grant your children unlimited wealth and a fine lifestyle. That's beyond the scope of his indentured apprenticeships. What he can give them, is a fighting chance to make something of themselves. The tanner's trade isn't an easy one, and not for the weak of constitution."

"Oh...?" The woman said, holding her chin. It was possible she hadn't considered setting her children to apprentice under tradesmen. "What is his fee? You know I can't pay it."

Woe shook his head, "Master Erastus is generous. He accepts indentured apprentices, who work their debt off as they learn a trade. All that's required, is that you sign a contract stipulating that your children indenture themselves. At least until they are ready to become journeymen themselves."

She rocked lightly in her chair, finally giving a sigh. "My boys then. I have three. Do you promise on your honor, they will be alright? That you will watch after them?"

Woe nodded. Finally, after much hand-wringing, she gave her assent to the arrangement.

"One of Erastus' other agents will be by sometime soon to pick up the boys, and they will start their new trade and life. He will bring along a contract. In the meantime, let me know if there are any issues." So saying, Woe left the unfortunate mother to her sorrows, exiting the dwelling by the door.
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Re: Best Three out of Five?

Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:01 pm

Review Rewards

Simon from Misfits

Points awarded: 10

Knowledge:

Persuasion: Using positive phraseology to describe an unfavorable proposal.
Persuasion: Getting a mother to trust a stranger with her children.
Psychology: Extolling the benefits of letting go.
Negotiation: Bargaining with lives.
Detection: Intuiting a person's desperation.
Linguistics: Euphemisms.

Magic: No magic exp

Other: +5 fame for bad deed

Notes:
Please make sure to include the year/arc in your timestamps so it's immediately obvious whether or not it's a memory thread. I still am not entirely sure whether it was or wasn't.

I did enjoy this read, however. It was good to see that Woe has a conscience, which not all PCs doing similar things seem to have. Made him feel more realistic and complex than he otherwise might have been, I feel.

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