I go on to tell Blake everything I had learned from Lady Rowena, the staff’s supposed powers, and her promise to come back with more information.“How do you do that?” Blake asks.“Do what?”“That thing you do where women just instantly like you?” He asks again, nursing his red cheek.I shrug, “I just try to be a nice guy. So, did you actually learn anything useful from Lady Constance, or was getting smacked the only thing you accomplished?”Blake gives me a very annoyed look. “I did learn something before she took her frustrations out on my face. She let slip something about how Sir Aquitaine learned of the staff in the first place, something about a spy giving them the information.”“A spy?” I say, “That hardly seems like a tool of an innocent man.”Blake nods, “Does seem to shift the guilt onto the Aquitaine’s quite neatly, though there still isn’t enough to confront either of them with.”I nod, “Agreed. Perhaps I should go talk to Lady Constance. I don’t think she’ll have any useable information for me, but getting off well with her could certainly help us later. Especially now that you have earned the enmity of both our primary information sources.”Blake makes appeasing motions with his hands. “Hey now, I managed to get some solid information, and I got her all softened up for when you go and talk to her. Trust me on this, just go in all suave and smooth and talk her up. In other words be like me.” He gives me a cheesy grin.“I think I’ll stick to being me.” I say.
>>26287474Sadly the last thread 404'd before I could get a chance to use it.But here I am again, so let's keep on going.
>>26287474Seeing no sense in wasting time, I head off for where Blake said he spoke to Lady Constance. I find her easily enough, following the rogue’s scent trail until I found where they had spoken, where I picked up hers. I followed that for a little ways until I saw the lady, dressed in far to ornate a dress for so early in the day, up ahead. She is facing away from me, examining a painting on the wall with a critical eye.“I recognize the style but not the artist.” I say politely as I slide up beside her, “Do you know of him?”“Can’t say I care to know of him.” She says coolly, turning away from the painting to keep on walking, now examining the carpet beneath her feet.“A shame, I usually try to keep a working knowledge of the arts, and those who work within them.” I say diplomatically, “Though not all of them merit notice.”“Yes, I find it a peculiar affliction of the artist that he believes other people care for his work. It can be most annoying at times to see them flaunt their creations when in fact it deserves no praise.”I nod, “True, true. But I suppose that when you put yourself into creating something you become protective of it. I know I care greatly for how my performances are received.”She looks at me out of the corner of her eye. “Yes, you mentioned that earlier. If you cannot play an instrument then how can you call yourself a bard?”“Well, I can play, just not well enough to perform yet. But I try to make up for that with my voice. Now that is an instrument I know how to play.”She half turns her head to me.“Very well, give me a song then.”I nod, and drag up the lyrics of a short little tune from my memory.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNpO-QHV5Ig
>>26287620She slows a little bit in her pace to listen, though she doesn’t make eye contact. When I finish she half turns again to speak to me.“Do you see yourself as the minstrel boy with his father’s sword?” She asks.“Not his sword.” I say, patting the saber at my side, “Though I would be lying if I said I felt no connection. I assure you though, I have no intention to be found in the ranks of death for a good long time.”I pause to let her respond, but she says nothing, so I press onward.“I am sorry mam, while singing is very enjoyable I have almost forgotten why I am here. I came here to apologize for the actions of my diminutive colleague. His behavior was unacceptable, and I hope that his behavior will not color our relations in the future.”Lady Constance snorts. “One does not live as a rich woman in high society without knowing how to deal with aggressive men. As far as suitors go he ranked about as high on my list as his head is from the floor.”I grin and nod. Despite her rather unfriendly personality, I have to admit I am enjoying listening to her wit in action. It’s cold and sharp, seeming quite a fit manner for a lady like her.“I am glad to hear that.” I say, “I would hate for his impertinence to hinder our further working together.”This time she does stop in the corridor, and turn to face me. “Further working together?”
>>26287932“Yes, your husband is considering contracting our services to help him with his present plight.”Constance nods, “The staff.”“Indeed, with its recent theft, Sir Aquitaine is considering acquiring the services of me and my team to recover the artifact.”“I see.” She says, “My husband had not informed me of this proposal, I shall have to speak with him on this matter.”I nod, as if I understand the difficulty she is facing, “That may be wise, he has been very sparse with information for us as well. In the planning of an operation like this, it is useful to know as much as possible about the item we are going to retrieve. We must of course investigate the case before we can attempt to retrieve the staff, we cannot get it back if we don’t know who has it.”She nods, “I shall attempt to make him relinquish a few details.”“That would be most helpful.” I say, “Do you know where your husband acquired the staff? Or how he learned of it?”She turns back to me quickly, “And how would knowing that help you?”“If we know how he learned of it, we might find that whoever stole it learned of it the same way, that could be the first clue along the trail that would lead us to them.”She considers my words for a moment. “Very well, I shall consider your request. Attend to me later and I shall inform you of my decision.”“Thank you milady.” I say respectfully, bowing as she walks away.Well, that seemed to go fairly well. All things considered.
>>26288381Anybody here this morning?Not trying to be pushy, but if the audience is present then I tend to try and write a lot more to keep you interested, if not then I could go do other things.
>>26288391I'm present, enjoying the story as always. Thank you for writing it. Also, sorry for not saying much, I don't really feel like I have anything productive to add.
>>26288391*wiggle* *wiggle**scrunch* *fart* *burp*still lurkin
>>26288391hey I'm here
>>26288391Cool, just wondering if I'm talking to a wall.Having an audience is kind of like having a gun to my head, more to come in a moment.>>26288895... I'm not sure how to respond to that.
>>26288381Following that there isn’t really much to say, so I simply head back to talk to Blake.“So, neither of the husbands is telling their wives what they are doing in their spare time.” He says, grinning as though he’s got some private joke. “Shame we know this is all over a magic stick, it could be a lot more interesting otherwise.”I furrow my brow, not quite understanding, but I don’t want to get him going on something so I change the subject.“Yes, but they have each agreed to press a little harder on their husbands activities and relay the information to me, so perhaps the added scrutiny will make one of them slip up.”Blake shrugs. “Maybe, maybe not. Shame you couldn’t get more information out of Constance though, what with her husband seeming like the most likely suspect, she could have known a great deal.”“At least she didn’t smack me.” I point out, making Blake go red in the face.“Well, have you considered that you might have pressed too hard? I mean what if Aquitaine really is behind this, and his wife knows it. You could have alerted her to our investigation!”“No more than you did when you questioned her, and I imagine you were much less subtle about it. I also notice that you tend to change your position on matters to suit the argument of the moment, this was your idea if you’ll recall.”Blake just grumbles.
>>26289101“So, now it seems that we have nothing left to do than wait for the ladies to bring us some information we can use.” Blake says, “Which suits me fine.”“How so?” I ask.“Well, this is the best kind of investigation, nothing to do for a while but sit around and enjoy the amenities.” He says, glancing back at a passing servant girl.I nod, feeling a little hungry myself.“Perhaps, but I don’t think we should just sit idle here, there is still more we can do to help out.”Blake turns back to me, his smile drooping a little. “What are you thinking of.” He says cautiously.“Actually, you gave me the idea.” I say, cheerfully.“I’m not sure I like the sound of this.” Blake says, putting his head in his hands.
>>26289513“From our discussion about hard and soft evidence.” I say, undeterred, “We’ve made some good progress on getting some soft evidence, so now it seems time to get some hard evidence.”“You know, Sol, that we aren’t going to solve this case in one day right?” He says.“I know that.” I say, rolling my eyes, “I estimate three days maximum at the rate we are moving. Now, here’s my plan.”Blake rolls his eyes, but leans in to listen.“Like you said before, there is probably a ledger of some kind to record the financial dealings regarding the acquiring of the staff. Our own payment included.”Blake nods, “Barkley has to have something like this, we know for a fact he paid us to get the staff, and probably someone else as well. So then, we get our hands on that ledger, then we get some new information.”“Okay,” Blake says, “But how do we get our hands on the ledger?”“Easy, you’re going to do what you do best, and steal it. Meanwhile I will create some form of distraction to keep Sir Barkley occupied if that is needed.”“Just like that?”“Yep. Probably the best time would be tonight, when the guests have all come back down for another round of partying.”I pat him on the shoulder as I get up to leave.“This is going to work out wonderfully.”
I've been lurking for the last few threads. Have a picture.
>>26293297Thanks.You new? Or just haven't been commenting?
>>26293446Just haven't been commenting. I tend to read stuff in suptg.
>>26293561okay. Can you please tell me what this picture is from? Google image search turns up nothing useful.
>>26293688Dunno, got it from a Lizard dump thread.
>>26293297Stop posting lizardmans you assholes.
>>26293809Sorry, but it's all thread relevant, have to keep it up.
>>26293275The rest of our party had their reservations about my plan, but with no other options really we decided to go through with it. We wait until the party begins again that night, the guests filtering down into the reception hall. I straighten my formal gear, and scan the crowd from above, singling out Sir Barkley and his wife as they walk the floor, talking to people. I turn and nod to Blake, who disappears down a hallway at my signal. Sloane is standing beside me.“I am still not sure I like this plan.” He says.“Why not?” I ask.“We are unsure of our position.” The fidgety paladin says. “Sending Blake off to pilfer and plunder so that we can learn more, I don’t like it.”“You yourself said that we needed to understand the situation we are in.” I counter, “If we do not know what is going on, then we cannot hope to understand who is really at fault in this entire mess we have gotten ourselves into.”“Yes, I know, I know!” He says, pacing a bit, “But we have sent Blake off to commit a crime in our name, to help soothe our conscience, without being sure if the person we are acting against deserves it.”“That’s just it.” I say, “We don’t know. We don’t know if this is one big misunderstanding, we don’t know if Barkley or Aquitaine is behind this, we don’t know anything about what is going on here. And we really, really have to know. So relax, we keep Blake on a short leash, we keep ourselves in the know, because the more we know the better off we will be. And if this turns out to be nothing, then we simply put the book back where we found it, and nothing will have been hurt.”Sloane throws his hands down and heads for the stairs, me following beside.“I hope you’re right Solaron, I hope you’re right.”