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W: ". . . The person I bought it from called it Gyp."
  
"As in Gypsy Water? That's a surprising rarity, especially given its complexity and magical potency. If you've got any on you, I'll be sure to reward you handsomely."
  
Wyyca rumages around her pouch for a bit, before getting out the Gyp.
W: "Honestly thought that person was spewing myths, but I guess not?
...i'd like to know the price before i sell it, if i do.
Though, do you have a clearer idea of what this liquid can do?"
  
She squints at the bottle. "I'm sorry, what's that?"

She rummages beneath her counter and pulls out a small glass flask, setting it on the counter. In the bottom, there is a small pool of a milky-white liquid, with glittery silver particles suspended in it. "This is gypsy water. That is clearly not anything close."

She takes the bottle and uncorks it, sniffing it. "This smells like lemon-infused water. I'm sorry, but whoever sold this to you lied about what it was. I'm afraid you got gypped. Since I feel slightly bad for you, I'll buy it off you for, let's say, 20gp. It's probably not what you bought it for, but at least it's better than nothing."

<Unbeknownst to her, this is still technically 5gp more than what you bought it for. Technically turning a small profit>
  
W: "Oh, so that was nonsense.
Sure, I'll have 20gp for that. Slightly broke anyhoo.
...though, i do wonder who came up with the title "Gypsy Water", seeing as getting gypped is literally gettimg scamed...misleading name."
  
+20gp (25gp total)
-1 Gyp

"I can't say whoever named it Gypsy water. As far as I'm aware, it arose because it's somewhere between holy and unholy - being blessed by priests and by mages alike - though I can tell you that I've never heard another alchemist use the term 'gyp' when referring to it. That should've been a dead giveaway you were being swindeled right there."

Towards the center of the marketplace, where the travelling merchants have set up, a particularly colorful metal-and-brass carriage pulls up - seemingly driven without horses, but rather with steam power - chains and mechanisms lining its walls. A small crowd gathers around it, staring - it's different from what they've seen before. Tinny music begins playing from the wagon as the mechanisms surrounding it whirr and click. No attendants stand near it, though there are obviously people inside.
  
*Cough*
  
Wyyca tries to politely squirm her way through the crowd, wondering what sort of event is going on now.
  
Fendrel inquires the woman about his vials of Starworm Blood before following Wycca.
  
She rolls her eyes. "Oh, no. Did Oslo manage to convince you to buy some?

"They're not very useful in alchemy or potion making, but trust me when I say Oslo never lies. What you've got there is a powerful antipoison based on an ancient recipe taken from the ruins of the old Haltman Hold out east. It's based on a centuries-old process that takes advantage of the Starworm's naturally regenerating tissues, and, rather than take the alchemical process of distilling it into an antipoison for a specific malady, they brewed it into a catch-all antipoison.

"Unfortunately, due to its volatile nature and having not been alchemically refined into a specific antipoison, it is very powerful. It renders the drinker comatose for about an hour while it heals them, and significantly surpresses any magical or physical abilities they might have for a couple days. So while it's a good remedy for everything, it is certainly not the best remedy."

A thick fog begins to emit from the mechanical carriage in the center of the plaza. Amid the billowing fog, the carriage begins to make elaborate clicking noises as the mechanisms lining its walls begin to trigger, and the top of the carriage opens like a door. Slowly, a platform begins to rise out of the opening, revealing two figures dressed in elaborate black military uniforms with large brass buttons and intricate golden stitches. Behind them is something large, covered in a white cloth.

As they clear the fog, the figures become clearer. A man and a woman, both smiling and with one hand in their coats, begin to address the crowd.

"People of Margael," the woman begins, speaking in a voice akin to that of a ringmaster, "Please, allow us to give you an afternoon you will not soon forget. Please, come closer so we may entertain, enthrall, and amaze you!"

The man pulls a lever on the roof, and the entire cart's wheels fold in. A hissing noise echos through the plaza as the cart lets off excess steam, and the doors on the cart open as two other men step out, wearing similar clothes to the two on the roof, also smiling with one hand in their coats. The crowd ooh's, this is certainly a show unlike anything else they've seen.

You can't quite grab a glimpse of the show from where you're standing, would you like to try to move closer?
  
Kylljoy said:
You can't quite grab a glimpse of the show from where you're standing, would you like to try to move closer?
YES.
  
Because Mal'ash is big and tall, can he see over people?


if so, he cranes his neck slightly but stays put

if not, he moves following wyyca as the crowd kinda parts
  
if not, he moves following wyyca as the crowd kinda parts

With other half-orcs in the audience, you find it hard to see their cart. You follow Wyyca into the crowd.

==============================================================================

All of a sudden, the man on top nods to the others, and they pull their hands out of their coats. Simultaneously, he throws the sheet off the top of the carriage to the ground, revealing what appears to be a living, roughly-humanoid mass of clay handcuffed to the carriage. Their hands free, the four reveal what they've been hiding - flintlock pistols, made of wood and metal, polished to the point of gleaming. The man levels his pistol at the golem's head and smiles as addresses the audience, the others pointing their guns at random civilians.

"Hello, Citizens of Margael! My name is Alman, to my right is Riany, and down there is Holden and Dexter! We apologize for the inconvenience, but we've got an announcement to make! I'd suggest for the time being, you all get on the ground and don't move."

There is murmuring amongst the crowd as everyone crouches down on the ground, covering their heads, assuming a standard hostage position. As they do, a word floats around. Armisten

The Alman hears it and chuckles. "Yes, well done! We are, in fact, the dreaded Armisten brothers."

Riany coughs aggressively. Alman rolls his eyes. "Er, Armisten siblings. Anyway, this here," he says, poking the golem with the tip of the gun's barrel, "is our friend Nokk. Well, friend is a bit of a strong word, we only met him a couple minutes ago. I suppose hostage would be more appropriate."

A group of guards unsheath their weapons and begin running towards the carriage. Alman pokes the gun at Nokk's head and yells at them. "I wouldn't do that if I were you. Nokk here is a diplomat, and if you come too close, something....unfortunate might happen. And if such unfortunate thing does happen, the Diplomat's Guild would be very unhappy, as would other kingdoms he's allied too. And we wouldn't want to start an international incident, would we? That's it - drop the weapons. Be good lads."

The guards drop their weapons and cower on the ground with the rest of the crowd.

"Now, we're here for a very specific reason. It's gotten through the grapevine that someone by the name of 'Rotting Yesman' is putting together a team to raid the Forbidden City. Apparently he's managed to get some rubes in on it, and said rubes are in this market at this very moment. At least, according to some very good information we've accrued from one of our contacts. Now, maybe you didn't know, but you probably should know now - if anyone tries to rob a hidden treasure, it will be the Armisten Brothers" - cough - "Armisten Siblings

"So here's what we're going to do. These idiots have thirty seconds to reveal themselves and come with us, or else Nokk here finds his clay reshapen by lead. If you run, we shoot Nokk. If you try to attack us, we shoot Nokk. If you try to use magic to control one of us, the others will shoot Nokk. I mean," he smiles to the other Armistens, "I hate to be a Negative Nelly, but you don't have many options here! I think we've done a pretty good job at forcing your hand.

"If they don't show in another thirty seconds, we'll take out another civilian and another, and we won't stop until either we have the adventurers working with 'Redline Yahoo' or the entire city is dead. And knowing these so-called heros, I'd suggest you take the option that means you're kidnapped rather than let a massacre be blamed on you because you were too chicken to show your face"
  
> Fuck
>Um...

>I hate being prone, its annoying for combat, and requires me to actually take a turn to get up instead of being able to hit people straight off
  
W: “...what are you going to do to the people you’re attempting to kidnap, out of curiosity?”
  
Dexter (or is it Holden?) laughs and waves his pistol around. "Oh, that's for you to worry about and us to plot. They'd most likely be safe considering we have no idea how to get to the treasure. We'd just use them to get to the city, and then - who knows? Maybe we'd give them a cut of the treasure if they've been good."

Alman nods, "Yes, we wouldn't harm a hair on their heads until we have the treasure, you have my word. We may be psychopaths, but we're not unnecessarily violent psychopaths."

He checks the clockwork watch on his wrist. He frowns. "Twenty seconds left." He idly flicks the hammer on the back of the pistol.
  
Holden looks around again, seemingly uncomfortable. His posture shifts as the other siblings look around, confused.

"Alright, ten seconds left."
  
> so, quick question, if no one shows up, would these siblings go away due to realising their mistake or are they just jerks
  
> No guarantees either way. They've got a reputation of being brutal and ruthless, though. Are you willing to bet the life of an innocent (and, by extension, a possible war) on a hunch?
  
> Well as a paladin that values death and destruction as his god, yes.
  
wait-wait-wait, why the possible war thing??
  
> They've got a diplomat hostage. Diplomats are protected by the diplomat's guild, meaning if the diplomat is injured or killed in a scenario where another kingdom is involved, the allied kingdoms are required to go to war against the responsible party.

Ergo, if Nokk is killed and the guild holds Margael responsible for not intervening, there could be a war between the guild's kingdoms and Margael.
  
Alman frowns, and nods to Holden and Dexter. "Well, that's thirty seconds. Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. Or perhaps our 'heros' are more selfish and uncaring than we thought. We know that our little friends arrived in Margael, and if they're not in the town center, then they're somewhere else and will likely hear the commotion and turn themselves in. But to show we're not bluffing... "

Alman snaps and Dexter and Holden both fire their guns into one of the guards at the wall. He falls over, the twin lead lumps embedded into his legs. The other guard raises his crossbow to retaliate, but Alman tuts, pressing his gun into Nokk's forehead. The guard reluctantly lowers his crossbow and starts tending to his comrade's wounds. Riany nods to the guard. "You can go take him to see medical attention. That's all. Try anything funny and I'll have a slug between your eyes before you can even load a bolt."

The guard nods and begins dragging his fallen compatriot away from the marketplace, towards the Afuegan cathedral at the center of town.

"Right then," says Alman, "I'd say that proves we're not messing around. Admittedly, I'm also a bit reluctant to take this diplomat's life, but I'm less cautious about civilians. Dexter?"

Upon his name being mentioned, the brother begins to pour black powder down his pistol's barrel, followed by a lead slug and finally a piece of paper stuffed down with it. Once it's reloaded, he slowly cocks the gun's hammer before pointing it at one of the civilians towards the front of the crowd - a small gnome woman - who silently weeps in terror. Holden does the same.

Alman flashes a deranged smile towards the crowd. "Thirty more seconds and we'll go for another few, and this time there's no guarantee we'll let them go to get medical help. How much innocent blood are you willing to spill, my little 'heros'?"

Riany speaks up, "and they don't have to be the ones to step up, either. We're looking for a Human female, a Half-Orc male, and a half-elf male. We know from some partial rumors where they were last that the human was duped into buying some form of scam from a swindler, and that the Half-Orc has a pet dragon. If you've seen anyone or done business with anyone fitting those descriptions, we'd suggest you speak up before a few of your neighbors have their faces reconstructed with metal."

Wyyca Investigate : 1d20 (8) + Modifier (2) = 10

Out of the corner of your eye, you notice the alchemist, still paralyzed with fear but processing what Riany said. She looks like you've got about a minute and a half before she puts two and two together.
  
> How the fuck do they know we're these people? No one, and i repeat no one, except for those mercs, should know about us this quickly
  
> What can I say, they're quick. Although, you're right.....they shouldn't know unless they've gotten the information from someone close to you.......

> Someone who told you something would be happening around noon...who's been known to engage in subterfuge and unusual techniques... and who has a flair for the dramatic

Investigate : 1d20 (20) + Modifier (-1) = 19

>There does appear to be one more figure hidden inside the carriage.
  
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