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Verity Warren sat in her chair by the fireplace and felt herself getting older. It was a subtle, creeping thing - a poison working slowly through her body, killing her. Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, Verity was dying. They all were. Well, most of them, anyway. Immortals had their own problems. 

But Verity Warren had more pressing problems than age. More pressing indeed.

”Have the candidates arrived yet, Cobalt?”

”No, ma’am.” Cobalt stood by the fireplace, posture as ramrod-straight as a coat rack, and checked a pocket watch. “The doors will open in ten minutes precisely.”

Verity nodded, trusting him to manage all that. This blasted house… it had been bad enough before the Forgery. Now, after all the damn chaos of the world falling back into its previous pattern, Verity had a rather terrible problem on her hands. There was something very, very wrong with Wickwillow Manor. It was growing, and growing things were hungry things. 

She had sent out the notice a week ago; it has been Cobalt’s idea, and a good one too. That had been after Willa had gone missing on the third floor. The poor maid had just gone off to change the sheets in the spare bedroom. They still hadn’t found her - or the spare bedroom. What they had found was… well. Not what someone wished to find in their house. 

Luckily, Verity still had enough staff left to keep this small section of Wickwillow running. The kitchen, the front parlor, the small dining room and one hallway of bedrooms seemed to behave normally. It was the rest of the house that kept changing itself. Adding, removing, scrambling… and the new house guests. So many. Usually not the sort one invited on purpose.

She put that from her mind. The parlor had been set for guests, and soon perhaps she’d have the group she needed for this task. By every god she hoped she would. Then maybe she could stave off death a little longer. Delay him. Outwit him. At the very least, outwit this damned house.

”Go open the doors, Cobalt,” Verity said, feeling the weight of years pressing on her soul. “No point in keeping them waiting. Or  us. It’s time we got this problem fixed.”

Cobalt looked at her for a long moment, then inclined his head and strode from the room. He stepped quickly over thick carpet that turned to marble once he entered the main hall. Then, with a short sigh, he opened the front door. 

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Welcome to the Secret of Wickwillow! Your character(s) have answered a wanted add for adventurers, swords for hire, and those with “special clandestine skills” aka thieves. Verity Warren, aging widow of the Warren family, has a problem on her hands. Her house keeps expanding on the inside, and something very important lies at the center of the ever-growing maze. 

All players and characters welcome, new and old! This plot will run until roughly Christmas. It will be short, and hopefully fun! If you like creepy houses, heist-type plots, and mystery, come on down! We’d love to have you. Tagged are those who expressed interest previously.

@mathiau @Ookla the Quark @Ookla the Nerdy @Ashbringer@Ookla the Headmuncher

Edited by ZincAboutIt
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Malsam rolled her wheelchair through the streets of Alleycity. She had been traveling through the cognitive realm for what felt like ages, but that was nothing compared to this strange city. At least she had been paid well by the Herdazians, and had an offer to continue traveling with them when they moved on. She would see, but for now she had to find a Wickwillow manor. She had found a flyer posted on a noticeboard advertising for a hired sword. She smiled slightly as she navigated around a large crack in the ground. She qualified in that aspect, regardless of the fragility of her bones.

After some careful maneuvering and travel, she managed to make her way to Wickwillow manor. She smiled slightly, there were no stairs to the front door. She wheeled up to the door just as what appeared to be a butler opened it.

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the house is giving me serious "House of Many Ways" vibes, and I love it.

 

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Perses heard a door open to his left. To him, this sure seemed to be the spot.  He’d heard this was a good place to get a job, especially something more his style. There seemed to be a few people around, given by the rustle and clacking of feet, as well as what could be the roll of a cart. He’d kept his senses on low, as he’d been waiting here for a few minutes already, and wasn’t even sure if this was even the right place.


Perses dialed his senses up. Clarity returned to him, including the welcoming feel of other people moving around him. Man, was he glad he acquired lifesense. There were evidently quite a few people around, but few of them had responded to the invitation to enter the manor. Yet, there was still a good few that noticed and began making motions to head in. One of which, interestingly enough, was moving in on a wheelchair. This has got to be the place. 

Perses got up from his awkward lean on the side of the manor and began strutting towards the door, making sure to let someone else enter first. Too many times had he guessed the height or width of a door and been embarrassingly off. Luckily, this was a nice and wide door, as the woman in the wheelchair quite easily got in. Perses followed behind, taking in the smell of the manor and the people within, making sure to thank the door opener.

Edited by Ookla the Headmuncher
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Sei walked up to the mansion. It certainly didn't look like anything too special - there were probably dozens of similar manors in Alleycity. But this one promised to be interesting, at least. Sei followed the others inside.

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Vivi stood on the pavement across the manor and watched as the first people entered it as soon as the doors had been opened. Recalling her mother's words, to look nice and clean in order to make a good first impression. She looked down at her cloths and brushed her hands over them in an attempt to remove a couple of crinkles. And she had gotten a new spot on them, too. With a sigh she rubbed at it, but it stayed where it was. A pity, she had only washed them yesterday as preparation for her first steps into the manor. She had doubts that they would agree to have a child work for them, the fact that she didn't  have a home wouldn't exactly speak in her favor. If only she knew where to go. For the thousands time she pulled out the small device and tried to reach them. Nothing. Gritting her teeth she lifted her head, combed her hair with her fingers and straightened her back to appear a bit taller. Then she strode across the street, her steps firm and self-confident.

She walked through the door and paused, looked at the room in front of her. So this was, what a manor looked like. Vivi turned her head to get a good look first at the walls and then the ceiling, before she realized that she was standing in the middle of the doorway like an idiot. Hastily she stepped fully inside and quickly joined the other three she had observed. This wss it. Her first official job. There were supposed to be interviews and maybe a test and she had to make the best impression of all of them. Some money would be nice for a change.

"Hello." She greeted them. "My name is Vivi." Giving her nickname out of habit. "Vivacia, I mean. It's a pleasure to meet you." Hopefully she hadn't messed up already. Vivi tried to remember anything about how to behave in such a situation and failed. Oh well, these lessons had been boring. It wasn't her fault that staying away had been so much more fun. And her parents had rarely spoken about work. She would improvise, be polite and hope for the best. This was as good a starting point for her career as any other job. And so she smiled brightly at the room and hoped that at least one person would reply and greet her in return.

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There weren’t many people that had shown up thus far. There were only three, including Perses, when another person walked in.  
 

This person was different from the rest. For one, they were much lighter and shorter than the others. They also smelled much poorer. 
 

“hello. My name is Vivi--Vivacia, I mean. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” 
 

They sounded like a child. They had the height of a child. They had the rough weight and strength of a child. Given what city this is and that this meeting is presumably on the more violent side, that meant that they were definitely not a child.

”Hello. My name is Perses,” Perses said. Was this the type of thing where he should wave, shake hands, or do nothing? Perses made motions that indicated that he was planning on doing all three. 

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Whisper dropped back to street level with an almost inaudible thud. A nearby rooftop had given a wonderful vantage point from which to watch the house and those who approached it, but now she would need to join those who had entered its interior if she wished to observe further. So she maded her way cautiously across the street, form shifting slightly from that of a somewhat grubby street urchin to a clean and well groomed young thief in dark clothing, her hair tied behind in a ponytail. She even allowed one of her many knives to be visible on this occasion, it should not be too remarked upon for this kind of work.

Mentally she sighed in exasperation, somewhat irritated that she needed to take a job like this when there were so many more important things that she could be about. So many whispers from the Chapel remained to be chased up and acted upon. Seeds that she had sown that would need watering. But Lita had reassigned her to Acquisitions after the Forgery, and her new department had not precisely the greatest of appreciation for her skills or intentions. She had been sent to confirm if the rumors of this strange house had any connection to the Alleys, and if so then what other influxes of people from the city might be able to be expected.

She hopped lithely down a series of steps and turned to regard the house that now stood in front of her. Others had already entered, seemingly without issue, and Whisper could see them inside, speaking with one another. That meant that either they had not entered any section of alley-crossover yet or if they had it was one of the exceptionally devious ones. But there would be no way to minimize the risk from those.

Giving a shrug, she crossed the threshold to the interior, slipping in behind a young girl. Looking around with a curious but controlled gaze and thankful that today at least she did not need to feign complete and total innocence, people would expect someone dressed as a thief to be at least a little cautious rather than naive. She still gave a small friendly wave to those already present, mostly to put people off guard.

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Cobalt watched the hopefuls arrive, his eyes dark, calm, and keen. The Lady of the house was tired, he could see it in her. He was tired too; he had not retired from the army back home to fight a new, stranger battle here in his own home. And yet, his duty was to serve. So there was little point in complaint.

”Good afternoon, and thank you for answering our request for service. My name is Cobalt - I am the steward of this house. The Lady Warren will be with you all shortly,” he called to the room, then swept a hand toward the parlor, indicating that the assembled group proceed there. “Light refreshments will be provided while you wait. It is advised you familiarize yourselves with one another. You may be working together, after all.”

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Vivi perked up at the mention of light refreshments and looked through the room again. There they were. A few snacks and something to drink. She walked over and fetched the snacks first, not too many of course. Better to go twice, than to appear greedy. Grinning at her plate she stuffed a small cake like thing into her mouth. Delicious. She hadn't eaten that good food in ages. Weeks. It had been weeks. Her grin vanished and she sighed quietly, before she turned back to the others.

They were five now and she answered the friendly wave of the woman at the door with one of her own, wondering if she could interpret the gesture as an invitation to walk over and speak to her. She looked like exactly the type of a person Vivi should probably befriend given her current situation. Turning the idea in her head around another time she couldn't muster the courage to do so and looked away. She could talk to her later as well

Instead she took a few steps towards Perses. "Hi." She greeted him again and tried to come up with something to talk about. "I've never seen that combination of greeting gestures before. Where are you from?" Hopefully that was a harmless topic he wouldn't mind talking about. And if he did - she shifted her position a little so that she partially faced the door. If things went completely wrong she could always try to run.

@Ookla the Headmuncher

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There only appeared to be four others now, all keeping relative distance from each other. Vivacia, the smaller more sociable human approached and began conversation with Perses. 
 

“I've never seen that combination of greeting gestures before. Where are you from?"

She seemed to be a bit on edge, but was still social. Perses wondered what that was about, but decided to carry on with the conversation. “I’m from Rashekin.” He said, quickly realizing that the human in question is probably not from Scadrial. “Scadrial.” He added quickly, hopefully naturally enough so that the person—Vivacia, she said—wouldn’t notice. “You seem to really like the food.” Was that an odd thing to ask? Perses hadn’t tried any, but it smelled decent. “Do you have any clue if there are more showing up? I thought this might be a larger gathering.”

@Sorana

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"Scadrial." Vivacia brightened at the familiar name. "I think my grandfather came from there." She froze, the memory of her father like a sharp blade in her side. He had to be somewhere, anywhere in this city. Vivi lifted a slightly shaking hand to brush her hair out of her face to cover her mistake. Better to change the topic quickly.

"The food is nice." She referred to his earlier statement. Especially if you hadn’t eaten something decent in days. Vivi looked through the room and noticed that she was the only one who had taken something so far. "I thought it would be impolite to ignore the invitation. They only put it here for us, it would be a shame to let it go to waste."

She lifted another little cake to her mouth and took a small bite, chewed and swallowed. It tasted slightly like tomatoes with some spices. She should try to pack a few of them in her box for later. "I don't know how many will come. But if it's only the few of us, at least the chances that we'll be hired are higher than if they have a whole bunch of people to choose from."

"Do you know anybody here already?" She asked quietly. "I don't."

@Ookla the Headmuncher

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Malsam rolled her chair up to the table of refreshments and carefully took a small pastry. She overheard a man, who on closer inspection seemed to be blind, mention a city on Scadrial. She rolled over to him and the young woman he was talking with.

"Where is that in comparison to Elendel?" she asked. "I'm Malsam, by the way."

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Perses was glad there was someone that had interest in casual conversation. He had worried it would be all business. The smaller woman seemed to have calmed down a bit, but was still a bit on edge. So was Perses, if he was being honest. 
 

“I do not know anyone else here.” Perses said, in response to her inquiry. “Everyone I properly knew getting over here vanished in the Forgery.” 
 

Just as he said this, Perses heard the wheeled approach of the woman that entered first. 
 

"Where is that in comparison to Elendel?" she asked. "I'm Malsam, by the way." From the sound of it, Malsam was a Scadrian too. He wondered if they were a metalborn…

Perses reached out with this bronze-sensemind, not really trusting anyone else enough to let them know about the full extent of his powers. As he focused in on the room, he noticed there were a few powers at play, but barely any he recognized. In front of him, Malsam seemed to be using a metalmind. Was that…pewter? He supposed it would make sense, given that if someone had a wheelchair, they could easily store strength.

”Rashekin is northeast of Elendel. It’s quite nice there, if you look past all the crime,” he said. “Did you live in Elendel?” Perses nearly forgot to give pleasantries. “Oh yeah. It’s nice to meet you, Malsam.

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Whisper's eyes flicked to a tall clock nearby when she saw the girl taking her first bite of food. Unless they'd planned for someone her age she would drop dead much quicker if the food was poisoned. Getting the dosage right for people that young was tricky. She might even be able to guess what they'd put in it if she had multiple people of differing weights to compare timings of.

Right on time. She noted with an amused mental smile as the woman in a wheelchair got something for herself as well.

For her own part Whisper went to collect a small sandwich from the other room as well, it would be best not to seem overly suspicious after all. Her Lightweaving shifted just slightly mid-turn to conceal a clever little piece of sleight of hand that tucked the real sandwich into a pocket while she now held an illusory one in her hand. A few feigned bites as she returned to the others, not quite so quick to eat as the young girl but perhaps someone who was hungry enough after a skipped breakfast.

Whisper settled back into place a short distance from the last woman, still standing by herself. Selish, from the Rose Empire unless Whisper misplaced her guess? Whisper gave a small but friendly nod as she slipped into position next to her. She hesitated a moment, wondering if she were in a position where her abilities with Lightweaving might be expected enough that she could simply use that to communicate the easy way, but eventually settled on pulling a small whiteboard out and holding it tucked beneath her arm.

Best not to reveal cards until we need to. She reasoned. And even a thief would tend to keep those abilities secret, nothing that would make someone suspect anything further.

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1 hour ago, Ookla the Headmuncher said:

Perses was glad there was someone that had interest in casual conversation. He had worried it would be all business. The smaller woman seemed to have calmed down a bit, but was still a bit on edge. So was Perses, if he was being honest. 
 

“I do not know anyone else here.” Perses said, in response to her inquiry. “Everyone I properly knew getting over here vanished in the Forgery.” 
 

Just as he said this, Perses heard the wheeled approach of the woman that entered first. 
 

"Where is that in comparison to Elendel?" she asked. "I'm Malsam, by the way." From the sound of it, Malsam was a Scadrian too. He wondered if they were a metalborn…

Perses reached out with this bronze-sensemind, not really trusting anyone else enough to let them know about the full extent of his powers. As he focused in on the room, he noticed there were a few powers at play, but barely any he recognized. In front of him, Malsam seemed to be using a metalmind. Was that…pewter? He supposed it would make sense, given that if someone had a wheelchair, they could easily store strength.

”Rashekin is northeast of Elendel. It’s quite nice there, if you look past all the crime,” he said. “Did you live in Elendel?” Perses nearly forgot to give pleasantries. “Oh yeah. It’s nice to meet you, Malsam.

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so, side note. Yes, she is actively storing pewter, she has one piercing in each ear with small earrings which she draws on in emergencies, as well as larger bracers on her upper arms under her clothes. Her wheelchair also has pewter parts, which she draws on when she has to move it places. don't know if this will be useful.

Malsam grimaced in memory. "I did live in Elendel, in the Village. You have to look past the crime in most places on Scadrial these days it seems." She let out a genuine smile. "And it is nice to meet you too, cousin. What's your name?"

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Marie entered the building, peering in the cognitive as she looked at the people already here. One man had a mind that shined a bit brighter than the rest and slightly distorted the colour around him in the physical

Probably breaths. Polaris said

I know. she answered

Looked at the other, they hadn't anything obvious going on except... The soul of a girl one who looked like a thief felt wrong, as if some part had been precision-machined, she had never seen anything like this

More importantly, is this a storming kid over there?

It's the alleyverse so I'd give it 50/50 odds

She walked to the table and said "Am I late?"

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Just to check, sorana, is Vivacia is not currently burning copper, is she?

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Sei walked around. She took a few of the small cakes that were offered, and walked to Cobalt. "Can you give me more details about the mission?"

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I will note that I admittedly assumed that copper wasn’t being burned. With a bit of effort, a bronze-sensemind could pierce it, but it would be noticeable by Perses’ lifesense not working.

Perses was glad that these people were social. He was absolutely horrid at formal communication. He was bad at casual conversation, too, but that can be forgiven slightly more. 
 

"And it is nice to meet you too, cousin. What's your name?"

Cousin? Was this some Elendel slang that he hadn’t been aware of? No matter. “I’m Perses. It is also a pleasure to meet you, my cousin.” Perses said, hoping that he was being polite. 
 

There was another figure that entered, who was also using some sort of magic. Perses unfortunately had no clue what. Perses was, unfortunately, growing quite impatient. Where was the host? He would never say that out loud of course. It would be rude, probably. Then again, this seemed to be a more casual group, at least the ones that were socializing. “Where is our host, anyway?” He decided to inquire.

 

Edited by Ookla the Headmuncher
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Vivi isn't burning copper right now. I can add a quote box to my post when she starts to make it a bit more visible, as it's relevant to some of the characters.

Vivi turned towards the woman who had just stepped into the room. "No, you're not. We're still waiting for our host to appear." She eyed the snacks again, wondering if she might even be able to sneak some into her lunchbox. "I'm Vivi." She introduced herself, still thinking about the little cakes. The ones with a red filling had been really tasty.

“Where is our host, anyway?” Perses asked and Vivi looked back towards him and the woman in the wheelchair, Malsam. Perses seemed to be growing impatient, even though it had only been a few minutes. Not that she had a watch or anything else to track the time, maybe it had been a lot longer. Vivi frowned and bit into her last snack. Better to use the time. "I don't know." She replied to him. "They'll probably give others a chance to join us."

She shifted her weight on her other foot and looked through the room again. Two from Scadrial, so there was a chance they were able to use the metallic arts. Three she wasn't able to determine where they came from, nor did their clothing style remind her of a world. Her mother would have known. Vivi grit her teeth and hastily took another bite of cake. If she had attended her school regularly she would have a chance to know, too. But she hadn’t and there was no use to cry over something as irrelevant like that.

She turned her attention back to the room. They were six now, none of them gave the first impression of a trained fighter like those at the Canton. Malsam had to be very competent at handling herself and the young thief eating a sandwich most likely, too. Otherwise she wouldn't have dared to dress like that. Or she was like herself, more or less harmless, in the end it was all speculation. The others, Vivi would have to watch them for a while and maybe she could find out something else about them.

Another thought occured to her and she clapped her forehead in annoyance. She'd completely forgotten about Rainbowglow. Quickly she headed over to the table with the snacks and removed her backpack, opened it. "I'm so sorry." She peeked inside. "You've got to be hungry, too. Here you are." Vivi picked up one of the cakes and put it into the backpack, then she closed it again and grabbed another one for herself.

Then she walked the few steps to the others and made sure she kept her facial expression friendly. Whatever waited for them in the house, her odds looked a lot brighter if she wasn't going in all on her own.

Edited by Sorana
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It was an interesting group to come together for a job, possibly a statement of the state of the city after the chaos of the Forgery. Altogether the group appeared nowhere close to as large or, if Whisper was being honest, as competent as the last such gathering she had attended when ACE organized an expedition into the caverns beneath the city. A child, one woman in a wheelchair, what seemed to be a blind man, though the presence of tinminds indicated that might not be as much of a hurdle as it would be for some, and, based on the small flecks of Soulstone under her fingernails, a Forger. And then Whisper herself, a mute thief by all obvious observations. The newcomer, Rosharan? She was perhaps the closest to a promising member that could be seen at a glance.

Not precisely a group to inspire confidence. She noted. But then who knows how many are concealing more beneath? Never trust what is only visible on the surface.

Her watchful eyes departed from the people gathered in the room and began to roam the walls and hallways of the house itself. Certain parts certainly had the feel of Alleys about them, but then hallways could sometimes be like that. Some were closer than others. True masters of the Alleys could use something that barely even resembled an Alley at all to enter those strange spaces.

But this is different. She realized, paying attention to the subtle twistings of reality. Not the usual patterns. Not the usual pathways.

That was a promising start for her investigations. Promising and incredibly dangerous. If the pathways through the house were unpredictable even to a seasoned member of the DA, then they could end up in any Alley at all. 

With a frown she pulled her whiteboard out, beginning to sketch rough outlines with a shorthand notation. Almost absently she took another entirely unnecessary bite out of her illusory sandwich, thankfully able to dismiss it now that she'd gone through the motions of eating it piece at a time. The voices around her began fading into the background as her focus was consumed, the twisting patterns of space around her forming a new pattern, something far more interesting than simple spywork. In less than a minute she had filled one half of the space with what might to an untrained eye appear simply as a spaghetti-like mess of lines, with an occasional series of letters and numbers next to them.

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17 hours ago, Ookla the Headmuncher said:

Perses was glad that these people were social. He was absolutely horrid at formal communication. He was bad at casual conversation, too, but that can be forgiven slightly more. 
 

"And it is nice to meet you too, cousin. What's your name?"

Cousin? Was this some Elendel slang that he hadn’t been aware of? No matter. “I’m Perses. It is also a pleasure to meet you, my cousin.” Perses said, hoping that he was being polite. 
 

There was another figure that entered, who was also using some sort of magic. Perses unfortunately had no clue what. Perses was, unfortunately, growing quite impatient. Where was the host? He would never say that out loud of course. It would be rude, probably. Then again, this seemed to be a more casual group, at least the ones that were socializing. “Where is our host, anyway?” He decided to inquire.

 

Malsam laughed wryly. "Sorry about the cousin bit, I picked it up from the Herdazian merchant family I escorted here from Elendel. No clue where our host is, but I wonder what exactly they need from us. And how many of us they need." Malsam grimaced. "The flyer said it had to do with the manor, but nothing beyond." She eyed the grand staircase in the hallway. "I don't like stairs. Far too easy to fall down."  

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The large grandfather clock on the wall of the parlour chimed three o'clock, the sound cutting through conversation and leaving room for the softer, slightly aged voice of Verity Warren to carry through the air.

"Your host is right here."

She did her best to sweep into the room; once it had been so easy to make a striking impression. Her height, her long dark hair, her penchant for fine jewels and gowns - all had aided her in being the Lady of Wickwillow. The Lady Warren. And she still was, if perhaps a bit more stooped, her long hair now silvered, her gown and jewels hanging rather more loosely on a spindly frame. But she was still the Lady Warren, and she would do battle with this strange house until one of them emerged victorious, and the other was either tamed, or dead.

Verity surveyed the gathered crowd and held a sigh between her teeth. She had hoped for more, but she was not surprised at the small number. These were trying times for everyone, and plenty did not wish for another helping of danger so soon after having their world shaken and resettled. She had expected to catch the desperate and the curious, and based on what she saw, she had been right. Her eyes lingered a bit long on the slim figure of an actual child amidst the hopefuls, and considered dismissing her outright. But then, Verity herself had been forced to grow up much too quickly. Few in this city did not have to do so, in one way or another. And the girl was not her responsibility. 

"Thank you for answering our call for aid," Verity continued, glancing aside to Cobalt, who remained still and stoic, as usual. "I am the Lady Verity Warren. As you all surely know, the world has recently undergone a great transition. While most has returned to its original state, there are a few things that... have not. Among them, this house. You all saw the Manor as you approached it from without: four stories and a basement, a classical style. Rather unremarkable, if stately. And it was that way within as well, until a week ago. At which point the house began to... grow. And it has not stopped. It continues to add passages, rooms, secret doors and switchbacks. New staircases appear, and there have been... things that have emerged from such new doors and hallways. We have lost three of our staff."

"It is a logical thing to ask 'Why not simply leave?' And in truth, we would. I would, if it were not for something very important that I require, which lies in my late husband's - the late Lord Warren's - third floor study. We have yet to be able to find the room, or even the corridor, in which this item is located. But should you succeed where we have failed, you will be handsomely rewarded. I am certain you have questions. Please, ask, and we shall do our best to answer you."

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Side note: has the house been changing as we were waiting? And if so, does it make any kind of noise? I’m wondering if it tipped off my character. And if it’s completely soundless, that’s a whole other level is spooky.

Perses took this in. A growing house that kills people, a valued artifact, and a help wanted poster. Perses hadn’t actually gotten the ‘help wanted’ poster; he had been led this way by someone when he inquired about job opportunities. After taking this information in, one question came to mind. 
 

“why a help wanted poster? This seems to be a very specific job, with quite a mysterious nature. I feel like hiring specialists, or some sort of magical detective agency would be needed. And judging by the manor, you could surely afford hiring someone.”

 

 

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Byron sighed to himself as he jogged. He would be late. This is why he didn't like making appointments. You never know when some maniac with a billboard will scare you half to death and make you lose five minutes of time. His bubble should be under control now. But still, he was late.

Byron carefully made his way inside, trying to note if anything had changed as his aura passed the threshold. A few bumps. Aluminum was everywhere in the Alleyverse. But his bubble was on low enough it shouldn't make a big difference. Unless anyone had anywhere else to be, but from the ad he'd seen passing by it wasn't a timed operation.

A real operation. It had been a while since he'd done one of those. Opportunism had gotten him far enough on Roshar. But this was certainly not Roshar.

There were five people who looked like adventuring hopefuls, along with a pair who seemed older, speaking to them. He thought that was it. It's what his still somewhat addled brain saw. He'd been in the hospital... not too long ago. He'd given up keeping track. The lady had just finished describing most of the task.

"Sorry I'm late," he said, overly quickly. "I'm... are we introducing? I'm Byron."

Did he have any questions? Too many, most likely.

"What item specifically are we looking for? And... what should we do with anything else we find?"

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Sidenote @Ashbringer: I love your character design. I didn’t spot it before, and it’s insanely cool! Any funky savant is awesome.

 

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