Solo Fortunes Rampant

In the Riverfall Port Vypec decided to practice his intelligence gathering skills.

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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Fortunes Rampant

Postby Vypec on February 1st, 2016, 7:39 pm

50th Day of Winter, 515 A.V.
Riverfall Port

The winter's chill was bitter and deep in the port. People moved about quickly and without any of the slow wonder and adventurous air people usually took on when visiting the grandeur of the port. Truth be told, most of them were people who worked there or who were wintering in the city. The Suvan's dark water lapped against the posts of the docks, dark algae growing there and swaying in the water. The ships that were docked here rocked gently. Vypec imagined that they held some sort of eagerness to be away, as if tearing across sun-speckled waters would give the timbers joy.

The tall Akalak was in the port for work though. Well, training in particular. He had dropped by the Kuvay'Nas Lodge when he was signing up for his duties and found a notice pinned next to the week's sign up parchment. It had been an angular script on a hand-written reminder to all volunteer Kavran to train up their branch related skills incase an opening became available. The reminded struck a chord with Vypec. If he wanted to be picked up, he would need to be as best equipped as possible. So he and Vypal had decided to dedicate that day to an exercise his grandfather had taught him in information gathering.

We should find something a bit out of the ordinary. It should be something worth inquiring about, so as not to raise suspicion. Vypal said academically. He loved the subtle nuances of their work.

Because as an Akalak, any question we would raise about the city would seem odd. Vypec finished, staring critically around the cold, wind-swept docks from under the hood of his cloak. A ship perhaps? He inquired of his brother.

Perfect, sometimes I think my genius is rubbing off on you. Vypal responded.

Vypec snorted aloud at his jab. He strode out to the edge of a pier, searching the berthed crafts. His eyes fell upon the sleek form of a well-kept Palivar, a ship design he knew to by Svefra. The Sea-dwelling humans were, without a doubt, the most capable sea-farers he had ever heard of. After walking leisurely down the pier and passing the Palivar up he settled himself upon a bench in a brave attempt at comfort. As the wind howled past his head, he surreptitiously inspected the Palivar for a name.

In green painted lettering across the stern of the ship was pain-staking lay painted Fortunes Rampant. After a moment of taking in the ship in all it's glory, Vypec saw movement on the deck. Two fur-clad, blonde men had appeared and were rummaging about on the deck. Vypec grinned. Even in the dead of winter, the Svefra remained living aboard their ships. Where other sailors would seek refuge in the various taverns or inns provided in Riverfall, those tough sea-people remained stubbornly aboard their family homes. It was a good choice.

"Davara, I'm off to the tavern!" One of the Svefra men said to the other before slipping adeptly over the prow of his ship to land lightly on the dock. Vypec watched him tuck his shoulders up to protect against the wind and step smartly down the docks. Vypec stood after a moment and followed. He watched the man, trying to take in the details a casual observer would not. He saw the bowed, sailor's gait, and the thin knife the man carried. He saw the patchwork of garb that marked a worldly man. He was someone who had bought his clothing all up and down the Suvan.

Vypec followed behind the Svefra at a far, and what he hoped, unsuspicious distance. The man loped his was through the Port with the air of someone who had spent a lot of time there. Vypec made note of the deft way in which he took corners and made no attempt to consult surroundings as he walked. He knew where he was going. This was all apparent in that he had spent at least the first half of the winter here in Riverfall. But the exercise was designed to learn as much as you could about an individual or place irregardless of inferred knowledge. That was too close to assumptions, his grandfather used to say. So Vypec noted the familiarity as if he was completely new to the setting as well.

The Svefra nudged his way into the popular Ale house, Alements. Vypec slowly walked up to the entrance of the place and followed his query.
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Fortunes Rampant

Postby Vypec on February 10th, 2016, 5:35 am

The Akalak was careful to focus on his peripherals when watching the Svefra take a seat at a table near the corner, pretending his focus was on the beautiful interior of Alements, a place well known across Riverfall as a quality watering hole. So as not to look out of place, Vypec sat a few tables away from the Svefra, leaning against a dark wooden beam and kicking his sizable feet up on the seat of the chair next to him. The bar was nearly empty, the winter's bite keeping all but the most stoic out. Within moments a server was beside him, inquiring as to what he would like from the menu.

Vypec smiled up at the server and said simply, "Ale, please." He fished in the coin purse at his belt for a moment, gathering a battered silver miss from the purse and holding it out. The server gave a perfunctory smile and took the coin before leaving.

You know, you aren't going to find much out if he's just sitting there drinking alone. Vypal's snide words broke the silence that ensued. He's note going to just sit and talk about his ship by himself. His words were, as ever, logically constructive and judge mental at the same time. Vypal was the kind of person one could not be friends with if they were easily offended. Having to share a body and mind with him had fostered a hardy imperviousness to such judge mental tones in Vypec.

Despite this very sound warning Vypec continued to sip his ale slowly. There was nothing he could do in the situation without risking suspicion about his forwardness. His grandfather's voice came to mind, reciting one of the many 'tenets' of spycraft he was so fond of. Observation was the least risk prone of the methods at his disposal. There was a whole risk to gain ratio that Dremandos Algranos had lectures endlessly about at his grandson over the years. The gambit for information was sometimes worth the risk of discovery. Then sometimes the information was so unimportant that it hardly mattered if one was discovered. Vypec stared at the wall next to the Svefra, trying to figure out what the worth of the information was, and how he could glean it.

Observation, theft, the 'meet and greet', key informant, torture. Some of these solutions were hardly relevant, or legal. Vypec rubbed his hand across a smooth jaw, stealing a glance at the Svefra. The man was staring into the top of a tankard of his own. Vypec decided in a moment, without consulting his brother. He slid out from his chair and grabbed up his tankard of ale. The Akalak swaggered over to the table where the Svefra was sitting.

What do you think you are doing? His brother's shocked voice asked hurriedly. Vypal was a firm believer in the more stealthy approaches, anything that meant autonomy.

I'm promoting this guy from a known associate to a key informant. He said, his voice carrying a vague trace of humor. The Svefra looked up with surprise as Vypec slumped into the chair opposite him. The man pulled his tankard back and sat up straighter, staring askance at the Akalak who had dropped heavily into his personal space.

On your head be it. Vypal muttered, clearly annoyed at not being consulted.

Our head, brother!

"Cold as petch out there huh?" Vypec forced an easy going air into his voice. The Svefra grunted and was about to open his mouth to speak, but Vypec thought it would be best to keep him on his toes, at first. "I thought it would be a shame to waste a morning drinking alone." Vypec continued, pushing on past the awkwardness. He raised his tankard and under the cover of the table he flicked his coin purse with his other hand, making the contents clink merrily.

The Svefra, who had been staring at him with a slight frown of confusion on his face, now let his face soften. The man let out a snort of laughter and tapped his tankard against Vypec's own. "Well when you put it that way."

Vypec let his body relax. He had gotten himself talking to the man without raising suspicion at least. The drawback of this method, however, was that the man would recognize him from now on. In an ideal situation he would remain anonymous. But sometimes the risk was worth the reward. In this case the risk was nothing, being a purely fictitious training exercise, so the reward was well worth it.

"So what brings a..." Vypec paused and made a show of scrutinizing the man. "Svefra, to Riverfall in our coldest time?" He asked casually, waving the server back over.

"Business, what else?" The man said shortly. He took a pull from his tankard and seemed content with that explanation.

The man was clearly diverting such questions, and Vypec could not blame him. Trust was not easily won in the tavern. Vypec wouldn't trust a stranger who sat himself down at his table unannounced. He just had to play the part, and make it honest. Honestly was favorable to anything else with most people, even when it was coupled with brashness or crudeness.

Draw out the truth by other means. Vypal said, oversimplifying as always. Here, let me imbecile.Vypal's disapproving tone made him roll his eyes. I meant coax the information out of him by other means than trust.

There was a rushing of something like mental vertigo as Vypal surged to the surface in their shared consciousness. He leant forward on his elbows, knuckles against his jaw. "Me, I've been in Riverfall my whole life. Well, the surrounding grasslands for hunting and such, but no other cities." The regret in Vypal's words almost tasted genuine, if Vypec did not know the lie they were made on. "Why, I'd love to sail south and train with some Nykan monks someday." Vypal let his words trail off, as if he was thinking about the imagined journey.

The Svefra snorted. "Well, friend. You might want to learn a map or two before taking up that adventure. Nyka is north of here." He took a pull from his tankard, eyeing Vypal merrily. He expected the Akalak to look embarrassed and ashamed. He was not disappointed. Though Vypal rarely felt such emotions, he was able to suitably mimic them. Vypec was truly impressed by his brother's theatrics.

You are quite a sly little petcher, brother. Vypec said with all the tone of an admirer.

I do what I can.

"I been to Nyka, well close 'nough. Closer'n you I expect." The Svefra seemed to be imparting his wisdom on Vypal with a grizzly lecture on the trials and tribulations of the Suvan and on. "It's a mighty vicious water, is the route up the east. Ya gotta pass by Sahova, and that's quite a risk in itself. They be trading in cold bodies there." The Svefra let his voice fall to a whisper at that last, as if the Sahovans would somehow hear him from so far away. "We just come from Syliras this season. Made a fat Miza off the Syliran grain too." He rubbed his chin, grinning.

I'm impressed, brother.
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Fortunes Rampant

Postby Vypec on February 19th, 2016, 9:30 pm

So Vypal had pulled out, from the Svefra that they were grain merchants out of Syliras. This was a very adept gleaning of information on Vypal's part and Vypec was impressed. The social finesse with which his brother had maneuvered the information out of the man had surprised him. Vypec didn't think his brother had that kind of social adeptness.

The Svefra was talking about the high seas and the autumn currents. He regaled a story of wild storms off the coast of Cyphrus, waving his nearly empty tankard around as he did so. Vypal found himself enjoying the Svefra despite himself. The man seemed rough around the edges and not too fond of pleasantries, just the type of conversation Vypal could choke down. The Svefra seemed to down his tankard like an seasoned expert, the dredges of the ale glistening in his blonde whiskers. Vypal grinned and rapt his knuckles on the tabletop. The Akalak turned and waved over the server.

"Another tankard of ale for my friend!" He said as if it was a spur of the moment thing. Of course it was a shallow attempt at reciprocity, the act of giving a gift brought two individuals closer. It would create a subtle link, or at least Vypal hoped. He had studied the subtle arts of intelligence extensively and gifts seemed to be a decent way to win almost anyone over.

The Svefra smiled and nodded appreciatively. "Thank you, sir Akalak. That is truly a kindness." He leant back and watched as the server refilled his tankard from a pewter jug. Vypal watched him as well, eyeing the tattoos splayed out across his bare skin. All of them were nautical themed and displayed a rich culture of the sea. Of course, Vypal already knew this about the Svefra. It was common knowledge that they identified their heritage with ink on the skin.

"It would be great to get out and see the world. I'm constantly waking up to stare across from my front door at my father's." Vypal shook his head. This last was more truth than fiction. He felt Vypec stirring angrily within the recesses of his mind. The Light Brother was unused to being in a position of submissive mind lurking. He found the casual negativity that Vypal used when invoking their father's name disturbing and agitating. But Vypal was running this show for now. There would be no righteous reproach if he could help it.

"Oh that's nothing! At least your damn family lives in a different home. I've grown up on that damn ship with my father, mother, brother, and two sisters. Never lived anywhere else!" The Svefra said, laughter breaking through his animated complaint. Vypal saw a look of woeful exasperation on the man's face as he admitted to this. "I was supposed to have my own ship by now, a Casinor. I was to branch the family business out, but the ship builder went bankrupt in Zeltiva and now we had to start over in Syliras." His words carried a heavy weight of sadness. Vypal found himself feeling oddly empathetic towards this granger. Perhaps it was because he identified with the need to distance himself, perhaps it was because he was a stranger and the man had yet to disappoint him in any way.

"So how long will you have to wait now?" Vypal asked, running a single purple finger across the rim of his own battered, pewter tankard. He identified with being somewhere you did not want to be. The only place Vypal found truly perfect was the few times a week that he and his brother would make their pilgrimage to the Night Tower. There, in the shadow of Akajia's influence he felt content.

"One year." The Svefra frowned down at his tankard. "One stinking year under Pa's sails and I finally have my own freedom." He sighed deeply, his sun kissed chest falling into a relaxed slouch. The Svefra smiled at the thought of his own ship. Vypal smiled too. He wanted to continue to engage the Svefra. He had learned, with little extra effort, the number and relation of everyone aboard the Fortunes Rampant. Vypal was happy with the skill with which he extracted information. He wasn't sure if his ability was responsible or the ale. Either way, this conversation was turning into a success. What was more, the Svefra hardly knew anything about him.

"Well one year isn't much time for sailing, or at least I don't think so." Vypal said, looking concerned. "Can you reach Syliras by then?" In truth, Vypal had no idea how long it took a ship to sail from Riverfall to Syliras, especially one crewed by the skilled hands of the Svefra. But the query allowed for a continued stream of information, which was his real goal.

The Svefra grinned again, pride shining through the wind-lined face. "You're talking to a Svefra, friend Akalak. You all may have your combat and your jewelry making, but we own the seas." The Svefra said in jest. "Syliras is well within reach for the Fortunes Rampant. First we go to Alvadas, though." The Svefra nodded. "I hate that damn city, it's too unsettling with its constantly shifting streets. Only a madman would stay there for longer than the time it takes to empty and fill your hold." He glanced towards the door of Alements, as though he would be able to see the Ionu's city from through its colorful window.

So the Fortunes Rampant was heading to Alvadas, the City of Illusions, come spring. Vypal wondered what sorts of things Alvadas had to offer that merchants in Syliras. The Akalak had a heavily ethnocentric world view, though he liked to think himself more holistic. Everything was seen in terms of Riverfall and what Riverfall took and gave. The relations between external cities had never come up as interesting. But from the point of view of a Kuvay'Nas, he was beginning to see how important it was that Riverfall be aware of the tensions and alliances of the greater world. One city could stand against another relatively well, but what of two?

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Fortunes Rampant

Postby Vypec on February 21st, 2016, 4:36 am

I think we've found out quite a lot, don't you? Vypec asked from the recesses of their mind. Vypal was amused. He could feel Vypec's eagerness to be back in control. He could also feel that Vypec's tactical mind would not allow him to risk suspicion from the Svefra by forcing the switch and causing an abrupt personality change. Vypal liked that his brother was getting a little taste of what it was like to be the one behind the curtain, the one in the dark.

We don't even know his name, Vypec. Vypal reasoned. He kept the enjoyment out of his voice as he said it. We don't know when the ship is leaving. These were very valid points. If he had actually been on a mission to gain knowledge about the Fortune's Rampant he would have been expected to gather that knowledge too. So Vypal only felt minimally bad for thrusting his brother back down into the recesses of their mind and returning his attention once more to the Svefra across from him. Vypal smiled at the man again, laughing at some story he was telling.

"Yes, so then the petcher knocked my pants into the sea and the ruddy dolphin got 'me." The man was heaving with his own laughter. "Never trust a Zeltivan to pay his debts, I suppose." He shrugged, taking a generous pull from his tankard to punctuate the story. Vypal had no earthly idea what he was talking about, having missed most of the retelling.

"Indeed, I've heard their quite tricky, and dolphins too." Vypal said, hoping that would suffice in response. He was trying to find a way to introduce the topic of the man's departure. To Vypal's surprise the Svefra burst into laughter mid swig, sending foam all over his beard.

"The ruddy dolphins too!" He chuckled, his twinkling eyes staring at Vypal. The Akalak grinned, as if he was aware of the witty joke he had apparently made. He took a swig from his own tankard, loosening Vypec's strict no drinking rule. The stuff tasted hoppy and cool on his palette. He took another modest swig.

"It's too bad you are leaving so soon, there are quite a few good festivals in the Spring!" Vypal tried, leaning back casually against the chair he sat in, as if the ale was whittling away at his own sobriety. Alements had filled up a bit and there was a general heightened state of merriment. Vypal found the allure of the ale quite appealing.

Do not muddy your mind, brother! Vypec's warning seemed unjustly dire in his mind.

Don't worry so much, we need to immerse ourselves. Besides he really needs to trust us to tell us our last two pieces of information! Vypal said, and to really ram the point home he took another swig of ale.

"Pay, Spring is a time for Riverfall indeed! Syliras is a dreary old fortress full of landlubbers and soldiering types." The Svefra shook his head as he would have whole-heartedly liked to stay in Riverfall for the Spring season. "Alas, it is our nature. In with the tides, out with the tides." He said, shrugging. He seemed to treat the Spring's journey to Syliras as a necessary evil. Vypal saw the Svefra's lifestyle as wonderfully liberating and free of the constraints of conventional society. He said so.

The Svefra nodded. "Oh we live a life with fewer restrictions than most, but that does not mean we don't have any. The seas, the storms, the cold, all tell us when to be one place and when not to be." He waved a hang vaguely in front of himself. Vypal wasn't sure he liked the mysterious nature with which the Svefra explained things, as if everything was a folk tale worthy of embellishment. It was probably some cultural thing. Living alone with only your family on a ship far out to sea for months on end probably led to some might fine story tellers.

How are you going to get his name? Vypec asked.

Probably ask him.

You can't, that doesn't count.

Then I'll try to get him to say it. Vypal said irritably. He turned and glanced around the tavern. The server caught his eye and Vypal waved her over. He smiled at his own genius. As she approached Vypal winked at the Svefra, who looked bewildered.

"What can I get you?" She asked politely.

Vypal gave her a sheepish grin and looked at the Svefra. "My friend here wants...your name. I think he likes you. He owns a sailboat by the way." He let the grin turn into a wicked smirk.

For her part the server didn't even look taken aback. She probably got heavy handed pick up lines all the time. "My name is none-of-your-friend's-business." She turned and walked away.

Smooth. Vypec said.

"Ah gods, man! I wish you would have told me first. Thank you though." The Svefra said, half laughing, half bemused by her rejection. He rubbed a tattooed arm and watched the server leave. "Would have been nice to have a name to go with such a pretty... Face." He muttered, looking at Vypal for confirmation.

Vypal played it off, though he was angry his attempt to get the Svefra to introduce himself to the girl hand't worked. He had been proud of the moment of inspiration, and now Vypec gloried in his failure. The Akalak shrugged back at the Svefra. "You win some, you lose some. At least she didn't throw my arse out." He really was glad she hand't. That would have meant Vypal had lost the game for them, something he would never live down with a brother like Vypec.

Just as Vypal thought that, he felt a surging of willpower. Vypec struggled forth to gain control of their shared body. He seemed to regain his confidence in the face of Vypal's defeat. The Light Brother stretched and faked a yawn. He stood and set his tankard down. He had formulated his plan while Vypal was ruining the Svefra's chances with the charming server.If it failed, he wouldn't get a second chance without raising suspicion.

The Svefra watched him stand, still thinking about the server. "Well, I'm off. Got an early morning. I'm a smith's apprentice and we start at the crack of dawn. Nice drinking with you, Jadar!" Vypec waved and began to turn towards the door.

"Hey!" Vypec smiled as he heard the Svefra's indignant exclamation. "My name's Devar, not Jadar! You don't even remember my name?" Vypec mumbled something of an apology as he made his way to the door. "Hang on, I don't even know your name!"

Vypec only waved again as he pushed through the door out of Alements.

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Fortunes Rampant

Postby Theo Popcampio on July 7th, 2016, 3:30 pm

Image
To the victor...

Grades Awarded!

Vypec

Skills
    Observation: 2
    Logic: 2
    Planning: 2
    Intelligence: 4
    Drinking: 2
    Persuasion: 2
    Socialization: 3
    Acting: 1
    Rhetoric: 1
Lores
    Riverfall: Quiet in Winter
    Sverfra: Live on the sea
    Location: Alements
    Vypal: Discreet in his pursuits
    Intelligence: Coaxing information out of an informant
    Intelligence: Act like a friend, work as a spy
    Fortune’s Rampant: Heading to Alvadasd
    Devar: Svefran man
Notes :
Nice quick read here. You overplayed your acting a little in the second post, that’s why I didn’t award that instance points; if you want the points simply edit the post to fit a novice skill level (which I advise) and I’ll happily award them. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns

Image

...go the spoils.
All my templates were made by the grace of the enchanting Aislyn Leavold.
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