Completed Sinking the Secrets

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

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Sinking the Secrets

Postby Evarista on March 16th, 2017, 10:35 pm

12th of Spring, 517 A.V.

Evarista hated gossip. Sure, she loved spying on people and prying into the most private and embarrassing corners of their lives, but having to discuss such things with a third party was excruciating. Partly because she didn't like to share what she knew, but also partly because it was awkward and rather boring. No, she didn't care who so-and-so cheated with, unless she got to see the act for herself. She had no desire to clog her mind with second-hand information, and she would do without it if she had any say in the matter. Which, of course, she hadn't. Being in the covert employ of Nestor Olcott, the grey eminence of the Nitrozian estate, she was explicitly told to keep her ears open for any 'floating information'.

That's how she found herself patiently listening to the babbling ravosalaman as he ferried her through the clean canals of the Noble District, dimly illuminated by the soon-to-set sun. She wished she could zone out and enjoy the ride as always, but returning to Olcott empty-handed would be rather unpleasant. Lying wasn't an option, either – not because he could verify anything, but because a clumsy liar like herself was completely transparent to him. Best to just do what he wanted for the time being. Sweeping a wild strand of hair from her face, she closed her eyes and tried to concentrate on the drone of the ravosalaman standing behind her on the slender vehicle.

"Have you heard about the ships being constructed in the yard? No? Well, they're right big, I tell you. You can see 'em over the high walls of the yard! I haven't seen anything that big on the lake – never." The driver, who was not unfamiliar with Evarista and her unsociable nature, spoke more to fill the silence than anything else. To his surprise, he actually got a response this time.

"Hmmmn..." The passenger made a pensive sound, pausing as if conflicted about how to comment. Not finding anything meaningful to say after a few good moments of hard deliberation, Evarista took the easy way out. "...go on."

The driver didn't need to be told twice. He was used to taking charge of the conversation when gossiping with his customers, but this one somehow made the most casual of chats much more awkward than they needed to be.

"Some say they're going to be prison ships. I dunno about that. The Black Sun doesn't tolerate much. I think they'd rather feed the fish than feed a bunch of no-gooders." He leaned forward, closer to her ear, and lowered his voice in conspiracy. "If you ask me... and don't repeat this... but I think those big ol' boats are meant for something else."

Silence fell on the ravosala as it glided across the darkening water. Lantern lights began seeping through the windows of the buildings around them, marking the cut-off between day and evening. The only constant noise around them was the soft splashing of water. After multiple mute chimes, Evarista suddenly spoke.

"Interesting."

He waited for her to continue, but she didn't. Inwardly rolling his eyes, the man made a final push with his steering pole before the vessel gracefully slid into place next to the entrance to a familiar greenery-covered terrace. Café Fleurs was about to close, but they were on time for Evarista to pick up her 'package'.

Gingerly stepping out of the boat and waving the driver goodbye, the young aristocrat found herself, for the first time, thinking about what he said. The Black Sun is building prison ships? No... they're building something disguised as prison ships? That seemed audaciously flashy as far as disguises go. Sinking deeper into thought, the girl narrowly avoided colliding with the door frame before stepping inside of the café.
Last edited by Evarista on April 16th, 2017, 10:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Evarista
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Sinking the Secrets

Postby Evarista on March 17th, 2017, 10:58 pm

It wasn't long before Evarista stepped out again, holding a small wine bottle. It wasn't like there was a shortage of wine at the estate, but after having spent a long time in a tropical colony, staying cooped up in her room didn't feel as natural any more, and she had to come up with excuses to get outside. And what better excuse could there be than to get some novelty booze? Admittedly, this modest café only sold the trashy kind, but it was good enough for the time being. Uncorking the flask after some struggle, the girl took a swig and sighed in contentment, feeling the sour liquid coat her throat from within. This was the start of a pleasant evening, for sure.

Dangling the bottle in her hand nonchalantly, the young aristocrat strolled along the darkening walkways towards the Docks. She wasn't in a hurry, as her evening walks never were, but unlike normal, tonight she had a direction. Shipbuilding was not something she was interested in, and the modest vessels built in Ravok were hardly anything to be amazed by, but apparently that was to change. Prison ships, huh? Even if there wasn't any actual conspiracy behind this, it was still very strange. Why would the Black Sun build ships, let alone the big and expensive sort, just to keep prisoners in there?

Stopping to take another swig, Evarista raised her head and stared vacantly into the red-tinted sky as another helping of cheap wine entered her system. Despite herself, she began to get excited. Her night-time detective pretences were mostly ad hoc, so having been served a potential mystery that was relevant to someone other than herself was a nice change of pace. Yes, she was definitely going to the Docks tonight. Maybe she'd even sneak into the off-limits area, or maybe even into one of the ships under construction. Although...

Stopping again just before the walkway took her from the Merchant District into the Docks, Evarista stood still for a moment, dangling the wine bottle like a pendulum in her hand while her mind slowly accessed the reality of the situation – a reality turned out to be slightly discouraging. She's already had one very unpleasant experience at the Docks. She's also had one very unpleasant experience with the Black Sun. Neither of these things were to be joked with, and the spoiled rich kid's dulled sense of danger was not quite so dull as to let her step on the same rake twice. Even so, she'd already decided what to do. All she had to do to avoid meeting an abrupt and gruesome end was to use the right approach, right?

Tucking the wine flask into her skirt unceremoniously, Evarista slipped into a narrow alley between two buildings. Not the sort of alley where anyone else would be lurking – this was basically just a small gap between buildings that could hardly even be called a passage, and it was the sort of blind spot that she had grown accustomed to using as her ascension point. Putting her arachnid claws into action, she steadily climbed up to the roof, feeling her way forward with sensory mandibles and thus and remaining unhindered by the pitch-black darkness in the alley.

Once she was comfortably above the city, the crawl could begin. Maintaining a low enough profile to not be seen from the ground or from any balconies, the half-morphed girl made her way into the docks, using elongated hooks to ferry herself from roof to roof when necessary. It was an extremely safe way to travel, even through the most dangerous area of the city, and Evarista enjoyed the relaxing emptiness of the roof level, together with the fresh wind blowing through her hair. Gradually, the harbor grew closer. When the silhouettes ship masts were close enough to be counted, the unusual infiltrator leaned over the edge of a roof and took a peek at the streets below. Just as the noise level suggested, the Docks were far from deserted at this time of day. In fact, they were just coming alive. Murky figures and gruff voices moved every which way, with small red specks of light indicating burning tobacco. The people around here smoked a lot more than anyone did at the Noble District, she noticed.

A small flash of fire drew her attention. Someone leaning against the wall of the house on whose roof she was just lit his pipe, which was confirmed by the smell of burned serum rising up to the nose soon afterwards. The smoking man was accompanied by another figure, and they both seemed to be having an animated discussion. Concentrating on their voices, Evarista listened in. While the men were within her visual auristic range, she surmised she could get better results from examining the aura of their voices.

"I'm telling you, those boats aren't what they look like." The figure next to the smoker, an elderly man with a surprisingly smooth and clear voice, spoke with conviction. "I've been around these here docks for my whole life, and never seen 'em black robes build anything this big. There's no way they're going to all this trouble just so they can lock up a bunch of riff-raff. It doesn't make any sense." He paused, probably for dramatic effect. "There's something much bigger going on."

"No way, you old fool! There you go with your bogeyman tales again!" The smoker, apparently a middle-aged sailor, was not convinced. There was notable irritation in his voice, but also uncertainty. While Evarista's voice aura reading was rather basic, she could clearly tell where that uncertainty came from. While the sailor didn't want to agree with the old man's words, he had no counter-argument, which made him chew on the end of his pipe nervously. The pair has seemingly already been talking for a while, and the sailor has reached the end of his patience. "...you're full of crock."

Dropping the only finisher he could come up with, the smoker leaned away from the wall and began walking away.

The old man didn't move to stop him. When the sailor was out of earshot, Evarista picked up a mutter, clearly meant only for himself.

"What a simpleton. The Docks are full of these nowadays... oh, how the times have changed." He fell silent, as if lost in thought, but didn't make a move to leave.

Leaning back from her vantage point, Evarista tried to process what she just witnessed. Naturally, she couldn't ignore the subject of the conversation, as it was directly relevant to her objective here. Secondly, the old man said exactly what's initially crossed her own mind as well. Why would the Black Sun build something as odd, awkward and inefficient as prison ships? Clearly, the old guy knew something about this, or at least suspected something. Since the self-made spy didn't quite have the nerve to march straight to the objective and rummage around for answers, this would be a good opportunity to get some preliminary info. Probably.

After securing a freshly produced silk wire around a chimney for emergency escape purposes, the girl steeled herself for the dive down to street level, inhabited by people whom she was particularly bad at dealing with. Silently and carefully roping herself down to the ground in the total darkness behind the house, she squeezed through the narrow passage next to it before almost bumping into the old man as he was about to walk past said passage to leave. Stopping dead in his tracks, he stared at her wide-eyed for a long moment, surprise evident on his face even in the dim lighting of the street. Beads of sweat began forming on Evarista's forehead. Luckily, he regained his composure quickly enough.

"Where'd you come from, eh? Don't scare an old man like that." His tone was slightly strained, but not hostile. After looked her up and down, he relaxed visibly, clearly not perceiving her as a threat despite her abrupt appearance out of thin air. A fine enough recovery from that blunder, she thought. Now, of course, was the time to seize the conversation and make him talk. Which shouldn't be that difficult. After all, unlike the smoking sailor, she was quite eager to listen.

"Ah, I just overheard you talking about those new ships being built. Strange story, isn't it?" Trying to sound as innocent as possible, she levelled a smirk at him, indicating that she wanted to talk. Hiding her nervousness behind her monotonous drone was very easy, but she had to clasp her hands behind her back to avoid fidgeting.
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Evarista
Whose eyes are those eyes?
 
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Sinking the Secrets

Postby Evarista on April 16th, 2017, 4:12 pm

The old man turned out to be even more chatty than Evarista anticipated, and she didn't have to pull him by the tongue to get him talking about the purported prison ships and the conspiracies surrounding their construction. Most of it was downright ridiculous, even to the ears of a no-common-sense listener such as her, but she tried to appear interested and ask him leading questions to steer the conversation to the heart of the matter. The profusive talker turned out to be a fisherman, and while he's clearly heard and seen a whole lot while moving around the docks every day, he didn't deny that all of it was third-hand information at best. Evarista needed to get closer to the source, and repeatedly hinted him at that. Eventually, he let slip a lead she could follow.

"...and that's why I'm saying, that Rogann lad knows something! He sure knows more than he lets on, that much I can tell you! He ain't no normal worker, he's watching us all, and Rhysol knows who he's reporting to! I'll say, he always plays dumb around me, but that's 'cause he knows I'm onto him. That's why he's so suspicious! Right it is, I'm telling you!"

The grandpa wasn't crazy, but he seemed to grossly overanalyze everything, and this was no exception, but this was the first time he's dropped a name. Evarista perked up.

"Oh? Where can I find this Rogann? Maybe he's indeed hiding something."

The fisherman first went on a long-winded tirade about all the suspicious things he found in Rogann, which was absolutely everything down to the tiniest detail, and finally directed Evarista to a hut a bit closer to the port. Since he worked first shift, he was most probably home now, where he dutifully went every day right after work... to do his secret and nefarious things, of course. Inwardly feeling that this conversation had taken way longer than necessary, Evarista thanked the wordy fisherman for his time and rapidly disengaged, almost finding herself running away to prevent him from starting to talk again.

Scratching her head as if to scrub off some of the nonsense the old man had just poured over her, the young aristocrat walked in the direction he had showed her: yet closer to the tall masts rising in the distance. Casting curious glances around her, she realized that the evening docks didn't feel as threatening as she feared they would. Soft glow of the sunset, folk music and drunken songs pouring from some windows and the occasional dog bark; weary but content-looking dockworkers either having a lazy chat or strolling toward the nearby pub. No one paid her any particular attention, but she still felt extremely out of place, with her chalk-white skin, long skirt and untied hair, while everyone else was notably swarthy and otherwise had a painfully utilitarian appearance.

Thankfully, Rogann's hut was not far away, but she still had to ask a few people for directions. She had an easier time handling upper-class rigidity, because at least the etiquette made the conversations follow a predictable pattern, but there was nothing of the sort here. She's earned herself quite a few odd looks when asking where Rogann lived, and a few, to her, unexpectedly hostile reactions.

"You from downtown? What'd you want with our Rogann, huh? How'd he get himself in trouble with you folks? He's never made any trouble around here." The girthy woman filling up a bucket of water from the canal gave Evarista a long, deeply skeptical glance. "You a debt collector or somethin'? Rogann doesn't owe nobody!"

The woman, while a whole head shorter than Evarista, was at least twice as wide, and the bulging muscles under her weathered skin looked fairly intimidating as she turned towards the stranger, looking fierce and ready to defend Rogann, whoever he was to her, until her last drop of blood. Taking a step back, Evarista threw up her hands to signal peaceful intentions.

"I'd just like to talk. I have a question for him." The girl's even tone and stony expression concealed her mental overdrive very well.

"Oh yeah? Ask me. Ain't anything Rogann knows that I don't." The woman put her meaty fists on her hips and gave the uninvited guest another unfriendly look. Evarista was not prepared for such stubborn resistance, and was not sure what to say, staring at the defiant dockworker blankly. Fortunately, someone came to her rescue.

"Aw, don't be like that!" The good-natured male voice was followed up by the appearance of another broad-shouldered laborer. His bare torso drew Evarista's eyes before his face did, but when she finally raised her gaze, she was met with a friendly smile.

The pair got into a short debate about whether Evarista should get physically ejected from the premises, but the male eventually convinced his feisty peer to calm down. The lanky "downtowner" wiped her forehead in relief. Someone who could lift a fifteen-litre water bucket as if it were a twig would probably be able to rough her up pretty badly. Politely sending the woman off to deliver the water, Rogann finally turned to his visitor. There was a glint of simple curiosity in his eyes.

"So, what's going on, lass? Anything I can do?"
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Evarista
Whose eyes are those eyes?
 
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Sinking the Secrets

Postby Evarista on April 16th, 2017, 10:18 pm

Filling herself with patience, Evarista began cautiously interrogating him about the prison ships and what sort of involvement he had with them. He didn't get the initial oblique hints, at first thinking that she was talking about the fishing fleet, and going on to explain the hardships that the recent storms have brought on the fishing efforts. Evarista tried a more direct approach, bringing the Ebonstryfe into the conversation. However, he still didn't get it, beginning to talk about how the soldiers have been assisting in the relief efforts at the lakeshore ever since the crops got threatened. The old fisherman wasn't wrong, this guy was really good at playing dumb. Abandoning the indirect tone, the girl went straight ahead and began asking him about the prison ships themselves. He didn't even seem to register the questions.

"...having no winter messes up the soil, you see? The weather, the flowers and the bees, too. The earth doesn't get time to recover, since the crops don't let it rest. At first you'd think, whoa, isn't that great? I mean, no winter means you can grow crops all year, right? Nope! If the crops seed too much, they suck all the juice out of the soil, and the next crops won't be any good. And it only gets worse, you see. If this goes on, our lakeshore will be like a desert, and nothing will grow there! Me and the lads are doing our best to clear up the crops where there are too many, but it ain't easy. Also trying to put some fertilizer in, but Rhysol knows if that will work..."

Once he got into the swing of things, the man didn't seem able to stop. With overflowing enthusiasm, he explained every detail he knew about the weather, the crops, the fertilizers, and lots of other things only a farmer would care about. Without breaking eye contact with him, Evarista pulled out her wine bottle and took a deep swig. Her foggy eyes reflected complete apathy, not necessarily to what he said, but to the whole situation she got herself in. It was so obvious that even Rogann noticed it.

"Ah, sorry there. I got a bit carried away, I guess. But you seemed curious, so I hope that covers it! Now, I've got to run, but drop by again if you feel like it. Nice talking to ya!" The laborer gave her a genuine, if slightly childish smile, waved goodbye, and disappeared into the narrow dockland alleys.

The wine bottle remained pressed to Evarista's thin lips for a long time after she was left alone on the creaking walkway. The numbing nectar quickly emptying down her throat relieved her from the burden of thought, allowing her to focus on the taste and sensation of alcohol spreading across her body and mind. The roof-crawler was used to relying on her own senses when gathering information. Having to rely on other people proved more disastrous than she could have imagined. She snuck halfway around the city, engaged shady strangers, walked around the dangerous part of town at night and almost got her teeth punched in by an angry local... all for nothing. She was so bad at this, that doing it was worse than nothing.

Turning around on her heels, she wobbled home, catching a discrete moment to climb up on a building for roof travel. She wasn't upset, the wine made sure of that. But she wasn't happy, either. Countless times in the past, she was convinced both by herself and others that she would never be good at anything. At some point, it turned out that she might have this one talent: finding things out. Olcott's expression of interest proved that maybe she actually did have a talent for this.

But maybe not.
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Evarista
Whose eyes are those eyes?
 
Posts: 237
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Joined roleplay: August 1st, 2016, 11:28 am
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Sinking the Secrets

Postby Karyk on July 9th, 2017, 7:53 pm

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Evarista Nitrozian
Skills
Socialization: 1
Intelligence: 3
Planning: 1
Climbing: 1
Observation: 1
Stealth: 1
Interrogation: 1
Lores
Best to not lie if you're no good at it
Rumor from Ravosalaman: Shipyard building extra big ships
Shipyard Rumor: Could be prison Ships
Café Fleurs: Only sells trashy wines
Ravok: Travel by roofs is safest
Ravok Docks: Full of simpletons these days
Shipyard Rumor: Rogann knows more than he lets on
Ravok Location: Rogann's Hut
Intelligence: Friends of targets often defend them from those seeking information
Rogann; A disappointing waste of time
Miscellaneous
N/A


 
Notes and Comments
CS Checkmarked: ✓
CS Reviewed by Me: ✓
Season Request was Submitted for Grade: Spring 517
Season Thread was Started (IC & OOC): Spring 517 & Spring 517
Is that Season's expenses paid?: X* Due to the rule of 1 season allowed to be behind on current for expenses, this PC is eligible.
Eligible for grade? Yes

I would've liked to have seen a bit more detail in some of the more social aspects, particularly the interrogation. Helps if Evarista is shown speaking and asking the questions herself.





It was enjoyable watching Evarista chase her interest in this rumor, as well as recognizing her own shortcomings. I look forward to more. Well done! Please mark your post in Queue as graded.
Follow your heart, and the plot will follow.
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Karyk
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