Event Act One: The Crime Scene

[Murder in Three Acts] 45th: The dead body of a Twisted-Streeter appears just outside the Womiyu

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Considered one of the most mysterious cities in Mizahar, Alvadas is called The City of Illusions. It is the home of Ionu and the notorious Inverted. This city sits on one of the main crossroads through The Region of Kalea.

Act One: The Crime Scene

Postby Chameleon on March 2nd, 2018, 7:25 pm

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9th bell
45th Spring 518
A small square outside the Womiyu


The sun rose up over the city like every morning. The faint bird calls from the coast pealed through the streets, which today were mostly wide, sunny but also a little muddy. As most awoke, they had no reason to suspect anything was strange in this city, other than the city itself. Only the more observant would notice how the placidity of the atmosphere was the strangeness that they were expecting. The air was frozen in place and there seemed to be no movement on this day. No matter who travelled through the streets, they would not meet anyone but themselves.

That was, until the street led them to the crime scene. And they all did, eventually.

The tense environment was replaced with a million voices and hundreds of people crammed into a tiny square outside the Womiyu. The place was set up daintily: the mud had been covered up with a sandy gravel, well trodden in by the crowd; a large tree was growing roughly central, casting shade over the waiting people, the fresh greenery a pleasant sight against the stone buildings; along three sides of the square, the yellowed stone structures, with sweeping balconies and ivy along the walls, offered lemonade and whiskey and sweet smelling pastries. Opposite them stood the tower, the Womiyu, with the wooden statues newly made after the fire and a slight scorch mark on the imposing gates.

Most of the square was full, people standing or watching over from the balconies or sitting inside the various cafes and restaurants and bakeries. The only part that was lacking the huddles of people was a small section right outside the Womiyu gate, roped off. Not to keep people fully out, but to control the flow of people in and out.

They were allowed in four or five at a time. Any more and the crime scene would be destroyed under they feet. Any less and they would never get through the throngs of people that was desperate for a glance of the dead, for any of various reasons.

The previous group had just left, with one interested in the identity of the dead person, while another two were simply curious to see a dead body and the third there to eagerly speak to the officials who were standing there about a completely unrelated subject. After they had been ushered away, it was a little easier to see what had happened.

In the centre of the roped-off area lay a dead body. He was face-down, with a black cloak that had fallen over his body that hid his other clothes. There was a line of chalk around him, as well as the bag that lay near him: dyed black, in a satchel style, closed. The ground in that area was especially wet and muddy, despite the fairly dry conditions that the city had been experiencing.

Towards the gate stood the officials who were looking over the crime scene. Irene Caene, wearing a face that made her look several years older than she was, was discussing the death with the Craven representative, Madara. Beside them, resting impatiently on a small stool, Karash Divine refused to speak to the two women beside him. He observed everyone near them with intense curiosity, before returning his attention to the crime scene. Finally, there were the two Speakers who had been presiding over the entire thing. The Seamstress, in an impressive black mourning gown, a veil covering her pale face and multitudes of ruffles that rested on the ground beneath her feet. Beside her stood a Kakapo bird, with ink black feathers. The bird moved across the crime scene, not bothering those investigating it, but watching closely.

On the gate itself lay a note, untouched but read by many.

The crime scene welcomed them. What could an observant eye could discover?




OOC information :
This is the start of the Murder in Three Acts event. Someone has died and your PCs are welcome to examine the crime scene and body and discuss it with the experts in the area as much as they want. I’ve left a lot of the crime scene, body, clues vague (and possible not even mentioned) so I don’t give too much away without you guys working for it!

So, this is how it will work. There is no post order in this thread. Post as often as you want. The more, the better, because it’ll give you more to work with later. Posts can be on the shorter side, but at the same time, if I feel like you’re just being lazy, you might not find something. In your posts, investigate something, talk to a PC or NPC, etc. Any time you do something to find something out (eg. XYZ opens the bag up), I’ll update to let you know what you found. You have the choice to remove items or otherwise affect the crime scene too, if you want. I’m not saying it won’t have consequences, but it is your sandbox.

TL;DR? Do something, and if you find something I’ll tell you.

Please PM me if you have any questions on how this works, because I’m still figuring this out too – I’ll include them here for everyone to see, if I think that’ll be useful.
Last edited by Chameleon on March 4th, 2018, 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Act One: The Crime Scene

Postby Avela on March 2nd, 2018, 11:29 pm

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Avela waited her turn in the crowd, shifting uncertainly in place as the line of people shuffled forward. While she waited, she listened, taking note of the general tension and curiosity in the air, the mood of the people around her. Whispers rose up from the crowd around her, washing over her as she stood there, hands in her pockets, waiting.

A body. A genuine dead body, not an illusion, and right outside the Womiyu Headquarters too. Strange things happened in Alvadas, but this was a stranger diversion than most. And her mother's journal...or at least, what little Kontinese Avela could read from her mother's journal...had never talked about anything like this.

Avela felt a shiver at even thinking of it like that, letting the crowd of people carry her further forward. A year ago, she might have been at the edge of the crowd, watching from the sidelines but not joining the throngs of people moving in for a closer look. But she'd made it a point not to do that any longer. To stop watching, and to start doing. And so, when she'd run across this scene while walking with her siblings, she'd sent the children home and she'd stayed, joining the line.

And soon enough, it was her turn. Avela braced herself for the sight, but it wasn't as terrible as she had been imagining, mostly because the body was face down. She hesitated only briefly before stepping forward, tiptoeing gingerly around the body itself. A true investigator would look at the corpse, but Avela wasn't here to investigate, she told herself. She wasn't going to get involved. She was just curious.

...And besides, she could always look at the body later, when her stomach settled down. Later.

She delayed looking at the body for as long as possible, instead walking up to the bag next to him. Bending down, and being careful not to look at the corpse, Avela carefully opened the satchel, peering inside.

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Act One: The Crime Scene

Postby Ciraaci on March 6th, 2018, 12:31 pm

Ciraaci would come upon these scene like anybody else, although unlike a native Alvadan, she’d arrive before the Womiyu with shoulders tense, exasperation in her expression, and an even dislike of the city that wasn’t entirely just because every turn she took only brought her back on this path, insistent that she follow. Ciraaci didn’t think she could ever find a reason to say ‘the city is alive’ and not mean just the beating hearts inhabiting it. The thing was petty and she was convinced it disliked her as much as she disliked it.

It wasn’t the first time that Ciraaci had seen a dead body and she’d become curiously desensitized to the effects a corpse should have on someone who still, at least in theory, belonged amongst the living. So, she crouched over this one, obeying the boundary of the line that carved a clear barrier between herself and the dead, paying her respects to the deceased in as close an approximation of Drykas culture that she could, acutely aware that there were others nearby.

Of the scene’s arrangement, Ciraaci took notice of the letter, but she didn’t commit to trying to read it, wisely resisting the urge to embarrass herself with even pretending to do so. These people who were watching the scene made her nervous in a way that she’d come to associate with being a child prone to mistakes whose father was observing him. If she could iterate the words, she’d have told them the way they let the body lay was wrong; he should be laid on his back, face upturned to the sky and bare, but she thought these things as a person from the grasslands whose culture found importance in letting the deceased see the sky as his body returned to Semele and his spirit rejoined the Web and not as someone who came from a culture where men weren’t raised to depend on one another and murder was unheard of.

Eventually, it became too much to resist touching him. Ciraaci stepped over the line, at first warily because she anticipated one of these observers to lash out and slap her wrists like she was a misbehaving child about to do something wrong before proceeding. The look she gave them was stern, sharp, woodland eyes icy like the winter that might never come, before descending to the body and beginning to pat down his cloak. Knowing this could be disrespectful to the dead, Ciraaci wordlessly signed out her sympathy for his condition, for his spirit although she hoped he’d moved on.

Her relationship with death being inclusive of acceptance and expectation, Ciraaci didn’t mind the flavour of salting her tongue nor scenting the air, heavier as she worked to explore this body, comforting even though death was off-putting.

She patted him down for suspicious lumps that were abnormal, basing her knowledge on previous interactions with the bare human form, before moving on to peel off the covering and take a look at what was underneath.
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Act One: The Crime Scene

Postby Chameleon on March 6th, 2018, 10:24 pm

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The satchel had been stiff to open when the first curious person had tried to see what it was inside, but by the time Avela reached it, the buckles were undone and the whole bag came open easily. The inside looked smaller than the outside, especially when it was crowded with things. There was a paintbrush, the tips white with paint. There was a hammer, and a collection of nails. There was a letter, unsealed but folded. At the bottom of the bag were a few coins, of varying sizes. Also, wrapped in a waxed cloth, lay half a sandwich, some scattered dried fruit and a sweet smelling honey drop. The bag seemed to have been ripped several times at the inner lining, but re-sewn with the simple sewing kit that Avela could find right at the bottom.

Who knew what further inspection could reveal?

While Avela was inspecting the satchel, Ciraaci was met with the flashes of this man's last moments of life. They came suddenly, as she stepped past the rope and into the area of death.

He was hurrying. Clutching his satchel tightly. His gaze remained forward and steady. Finally, he reached the Womiyu, steps away from the gates. At once, there was a strong gust of wind that pushed the thick fur of his costume in strange swirls. He seemed to become paralysed. There was a shout, a few words- Ciraaci wouldn't be able to understand it, only recognise it as Common -and before the man could reply something struck him. More shouting followed. This time it was organised, more like chanting. A woman with hair like a rainbow appeared, clutching a sword. At the sight of the dying man, she roared and charged.

And there, he died, and it was over.

There were no abnormalities to note across his body. At least, not through the costume he was wearing and the cloak over the top. Once the cloak was removed, the thickness of the clothing became apparent. The man wore a full body suit that was covered in long, thick fur. It made him resemble a shapeless furball more than anything. In fact, the only way to tell that he was human and not just a lump of fur, was the cropped hair, speckled with grey, on his head.

The costume was ripped down the back, at the upper left. Blood soaked through, staining both the fur and the dark shirt that he wore underneath it. The rip was fairly circular, only tearing down slightly. The wound, although dried now, looked deep enough to be the killing blow.
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Act One: The Crime Scene

Postby Avela on March 6th, 2018, 10:58 pm

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The contents of the satchel were...well, to Avela's eye they seemed almost ordinary. A half-eaten sandwich, the remnants of a meal. A hammer, paintbrush and nails...the tools of a trade, perhaps? The Konti hesitated, looking down at the jumble, then steadily started removing things from the bag, laying them out on the ground beside her in careful order until the bag was empty. Like this, she could look at the contents more easily.

The food probably didn't mean anything, although it did make Avela shiver. It was a reminder that not too long ago, not more than a few hours ago, this man had been a living, breathing being. He'd walked around, he'd been hungry, he'd eaten.

He'd worked, if the hammer and the brush were any indication. He'd been just like any of them, and now he wasn't.

Who did this to you...? Avela thought, surprising herself by the fact that she wanted to know the answer.

There was something off about all of this. A dissonance that she couldn't identify. She sat up on her heels, looking down at the collection of objects. Food. A hammer and nails. A letter that she hadn't yet read. Why would anyone need any of this in the middle of the night? The man could have been a carpenter, but what sort of carpenter worked before the sun came up?

Motion made Avela lift her head, and she looked over to regard the beautiful woman who was now inspecting the body. The sight made her shudder, and she turned back to her own work.

There was something here that didn't fit. It was like when Avela was reading her mother's journal, and came across a word she didn't understand. She felt as though there was a story in the pieces in front of her, but it was a story being told in a language she didn't have access to just yet, a language she was only starting to grasp.

...Why the sewing kit?

Her fingers brushed against it for a moment, her eyes moving from the sewing kit to the now empty satchel. To the stitches in the inner lining of the satchel.

Was Avela imagining things, or was this satchel smaller on the inside than it should have been? She ran her hands along the outside, looking for another opening, maybe to an exterior pocket, then reached out with one hand and lifted the satchel, testing the weight.

Odd. Something was odd. A word she couldn't understand, in a language she could barely speak...

She looked again at the stitching in the lining of the satchel. Avela glanced furtively at the people supervising the scene, wondering if they were going to stop her, then opened the sewing kit. She drew out a pair of small cloth scissors and reached into the bag, beginning to snip the stitches open...

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Act One: The Crime Scene

Postby Asterope on March 7th, 2018, 1:43 pm

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The streets of Alvadas were strangely empty that day. Aster had gone in search of a weapon's shop to replace the dagger she'd lost in her near drowning experience the season prior; she'd managed to find one, but after leaving the shop, she'd been turned in circles without another soul in sight.

It was making her skin prickle. Something felt...not quite right. It wasn't long until the city decided to prove her hunch correct. Turning a corner, Aster was greeted with a crowd of people, all seemingly focused on one thing.

Her curiosity was piqued; what could possibly have captured the interest of so many Alvads? Strange sights were hardly a new or rare concept. Stretching her neck up and straightening her posture, Aster slipped through the crowd, trying to use her height and appearance to get through it more quickly. It seemed to work at least somewhat, because she soon found herself at the front of what she realized was a line.

The smell of sugary drinks and pastries filled the air, the scent sickeningly sweet, and when Aster's gaze fell upon the scene before her she felt sick. The realization that the vendors lining the square were capitalizing on the death of another to make their profits was nauseating.

Aster recognized Avela as she entered the roped off area, and there was...oh. She felt the breath leave her as her eyes fell on a beautiful woman with elegant horns. Another Ethaefal. Another daughter of Syna. She felt overwhelmed for a moment, having never met another of her kind, but the dead body in the corner of her eye brought her back to reality.

The piece of paper on the gate caught Asterope's attention; stepping around the body and satchel, one of the officials gathered nearby caught her eye and nodded at her. It took only a short moment for Aster to realize it was Irene Caene; she inclined her head to the woman whom she worked for, before reading the note thoroughly.

Once that was done, she turned to join the other Ethaefal at the body. She'd already pulled the cloak aside, revealing the man to be dressed in a thick, furry costume of sorts. A performer?

Aster hesitated as she knelt beside the other woman, hands hesitant. "May I?" Hesitance was a feeling she was familiar with, but never in an environment in which she knew she belonged. But even with a body at her feet, the presence of the other Eth made her feel uncertain and out of place.

Oh, how she'd dreamed of meeting more of her kind; and now that she was there, she was left floundering, with no idea what to say, do, think, or even feel.

Taking a deep breath to steady herself, she reminded herself that there was a dead man in front of her, and that was most important. Death seemed to be following her lately. With gentle hands, always careful even when touching the dead, Aster tugged the costume and shirt on the corpse aside to get a better look at the wound.

It was incredibly deep, and Aster had little doubt it had caused the man's death directly. "Seems like a stab wound of some sort," she murmured, more to herself than anything. It had to be, for something so deep. She wasn't familiar enough with weapons to take a guess as to what could have caused it, though.

She passed her hands over the rest of his body, a cursory glance to make sure there were no other wounds or abnormalities. Satisfied, she sat back on her heels. "Ah, do you mind..." She glanced to the Ethaefal beside her, motioning to the body, flicking her wrist in a circle. "I could use a hand, rolling him over."

Hoping she wasn't crossing any boundaries, Aster gingerly rolled the corpse over; it would be much easier with the other woman's help, but not impossible should she refuse for some reason. Once on his back, she glanced at his face to see if she recognized him, then swept her hands over him once more to see if there was anything strange on the front of him.

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Act One: The Crime Scene

Postby Ciraaci on March 7th, 2018, 3:03 pm

The ethaefal rocked back on her heels, adopting a dazed expression appropriate of a person viewing something that wasn’t right in front of them. She knew it’s cause, the gnosis on her palm being an old companion, and accepted it once it hit her, not about to deny the vision.

She watched the man’s last moments, heard the words – although they were indeed undecipherable to her, but she assumed them to be a shout, a demand, the tone inflection important even if the meaning was lost in translation. The ethaefal shifted forward again, blinking out the vision from her eyes as the man dropped, dead, just like this, and chewed over what she’d seen.

The ethaefal paid no immediate attention to anyone who’d have stopped her and asked what had happened, why she seemed faraway. Her fingers smoothed through the fur of his costume, another garish thing this city seemed to sew in its people’s preferences, finding the sight of him donned like an animal (she couldn’t think of what else he could be trying to portray) discomforting. Her curious fingers brushed over the wound that’d carved deep into his back, confused by the rounded nature of whatever it was that had cut into him and remembering that the man had been struck first, and then charged.

The ethaefal looked around, at first subversively to check for familiar faces, particularly that of the woman with colourful hair, and then for any sign of what it would have been that had hit him, and again for the satchel; he’d seemed to clutch it possessively, but she couldn’t fathom why, or even remember if he’d dropped it or thrown it. This look brought her to Avela hovering over the bag, pursuing her own interest with it, and she watched curiously for a moment, but was too far to get a good look at what she was doing.

She was startled out of this act by the sudden joining of another person, visibly startling and blinking away the remnants of her trance, raising a steely green gaze to the sight of an ethaefal. Ciraaci’s immediate visceral reaction was to make as much space as possible between herself and Syna’s radiant mortal, not repulsed, but certainly disappointed with the gods who’d been letting their faithful slip away. Acutely self-aware, the woman found it hard to sit still and wisely decided to lean back, generously making space for Asterope with an internalized, spiteful sentiment to their observant goddess.

“I don’t know what you’re saying,” Ciraaci said, which was far from a lie. She spoke Pavi, and like the man in the vision, this other ethaefal spoke something else. However, and unlike the sight of her, Ciraaci knew this was unimportant. They could both look at the body, and do their work, and not talk. She didn’t have the freedom of movement to add in the signs that’d further enunciate her meaning, but it wasn’t like anyone would get the meaning.

The cloak was tossed aside, discarded to the line that they’d both crossed to approach the body so it wouldn’t be in their way. She returned to attention in time to make sense of the request, though Ciraaci required the cue of Asterope moving to roll the body before she joined in. She’d wanted to do this too, but it was secondary to her desire to take off this man’s costume due to her ingrained cultural practices and her absolute dislike of it. Who knew, after all? There could be interesting things under his shaggy dog disguise and she was eager to just get rid of it.
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Act One: The Crime Scene

Postby Chameleon on March 7th, 2018, 11:17 pm

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Avela was the first to spot the strangeness in the lining of the bag. Or, at least, the first to decide to do something about it. No one, however, stopped her, or even batted an eyelid as she began to take the bag apart. This was her crime scene too and she was allowed to do what she felt like with it.

That included taking apart the bag.

Besides, it wasn't without reward. As she pried the lining away from the outer fabric of the bag, it was obvious that there was something else there. Reaching in, she would find more letters. The majority of these were sealed, some with broken wax, others not. The parchment they were written on varied too, from faded to resembling brand new and a quick glance at the unsealed ones were would reveal a multitude of handwriting and coloured inks.

Right at the bottom of the section she had uncovered, buried under the letters, was a single piece of cobblestone. At the bottom where it was hiding, it was rather hard to tell why it had been hidden away like that. Perhaps the owner of the bag just liked to collect stones? Only closer inspection could tell.

The note on the gate that Asterope read was printed in a fashion that was used to try disguise the writer. Clearly, this wasn't their normal handwriting - the shape of the letters shifted a few times within the message, as if the writer wasn't certain how exactly they wanted to form them. It was written in plain black ink:

You didn't listen when the gods ordered you. You didn't listen when they punished the leaders of this city with flames. Perhaps now, after the death of your people, you will realise you deserve the punishment of the gods for disobeying their orders and saving the Vantha. Morwen deserved to be punished - and those who protect her children also. You have been warned of your fate too many times already.

Perhaps that explained why the Priests of Bala, Sivah and Tavasi hadn't been seen for the past few days?

As the woman inspected the stab wound, it was hard to tell anything. The fur around it was matted in strange swirls. The wound was aimed at the heart and the angle at which it had hit suggested that it would meet its target. From Ciraaci and Asterope's perspective, the cut seemed to be fairly clean - whatever he had been stabbed with had gone straight in.

Once the man had been turned over in the mud, now lying on the cloak, it was clearer to see his face. His features were plain and friendly, although contorted with his dying fear. Closed by a previous investigator, his eyelids were closed. Perhaps Asterope couldn't recognise him, but the man's name was Tobin. He did odd-jobs around the city and had been chosen by the Speakers last season to search for water.

Looking at the front of him, there was more blood, staining the fur from underneath. It wasn't as ripped though on this side. Caught in the fabric were a few orange hairs, while there was a stain on one arm that smelled faintly of lemons and sugar. His left hand was clutched tightly in a fist, while the right lay open.

Underneath the shaggy costume, the man's stronger, more built figure could be seen. He wore plain black clothes underneath, perhaps to prevent the itchiness from the fur costume on top. They were stained with blood and a little damp. Around his neck lay a woven necklace, on which hung a small tree carved out of greyish brown wood. Other than the necklace, there was nothing to note under the fur.
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Act One: The Crime Scene

Postby Avela on March 9th, 2018, 1:18 am

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Avela felt somewhat silly taking apart the lining of the bag, but the feeling of silliness faded when she caught sight of the first scrap of paper. Her eyes widened, and she started peeling back the lining faster, running her fingers over the telltale feel of parchment. She'd been expecting jewelry, or money, or maybe something secret and incriminating, but not letters. There were so many of them, and some looked older than the others. How long had this man been living like this, stowing letters into the lining of his bag?

And why?

Her eyes moved over the unsealed letters as she lifted them out, not truly reading, mostly skimming the text where she could. Even without reading them closely, she could tell that these were written by several different people, not just one person. She wanted to break open some of the sealed ones, to read them, but she was a little worried about running out of time. With the time allotted them, she couldn't possibly read them all.

After a moment of thought, Avela sat back on her heels and started piling the letters off to the side of the bag, with all of the other things. If she had time, she would go back and read them, but if not, whoever came after her could make a start on them and maybe learn something she couldn't. As she did that, she caught sight of Asterope moving to read the note at the gate. Avela thought about calling out to the Ethaefal, but this was a crime scene, not a social call, and Aster looked busy.

Deciding to talk to Aster later, Avela pressed her lips together and looked back at the last item she had pulled from the bag, the one she was now holding in the palm of her hand. A piece of cobblestone, smooth to the touch and otherwise unremarkable.

That was odd, she thought, holding it up to her eye to get a closer look.

Why would he have been carrying this around?

Avela looked around, trying to see if Aster was done with what she was doing, and that was when she caught sight of the body. Her eyes widened in surprise, and the stone fell from her fingertips, clattering against the ground. It felt like her heart had stopped. She recognized that man.

"Tobin?!" she asked.

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Act One: The Crime Scene

Postby Chameleon on March 20th, 2018, 7:13 am

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The cobblestone was small enough to fit in the palm of her hand, smooth, cold to the touch. One side was unblemished, especially to the untrained eye. The other was the one that had been inset into the ground - dried cement rose off it like scarring. It had been forcefully ripped out, and the cement had cracked and broken off in places. Even in Avela's hand, it rubbed off, leaving her fingers brown and grey.

The way the cement had come off looked strange - could that almost be a triangle, drawn out there somehow? - but that could all just be coincidence. It was stranger that there was little else to note for something that had seemingly been hidden away from plain sight.

But Tobin often didn't make sense for anyone.

And it was Tobin. She could check all she wanted. It didn't make that fact any less true. At her words, the Seamstress glanced over harshly. "If you know anything about him that could be useful, please let us know. Otherwise, hurry up."
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