Chapter 2, Part II: Secrets of the Magpie

The Easy Marx woke up the following morning, feeling rested and ready to find answers to the questions that brought them to the inn in the first place.

Early risers Chief Paws and Artem spent a moment together, talking about the importance of death in the life cycle and their interest in it from their own unique perspectives.

Gyome noticed Corky was a bit hungover when he woke up, so whipped him up a special hangover cure that gave Corky a clear head but unfortunately had no effect on Stefano Romano.

The party met in the tavern for breakfast, the area holding only a handful of people eating as opposed to the packed house that it had the night before. After eating, Corky left a gold coin as tip for the waitress and asked her if she could get Maggie for them.

Maggie arrived from the kitchens and joined the party at their table. She had a round face and a wide but upturned nose, the lines of age deepest around her eyes where laughter had taken its toll. Her brown hair was cut with chunky streaks of gray, and her fingers had many tiny scars that pocked her lightly wrinkled hands down to her first knuckles. She complimented Corky again for his work the previous night, and told him to come back anytime. She turned the conversation over to the boys, knowing they called her for a reason and opening up the floor for them to speak.

Corky called her 'Magpie' moments before Chief Paws began to talk passionately about their position on the inequity of the city. At the mention of "Magpie," Maggie's expression shifted through surprise and darkened, though Chief Paws's zeal seemed to level her back out again.

She asked them all who sent them, and when they didn't answer with something straightforward, she asked them again. Corky implied that The Knightingale sent them, though he didn't say so exactly outright.

Hearing that reasoning, Maggie said she would agree to speak with them and answer questions if they played a "game" with her. The game simply consisted of rolling a pair of two six-sided dice in the center of the table. The dice were wooden, but they shined like they were metallic, and when they landed, with one showing a five and the other showing a one, the dots on the upward faces glowed briefly. Without really knowing they had, Corky, Chief Paws, and Artem contested the wisdom save successfully. Gyome, however, did not fair as well, and in a single moment, Maggie looked through him as if reading his thoughts and his intentions. And, finding him-- and by extension, the party-- genuine, Maggie agreed to answer their questions.

The party showed her the letter they found addressed to Arcturo from The Knightingale, and Maggie read it as if she had never seen it before. The party admitted that they may have known that the person the letter was addressed to, Arcturo, was dead, and a brief flicker of sadness crossed Maggie's face before she composed herself. However, the party then showed her a picture of The Bandit King, assuming that he was Arcturo. She said that the bandit king was emphatically not Arcturo, and that Arcturo was a young kid, around 19, with shaggy brown hair and tan skin. The party did not remember killing him, but they had killed at least seven of The Bandit King's bandits and were unsure if any of them fit that description. Maggie explained that Arcturo had been someone that The Knightingale-- no pun intended-- had taken under her wing, seeing his potential and wanting him to be a big part of the organization she had created, but Arcturo was impatient and too angry, and broke away from them to find a different way to 'fix the city.'

This brought up questions of the organization she was involved with, and so, instead of giving them any further information, she asked if they would be comfortable moving to a more secure location.

Upon agreeing, Maggie brought them through the kitchen and into a secret entrance to the operation's headquarters.

She brings you into the back of the inn and through one of the doors that leads into the kitchen behind the tavern. The clanging of pots and pans makes it almost too difficult to hear her say, "mind your head," as she walks through a low door and enters into the small pantry in the back of the kitchen. She hooks her finger around the neck of a bottle of hot sauce and tilts it forward, opening the whole back wall of the pantry into a small room housing a stairwell.

She leads you down the stairs and into another room below the inn. The ceiling is much higher now, and the room has all the hallmark signs of a bustling headquarters. There are bookshelves in the entrance hall, and desks littered with rolls of parchment and envelopes. Through the door to the side, you can see a table with a large scroll rolled out under an overhead light.

The headquarters seems to be sprawling, traveling underneath multiple buildings based on the size of what you can see. And you didn't hear any of the sounds that you hear now from the Inn upstairs. You can hear now, some metal clanking, and many voices tangled together in a variety of separate conversations.

Artem, taking a look around, determined that the doorway they walked into had acted as a portal to take them to a location that wasn't necessarily directly below the inn.

Once inside, Maggie pulled up chairs in the map room and began to answer more of their questions. The party learned that the Knightingale was the head of a small but growing organization of dissenters called the VoxOwls. They believe that the king is responsible for the greed and corruption in the city and across the entire continent, and it is their goal to stop him and to get the voice back to the people of Materhawk.

Upon learning about their dislike for King Thaddeus, Chief Paws told Maggie that they had their own vendetta against the king, as they had seen him drilling for magic in their home of North Hexdove. This shocked Maggie, as she had never heard of anyone who had actually seen magic mining in action. She also was shocked that it was even possible. This revelation seemed to take Maggie aback. She took a moment to collect herself before she responded that knowing that the king was mining for magic would "change everything."

She went on to explain that the VoxOwls had a theory that the magical turbulence and oddities happening lately were a result of the city's and the King's greed, but there was nothing substantial tying that theory together. With the introduction of the information that magic mining was taking place, Maggie felt fairly confident that this was the missing piece of the puzzle which connected the king directly to the magic disruptions around the world.

Gyome asked her what someone could do with that much magic. Maggie replied that, if the King were successful in his magic mining and could pull magic in large quantities straight from the planet, someone could do anything with that amount of power. "You could create an army. You could flip the continent upside down, pull volcanoes from the core of the planet, split mountains, maybe even become a god," she explained.

Corky asked Maggie what she would do with that amount of magic, to which she looked disturbed over even the hypothetical possibility. She told the party that there was nothing that would make her want to drill into the planet and tear the magic out of it. There was no amount of power worth, to her, ripping the planet apart. Trying to help them to understand, she said, "Our planet-- I believe it to be alive, a living thing. And if I were to reach into, say, one of you, and rip your essence from your body, you might react rather violently to my attempts to do so. And I would never want to hurt Roost that way, nor would I ever want to incur the wrath of a planet made of gods."

She paused then, and then added that if she was able to have that kind of power without sacrificing Roost, that she would use it to set the scales back to balance, to heal the damage and the sorrow that the kings of this world have created with their selfishness.

Around the table, each member of the party seemed to find truth or trust in her words, because at the same time, Corky, Chief Paws, Gyome, and Artem verbally voiced that they found her intentions and resolve to be compelling enough to buy into the VoxOwls' messaging, and, speaking for the group, Corky and Chief Paws said they were in, and asked how they could help.

Maggie smiled then, touched by their expressions of faith, and told them she was thrilled to have such a strong group on board. She invited them to the next rally, which was to be held the following night. When asked about the rallies, she explained that the flyers for the rallies had a simple insight enchantment placed on them that only allowed those who were open to the message to be able to see it. She added that if someone were powerful enough to resist the charm, that they would be able to see it regardless of their intentions, but that so far, it had been effective at only drawing those who were receptive to the cause.

She told them that The Knightingale would speak at the rally the next night, and would draw people from all over the city who received the flyer as well as some of the official recruits of the VoxOwls. The party asked her who the other people who belonged to the organization were, but she told them that she would not name names. She had permission from The Knightingale to speak for her, and Maggie, of course, could speak for herself, but that everyone else was free to divulge or not divulge as they saw fit. Chief Paws asked her then if she knew who the Knightingale was, and she said she did, but it was complicated. Chief Paws attempted to bait her into divulging more information about the Knightingale, but Maggie insisted that she knew the Knightingale very well, and had seen her face, but the only name she had ever given to Maggie was her moniker and Maggie had never seen her face before. So even if she wanted to tell them more about this figure, she would be unable to.

The Marx mentioned to her that they had just joined the Adventurers' Guild, to which she responded positively, talking about her experience with the guild in her youth, and that she had actually signed up a few months ago to be added to the docent list. The party then asked her about her qualifications toward docent-hood, and she explained that she had been a Cartographer for her party, and that if they wanted to hire her on as a docent, the VoxOwl headquarters would be their own, and they would be able to request and fund upgrades, utilize the resources, and access the headquarters whenever they needed.

They said they would think on it, and let her know soon.

Once they left the map room, Corky and Artem spied two familiar faces amongst the recruits working within the hideout. Corky spotted the violinist from his first night in Dawnway, a gnome who was playing at both The Illusium Tavern and The Hare Razor that night. He stopped by to say hello, introducing himself and Stefano Romano, and received her name: Fernie. Artem spotted her drug dealer friend from the parade, Emery, who was thrilled to see her. After a brief hello, Emery gave his friend another pill, which doubled Artem's movement speed for the next hour.

The Marx asked Maggie to use a space in the headquarters to chat with each other, to which she showed them to an empty room in the back of the headquarters. They checked the room to ensure there was no magical tampering or recording as well as no non-magical means to spy on them in the room. Satisfied of their relative safety, The Marx pulled out Professor Benson to get his take on the situation.

He expressed that he was happy to help. If these citizens were on their way to doing some real good, and to stopping the harm that the king was responsible for, then he was happy to share his research with them if it would prove to be helpful.

They called Gericho on their sending stone to see how he felt about them telling Maggie that he was alive, and after some back and forth, Gericho reluctantly agreed to allow it, but he did not want his location shared with anyone else.

Gyome was unsure if Gericho was fully trustworthy, and Chief Paws was unsure if the VoxOwls were completely trustworthy, but they both agreed, along with the rest of the party and with Gericho and Benson's permission, to give the journal over to Maggie.

Following this conversation, the Marx found Maggie again and told her they trusted her and relinquished the journal. She was shocked and moved that they would give her something so helpful to the cause. Chief Paws told her that they had more information for her, but that they would need to meet The Knightingale in order to ensure that she was as trustworthy as Maggie was, to which Maggie replied that The Knightingale, she was sure, would find that deal very fair, and she would be happy to meet with them. Unfortunately, the Knightingale would not be available until tomorrow after the rally, but she would then meet with them back at the hideout to discuss whatever they wanted.

Before leaving, the Marx realized that they would need masks for the rally the next day, and that they didn't have one. Maggie pointed them to Fernie's arts and crafts corner and allowed them all to make whatever masks they wanted for the rally the following night.

The boys dove in, making the following masks:

Artem/Airmed: A black and white featureless mask that bled together in the center, tendrils of black reaching into the white, and fingers of white interlacing with the black.

Chief Paws: A featureless black mask in a glossless matte finish.

Corky/Stefano: The pair created a couple of masks inspired by the tragedy/comedy theater masks.

Gyome: A bestial half mask akin to a primate on the top half, with fangs protruding from the bottom.

Leozumin: A basic, nondescript human face mask.

After putting their masks safely away in Gyome's bag, the party returned back to the Adventurer's Guild in order to get a list of docents to interview for their newly registered adventuring party.


Occurrences of Note:

  • Relationship bond created between Chief Paws and Artem
  • Relationship bond created between Gyome and Corky.
  • Act of generosity by Corky recognized by others.
  • Full party introduction to Maggie (Magpie).
  • Learned of Maggie's Faithless Dice.
  • Gyome convinced Maggie of genuineness of party.
  • Learned The Bandit King and Arcturo are different people.
  • Learned background information regarding Arcturo.
  • Status of Arcturo: Unknown.
  • Entered secret passage to access the VoxOwl Hideout for the first time.
  • Learned of existence of the VoxOwls.
  • Learned of the philosophy of the VoxOwls.
  • Learned of Maggie and The Knightingale's involvement with the VoxOwls.
  • Learned of charm on orange rally flyers.
  • Trust increased between party and Professor Benson/Gericho due to the decision to include them and ask their permission.
  • Trust established between Maggie and party due to party's decision to behave honestly and entrust her with Benson's journal.
  • Meeting with The Knightingale set up by Maggie.
  • Docent Interview with Maggie.
  • Rally masks created.

Completed: July 2022