Chapter 2, Part III: Sing Sweet Knightingale

After leaving the VoxOwls' headquarters, the party set off to the Adventurers' Guild in order to find a list of possible docents for their shiny new adventuring party. Judy the concierge gives them a list of five possible docents:

  • Booger
  • Oona (Egg lady)
  • Maggie (Magpie)
  • Candice Cully
  • Morok Stone

So off the boys went, heading to Oona first since she was only feet away from where they stood. Her low voice radiated with indifference as The Easy Marx asked her all manner of questions regarding her abilities and how she would benefit them as their docent. They learned that she was the Occultant in her previous adventuring party, and that she had no headquarters to start with. She said that her biggest benefit to them would be that she would try and procure them any egg they might want. Overall, she did not seem too interested in being a docent-- or at least, she didn't seem particularly interested in being their docent.

Next, the Marx went to find Booger, who was also still hanging around the tavern of the AGI. Booger, happy to see them, spoke candidly about his desire to be their docent. He admitted to not having much experience or resources to start, but that he would be happy to find them whatever they needed by the time he was officially on staff. They learned that, in addition to being a wizard, Booger was the Hoardsperson for his party. Although he did not have the same level of experience as either Maggie or Oona, he made up for it in his enthusiasm to help and to do a good job as a first-time docent.

Next, the party headed over to Brawlmart to meet with Morok Stone, the older dwarf gentleman who worked in an administrative capacity for CJ and Brawlmart. They asked the young woman who welcomed them into Brawlmart if Morok was available. Happy to be of assistance, the woman--whose nametag read "Hello, my name is Clarissa"-- led all five members of the party to the back of the store to meet with Morok.

The cheerful human woman in the red Brawlmart vest leads you into the back of the store, winding expertly through the many, many aisles of products.

There is a doorway that leads out of the retail space of Brawlmart and into a hallway of what looks to be individual offices. There are five doors in total, two on either side and one at the very end of the hallway. The door she is knocking on reads, "Operations Director - Gilding: Morok Stone." The woman knocks lightly.

The color drained from the woman's face as she realize she did not ask the party why they were there. Slightly panicked, she collected the answer that they were there to interview for the docentship, and renewed her efforts to get Morok's attention. When there wasn't immediately an answer, Clarissa knocked again and was answered instead by an explosion from inside of the office.

Behind the door, you hear a loud, short pop and then an even louder bang. Clarissa shrieks as the door flies open and a thick cloud of black smoke begins to fill the hallway.

From the plume, you see a short, wide dwarven man waving his hands around to clear the smoke, a wholly ineffective tactic, before he rounds on the five of you as if he didn't potentially cause an explosion inside of Brawlmart. He is wearing a pair of brass-framed goggles and as he takes them off and puts them on the top of his wild mane of singed red hair, you can see that the only places on his face that are not covered in a layer of black soot are the two perfect circles around his eyes where the goggles had been just a moment ago. He holds a sooty hand out to Gyome and says in a gravelly voice, "Adventurers, are you? I sure remember those days. I would invite you into my office to chat, but it'll be a while before the dust really settles. CJ is out this afternoon, so why don't we just use his office? I'm sure he won't mind. And it wouldn't be the first time. Come on."

Without waiting for your response, he begins leading you down the hallway to the door at the very end. In gold plated letters, it reads "Owner of Brawlmart, Charles Jeremiah Brawlton, Jr."

Inside is a sizeable but surprisingly humble looking office. It has the homey touches of a ski lodge, with raw wood edges on the furniture and exposed beams running along the length of the ceiling. A cobbled stone fireplace takes up nearly the entire south wall of the office and continues up, disappearing into the beams. A large wooden desk is set back into the space, facing out toward the door with a high backed caramel colored chair directly behind it. A seating area is set up around the fireplace with some deep and comfortable looking plaid armchairs and a heavy dark brown leather couch.

"Take a seat," Morock says, gesturing to the chairs as he walks around the back of CJ's desk and begins pushing the heavy, winged back chair, which towers over him, to the seating area.

Right as they all gathered to sit, Corky asked Morok if he could borrow a pencil to take notes. Happy to oblige, Morok stood to get a writing instrument from the desk, leaving the party to get a lay of the office and a quick investigation check.

With keen eyes, the majority of The Easy Marx noticed the large family portrait on the mantle of the fireplace. Four Aarakocras squeezed into the frame for a charming family photo. CJ stood in the back with his wife, looking as dapper in his plaid shirt as ever. His wife was a tall, graceful looking woman with the markings of a peacock. In front of him and his wife were two younger-looking aarakocras, a male and female.

When Morok returned, handing Corky the pencil, he welcomed whatever questions the boys had for him. They learned that he had been part of two adventuring parties, one right after the other. In his first party, he was the Loremonger, and in his second party, where he adventured with CJ, he was the Hoardsperson. He was an artificer by class, a Battle Smith. CJ was their Secretarian and their party's Fighter.

When asked about his favorite story from his adventuring days, he told the tale of the time they accidentally stumbled upon a Dirigible Heist at the annual Air Balloon Festival at Sangeur Meadow. A group of thieves stole a small fleet of dirigibles and meant to fly them to Corde to land an air attack on the capitol of the region and break into the bank from the roof. He described an exciting scene of mid-air combat where CJ leapt from the tops of the airbags and punctured one in order to stop the criminals from taking on the city. They thought that CJ had fallen to his death after the stunt, but he caught the bottom of his party's airship's basket and climbed back in.

When asked if he was on the front lines of the battle, Morok said that he was in more of a ranged role, but that he had his steel companion, a construct named Riffraff, at the forefront with CJ during, not just this battle, but most of their battles.

He also explained what their access a base would be: The party would have access to their own personalized space at 5 separate Brawlmart locations (one per continent and then an additional two in any city with a Brawlmart of their choice, as well as access to the shared space with Brawlmart sponsored resources in every city with a Brawlmart.

Artem asked Morok if he had any other adventuring parties that he was the docent of, and Morok said he had one other, but that he was capable of sponsoring up to three. One of his main goals as a docent was to help each of his parties be the best in their ranked league.

Corky asked Morok if he had any knowledge of any labor organization, and Morok said he didn't understand the question, that there was no need for the Brawlmart employees to organize because they were treated so well. Further questions down this avenue led Morok to become more closed off and withdrawn, resulting in the cessation of that thread of conversation.

The party asked Morok about CJ's lovely family, indicating to the picture. Happy to talk about his friend's family, he said that CJ's wife, Incandessa, was a pillar of the community, especially in regards to the arts, and that she funded many artists, musicians, actors, and other such esteemed members of the community. Sabin, Morok said, was CJ's son, and he was currently studying at Strixhaven. The fourth family member, was CJ's daughter Opaline, who Morok described as a free-spirit. The party asked follow-up questions regarding Incandessa, wanting to understand her ties to the community--especially in regards to money. Morok was vague, saying she was a "patron of the arts," and hosted plenty of parties for charity.

Morok finished the interview with asking the classes of all of the party members, and then stood up from the large armchair, declaring it was time to go back to work. He escorted the party out of CJ's office and locked the door behind him before returning back to his less smoke-filled office and closing the door.

The next and final stop on The Easy Marx's road to acquiring a docent was Wondrously proprietor, Candice Cully, a beautiful blonde half-elf who stood beside a curated wagon of what looked to be cosmetic products under a banner that read "Wondrously."

She looked excited to meet them and sell her products, but Corky introduced himself and his team and informed her that they were looking to interview her for the docentship. She looked a bit disappointed, expressing that she thought that had come over from her posting at The Adventurers' Guild to explore the amazing opportunity she had for them. Sensing they were not going to get out of this without listening to her spiel, Leozumin asked her what opportunity she had for them.

Thrilled, Candice launched into her brand and product introduction and explanation.

I have such a wonderful opportunity for you all, and I can't wait to share it with you. I have a product that can help you with three very big issues facing all adventurers. Good adventurers are strong and wise, but the best adventurers are persuasive and effective diplomats. Our exclusive line of Wondrously products come in four distinct creams that give you a boost to your Charisma in four key areas. And because they're creams, they help with the second biggest problem affecting adventurers: Dry skin!

We have "Beguile" an eye cream which will give you a boost to any little chat you have where you aren't being, like, super truthful. Then there's "Sway" which is lip balm that is helpful in situations where you need a little help getting someone to, like, agree with you. Then we have our facial moisturizer "Dramatic" for our boss babes who want a little boost during their performances. And finally, we have "Unnerve", a brow serum for our scary cuties who want to up their intimidation factor.

So I did mention there were THREE problems that Wondrously could fix, right? The third, and what I think, the most important, is solving that little money problem that all adventurers have. There are just always so many fun things to purchase, so it's important to always have a steady stream of income. With Wondrously, you can be your OWN boss, and help others by selling this absolutely amazing product that practically sells itself! And if you use a little bit of your own stuff, you will have NO PROBLEM convincing anyone to buy the line, or to join you as a Brand Ambassador for Wondrously, a global community.

Gyome asked for samples, which she happily gave him-- four tiny containers with a single application of all four products in each.

With her pitch out of the way, the party was free to ask her about her abilities as a docent.

She told them that she was a bard and was the Secretarian for her AGI party.

Regarding their headquarters, they would have access to a mobile Wondrously wagon equipped with base resources to start. They would also get discounts to any store that partnered with Wondrously as well as discounts on all Wondrously products. And best of all, they would immediately become brand ambassadors for Wondrously (for a very fair and reduced joiners fee).

The party then debated who the best docent for their team would be. Leozumin felt that Morok would be the best choice due to the sheer volume of resources he would provide to them. Chief Paws felt very strongly that he did not trust Morok. Artem and Gyome felt that, on paper, Morok looked the best, but that he might be too good to be true. Corky felt that Candice provided the most benefits while remaining the most neutral, of the options available to them. The party did all agree that Booger was a safe option, but that there might still be a better option. Most of the party felt Maggie was the best option, with Leozumin believing that they would not be maximizing the benefits they were able to get in this process by selecting Maggie, since they would have access to the base and resources she provided anyway. Before they made their final decisions, Leozumin thought it was a good idea to see the Knightingale rally first.

The group picked up their masks from the VoxOwls' headquarters, stopping briefly to talk to Maggie about their encounter with Morok from Brawlmart. She explained that she knew Morok from back in her own adventuring days. She remembered the party he belonged to-- the one where he adventured with CJ-- being particularly… competitive. She described Morok as 'ruthless' in his pursuit to be the best, but spoke with surprising fondness for CJ. Maggie explained that CJ loved the thrill of the fight and of the adventure, and that he always seemed to take it much less seriously than his party did, finding the fun in the questing.

After speaking with Maggie, the group made their way to the rally lead by The Knightingale.

You are guided through the dimly lit streets, noticing that they are eerily quiet. It is not yet so late that people should be sleeping, but it feels as though you are traipsing through this district in the dead of night.

The address takes you to a stairway into the cellar that is blocked by a wooden door. A man beside the hatch appears to be poking around in the garbage with a long cane. He takes a glance over at you and his eyes land on your masks. He prods something in the trash with his cane and the door silently swings open.

Inside the large stone storage room with ceilings much higher than is customary for a basement, you see an extraordinary number of people in masks gathered. Most are in worn neutral colored clothing. Some have younger children at their feet, holding their hands. Many are in smaller groups amongst the larger, but nearly all are facing toward the back of the storage room where a large platform against the wall is raised up over four feet from the ground. The back wall is bookended by two large posters of the two-headed bird, their edges rolling up just slightly in the warmth and dampness of the room.

Stefano Romano stood sentry outside in case anything went south.

Artem and Chief Paws noticed, for the first time since they'd been in Gilding, that there were some previously missing races of people in this crowd. They noticed a few Goblins and a few Kobolds.

The party moved about the room, gauging the temperature. As Honest Ben, Artem spoke to the goblins who lamented about their station as second-class citizens, and talked about how difficult it was to sneak through Gilding from the Dawnway sewer system to get to this rally. They spoke about the recent goblin ban throughout Materhawk, resulting in the displacement of hundreds of goblins throughout the continent.

Through some conversation, the party all heard stories of displeasure at the people's current station, but of excitement to hear the words of The Knightingale and to get to speak with her.

While Corky spoke to a Brawlmart employee, the scattered voices in the room died down as The Knightingale took the platform at the head of the room.

Suddenly, the chatter in the room stops as the crowd turns toward the platform. There is a figure standing there now, a woman in a long purple cloak with a deep violet cowl up around her head. She wears an intricate metal and ceramic mask that mimics the beak of a bird while also looking as dangerous and sharp as any blade you've ever seen. Despite the very solid mask in front of her face, it doesn't seem at all to muffle her as she says in a charming and young voice:

"Thank you all so much for coming tonight. For many of you, I know you are finding the energy to make it all the way to the Crumbs after your second or third shifts."

Someone from the middle of the crowd yells, "Fourth!" and the people around laugh in solidarity.

"Fourth!" She repeats in a tone that is both sympathetic and impressed. "So, yes, it is absolutely not lost on me the effort required to be here tonight. All of you, every last one, came here tonight, not out of anger or sadness--though I know we all feel that as well-- but out of hope. Hope for a solution. Hope for a better tomorrow for yourselves, and a stronger brighter future for your children. Hope to keep your home, your planet, safe and whole and full of the magic that we all need to survive. And hope for a chance to live a life where you don't have to decide between food and medicine (or rent, or Materhawk forbid, anything fun!). And while I know you are angry about the labor that is being extorted from you, and scared at the dangerous ways that magic is being corrupted, and at a loss for what to do to even start to fix it…. It is HOPE that is our strongest weapon.

"So, I ask you, all of you that have given us your time, your attention, and, most importantly, your hope tonight, to join us in turning that anger and fear into something so much stronger: Help us to build a movement that will give us our city back, and that will give us our LIVES back. Lend us your voice. Join the VoxOwls!"

And for a moment, there is a silence as her words fall like a blanket over the group of you. And then a wave of cheers swells up and over the crowd, filling every corner of the room. Instead of standing on the platform and soaking up the sound, the woman, The Knightingale, hops off the edge right into the crowd and begins speaking to people around her.

After the rally, The Knightingale and Maggie met up with the party at the Voxowl Headquarters in a private room. Both Maggie and The Knightingale removed their masks. The Knightingale revealed herself to be a human woman with plain features, but with a bright and contagious smile.

She thanked Chief Paws for the information regarding the magic mining, as it was something that, until then, had only been speculation. She also explained who she was and why she did what she did. She was from a well-off family, but noticed from a young age the state of unfairness in the world around her, especially growing up in a place like Gilding. She befriended shopkeepers and community members, and learned of how difficult things were for people who didn't grow up the way she did-- which was the vast majority of the people who worked and lived in Gilding.

She also explained she had a connection to magic, and that she was sensitive to it, especially when there were big changes in the environment, which was what had been happening as of late. She explained that she was a sorcerer, but that magic had always been very difficult for her to control due to its unpredictability and wild nature. She expressed that she was using it less and less, especially recently due to the changes in magic that were making her powers even more unstable.

The Knightingale asked for The Easy Marx's help, saying she had heard of their successes and their interests in the cause, and knew they could be the key to making the difference she saw for their city and for Roost as a whole.

As if in response, the party agreed to share information regarding Gericho and Professor Benson's currently non-dead status. Because both Gericho and the professor were the foremost experts on the magical anomalies known as "Snarls," which The Knightingale believed would be the key to fixing magic in the world, their assistance would be instrumental in the VoxOwls' efforts. The Professor shared with the group that Gericho and he had invented an item that would help them to find the location of active Snarls (among other things): The Unveiling Glass, a spyglass which Gyome had safely in his bag and that he had found in Gericho's home on the morning of the fateful hangover. Finally, they had a place to start.


Occurrences of Note:

  • Docent Interview with Booger.
  • Docent Interview with Oona (Egg lady).
  • Full party introduction to Morok Stone.
  • Party first learns of CJ's full name: Charles Jeremiah Brawlton Jr. via his office door.
  • Docent Interview with Morok Stone.
  • Party clues Morok Stone in to the labor organizational movement in Gilding.
  • Party first learns of Incandessa, Sabin, and Opaline Brawlton via family portrait in CJ's office.
  • Full party introduction to Candice Cully.
  • Docent Interview with Candice Cully.
  • Party first learns of Wondrously and their products.
  • Gyome obtains 1 free sample per product of Wondrously products.
  • Learned of Maggie's opinion on Morok Stone and CJ Brawlton.
  • The party hears about the Materhawk Goblin Ban officially for the first time.
  • Party hears The Knightingale's recruitment speech on Hope.
  • Party sees The Knightingale's face for the first time.
  • Party learns some background information on The Knightingale, including her class as a sorcerer.
  • Party shares with The Knightingale and Maggie that Gericho and Professor Benson Ulysses are alive.
  • Party learns of the importance of the Unveiling Spyglass an item invented by Gericho and the Professor to locate Snarls (among other things).

Completed: August 2022