[IC] Dolmenwood

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Small God of the Dozens
Jul 9, 2020
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It is the Moot the 4th, in the first week of Symswald, the 4th month of the year. It has been a bitter winter but things are finally starting to warm up and the town and countryside are alive with the tinkle of snowmelt. Prigwort is emerging from its winter slumber and there is a sense of excitement in the air as next week, on the feast of St. Thorm, will be the Annual Vinterøl Festival, where all the brew houses of Prigwort showcase their winter brewing projects. There will be a parade, feasting, and much merriment. Young women are already decorating the town with the traditional pine bough bunches decorated with the first of the spring flowers.

  • Over the winter there were rumours swirling around Prigwort of fell crookhorns to the north and raids on isolated farms and merchant caravans. So far these remain just rumours.
  • There has been friction lately between House Oberon and House Pilston about legal matters pertaining to beer (a disagreement about interpretations of the Groanheitsgebot Beer Purity Laws of 952).
  • Father Penglum, a Cleric of the Order of St. Faxis, has recently arrived in Prigwort and has been giving fiery sermons about rooting out demons and secret devil worshipers. So far he doesn't seem to have swayed many of the townsfolk, but he is a powerful speaker. He is also a cousin of the Elevated Smyde Humblebuff, Brewmaster of House Pilston.
  • Captain Simwise Hogwash of the Watch has spent the winter fruitlessly harrying AX and his Bounders, a local group of vigilante ruffians. So far no charges have been laid and Hogwash is furious. He is publicly calling for official sanctions, although yet to no effect.
This morning, just after breakfast, a letter arrives for each of you, addressed in golden ink and sealed with an ornate letter K pressed into red wax. Upon opening you read that you are invited to lunch at the manor of Alabaster Krup, Gentleman Scholar and Antiquarian, newly arrived in Prigwort. Over luncheon Mssr. Krup proposes to offer you suitable employment in a matter of great personal concern to him, which he will elucidate in person. The letter goes on to state that no responsibility will accrue from simple attendance and that remuneration shall be enticingly fair. He signs off hoping to see you at noon today and with his best wishes for your morning repast. A small map follows with directions to a manor just to the north of town.

Note: All party members are currently in very temporary lodgings, paid up until the end of the week (which is 4 days from now). Otherwise you have the coin in your purses. If someone wants to make different arrangements, probably based on backstory, let me know and we'll hash it out before we start.

Your elegant letters are delivered by urbane men and women in red and blue livery. They knock politely at the door and then wait, again politely, but keep knocking until you answer. Each addresses you by your full name and finishes by saying "with Mssr. Krup's compliments, whatever you decide". The address on Squire Tunnock's letter reads Under the Large Hedge, Prigwort.

IC thread is now open for business
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So, you all have a letter in hand and a several hours until noon. What do you do?
"Much thanks," Wilsey replies to the messengers, taking the proffered letter and closing the door on his clean, if modest, room. He slices through the wax seal, and quickly reads the letter. Perhaps a bit of opportunity, he thinks to himself, picturing himself walking the lands as an itinerant Cleric.

He puts the letter back into the envelope, cleans himself up and dresses as appropriately as he can for such a meeting, then heads out. Looking at the sun, he realizes he has a few hours, and decides to go to the Church. Maybe the Vicar will have some information about this Alabaster Krup?
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Having given a somewhat awkward nod of acknowledgement and a muttered "thank you" to the messenger, Brielle reads through the letter slowly - her literacy being at something of a minimal nature - and then reads it through a second time, to make sure she hasn't missed or misunderstood anything. She then makes some effort, as best she can to her limited ability, to make her appearance somewhat more presentable. After that, she will have a small bite to eat as she informs Theron that she has been given the possibility of earning some coin, although the exact nature of the offer is not yet clear, and that she may or may not be available for an unknown period of time. This is as much a courtesy as anything, as she has little doubt that the older gamekeeper, along with Orin and Tauran, will be able to continue with their duties well enough without her.

After leaving the elder gamekeeper's abode, she will make her way to town along Swinney Road. The walk is not a long one, which will give her time to stop by Wyrmspittle's place of business, working her way up the stairs, ignoring the stench of the nearby chicken coop as she does so. Once inside, she will ask the herbalist if he knows anything about the scholar Krup who has recently made his way to the local area.

After she has spoken with Wyrmspittle, she will make her way through Prigwort, to the Northern wall, and onto Harrow Road to find her way to the manor house in question.
Jubber rolls over and goes back to sleep. What is it with humans and daylight?
Ignatius Stone tucks the letter into his overcoat. He was surprised to receive it. Even more surprised when Sir Donovan told him to accept the invitation.

"My boy," the old knight had said. "You won't build a name for yourself squiring for me. I'm a relic... too old to be of use, too stubborn to die." He had smiled at that, and straightened in his chair. "I put out word that you would be available to assist others in noble causes."

"You think this Krup is offering some noble cause?" Ignatius had asked.

The old knight gave him a knowing look. "There's only one way to find out, Ig," he said. "Go, with my blessings. See what Krup has to say. Decide for yourself."

Ig looked up at the manor house and saw Sir Donovan in the upstairs window, looking down on him. He raised a weathered hand to the boy. Ig waved back, and then turned to the road.
Rumours of Krup (to cover all the characters that asked various contacts)

The short answer is there's not much to find out, but here's what various folks have to say:
  • Krup moved into Prigowort several weeks ago and bought the old Krupsharrow Manor just outside of town
    • There may be a connection between Alabaster Krup and the old Krupsharrow family, and also perhaps between the Krupsharrow and Harrowmoor families - many rumours and little fact on this point
  • A fabulous amount of money has already been spent on extensive and somewhat lavish renovations to the Manor - enough of this has been paid to local businesses and craftsmen that there is no ill feeling about the foreign workers up at the manor site
    • masons and other craftsmen from far flung places exotic to Dolmenwood have been called in to help renovate the manor house
  • the few reported direct interactions townsfolk have had with Alabaster Krup paint him as extremely eccentric but also gracious and generous. His servants have been uniformly gracious and polite
Grennigore looks at the fancy letter and listens to the others read it. He puts it in his belt savoring the chance to get in the good graces of someone of influence. New in town, he asks the proprietor and some of the locals he encounters about Krup. Hearing favorable comments he heads towards the manor house in good spirits. "Todays the day my fortune changes!" he says and whistles his way down the path.
Silver and Quicksilver scrutinizes the note. He tests the paper with a pin to make sure it remains paper and isn't a strange fey. He then carefully opens it and reads it with the pin still in his hand. He nods to himself and checks the sun to see what time it is. He moves slowly but purposefully in a circuitous manner through Prigwort. He stops to watch the shadows and waits to see if any move when they should not. Then, he continues toward the manor he was invited to, planning to take a look. Surely no fine lord would take such a name, but perhaps there is something to see. He chuckles to himself as he sketches the house in his mind, and then looks for a place to sit and wait until the hour arrives. He is patient today. But likely only today. He may change his mind if the wind does.
The sun is shining and a brisk wind blows as you leave through the Groaning Gate and head north on the Harrow road. After a short jaunt, perhaps half a bell, you come to a crumbling stone gate on the right-hand side of the road. The latticed metal gate itself hs been propped open, and brown ivy almost covers a carved plaque on the gatehouse wall that reads Krupsharrow. You can see many cart tracks and hoof prints in the road here, running both directions. Obviously the renovations are in full swing.

Past the gate a muddy track winds through light woods for several hundred yards and then emerges from behind a screen of cedar trees and onto the manor grounds. The manor itself looms like a hunched beast attempting to hide behind an insufficient amount of shrubbery. Various towers and glimpses of wall and window peer between the trees and bushes that crowd the manor walls, except for a couple of spots where the greenery has been cut away and wooden scaffolding has been erected. It is impossible to get a good sense of the exact shape of the manor, but it is obviously large and sprawling. The area in front of a grand entry way, carved with swirling plant motifs and housing a massive iron-banded oak door, has been cleared away and the lawn in front of it is a hotbed of activity. Workers pass to and fro bearing loads of all kinds and shout insults and bawdy jokes to one another other while overseers shout even louder to be heard above them. There are stacks of timber and crates and boxes littering the overgrown lawn in all directions.

What do you do?
For a minute or so, Brielle pauses at the outermost part of the manor grounds, her uncertainty momentarily getting the better of her. Finally, she will get the attention of one of the overseers, letter in hand, getting directions to whatever entrance would be appropriate for her to approach, hoping to find a servant who can admit her to the manor.
Ig’s self conscious as he walks into the yard. A knight would ride in on horseback, making a commanding entrance.

He hails one of the workers and explains he’s here to see the lord of the manner, and then waits for instructions.
Grennigore strides confidently and happy into the manor grounds. Seeing a worker(assuming he does) he asks with a smile "How goes? I'm trying to find the Master of the house?" while flashing the letter to assure them he's not just anyone looking for work.
Wil enters the yard, letter in hand. Among the throng of workers, he spots the others, some also holding what look like similar letters, so he heads over there.

"Good day," he says to the others with a friendly smile. "Seems we're all here for the same reason, hmm?"
Silver and Quicksilver watched for a short bit of time then headed into the melee of work. "Might I inquire, a truth from you?" He asks the first person he comes upon. "I am looking for the new master of this abode?" He watches them while they answer.
The burly overseer looks somewhat overwhelmed at the stream of strangers asking for directions. He scratches his bald pate and looks the lot of you up and down for a couple of long seconds. "You should knock at the front door," he says, gesturing to the large iron-banded oaken portal some yards away. At that moment a pair of young workers drop a whole load of roofing tiles with a thundering crash. The overseer starts shouting and swearing and walking over to them, hands waving in the air. Your audience is apparently over.

The front door to the Manor is a massive thing, double doored and fully eight feet tall, with large iron pull rings set into each side. A massive yellow brass door knocker adorns the left hand door, shaped as a laughing face with a thick ring through its nose. The ring itself must way four pounds and the sound it makes when you release it is quite deafening. After a long minute the right hand door swings ponderously open, pushed by a hand the size of a young ham. Framed in the doorway is an immensely tall, gaunt man, dressed in immaculate servants blacks. His head almost brushes the lintel as he stoops to peer at you from under his beetled brow. "Yeeeessss?", he rumbles, the words low and slow as molasses, "how can I help you?"
Wil pauses for a second, looking to the others, then replies, "Good day, sir. We're all here on the invitation of Mssr. Krup" then holds up the fancy invitation for the ominous man to see.
The tall man stoops down, and down, to peer at the letter. His brown crinkles and he stares at it for long seconds, then he stands back up. "Ahh," he rumbles, "the master's ... guests for luncheon. You are ... expected." He casts his eyes slowly over the group. "Hmm, one is ... missing." He frowns. "No matter, please ... follow me." He waves a hand toward the darkened hall behind him and turns and walks back into the manor.
[OOC] I sometimes leave these posts dangling, as above, to give people a chance to do things in the middle of what would otherwise be a long expositive post. Lets use the thumbs up reaction to let me know that I can just continue and your character isn't taking a moment to do/ask/whatever something.
"One? Did you invite this one? Are you sure?" He asks watching the area carefully as he follows. "Maybe they were abducted." He examines the walls of the building and counts the doors as they walk. He has to be sure how many it should be for when it leaves.
Grateful that Wil spoke so that she would not have to, Brielle follows behind the tall, spooky servant, taking in the surroundings of the manor house as she does so. She pointedly gives no reaction to the elf in their number, his odd manner of speech being somewhat unsettling to her.
The butler's steps are slow but so long that you find yourself hurrying to keep up as he leads you deeper into the dim interior of the Manor. In the front hall must wind your way though piles of crates and various oddly shaped burlap packages, stacked precariously almost to the ceiling. No torches or lamps are lit here but in the thin light slanting in past closed shutters you can see a grand staircase sweeping up to the second floor. The hallway beyond is also packed tight with crates, chests, and trunks and in places you must turn sideways to pass carefully by. You turn right, and then left, before you emerge blinking in a brightly lit sun room.

Windows form the entire far wall of the large chamber and sunlight warms the entire room. The room is packed with miscellany of cabinets, shelves, trunks, tables, baskets, specimen jars, baroque glass containers and tubes, and a menagerie of stuffed and mounted creatures, some of which are completely unfamiliar to you. In the far corner, in front of a heavy stone fireplace in which a blaze crackles merrily, you see a pair of overstuffed armchairs, two couches, and a dining table laden with silver salvers and covered serving trays. You don't immediately see anyone but a curl of pipe smoke winds toward the ceiling from one of the armchairs, its back to you. The butler rumbles something unintelligible and sweeps his hand out, perhaps in invitation, and the disappears back the way he came. Nothing else happens immediately, but a determined skirl of smoke does continue to rise above the armchair.

What do you do?
Wil unconsciously straightens his clothes, then takes a few tentative steps into the sunlit room. "Hello?" he asks into the room. "We're here to see Mssr. Krup"
Already nervous due to the degree of wealth and status that she currently finds herself surrounded by, Brielle finds herself unconsciously holding her breath as she and the others await the response to Wil's words toward the hidden figure.

She is also keenly aware of the covered serving trays, and hopes that if nothing else a free meal can be had here.
The smoke continues to rise undisturbed for a few moments and then splits into thick separate puffs as someone snorts loudly and then coughs repeatedly. A pair of richly embroidered pajama arms stretch widely, and then a small man with a wild frizz of white hair stands up from the armchair, a long pipe clenched in his teeth.. He is rubbing a pair of spectacles on his sleeve as he rises and when he puts them back on he starts violently, seeing you all for the first time.

"Good gracious," he says, eyes wide, "who the dickens are you lot?" Without pausing to allow an answer he goes on "Workmen wandered in from outside I expect, typical, can't keep your hands off my retorts," he sniffs, "well, off with you, I have guests coming for lunch and we can't have you in here cluttering up the place and tromping about with your great muddy boots." He shuffles toward you making shushing motions with his hands.

What do you do?
While ignoring the man who drew everyone's attention, Silver and Quicksilver poke at various boxes to see if anything comes out. When the man switches to addressing them directly he looks up and pauses. "Guests? I thought that's what I was, I don't work on houses. But I did get this paper.." he waves it at the man at arm's length. "It said it invited me. Did you send it and is it a threat?"
Brielle says nothing for the moment, as she is uncertain which she finds more disconcerting, Mssr. Krup or the elf who continues to speak strangely. That said, she also brings forth her letter, holding it in front of her in hopes that it might offer some protection from the strangeness she has found herself in.
Wil clears his throat, and also pulls his invitation out. "Good day, Mssr. Krup," he says, as formally as his language studies taught him. "We are the ones you invited to lunch today."
Grennigore shows his fancy letter with flair and confidence. "I believe you asked for me Sir."
Ig’s reminded of Sir Donovan in his less than clear moments. Krup, if that’s indeed who this is, seems a bit befuddled. Not wanting to overwhelm the old man, Ig keeps silent, but removes the letter of invitation from his pocket.

He waits to see how the old man responds.
Krup suddenly grins impishly. "Of course your are my lunch guests. I've seen you all before, haven't I?" His faded blue eyes twinkle merrily as he looks each of you over. "Ahh, I see our little woodgrue friend has elected to sleep in rather than sup with us. That was the most likely outcome. Oh well, never fear, we shall complete our little company never the less." He smooths his somewhat rumpled pyjamas absently as he speaks. "But were are my manners?," he says with a chuckle, and bows low. "I am Alabaster Krup, and I am am honoured that you have elected to join me for a fine midday repast. Please," he continues, gesturing at the food laden table, "be seated and we shall have what discussions we may."

As Krup gestures you toward the table, you see his impossibly tall manservant enter from the darkened hall bearing a silver tray loaded down with steaming tea pots and china cups.

"Mugwort!" Krup bellows, not looking around. "Bring tea for our guests."

"Tea is ... served." the butler rumbles as he comes up behind Krup, who starts in surprise.

"Damnation man," Krup exclaims, "what have I told you about sneaking around?" A faint smile twitches the corners of his mouth as he says this, and it has the feel of a long worn and familiar exchange. The butler, who must be Mugwort, leaves the tea service on the table and retreats back the way he came.

"Come, come," Krup says, gesturing again at the table. "Please be seated and help yourselves to food and tea."

What do you do?
Ig speaks up. “Thank you, Mssr. Krup for the invitation,” he says. “I assume you must know me given the invitation,” his eyes turn to the rest of the group, “my name is Ignatius Stone, Squire to Sir Donovan Hedger.”

With that, he pulls out a chair for himself, and then waits for the others to take a seat.
Wil smiles at the interchange between Mssr. Krup and his butler. Seeing Ignatious introduce himself, Wil also pulls his chair, and says, "A pleasure to meet all of you. I am Wilsey Paytone, a Cleric from the Swinney Tower. But please, call me Wil."

Eyeing the tea, a moment later he asks, "Who would like a cup of tea?" while beginning to pour a cup for himself.
"I'd love some." smiles Grennigore as he sits down next to Wil. "My names Grennigore, but you can call me Gren if you'd like" . He looks around to see if anything resembling lunch will actually be served.
An examination of the table shows a wide range of dishes. Kedgeree and kippers, boiled eggs, fresh bread and butter, honey on the comb, rashers of fatty bacon, long links of farmers sausage, dark rounds of blood pudding, and even a small bowl of salt for seasoning. Plus tea and milk, naturally. Small plates of a delicate blue china are stacked strategically around the table, as well as a variety of somewhat impractically small forks and knives.
Silver and Quicksilver sit at the table carefully. He examines the food carefully. "Is this meal a gift? Or shall we prefer to say it is neither gift, nor debt?"
Silver and Quicksilver sit at the table carefully. He examines the food carefully. "Is this meal a gift? Or shall we prefer to say it is neither gift, nor debt?"
Krup replies immediately, saying "The food is neither gift nor debt, for certes, on the honour and hospitality of my house." After which he bows an oddly stiff and formal bow to Silver.
Eyeing the tea, a moment later he asks, "Who would like a cup of tea?" while beginning to pour a cup for himself.

"I would, thank you," the young woman replies to Wil, with a nod. Realizing that introductions are being made, she adds, "My name is Brielle. I work as a gamekeeper for the town."

When the time comes to sit down and eat, she plans to observe and follow the lead of both Wilsey and especially Ignatius, so as not to embarrass herself too much.

She does raise an eyebrow at Krup's quick and knowing response to the elf's question. Her experience with the fey folk was extremely limited, but she did know that boons and debts were a serious matter to their kind.
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