Fable - Ask Electricity and Consequences

A roleplay which may be open to join but you must ask the creator first

Jonathan Burr

The Fireworks Master
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OOC: For the purposes of this quest I’ll be playing as Emelia Bram and the various NPCs of Volta. Remember, there are real consequences for ignoring the dangers of the Lightning City!




Volta lay on the coast overlooking the sea. It was quite the strange town, in that no one had been so ambitious as to build something in such a dangerous area. The soil was stained green, but not from any plant life, as very little could grow in the salt-soaked soil. The green stains came from the gigantic copper deposit that the city sat on, that combined with the salt and water in the air to make a maelstrom of electrical activity. Lightning storms were as commonplace as sneezes in Volta, and anyone wearing metal armor or weaponry would be fried to a crisp upon getting too close to the city.

To warn against this, there were gigantic towers of wood, stone and copper wire reaching to the sky roughly half a mile from the city. These towering lightning rods were the highest thing on the plains, except perhaps the main dome of the University of Volta itself, and drew away most of the lightning from the city. Fortunately for the residents this had the dual purpose of making the area surrounding Volta prohibitively dangerous.

Various wooden signs in a dozen languages warned of the dangers of crossing the plains while wearing metal. There were booths dotting the plains’ perimeter, each manned by a single representative from the Voltese Office of Conductivity. These booths enabled visitors to wrap up their metal objects in a thick padding of wool, to be reclaimed on the way out.

One such representative was a young female elf, dressed in smartly pressed linen, and seated on a stool in her booth. She was the booth in direct line of sight to the city, and the one most in demand. Even so, it was a boring job. Anyone familiar with the city had already left their metal behind; traders and citizens returning home just regarded her with a friendly wave as they passed.

Balta sighed and put her head in her hand, leaning on her counter and gazing out across the copper-stained plains. There had to be someone out there visiting Volta who needed a weapon wrapped up or some information? She half-heartedly activated the spell atop her wooden booth, which loudly proclaimed ‘Volta’ in glass tube lettering lit by magic. It was a genius thing really. Magelight contained within glass tubing artfully curled into letters. It definitely grabbed one’s attention.

Kiros Rahnel
Kara Orin
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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Preparations would be required; and Volta necessitated a few more than most destinations would. First was the matter of conducting metal; thankfully, his staff contained little of it. Regretfully, the most important component of his arcane focus was cast from brass and bronze. So, with a makeshift kiln, Kiros had the symbol molten down and destroyed – This symbol of his reclusive deity was simply not one that could be trusted to safekeeping. It had taken a good while to cast, and the chore of making another was an arduous undertaking he did not relish having ahead of him. But such a potential reward of coin made the task worth his time; certainly enough so that a few extra hours of labour could hardly be considered off-putting.

A replacement symbol carved from oak wood was ready to replace the one of brass, and a few whacks with a mallet secured it into place. He tested it; the thing seemed to remain secure. Allowing his arcane senses to check over his own work re-affirmed him that his new staff head would be a suitable replacement. He still wielded Her power, despite the lesser materials he now worked with and Itra's warnings to use only bronze and brass for such a depiction. For a moment, he was concerned this might upset Her.


...Oh who was he kidding. She was bound to be upset, either at this or something else. Better he incur Her ire over something worthwhile, like fifteen-thousand gold, than whatever other fault She might construct this fortnight. He needed the money after all.

* * *​

From afar, he wondered what vegetation stained the horizon with such an odd shade of green until stepping on the earth, copperized and stained the odd shade it was. He easily recognized it for what it was, having become necessarily aware of copper deposits by appearance alone ever since he became a requisite bronzesmith.

It was further odd that there seemed to be no guards about when he should be quite close to the city. Only the towering lightning rods hinted at his proximity. And though he read about their purpose before he made his departure, it still struck him odd that such an enchanted structure could provide protection at all. Kiros expected there to be a ward or a spell within it; but his incantation of insight found nothing of the sort.

He’d spot one of the booths next. Convenient enough – he could at least get his bearings. He had to head to this ‘Office of conductivity’, and he had no idea where or what that even was. Aside from fifteen thousand gold of course.

“Good afternoon. Are you able to provide direction? I seek the ‘office of conductivity’” He greeted himself politely and tactfully upon approaching the booth. He eyed the magelight sign as well. It too, was not magical – yet it glowed as if it was?

Kiros maintained his polite composure however, and hid his apprehension. This and the tower was just so unnatural to see firsthand. Is the land possibly cursed? This sort of thing simply ought not be physically possible, mused the priest with ability to mend wounds and summon barriers with gestures and uttered words.

Kara Orin Jonathan Burr
 
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Jonathan Burr

The Fireworks Master
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Balta straightened up when someone approached the booth. Not one of their merchants or those really irritating bandits who, for some reason, were under the impression she kept a lot of money under the counter. No, this looked like a proper visitor! She tucked away her book and sat up straight, fixing her hair. She smiled at the man. Not only a visitor but a handsome one at that!

“Good afternoon!” She greeted him brightly. “The Office of Conductivity has its main headquarters inside of the city of Volta. It should be just past the main gate, on your right hand side. You can’t miss it. You can store any weapons, armor, or metal objects that are too heavy or too large to store with me. You can also exchange currency, and be fitted with a lightning rod so you don’t zap yourself.” She gestured to the city. “However before crossing the plains, I’d really advise you take advantage of our services here. We can provide wool to wrap your metal in and damper some of the conductive properties. I really encourage you to do so with anything steel, iron or silver, but especially with anything gold or copper.”

She smiled charmingly at him and tucked her hair behind one ear. “Are you here because of the murder? Mayor Bram said she was going to call for adventurers.”

Kiros Rahnel
Kara Orin
 

Kiros Rahnel

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He had on him a small pouch of gemstones in preparation – likely more difficult to barter with, but he wasn’t sure how much faith he could really place in such a banking system. It smelled like a possible scam; and he was cautious to place his immediate trust in it for that reason. When she mentioned the currency exchange his brow shifted in thought though. Maybe it would be best to cautiously test this after all.

“Thank you much. I do have coin – perhaps it might be better to exchange this?" He replied, reflecting the polite and cheery demeanour Balta displayed in providing him direction with a warm but subtle smile. Pulling out a sizable mass of wool, he unwrapped the thing carefully to unveil what scant few coins he still had on hand until the gleaming metal of the golden coins was unveiled. Taking care to only handle the wool by the edges, he left it delicately on the counter. It was enough for minor purchases, but a far cry from a display of wealth.

"That is exactly what has brought me over - I received one of such notices she sent out." He replied, lighting up a bit at her inquiry. He had arrived with minimal information; namely how to prevent himself from being electrocuted to a crisp on arrival. Any more information would be welcome in this strange land he found himself, and he looked to her with a return of her smile with a subtle one of his own - a rarity for him.

"I had heard it was a shocking event for the city - But alas, that is all I am aware of - everything I truly know has been written down here. Could you tell me anything more, about the murder, or the city?" He asked, referring to the notice he had brought with him, while standing at rest with an arm on the counter.

Kara Orin Jonathan Burr
 
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Kara Orin

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Kara approached Balta’s booth. She carried a sheathed sword wrapped in cloth in one hand and a jingling pouch in the other. Arms and money.

Silently, Kara waited for the person in front of her to finish his business. Yet as she listened to his exchange with Balta, Kara leaned to the side in order to get any look at his profile.

Rahnel?” Kara asked as she came to the realization. They met before after the terror at Elbion.

It being Volta, Kara wore slightly different attire than back at Elbion. Pouches with metal latches were replaced with ones that used string and wood. A belt made of rope and tied in a knot instead of a buckle. A necklace she normally wore was absent, as well as some rings.

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Jonathan Burr

The Fireworks Master
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Balta smiled and picked up the wool batt with the coins nestled inside. She counted them skillfully, then wrapped them up and settled them inside of a small wicker basket with the number “982” on it. She pulled a long string of glass coins out from her counter, and counted out the amount of gold coins.

“Each glass nel corresponds to one gold piece. Walnut wood is silver, and beechwood copper,” she explained as she untied one end of the string. Each glass coin was roughly 1/4” thick, with a square hole in the middle and intricate designs recalling the sea and storms. She counted out the amount of coins she needed and put the larger strand away, making Kiros his own. “So when you return, I’ll subtract the amount you spent in Volta, or add the amount you gained in Volta, and you’ll have that amount of gold coins to pick up. Doesn’t matter the number; the Iron Mountain Bank keeps a strict tally on the coins they make for us.”

Balta offered him his strand. “Remember not to lose your coins. If you lose or break them I can’t replace them.” She reminded him, but her face fell slightly at the mention of the murder. “I can tell you that the situation isn’t good in the city. Everyone is pointing fingers....Mr. Scalero was very beloved and looked to upset Mayor Bram’s seat. I would have voted for him. His poor wife...I can’t imagine how she’s feeling. We haven’t been told much about the murder, but I believe you’ll be heading to Emelia Bram’s office to be briefed. So when you enter Volta, head down the main road, take the first major right, and you should see signs pointing to her office.”

Balta had barely noticed the woman approach with a weapon and her coins, and offered Kiros a leather tag with the 982 number. “Well, here’s your tag. Fair warning; if you lose it we confiscate anything you held here. So keep it close.” She told him. “Memorizing the number can also help, but I need this little thing back to give you your coin.”

She straightened up and nodded to Kara. “Good morning! You two know one another?” She asked brightly, and to be honest a bit disappointed. She was just slipping into a segue to ask the handsome man out for a drink in the city. She squatted to get a wool batt big enough for the woman’s weapon, rolling her eyes to herself behind the counter. Who got cock blocked out in the middle of nowhere? Her, of course.

Balta stood up with her smile back in place and gestured for Kara to come forward. She attached a similar tag to the end of the weapon, 625, and exchanged her coins under the same number. “I would recommend you two start walking. When you live here long enough you start to recognize the signs.”
Balta told them as she offered Kara her tag. There was a pressure in the air, a scent unlike any other, like freshly minted coins and blood.

She loved doing this. Balta snapped her fingers, and lightning struck the first tower. It sounded like a giant had struck a gong. The lightning held fast for a moment, as though attempting to rip the gigantic tower free from the earth, and the ground beneath them became as warm as a hearth in winter. It dissipated, but the smell of burning metal wafted over them. In the distance, another tower was struck.

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Kiros Rahnel
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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“These are incredibly detailed.” Kiros remarked in response, eyeing the complex engravings on the coins she laid on the table. He had honestly been wondering what such currency would resemble, or how they might combat the threat of counterfeiting. These clearly were far from trivial to replicate, even considering the common materials they were crafted from. He nodded in understanding as she offered him his exchanged currency, taking them in hand and tucking them away safely in his robes as she continued to speak.

“Of no doubt; it must be serious for news to be carried so far away.” he replied in sombre tone, nodding at her directions with polite gratitude.

“And thank you kindly for the direction.” He added, before taking the leather tag as well, tucking it away much as he had done with the currency.

“It’s a reasonable system – and what of the city?”
he inquired, leaning a bit further before his attention was caught by a familiar voice beside him. As Balta tactfully straightened up, Kiros followed suit, bringing the conversation to admittedly disappointing end. He slipped his arm off the counter before turning to Kara and stepping back to allow her access.

“Kara?” he responded, before turning to Balta once again at her inquiry.

“Yes; I’m ‘Kiros Rahnel’ – We worked together in Elbion during efforts to aid the wounded.” He responded with introduction and a concealed uncharacteristic flaunt of his prior activities in his sombre explanation. The normally humble priest didn’t care much for making mention of his good works; but this was somehow a different case in his mind.

“It just is.” he thought.

He was a bit disappointed when Balta suggested they depart immediately, though the odd scent in air reinforced the need for such a warning. Attention turned immediately as lightning stuck the first tower, and then the next. Fixated on the unusual sight, he stood tall to watch in the distance for any more with no small amazement at the sight he had just seen.

After a moment to ensure the spectacle was over and possibly get her name, he’d heed her words and depart with another subtle, uncharacteristic smile. Soon after stepping off, his demeanour would return to it’s normal stoic state.

Kara Orin Jonathan Burr
 

Kara Orin

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Kiros Rahnel confirmed his identity. Kara replied to Balta's question with a flat, “Yes.

Then turning to Kiros, Kara rather simply told him, “Good to see you.

Kara exchanged her weapon and money for the tag and glass currency.

Thank you,” Kara told Balta.

Lightning then struck a tower in the distance. Kara looked up – the light of the arcs reflecting from her eyes. Her reaction appeared muted compared to Kiros’s initial one. She did not really even give Balta a look for her little trick with the snap.

Kara began to move toward the city proper. If Kiros followed or stuck close, Kara would ask, “What brought you to Volta?

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

The Fireworks Master
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Balta watched them go, and settled back in her chair. Oh well. At least she could say she had been the first to greet the adventurers. She picked her book back up, and listened to the storm gathering outside.

The plains were a good half mile from the city, and completely desolate. Occasionally one saw the corpse of a twisted tree that had dared get too tall, or the melted armor of a bandit who really hadn’t gotten the message about how conductive the field was. The city, likewise, had no gates. Only an archway leading into a bustling metropolis.

The Office of Conductivity was a beautiful building of wood and glass to their immediate right. The cobblestone streets were clear of refuse, thanks to people who seemed to have the singular employment of picking up trash. Shops of all kinds were displayed with swinging wooden signs, everything from wineries to spice shops and libraries. Magic factored in to how these shops were advertised; the taverns had illusions of beer flowing freely from a tap onto the street below, where they dissolved into cheery little sparks. The book stores had been enchanted with little paper birds that flew around passersby to lure them in.

The busiest shoppe by far was the Sugarcane. Proclaimed in curling pink glass letters that shimmered like the sugar crystals they were named after, the sweet shoppe had a line down the street. Through the windows, candy sticks could be seen contained in hurricane glasses taller than a ship was long. Workers inside threw lumps of soft candy over wooden hooks to stretch out silken ribbons. The front window boasted a woodland scene of spun sugar, complete with chocolate elk that nibbled delicately at marzipan bushes.

Treats weren’t the only thing on offer. A woman pushed a cart down the street, with a painted depiction of noodles on its side. The scents of green onions, grilled chicken, and rich broth followed her like a perfume. If one stopped and gave her a few beechwood coins, she would whip out a black glass ladle and spoon up a generous serving of her soup into a waiting wooden bowl. Open air restaurants were everywhere. A man could simply step off the street, pull up a stool, and order.

Even after rain began cascading down...the people of Volta had a solution. The guards stepped to wooden poles lining the streets, and touched a rune. Huge sheets of canvas unfurled across the roads, sheltering the busy streets. The rain produced colors as it struck the fabric, showering the city in rainbow...but not wet.

Kara Orin
Kiros Rahnel
 

Kiros Rahnel

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“And you as well.” He replied with a tactful but friendly nod to Kara at the counter, before he too began the trek from the outpost to the city proper. He walked with his staff tucked in an arm and carried horizontally so as not to tempt the random arcs of lighting he had been warned about. It appeared different than at Elbion and was notably completely wooden in construction, wisely so for the trip. Aside from that he appeared exactly the same as he always had; in robes of linen and boots of leather. Burdensome religious requirements for attire had made that part of preparation easy, at least.

“I’ve arrived as response to a notice in search of investigators – as result of a high profile murder within the walls.” He turned his head to respond to her inquiry, patting the slip of paper just barely visible out of the pocket in reference to it.

“Has that brought you here as well; or do you arrive on matters unrelated?”
He inquired in turn. Eyeing the fate of the tree and the electrocuted stranger, he simply continued on. By this point he hardly needed any further warning.

The city was unique, though from his research before his travels he’d expected nothing less. He looked stoic as ever, with the occasional turn of his head left or right at the sights while he continued down towards the office of Conductivity. Noting the start of rainfall gave him cause to pick up his pace in an effort to stay dry; but the rapid deployment of rain cover ended his need to do so – a small relief.

Kara Orin
 
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Kara Orin

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I’m here for the same reasons,” Kara confessed to Kiros Rahnel as she eyed the terrain that surrounded them.

Wearing a gray cloak, Kara lifted the hood above her head in response to the rain.

How did your priestly duties bring you here?” Kara asked as the melted corpse of the bandit passed her gaze.

Kara and even Kiros seemed to want to reach the city proper sooner than later. Once within the city, Kara looked about for street signs and directions to the Office of Conductivity.

Beyond the oddities in architecture and aesthetics, the atmosphere that surrounded the pair appeared similar to other major cities. Shops, food carts, bustling citizens, and more. The reliance on runes exceeded that of Elbion’s, though.

Kara would not stop for any of the food or treats – at least not now. Though she would stop if Kiros did, and would slow her pace if her question drew out a longer conversation.

Kiros Rahnel Jonathan Burr
 
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