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916766 No. 916766 ID: 9fcd43

From the journal of Azimuth the Mapmaker, second apprentice to the royal cartographer of Mareen’s Bastion

Cereus 3rd, 972 AC
Dream quality: Propitious
I can’t believe this day has finally come. After a decade of pleading, Master Theodolite has finally approved my expedition, and secured funding from the royal treasury. I’m reeling; I can barely see straight - it’s finally going to happen.

I’m finally going to venture outside the walls, and see what, if anything, is left.
Expand all images
No. 916769 ID: 9fcd43
File 154694106964.png - (0.96MB , 1045x779 , Mareen's Bastion.png )

My grant is generous, but not overly so. I was given enough to purchase a small boat and provisions enough for several months, as well as to contract a traveling companion or two for the same length of time. Standing on the steps of the heartwall temple, I weighed my priorities and pondered what to look for first, as well as where to begin my search.

The Heartmarket was, of course, closest, and would have the highest quality selection of goods - the cost being commensurate, of course. Any specialty goods I needed, I knew I could find either within the colourful stalls, or the labyrinthine merchant district that occupies the nearby streets, but it would be wise to look elsewhere for bulk provisions. Should I decide to seek another academic to accompany me on my expedition, I could also speak to my colleagues within the temple, though after so many years I had little hope to find the spark of adventurous spirit within any of them.

I knew I would have to venture to the Seamarket at some point and negotiate for the purchase of an appropriate vessel, and toyed with the notion of searching for one of my companions in the same trip. While familiar with the basics of sailing myself, I’ve never ventured beyond the protective walls of the Bastion, and would value a more experienced seafarer to guide me on the first leg of my journey.

Keeping in mind the limited funds at my disposal, I also toyed with the idea of visiting the Brack Bazaar, although as always the thought of venturing outside the walls made my hearts stutter with a reflexive fear, the irony of which is not lost on me. If I could avoid having my grant stolen by some opportunistic pickpocket, I knew I would find a selection as wide as anything the heartwall merchants could offer me, if somewhat more eclectic and less assured in its standards of construction. I would also be likely to find any number of rough and ready souls used to life outside the protection of the Bastion, and possessed of a number of practical life skills that an austere, homebound scholar rarely has need of.

Finally, I turned my eyes east to Bloodgate. The official nature of my expedition gave me technical permission to recruit from the royal guard, and the prospect of enlisting a bodyguard with their qualifications was an enticing one. In practice, however, I knew I was unlikely to convince the captain to sign over command of anyone useful to accompany me on what the rest of the city believed to be a suicide mission. I would have to be very eloquent to persuade them otherwise, and learned as I may be, as a Kreac I am unfortunately not known for my silver tongue.
No. 916770 ID: 2791fd

No. 916773 ID: bacb6f

To The Brack Bazaar is my suggestion.
If we are very careful to stow away our money we might be able to out smart any cut purse. Like tying a coinpurse securely to the inside of a bag.
No. 916774 ID: 094652

Go to the seamarket and hire a privateer. The crew is hardy, violent, and capable of doing menial taskwork, an essential combination in the adventuring workforce.
No. 916796 ID: 080aaf

Go to Bloodgate, a guardsman is someone you can trust even if he's not the top of his class.
No. 916802 ID: 393d51

brack bazaar for someone rough and ready, duh. everyone knows the best person to hang out with a sheltered scholar is someone rude and brash and only tenuously literate. and then our second contract can be a sailor!
No. 916851 ID: 9fcd43
File 154700953443.png - (637.48KB , 700x500 , Brack_Bazaar.png )

I decided to visit the Brack Bazaar first. More than anything, I knew I would find myself wanting the kind of experience of the bounty hunters and salvage divers who gathered there once I passed out of the safety of the Bastion. Taking care to secure my purse in what I believed to be a safe place inside my robes, I ventured out of the Brackish Gate and into the crowded streets of the Bazaar.

Instantly my senses were overwhelmed. It was impossible to make all six eyes agree on what to look at first, and my head swam with the scents of fragrant smoke and cooking food, with an unfortunate undernote of unwashed labourer. Children - and a few particularly diminutive adults - scurried past my knees, while a lone thunder giant, bent double, stepped gingerly overhead with a rumbled apology. I did my best not to look as lost and overwhelmed as I felt while I looked around for anyone who carried or advertised themselves as a mercenary or adventurer for hire.
No. 916852 ID: 9fcd43
File 154700956504.png - (742.84KB , 784x557 , Brack_Recruits.png )

Most of the sellswords I saw in the streets looked little better than the cutpurses and thugs I occasionally glimpsed lurking in alleys. Sour-faced, bearing rusted weapons, missing limbs or shaking with disease, they looked as though they would fall prey to the first monster that so much as glanced our way - or worse, as though they would throw me to the beast to ensure their own escape. Those that looked more competent and well-equipped advertised prices that I might be able to scrape together, if I were willing to cut my voyage down to about a week long.

I had almost made up my mind to look elsewhere for companionship when I passed into a large tiled courtyard, the smell of fish and brine advertising its proximity to the docks. My attention was immediately caught by one of the salvage divers set up against the back wall of a nearby shop, with her daily finds displayed on a ratty blanket in front of her. I believed her to be a Sponte, as I couldn’t place her greyish skin and the seaweed-like hair that covered her face completely, but that wasn’t what arrested my gaze. There was a thick iron shackle around her leg, attached by a hefty, rusted chain to an ancient ship’s anchor larger than she was. I barely had time to process this and feel pity for the woman, however, when she finished what seemed to be her last transaction of the day. She bent forward from her sullen slouch, wrapped the rest of her goods in the cloth, then, to my astonishment, climbed to her feet, reached out, and lifted the anchor onto her shoulder as though it weighed nothing.

Idly, I felt my hand going to where I had left my purse as I pondered the sight. Panic spiked in my breast as I found what I had believed to be such a clever hiding place, perhaps somewhat predictably, empty of any hint of it. It was at that moment that I felt a tap on my shoulder, and jerked around nervously.
A small Nebul with tattered, untidy bandages stood behind me, dressed in a comically oversized coat. They winked - at least, I believe it was a wink, for only one of their visible eyes closed - and removed one hand from behind their back, producing the embroidered pouch I had received from Master Theodolite that morning.

“Lose something, did you?” they whispered, grinning teeth flashing in a gap at their neck. To my astonishment, they hefted the purse and tossed it back to me; I nearly fumbled it in my surprise. “Saw an urchin lift it off you back at Inky Cross. Saw the royal seal on it and figured the brat was in for more trouble than it was worth.”

Mumbling my profuse thanks, I opened the bag to inspect the contents, and was again doubly surprised to see that the entire sum appeared to be present. The figure waved off my effusive and somewhat incoherent gratitude, touching a finger to their brow.

“Careful out there,” they simply said. “Need someone to watch your back, you do.”
No. 916880 ID: b1b4f3

I'd like to talk to both of them... get an idea of what they can do. The man has a lot of bonus points already though, he's proven to be very observant and trustworthy as well as street-smart.
Tell him you are indeed looking for a hired hand. First, ask what he could offer you outside these walls. Is he good in a fight? Is he okay with sailing? Ask him if he knows the woman with the anchor. Perhaps we can get him to tell us more about her too!
Or, you know, you could try to get her attention and interview both of them at once.
No. 916885 ID: 094652

>Anchor Girl
Clearly a case of 'linked to her weapon so she can lift it as if it were weightless'. A good hire for combat and survival.

He has the wisdom to return the money instead of keeping it, knowing that you can offer him the pouch and an elite's salary for a life of adventure. That's a good sales pitch.
No. 916905 ID: 080aaf

Salvage diver's got the skills you're looking for on this expedition. Talk to her first.
No. 917017 ID: 9fcd43
File 154711959444.png - (639.50KB , 700x500 , Uzu_Intro.png )

I found myself curious about both the mysterious diver and this garrulous stranger. Keeping one pair of eyes on the former as she made her way to a nearby stall and bought a glass of herb tea, I decided to spend some time conversing with the latter before approaching her.

They were more than happy to sate my curiosity. They introduced themself as Uzu; a merchant, so they said, recently fallen on hard times and forced to move their base of operations out of the city proper. I am not quite such a naive fool as the reader may believe me, and readily picked up on their hints that the nature of this exile had been due to some questionably legal activities. Their eloquence impressed me, however, as did the clear intelligence they displayed in analyzing my situation and approaching me. Uzu seemed quite as interested in what I was doing in Brackharbour as I was in their qualifications, and between their clever questioning and my own enthusiasm, wasted no time in prying the nature of my expedition from me. It was refreshing to hear their excitement when I explained my project, where from so many others I had gotten nothing but skepticism and horror. They even went so far as to ask whether I might have room in my expedition crew for a stout-hearted soul who might be looking to get out of the city for a few months. Purely to broaden their horizons, of course.
No. 917018 ID: 9fcd43
File 154711961574.png - (637.39KB , 700x500 , Kran_Intro.png )

I asked Uzu whether they were familiar with the mysterious chained woman. It was the first time I heard them hesitate, but after some hemming and hawing they admitted that she was a regular in the bazaar. Her name, they told me, was Kran, and she was treated with a mix of fear and respect by every merchant and salvage diver who knew her. Those who had worked near her said that she seemed to know the sunken district like the back of her hand, and that she had some sort of unerring sense that guided her to the most valuable and intact relics to be found down there. No one could explain how she bore her anchor with such ease, either, since she’d never been seen without it. Apparently she would simply wade into the ocean every morning with it hooked over her shoulder, and resurface at the docks in the afternoon.

I was intrigued; a diver of such fearsome reputation and obvious strength would be invaluable to my mission. I asked Uzu whether they might introduce me, and they hesitantly said yes, but warned me that I should only approach her if I seriously intended to offer her a job, as she had little patience for having her time wasted.
No. 917019 ID: 9fcd43
File 154711963985.png - (694.42KB , 700x500 , Kranversation.png )

With Uzu trailing behind me, I crossed the courtyard and approached the stall where Kran had settled. With a halting nervousness not entirely born of my species’ laboured speech, I introduced myself. I then endured a long awkward silence where she continued to drink her tea, until it became apparent that I would not be receiving a response until I gave her something worth responding to. Clearing my throat, I asked her whether she would be interested in signing on to my expedition, and briefly explained that it would see us traveling outside of the Bastion for an indeterminate length of time.

To my surprise, she finally turned to look at me, though I could see none of her face behind the dripping curtain of seaweed that covered her head. She was silent for a long moment, then reached up, drained the rest of her cup, and quoted me a price that made me wince. It wasn’t unreasonable, to retain a competent and able-bodied explorer for the lengths of time involved, especially if she was as successful as Uzu informed me and would be losing out on her usual profits for the duration. But it would mean either giving up on finding another hireling, or making some subtractions from the list of supplies I had intended to bring along.

I weighed my options. Uzu, while perhaps less directly useful for most of the situations I anticipated, was clearly intelligent and quick-witted - and, moreover, willing to work for a surprisingly low rate. Less surprising if one considered that their primary motivation was simply to avoid some trouble in the Bastion for some time, of course. Some austerity might be worth it in order to hire Kran. If I wished to hire both, their costs might somewhat balance one another out, but there were still multiple other places I might check to fill one or both slots of my small band.
No. 917022 ID: 094652

Why not offer Kran a large portion of the supplies instead? She's badass enough to defend her property, and later in the expedition if your crew's shares of the supplies are low and hers are high, you can buy it back from her at a high but fair price.
No. 917023 ID: 40df11

Go with Uzu for now, look at how your funding situation is after you've gotten supplies and then consider Kran. He seems resourceful and interested.
No. 917034 ID: 91ee5f

>With a halting nervousness not entirely born of my species’ laboured speech
Wait, was our species ever mentioned? Or even our gender?

>Uzu cheap
>Kran expensive
>Hiring both means not having enough money to buy supplies
I agree with >>917023 , hire Uzu for now, go get supplies, and if there’s enough money left over, you can consider hiring Kran.
No. 917063 ID: a9af05

All of this.
No. 917078 ID: 080aaf

Include Kran in your plan. Perhaps someone at the temple can fill out the other half of your party? You should definitely shop around a bit more, but Kran's offer is take it or leave it.
No. 917114 ID: 9fcd43

Finally made a disthread! https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/127242.html Sorry it took me so long, I'm still getting a hang of how this stuff works
No. 917132 ID: 859a9d

Hire both and have Uzu’s first job be to use his silver tongue to haggle down all your remaining purchases
No. 917349 ID: 9fcd43
File 154728855571.png - (536.98KB , 700x500 , Uzu_Hired.png )

By this point I had made up my mind to hire both Uzu and Kran, as I was thoroughly impressed with the pair. Kran’s asking price was somewhat prohibitive, but a clever thought occurred to me.

I excused myself for a moment and took Uzu aside, informing them that they were hired and handing them a coin worth a week’s pay. They began thanking me enthusiastically, until I held up a hand and informed them of their first task - to negotiate a more affordable price for Kran’s services.
No. 917350 ID: 9fcd43
File 154728857325.png - (640.01KB , 700x500 , Negotiation.png )

To their credit, Uzu didn’t flinch at the task, simply tightened their bandages and strolled back over to the stall, where Kran was just getting up to leave. I waited at some distance with bated breath, unable to hear what Uzu was saying and gleaning no clues from Kran’s impassive face.
No. 917351 ID: 9fcd43
File 154728860531.png - (641.87KB , 700x500 , Agreement.png )

Whatever it was evidently proved effective, however. A rush of relief flooded over me as the pair returned to my side, and Kran tersely gave me an updated rate. As I fished in my purse to pay her first week in advance as well, I pondered what task to see to next.
No. 917353 ID: 094652

Purchase supplies and equipment before the vendors hear rumors of your expedition and royal budget and jack up the prices accordingly.
No. 917355 ID: ad51b8

alright, we got crew, now supplies... and what else?
No. 917516 ID: 2791fd

Supplies first, and then try to recruit among the guard, I think.
No. 918041 ID: 9fcd43
File 154770739457.png - (956.66KB , 1000x609 , Inventory.png )

With Kran to assist with carrying the load and Uzu's alarmingly effective bartering, the rest of the Brack Bazaar branch of the shopping trip went quickly and uneventfully. As I expected, it was the best place to find camping and wilderness survival supplies, though the merchants were more used to dealing with hunters traveling into the glasswastes than timid scholars preparing for long sea voyages. We also procured a stock of medicine and cloth to use for bandages, repairs, and any other miscellaneous uses that might arrive. (The cloth was surprisingly fine for such a low price, and as Uzu had been the one to recommend the vendor I did my best not to question its origins.)

It was also alarmingly easy to find weapons. It seemed everywhere we turned, we saw displays of swords, knives, bows, and other, nastier things. At one point a merchant attempted to convince us that it would be madness to leave the walls without a spellstriker, of all things, but in my private opinion it would be rather more suicidal to come within a stone's throw of one of those infernal contraptions. I did purchase a crossbow for hunting purposes, as well as a few assorted knives of good quality for various purposes. We would need to go to the Heartmarket for the quantities of travel rations we needed, or the Seamarket if we felt up to several months of surviving primarily on preserved fish, but everything else seemed accounted for.

All in all, I was feeling quite confident about our purchases, but before we left the Bazaar I paused to ask my companions if there was anything else they felt we should bring which my list hadn't included.
No. 918072 ID: ad51b8

between the three of you at least one of you knows how to navigate and sail the ship right? Otherwise outside of food it seems you're good to go though maybe a fishing rod or two or even a fishing net to catch some extra food just encase you are out on the sea a little longer then you plan to might not be a bad purchase if you have the spare coin for it.
No. 918104 ID: 5b93d3

A large quantity of paper, ink/pencils, and a good watertight case to keep them in. The key to a good expedition is to Write Down All The Things.
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