Expository Phase

Blank: "Huh. You guys again? When did the rest of Tantalus get so lazy? Well, anyway, thanks for showing. This is what I've got for you."

The red-haired beltmaster tosses down a folder onto the table in front of him.

Blank: "Listed here are some people or families of interest here in Lindblum, past or present. There are blank dossiers inside if you guys don't mind filling those out. Basically, I think there's more to these guys than there seems to be. Go ahead and have a look."

The requested list involves the following people:

Lord Alwyn Warner Aitchison
The Kisaragi noble family
Albert Damcyan
The Wandering Swordsman, Siegfried
Aspiring Artist Michael
Lowell Bridges

Blank: "Use whatever means you like to get information about these people. You can probably find addresses and such at the Census Office, but other than that it's up to you. I'd have gotten them for you, buuut… there was an incident a bit back with me and Cinna, and the boss said he doesn't want to see us anywhere near that place. Anyway, thanks."

Input Phase

What do?

Amaryllis approaches the Kisaragi mansion with an offer of an exchange of stories: her knowledge of myth, lore, and the history of Lindblum for the tales of their family and any myths or legends they find important to themselves. If asked at all about why she's there or making such an offer, she briefly explains her history with House Aitchison and explains her intent to rebuild the mansion - and hence her desire to understand those who Lord Alwyn once called his neighbors so she can put to rest the nagging guilt of never having understood Lord Alwyn's life much outside of the tutelage he offered.
[04:12:11] <+DiceMaid-9001> castfromhp, well here's the base roll anyway with another +2 on top if faith applies: 17 [2d6=4,5]
(perform check)

Assuming this guy is actually wandering, and doesn't really have an address, Theta hits the theater district, asking around if anyone has seen this Siegfried wandering around. His line of thought seemed based around that if this guy were an actual swordsman, his 'act' would stand out as being very authentic to the residents and regulars of the district. He inquires on where this guy seems to frequent or might even be staying. If anyone finds his interest suspicious, he retorts that he is a bit of a smithy himself and might have wares such an individual would find interesting.

Lenore thinks that investigating art would be a cool idea! She starts asking people around about Michael and how good his stuff is and things like that! Maybe she'll hear something interesting? Or maybe she'll just find out how to find him!
[13:56] <+DiceMaid-9001> Aori_Radidjiu, Inquiry to get info on Aspiring Artist Michael~: 9 [2d6=3,2]

Celina joins Lenny to grab info on Michael by means of posing as fangirls posing as models. WE INCEPTION NOW. Anyway:
[16:42] <+DiceMaid-9001> Miyuki, perform: 15 [2d6=4,2]
[16:42] <@Aori_Radidjiu> 2d6+4+2 Acting
[16:42] <+DiceMaid-9001> Aori_Radidjiu, Acting: 18 [2d6=6,6]

Expository Phase

Ammy finds that the Kisaragis are delighted by her stores and are glad to share some information about themselves, and their culture..

Theta's straight forward tactics elicit both rejection by red mage girls who thought he was hitting on them, but also a bit of pointing in the right direction. He's told that Siegfried is a somewhat familiar face around town, if anything for the reason that he sticks out like a sore thumb. The man is an eight-foot swordsman in bronze armor with a blue cape, and therefore a bit hard to miss. Because of the man's sheer size, he reportedly sleeps outdoors instead of inside inns. He was last seen seeking information about a bright purple octopus and almost carved up some poor cosplayer (what the fuck is a cosplayer?). He's also known for being a rather potent fighter and a favorite for the upcoming Festival of the Hunt, though it's unknown if he even intends to enter. He should still be around if you look hard enough…

Lenore finds out a little bit of information on Michael! Apparently the guy's been an 'aspiring artist' for a decade now, but his work is fairly popular. For some unknown reason this fact actually irritates him. He's known to have a on and off friendship with the actor Lowell Bridges, and is very single-minded about his work, to the point where he once stated he was glad the Mist returned briefly to the continent ten years ago, because he hadn't finishes his series of Mist landscapes. Said landscapes have now reached impressive prices worth hundreds of thousands of gil and have only been rising. So why isn't the artist satisfied?

The two of you approach his studio in the theater district, posing as models, and he instantly ushers you inside. He's a man of his late twenties with brown hair and green eyes, and an eccentric painter's smock. He doesn't ask you to pose nude, thankfully. What self-respecting artist would do that? Though you notice something startling as you take turns - Lenore's portrait, finished from the waist up, takes a file out of her hairclip and files her fingernails while waiting for the rest of her body to be finished, while Celina's seems irritated that it's not done yet, glaring out at the rest of the room. It seems the painter… can actually bring his paintings to life! Oh dear, what is this?

Input Phase

Theta, Celina, Lenore, the initiative is on you!

Theta starts to track around town for the giant man, and after finding him attempts to inquire on just what this octopus did to deserve being hunted, and why he's taken on such a task. Depending on his answer, Theta might have some ideas or advice for him.
[23:44] <zoofman> 2d6+5 scootin' n' rootin'
[23:44] <+DiceMaid-9001> zoofman, scootin' n' rootin': 11 [2d6=5,1]

Celina and Lenore, incapable of going anywhere without WACKY HIJINX, recall a portrait of the Eidolon Starlet that's been making a splash in the news recently, and ask Michael to try his hand at one too!

[14:53] <@Aori_Radidjiu> 2d6+4 Negotiation roll~
[14:53] <+DiceMaid-9001> Aori_Radidjiu, Negotiation roll~: 16 [2d6=6,6]
[14:53] <@Aori_Radidjiu> HAHAHA OH WOW
[14:54] <Anise`> 2d6+4 in b4 fail
[14:54] <+DiceMaid-9001> Anise`, in b4 fail: 12 [2d6=2,6]

Ammy will head to the theatre district's performance halls with the intention of finding which plays Lowell Bridges had recently acted in, if any, and what upcoming performances he will appear in. She'll pose as an aspiring actress and try to worm her way into audition sites Lowell might be at or observing due to being part of the cast. She also keeps her eyes peeled for mobs of fangirls, since their squealing may be an easy shortcut to finding the guy. If that happens, she'll offer to help the poor sap escape with her twilight spell and tag along.

Exposition Phase

Theta finds Siegfried rather easily once looking for a man matching the description. He is sitting next to a barrel with a fire burning inside of it, roasting a skinned Mu on a small spit. The murderhobo is surprisingly at ease with telling random strangers all about his quest, and informs Theta that the octopus in question is in fact Ultros, a monster that has claimed to be an eidolon. In concert with his partner in crime, a creature of wind named Typhon, or Chupon (Siegfried isn't quite sure which), they have been terrorizing any city with a waterfront. Siegfried has sworn to exact justice on this creature by any means necessary, owing to its numerous crimes, including sexual harassment, vandalism, petty panty theft, grand larceny, insulting of a government official, assault of a government official, impersonation of a government official, general excessive mayhem and nonpayment of debt up to 500,000 gil. Siegfried insinuates he'll be leaving Lindblum soon and searching in Treno next. As for the why, Siegfried explains that he is a vagrant knight, no longer with any liege to call master. It is for this reason he takes up bounties, quests, and other such tasks in order to give meaning to his life.

Michael is actually a bit excited when you mention it, saying that it was he who originally painted Starlet. He admits that, however, that said portrait is unique and cannot be replicated.. But he will try something regardless! He begins to paint, inspired, the canvas taking on the form of a window as Lenore and Celina's portraits go quiet. He explains his art quietly, that his paintings are not truly alive but simply enchanted by his brush magic. They require Michael to truly capture the essence of someone on canvas while inspired, and afterward can speak, answer questions like the person they resemble, or even briefly leave the canvas to use a technique, but are not truly autonomous. He can make landscapes have passing clouds and flocks of birds, and running rivers, or a sweeping wind through tree boughs. Others, like his friend Lowell Bridges, have badgered him endlessly about trying to bring his talents to other mediums but he is interested only in painting. He mentions again, however, that the painting of Starlet was unique, though he doesn't specify. His painting takes shape, a beautiful woman posing modestly at another window in her tiny room, not facing towards the canvas. At least, initially. The paint begins to move as colors are added, the beauty stands, stretches, and turns. Past her through the other window you can see a beautiful mansion, though the details are rather hard to make out at their size. The woman of oil and canvas smiles from her position, approaching the canvas. "My, my, it has been some time, my dear Michael." a melodic voice coos…

Well THAT'S easy, Ammy, Lowell Bridges played the part of Anthony Wellington in Melodies of Life, the play you guys JUST saw. He was the one that got the girl in the end, remember? Though he seems to be absent, wherever you look. People you talk with seem to imply he used to be mega-popular, but his middle age has reduced the number of his fans. For the past ten years, he's been working with Ruby of Tantalus in her theater projects, and her minitheaters have proven to be a huge success in Alexandria. The two apparently have an on and off romantic relationship, the rival for Ruby's affections being… Blank. Oh dear.

Input Phase

With few other leads available, Ammy's gonna try to get her hands on a script of Melodies of Life and then head to find Ruby wherever she is among Tantalus's locations and see if Lowell is hanging around nearby. If not, she'll ask Ruby about him, his performance in Melodies of Life and how it was he came to be part of regular Tantalus productions, etc and if the man will be around for things like the improv theatre she hosts. (Maybe she should have checked with Blank before all this, but this is what the man gets for not being open with his potential ulterior motives)

Ammy's addendum for the Kisaragis: She returns to the mansion a time later with a small platter of her food in tow, intending to share with the family and talk about cuisines, exchanging recipes if they're open to it. She also tries to engage them in discussion of more aspects of their old culture: their philosophical ideas, their views on morality, their cosmology. If asked, she shares and explains her own narrative-centric cosmology. She also asks more about their people's relationship with Leviathan, and about the gods Raijin and Fuujin.

Theta's last questions for Siegfried before wishing him luck on his hoboventures are who his former master was and how he came to be masterless. After wishing him luck with that, he asks if he DOES learn anything of this Ultros jerk how to get ahold of him, let alone any other tasks that'll be of interest to him. After that he heads over to the noble district to look for the Damcyan estate, or, at least, see what he can learn about it.

Lenore is pretty excited to meet Starlet! She tells Michael how awesome he is, and then the questions start just poooouring forth! Does she have a pact? If she does, is it with Michael? If she doesn't, would she be willing to form one? Could she talk more about herself and what she does? What's her relationship with other Eidolons? Lenore's pretty happy to meet her, regardless~! Celina, meanwhile, asks Starlet if she knows anything about recovering or healing an Eidolon's memories or stories, and if she knows anything about Carbuncle personally. If she hasn't heard about Notbuncle yet, she swears her to secrecy before explaining what's going on.

Expository Phase

Ruby sets you down with a cup of tea, and is glad to oblige a friend of a friend, giving you a script. She mentions Lowell isn't a regular member of Tantalus, and that he was just guest starring on her request. He actually acts in and manages the mini-theater she owns in Alexandria, now. They met around ten years ago, and back then he was a rather arrogant man full of pride, and an absolute pain in the ass to get along with, but eventually he warmed up, and they started getting along. Seems like he'll be returning to Alexandria rather soon and not a part of the improv theater production. Oh, and his role in Melodies of Life? He and Blank apparently argued for days about which one of them would be Cedric and which would be Anthony, finally settling it with Lowell flipping a coin. Lowell won, securing the part of Anthony, and though Blank grudgingly went along with it, he still holds a resentment for some reason… odd when Ruby recalls Blank has played Cedric before in past performances, with Marcus as Anthony.

From the Kisaragis you get a few recipes for things like green tea, various seafood delicacies, foods with lots of rice, sweet deserts made from bread and cookie dough, tips for fermenting soybeans, and an odd paste made from the root of a plant that you didn't know was edible. As far as culture, philosophy, etc goes, it seems quite a few of the people of Wu believed in reincarnation in a sense - that the souls of living things would be reborn as other living things, like animals or people again. A bit of an unpopular opinion at the time was that the beastpeople races like hippos and fishmen were reincarnated from those animals. They also believed in the concept of karma, cause and effect, action and reaction -which also flavored their morality- , and also in the concept of enlightenment, the process of seeking spiritual perfection. The people of Wu, oddly enough, did not seem to have creation myths, save perhaps the idea that this world was born from a world before such as their beliefs of reincarnation are. Raijin and Fuujin were supposed to be minor kami, or gods, in their belief, controlling lightning and wind, and quite rarely having an association with Inari, hermaphrodite god of fertility and earth. It's a bit unusual, they weren't major beings or anything, just kind of acknowledged as existing, whether they did or not. Leviathan however, was a different story altogether. He was the major god of their people, providing nourishment from the waters in the form of fish and life-giving fluids, and quenching fires from the earth that apparently plagued the area at the time. The water shrine was there when the people of Wu moved in, but it soon became a temple of Leviathan. Perhaps the elegance of the shrine for a single god displeased the other kami enough that they never showed. In any case, the battle against the Genji was the first and last time the people of Wu saw the great serpent in person apparently.

Siegfried mentions his masters were the enigmatic Lord and Lady Rook of Treno, who he seems hesitant to divulge information on due to their aforementioned enigmatic status. His dismissal revolved around him being blamed for the theft of something precious from their daughter, which to this day he assures his innocence. Disgraced and shamed, he also wanders to find the thief that framed him those years ago, and restore his honor. He has, in particular, been pursuing a rumor in earnest that someone has been impersonating him. As for staying in contact, 'as the moogle flies' should be sufficient. The status of Ultros or the imposter are the only things on his mind at present, and he thanks you, wishing you well. Damcyan, by the way, is a completely different story. His family greets you in mourning clothes, telling you that Albert Damcyan was murdered almost a week ago when he took a walk by himself. The suspected killer was found dead, his body next to Mr. Damcyan's own, both with multiple stab wounds. The other man, identified by the guard as a shifty burglar named the Lone Wolf, held a bloody knife, and so the guards suspect it was a murder-suicide rather than a double homicide. Albert's wife tells you that she doesn't know why Wolf went after her husband, that the Damcyan family was a lineage of poets, musicians and artists descended from a fallen king from the Vube Desert. They own a number of properties and interests in the Theater District, and there should have been no reason at all that Wolf would have confronted her husband, killed him, then killed himself. Even the guards think the case is somewhat suspect but they have no other leads at this time.

The painting smiles warmly at you and answers your questions one by one. She does not have a pact, but she would be willing to form one - eventually, not at the current time. She introduces herself as Lakshmi the Starlet, and identifies as being associated with wealth, beauty, courage, luck, fertility… a number of positive qualities, really, to which she admits she thinks she isn't entirely worthy of. She is a singer and a dancer, and in association with others she has been mother, teacher, lover, and friend to both humans and eidolons, and Michael is one of her few students these days. Currently, she resides within a magic portrait until the day she's once again needed. As for Celina's questions, she suggests that the eidolon should visit places that were important to them or their summoners, or places associated with the crystals. She thinks a moment, then further mentions she has heard of a fountain that can restore what is lost - be it memories, limbs, loved ones, or youth. Though… she has no idea if the place is real or not. It supposedly existed during a time when the forgotten continent was thick with exotic life, a dense forest known as a jungle. She did indeed know Carbuncle, by the way. The two were friends long ago. Starlet asks how she's been, though she infers from the conversation that she was the one who lost her memories. What a pity… She wishes you the best of luck in your search, and she's very horrified when she learns of Dark Carbuncle, though she also mentions she knows what it's like to have a twin you don't see eye to eye with.

Reward Phase

When you get back to the hideout, Blank isn't alone. Pretty much the entirety of Tantalus has gathered. Baku, Blank, Marcus, Cinna, Ruby, Eiko, Bunce, Lucella, and the three Nero brothers… What's this all about?

Ruby: "Well, we just wanted to see y'all off! Y'all are leavin' soon, right?"
Marcus: "You guys have done a lot of thankless work for us. You have our gratitude."
Blank: "Didn't mean for this to be a show, but guess it can't be helped."
Eiko handhips. "You all weren't going to get away without a goodbye, y'know!"
Bunce is kind of awkward, shuffling up and handing Natalie a note. "Yeah, uh, good luck out there, you guys."
Lucella: "Watch out for the bad guys~"
Cinna: "We won't ever forget how you all pitched in!"

Baku steps forward, with something wrapped in cloth. "That said, we'd like to make you guys honorary members of Tantalus, GWA HA HA HA. Our doors are always open to ya. An' here, take this. Blank was going to give you one of his old blades but I think this'll serve you all better." He unwraps the cloth, revealing a single golden glove. "This is the Hand of Tantalus! It's magical and all that kinda stuff, you'll figure it out. Gwahahaha!" He passes it over. "Our acquisition of that is how we got our name in the first place. You guys'll use it well, I bet!"

Blank: "…Hold it. It was my job to begin with and I wouldn't feel right not pitching in some, at least. Here." he tosses over something blue and shiny. "This is a piece of a Learning Crystal. Do whatever with it."

Received 10 AP!
Received Learning Fragment!
Received Hand of Tantalus!

Hand of Tantalus - Tier 4 Omni. Omni, Overdrive, Custom, Tantalizing.

Omni - This weapon seems to store several golden weapons within which can be called forth with some effort. As Gemini, but the user may select any two weapon types (except Dual Wielding) when combat starts.

Custom - The Hand of Tantalus works differently in different hands. It confers the following properties:

Theta - +2 Nature
Ammy - +2 Mercantile
Celina - +2 Perform
Natalie - +2 Thievery
Lenore - +2 Acting

Tantalizing - The wielder of this weapon experiences a slow, gnawing hunger and thirst simultaneously, and cannot benefit (or even be satiated) by Food. The weapon may have properties up to +2 above the weapon's tier and this property does not count against the maximum properties of the weapon.