An adventuring party recruited from Osirion teleports into Azir on the 8th of Desnus. Rahadoum's recruiting contact in Osirion wrote ahead to note they were expected. Couple of guys he's known a long time - a wizard, a ranger - and a new guy, sorcerer, probably to replace the cleric they usually travel with. They spend two days in Azir getting oriented and head out to the front. The ranger wears an unusually high quality amulet of Nondetection; the sorcerer wears a headband for intelligence, which is a bit unusual as sorcerers usually don't need it to cast, but some variants do; they are otherwise unremarkable. Chaotic Good, Lawful Neutral, no reading, which could mean neutral or 'hiding it'. They work quickly and effectively, manage resources reasonably well, get recommended to higher-ups for a closer look on that account.
Mama Raine bulls her way through, glaring as well. They manage to reach a tavern.
However, several uniformed City Watch officers are currently out front, apprehending a ginger-haired, ruddy-complexioned man who seems to be trying to talk his way out of it, but with a sheepish, guilty expression and an obvious lack of success.
Mama Raine barges in. There is shouting.
"- What do you mean, arrested on gambling charges?" she barks. "You hand him back to me right now - I'll box his ears for you, promise, but we're shopping for a contract here, this young dearie needs her country saved."
The Guard officers are not having it. Or, at least, they are set on dragging Mama Raine's mage to the watch house and then maybe he can be remanded back to Mama Raine's tender mercy. Later today.
Mama Raine argues for a while and then flings up her hands. "Fine! We'll pick him up in a candlemark. Where's Pioter?"
Pioter is apparently still upstairs in the tavern, having not been arrested on gambling charges and having wisely kept his head down rather than go down with his fellow mage.
They go upstairs.
Pioter is friendly and pleasant and very chatty - and also, as it turns out five minutes into the conversation, does not know how to do Gates; he's a weak Master-level mage and he's spent his entire career specializing in flashy combat and thus doesn't have great control. Possibly he could get one of his fellow mages to teach him the spell on short notice, if she's going to give them that much gold, but he doesn't think he's strong enough to do that many or that far.
They trek there, fortunately it's a smaller city than most in Cheliax and doesn't take that long, but it is getting very hot and humid.
The father's wife answers. Apparently Ratek and his fiancée are shopping for wedding apparel in the nice part of town. Mama Raine thanks the lady gruffly and forges off with Ramira in that direction.
Ramira knows Endure Elements but she didn't prepare it this morning because no one told her this morning there was going to be a war which would involve mercenary recruiting in another country. Instead she will suffer. She reminds herself that it is a taste of the world to come, and you get used to that.
They find the Adept mage and his girlfriend at a fancy shoe store. The streets in this part of town are cleaner and there are no beggars in alleyways.
Ratek seems pretty distracted by the burden of organizing a wedding. "Yes, what do you want?" His girlfriend is flushed and beaming and hanging off his arm.
Ratek hears her out and seems sympathetic to her plight and also very, very tempted by the promise of help with wedding expenses; he keeps glancing at all the clearly very expensive stores on the block.
His sweetheart, however, is almost hysterical about the prospect of her beloved going off to help with a WAR which might be DANGEROUS and he could DIE on the eve of their wedding! She doesn't want him to do that at all! She's spent the last three years worried sick about him every time the company went off on a contract and he PROMISED he was done with that life and they could settle down and have a civilized, safe, comfortable life in the city!
Gah - She's from another world. Her magic doesn't work like theirs; she doesn't know exactly how theirs does work but she can demonstrate Tongues, which is about to run out anyway. And she can demonstrate that there is more gold in her Bag of Holding than ought to fit in there, she hasn't seen anything like that in this city yet and maybe they don't have it. Different world, different magic, including resurrections, perfectly standard term of a contract, see, it's mentioned in some of the sample contracts she has on hand.
Wow, huh, all of that seems pretty convincing even though it's also absurd, and Ratek is starting to look tempted again and his fiancée is placated by the ridiculous amount of gold and looking hopefully across the street at a dress store.
- and then a little boy comes tearing down the street. "Hey pretty lady sorry to bother you can you please please hold this for me for a bit I'll be right back–" and he shoves a bag into her hands and keeps running.
They start discussing contract terms, with the active cooperation of Ratek's sweetheart -
- and then the City Watch shows up again, five of them, with an angry shopkeeper on their heels, and they break up the conversation and start loudly accusing Ramira of stealing jewelry, gesturing at the bag she's holding, one of them has cuffs and wants to cuff her right then and there and haul her off to the watchhouse.
Oh, good, she's glad someone came to pick up the jewelry, she was worried there was something suspicious going on there but leaving it in the middle of the street seemed worse. She's been engaged in contract negotiations for mages all morning and been with people the whole time and also obviously wouldn't have stolen anything because there are five hundred pounds of gold in her cargo bag, but it makes sense they'd want to clear things up, do they have truth magic?