Dec 06, 2022 3:11 AM
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Prota implies they are done browsing for now. 

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"Well, I admit I'm very tempted by the kabobs, but I think I've spent enough money for now," you answer. "Who're you meeting?"

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Step 90

The person closest to the market is Matiar, the trader. She also sometimes sells items banned in cities and commissions Glint or others to smuggle them in. The prompt can proceed to the meeting with her. She scowls at Glint at first because of the deal that went awry, but Glint doesn't know what happened yet. He will be cheerful in his approach. 

[Matiar is an experienced trader with ties to the black market in several towns. She is decent in a fight and familiar with dangerous tasks, but has no magic. She has a scar on one eye from previous encounters on the road. She is mostly retired from long traveling trade, preferring to run the trading and smuggling network she's built up, but she still makes occasional trips to grow her network.] 

(Matiar's stall can mirror some of her features.) A wagon with practical tools and a shadowed interior. To further complete the threatening image, Matiar has a knife she's using to whittle. 

(How should the scene play out?) Matiar's anger at Glint is not yet understood by the Player. (Is there a way for the Player to engage with this scene?) Prota's presence might soften Matiar. She would not expect Glint to show up with a relative at all, let alone after stiffing her. Prota may be able to help defuse the tension somewhat. This requires that they prompt end on a tense note. It is okay to begin with a note of confusion, because this is an unpleasant surprise. 

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"Matiar's set up nearby," your uncle responds. "Tough as nails, that woman, and she knows every market within a hundred leagues of here inside and out, including the ones that don't exist. I ran jobs for her back in the day, so we're on good terms. I like to check in whenever I'm around, swap rumors and the like." 

Glint leads you past several colorful stalls and hawkers to an ancient but sturdy wagon bristling with weaponry, tools, and trail supplies. Canvas drapes over the frame, leaving the farther depths shadowed, as though anything at all might be inside. A grey-haired woman sits on the driving bench, whittling a block of yellow wood with a keen-edged bone-hilt dagger. 

"Hoy, Matiar," calls out Glint, swinging forward to the base of the wagon. "I'd like you to meet my niece, Emerald -"

The woman starts, then scowls at your uncle. "Glint, you gnarled old wastrel," she bites out, waving her whittling knife an inch from his nose. "How dare you show up here after that stunt you pulled!" 

Glint draws back in shock. 

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None. 

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"Wow, Uncle Glint, what did you do, hide in her shoes shaped like a scorpion?" I says, giggling nervously.

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Prota is half-joking. Prota may be trying to defuse the situation with humor. 

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"Wow, Uncle Glint, what did you do, hide in her shoes shaped like a scorpion?" you say, giggling nervously.

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Step 91

Glint is too nonplussed to appreciate it right now, but he would consider Prota's idea a potentially interesting prank. After mulling it over later, he might decide it's a bit too dangerous given how vulnerable scorpions are to crushing. [In casual conversation, Glint may later bring up Prota's idea to hide in someone's shoes in scorpion form, as a joke.] 

In the moment, Glint says he doesn't know what he did. Matiar jogs his memory by referencing "the Dagrelin job". [The Dagrelins were a wealthy family who wanted goods smuggled to them in Greward. They were killed by bandits after Glint delivered the goods.] 

(What might give the Player agency in this scene?) Maybe Prota heard about a family called the Dagrelins who were killed by bandits. In fact, this may be a rumor they picked up from Stala. (This gives the Player a tool, but its use is too obvious. What might complicate the interaction?) Maybe Prota did not hear specifically that they were killed by bandits, only that they set out along the Llerwood Way weeks ago. Is it realistic for Stala to have heard this rumor in Adwell? Possibly, if the Dagrelins were well-known enough for their departure from Greward to be the subject of gossip in gree-bound caravans. 

[Something induced the Dagrelins to leave Greward early. They may have left something behind, such as an abandoned home. What they did not sell or bring may be looted, but it could be a point of interest.] 

What set of circumstances led to Glint being blamed for non-delivery instead of the Dagrelins for non-payment? The family had an arrangement with Matiar whereby they would send a courier with half payment for a job, then send the second payment when the job was done. Matiar trusted the Dagrelins in this arrangement, but doesn't know they left Greward in a rush. She thinks they didn't receive the delivery. Why would Stala know the Dagrelins left, but Matiar not? Perhaps something happened to her go-between in Adwell during the uprising, and she's not getting the usual messages. She might not have met someone else visiting Clan Pratchett who knew about the Dagrelins and/or Matiar might not have asked that specific question. It should still come as a shock to her that she somehow missed the news. [One of Matiar's contacts in Adwell is missing, and might be found by Prota later.] (The Dagrelins may have left Greward, but this is still a fairly obvious logical leap. Can a more subtle approach be found?) Maybe Stala only heard the Dagrelins were selling off their furniture and preparing for a trip. Another piece of this puzzle can come from Prota - there are other Dagrelins in Orlake. 

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"I wish I knew," Glint gulps. 

"Is that right," snarls Matiar. "Thought you could get away with stiffing me, eh? Payment for the Dagrelin job never came through, Glint! Did you think you could walk away with the delivery? They never leave debts unpaid!" 

The name jogs something in your memory; during your conversation with Stala and his family, the traveler from Adwell mentioned the rumor that a wealthy and influential Greward family had started selling off their property as if preparing for an early migration. According to Stala, this was months ago. You're fairly sure "Dagrelin" was the name of the family. Come to think of it, you've also heard the name in the context of Orlake to the set - a smaller branch family, perhaps? 

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None. 

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"You were supposed to be delivering something to some Dagrelins? Which Dagrelins?" I ask Glint.

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Prota attempts to clarify whether Glint was working for the Orlake branch, Greward branch, or a different family by the same name. 

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"You were supposed to be delivering something to some Dagrelins? Which Dagrelins?" you ask Glint.

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Step 92

Glint was delivering to the Dagrelins in Greward. He answers truthfully, albeit confused. His face is still inches from Matiar's knife. (Tension and humor can come from Glint nearly cutting himself when he turns to reply to Prota). 

Matiar doesn't know Prota and has no grudge against them. She will wait, briefly, to see where this leads. 

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"Big Greward family," Glint responds, nearly nicking his nose on the knife as he shifts. "And I did deliver it!" 

Matiar shoots you a quizzical look. 

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None. 

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"And they... didn't pay Matiar after? - Matiar if Uncle Glint was the one who cheated you wouldn't he have avoided you -"

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Prota asks with some uncertainty if the Dagrelins were supposed to pay and didn't. Prota also points out that Glint would not have approached Matiar if he had deliberately ripped her off. The grammar used indicates a rapid-fire response. 

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You ask, "And they... didn't pay Matiar after?" To Matiar, you add quickly, "Matiar if Uncle Glint was the one who cheated you wouldn't he have avoided you?"

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Step 93

Prota makes a good point that gives Matiar pause. She clarifies the arrangement she had with the Dagrelins - half up front, the rest sent by courier upon delivery. It should be stressed that this is an unusual arrangement. By addressing Matiar directly, Prota has drawn the full attention of the trader. Emphasize Glint's role in the transaction as the deliverer of the goods, and that he was not always the one who returns with payment. 

Might Glint have gotten a receipt? Not necessarily - it is dangerous to keep a record of illegal activity. Anything that could clearly identify the Dagrelins could also be traced back to them by authorities. (In addition, a receipt would trivialize the challenge). Glint does know the family head by name, though. Glint is an active participant in the conversation, and he'll defend himself as best he can. He is incensed that Matiar was so quick to distrust him. 

The prompt can add some detail about the deal. What legal and/or illegal products might the Dagrelins order? If they were planning to leave town months ago, they might need watchbark for the road. They might have ordered more recreational substances in the past, but their focus now would be on a safe migration. 

(Prota has gotten Matiar talking rather than threatening, but further conversation is needed to fully defuse the tension.) Matiar is not yet convinced that it was the Dagrelins who stiffed her. 

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"Not if he knew what's good for him..." Matiar answers slowly, eyeing you with new interest. "Most deals are one-time," she clarifies for your benefit, "but the Dagrelins and I had an arrangement. They send a request by courier with a pre-payment, I send the goods by trusted means," she shoots a glare at your uncle, "and after receipt, they send the rest of the payment with a second courier. A courier who never came. I've not known the Dagrelins to leave a debt unpaid - " 

"And I have?" Glint retorts. "I don't know what changed, but after I gave Pietro Dagrelin his watchbark and sundries, he told me they'd handle payment the usual way. I haven't been back to Greward since." 

Matiar's eyes narrow. 

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[The head of the Dagrelin family in Greward was named Pietro.]

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"Maybe the courier got waylaid, or just sick or injured - if they didn't just decide to run off with the money - do they send whole caravans, or are we talking about individuals -"

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Prota's question may be addressing either Glint or Matiar. Their comment is aimed at suggesting a plausible alternative to Matiar. 

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