A funny thing happened at the theater
16 Eleint - 5 days from Brightswords.
As we wake up in the morning, Zephyr finds a goodbye note from Gwen. I checked her room, which was emptied of all her belongings. It seems that Gwen is gone for at least some time. Over the last few days, Gwen had been sullen and withdrawn. She was transparently changing the subject every time Octavia's name came up.
During breakfast, a tinking sound on a nearby window drew my attention and it was a paper bird! I opened the window and as I said hello, it flew past me toward Vivi. It was a request for Vivi to meet someone named
Mirt at intermission of the opera at the Lightringer Theater tonight in Sea Ward. The note was referred by Renaer and sealed with a Harper symbol.
Our work and adventuring clothes were clearly not going to suffice - we went and had clothes custom tailored for us.
I went to scout the theater, accompanied by Zephyr. The opera is The Beast's Struggle, which starts at sundown.
At sundown, I was able stroll into the theater with nothing but confidence. Zephyr and Vivi got stopped by the ticket-takers though. I used Mask of Many Faces to disguise myself as an usher and pretended that I had their tickets and box ready for them. The lie easily got them inside as well.
As much as I want to trust Renaer, I'm not fully convinced that this note came from him or that this meeting will be safe. We agreed to stay together for the meeting at intermission if nothing else.
Vivi recognizes Victorio and Alanter Caselanter looking out of sorts.
We make our way to the balcony and find Box C, which has eight seats: two rows of four. The box is spacious and seems relatively private. There's already a guest in the box, enveloping the entire rear left seat and wearing hat with an enormous feather. I silently take the back right seat, Vivi and Zeph take the two seats in front of me. The first act of the opera is enthralling for Vivi and I but Zeph is left a weepy mess, she's so moved by it.
At the intermission, the person - we assume, Mirt - addressed Vivi from right next to her. We all tried to cover our surprise that he was able to move there without us noticing.
I pulled out a copper piece and circle its edges to cast Detect Thoughts: his surface thoughts are curiosity, unassuredness and pure delight - like a parent watching their child take their first steps.
He says that he can teach Vivi to move past her assumptions by joining his organization but didn't want to say what it was. "Words are our weapons and knowledge our whetstone." His test for Vivi is to find someone they've been seeking for some time. He offers 100 gold for Vivi and 50 gold for any others to complete the job. The man places his hand on Vivi's and she palms something metal and irregularly-shaped that he places there.
The job is find and talk to a specific horse - one that can speak the common tongue should it choose - Maxime the Mare. It will only choose to speak with one of his ilk. She pulls a dray around the city. He needs us to ask about the Zhentarim.