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Author Topic: Top Secret Investigation: Making Squash with Selinda  (Read 2514 times)

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Top Secret Investigation: Making Squash with Selinda
« on: November 16, 2013, 11:16:39 PM »
A Tranquil Meditation Room of Ivory Stone
A small, octagonal meditation room is here, carved into the seamless white
stone.  A diffuse, warm glow emanates from the stone and the ceiling, which is
etched with an eight-pointed star that touches each corner of the room.  A
faint smell of incense hangs in the air, which is quite cool and still.  A
sigil of a stylized wyvern painted in gold shines from each of the seven
walls, adding to the illumination.  A dull, pulsating hum resonates through
the tunnel at times, beginning and ending in the crackle of static.  A doorway
with an arched top opens toward a staircase in the tunnel to the east. 


[Exits: east]
     A single sheet of paper lies here.
     Octagonal mats stitched with wyverns fill the meditation room.
Toukaj the Lodestone, Compass of the Nexus is here.
(Translucent) Imbria the Tempest, Compass of the Nexus is here.


Toukaj says in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'What is the current aim?  Are we going to investigate any of the ideas listed or try something else?'

You say to Toukaj in common 'I would like to open one of them up! Hopefully they do not get upset over it and harm us.'

Toukaj says in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'I am not sure where Large Cat Kedi is, but he would surely be glad to help chop one open.'

Imbria says to Toukaj in common, raising her hand, 'I was going to ask the lady at the greenhouse! She has to know more about plants than us, yeah?'

Imbria says to Toukaj in common 'Ask her things like.. is this normal for pumpkins and why is it cheeping and stuff!'

Toukaj says to Imbria in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'I am fairly sure it is not normal!  I wonder if we could do both at once, yes.'

You say in common 'I would like Kedi there in case something like a dragon comes out and cheeps us to death!'

Toukaj says in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'Acquire a specimen and bring it to her to analyse.'

Imbria says to Toukaj in common, thoughtfully, 'That'd be the most ideal, yeah. You think we'll be able to uh, get a pumpkin like that?'

Toukaj says in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'What is the plan then?  [To take them to the lady in the greenhouse?']

You say to Toukaj in common 'Let's take one to Selinda in the greenhouse and then see if she thinks it would be safe to keep one [somewhere safe]!'

Toukaj says to you in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'That is a good compromise!  We can wait for Large Cat Kedi to chop one open to see, if that becomes an option.'

Imbria says to you in common, humming, 'You're sure that you can't do anything with them? You can make like- fruits to eat, yeah? Have you ever made pumpkins?'

You say in common 'We could always try and open one between ourselves. I would prefer a large group though...'

You say to Imbria in common 'I have never made pumpkins! They are not very delicious. I have no great insight having to do with them in particular.'

Imbria says in common 'Well! Let's go talk to uh- Seylinda first?'

You utter the words, 'portal'.
You draw upon the power of a dull, hexagonal crystal.
A dull, hexagonal crystal flares brightly and vanishes!
A shimmering gate rises up before you.

Imbria (and company) enters a shimmering gate.

The Flower Beds at the Back of the Greenhouse
A lawn of newly-sprouted grass covers the spongy, tamped-down soil in this
part of a warm greenhouse.  Beds of darker soil filled with oleander,
buttercups, peonies, and crocuses form a grid at the center of the area.  Pots
of orchids fill staggered shelves by the walls of the greenhouse overlooking
Huron Street to the north and Eastwall Street to the east.  Iron linkers join
the thick panes as they curve upward like the bars of a bird cage.  Shears,
trowels, flower pots, and burlap sacks of manure occupy a metal rack by the
door to the west that exits to a small garden in the lot between buildings. 


[Exits: south (west)]
     A dull green tendril of vine extends into the street here.
(Translucent) Imbria the Tempest, Compass of the Nexus is here.
Selinda wanders here with a basket, tending to the flowers.


Toukaj says in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'I suppose we could ask without a specimen, yes.'

You say to Toukaj in common 'I am sure she has passed one! They are hard to miss in the street.'

Toukaj says to you in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'That is true, yes.'

Imbria says to Selinda in common, as she waves wildly, 'Hi! Hello- er, are you currently free for a few questions?'

Selinda says to Imbria in common 'I don't normally get visitors this late. What do you need?'

Imbria says to Selinda in common, rubbing the back of her head, 'Yeah I guess that's true- but at least there are fewer customers at this hour so we wouldn't be interfering-'

Imbria says to Selinda in common 'You're a lovely plant specialist, so we were wondering if you had any insight into the pumpkins that are infesting Seria!'

Selinda says to Imbria in common, thoughtfully, 'Well, they do seem to be a hardy breed of pumpkin, don't they? I can't say I've ever been big on cultivating gourds though...'

Toukaj says to Selinda in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'Do you think they are dangerous?  They are cheeping and wiggling like they are more alive than usual!'

Toukaj says in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'We were not sure if plants could do magic.'

Imbria says to Selinda in common, as she deflates, 'Yeah? It's just- they make these cheeping sounds and stuff so we were wondering if you knew any enchantment or anything that'd make them do that.'

Imbria nods at Toukaj.

You say to Toukaj in common 'Some plants are seemingly alive! Like mantraps. Maybe these are a mantrap-like gourd plant.'

Selinda says to Imbria in common 'Well... I heard from some seed dealers that there are plants in the Ishon that move on their own.'

Selinda says in common, vaguely horrified, 'Oh dear! I hope there hasn't been cross-breeding! The Ishon breeds are dreadfully difficult to weed out!'

Imbria says to Selinda in common, slowly, '..So you think they might be from the Ishon? Erm- you think we can maybe obtain a sample so you can uh- poke at it here?'

Toukaj says to you in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'I do not recall seeing gourds in the Ishon, but half-razorvine, half-pumpkin plants sound most vicious.'

Selinda says to Imbria in common 'Absolutely not! If they flower it'll be the death of the greenhouse!'

You say to Toukaj in common 'Maybe they crossed, yes. But that still doesn't explain why they are cheeping with faces.'

Toukaj says to Selinda in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'Ah!  Then we will have to dissect one where they cannot take root, yes.'

Imbria says to Selinda in common, sheepishly, 'Right, right. Would you uh- condescend to coming with us then? Maybe? I mean, we /really/ don't have your kind of expertise..'

Selinda says to Toukaj in common 'This... might be acceptable. I can probably identify the parent breeds from the seeds alone.'

Selinda says to Imbria in common 'I guess that'd be okay. I just have to be sure that I don't bring any contamination back here.'

Imbria says in common, clapping her hands, 'Good! Yay!'

Imbria says to you in common 'Which one would be the best? The one in the center?'

You say to Toukaj in common 'So we need to get the seeds, yes. Should we wait for Kedi's cleavage?'

Toukaj nods his head twice in rapid succession.

Toukaj mulls a bit.

Toukaj says to Selinda in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'What is your name?'

You say to Imbria in common 'Yes! The one that was cheeping at us a lot I think.'

Selinda says in common 'Whichever vine has the largest specimen would be best.'

Selinda motions toward herself.
Selinda says in common 'I am known as Selinda.'

Imbria motions toward herself.
Imbria says in common 'I am known as Imbria Valenn the Tempest, Compass of the Nexus.'

Toukaj motions toward himself.
Toukaj says in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'I am known as Toukaj the Lodestone, Compass of the Nexus.'

You motion towards yourself.
You say in common 'Hello! I am Alarac Cordonte, Torch of the Nexus!'

Selinda says in common, with a nod of her head, 'A pleasure to meet all of you.'
Imbria beams delightedly.

Toukaj says to Selinda in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'We will be sure they do not spread to your greenhouse, yes.  It is important to find out if they are dangerous even!'

<walking!>

Imbria skips to a stop as she almost trips on a lumpy, dark green pumpkin with a curled vine. She peers at it.

Toukaj grabs the back of Imbria's robe to steady her.

Alarac eyes a lumpy, dark green pumpkin with a curled vine and uses the blunt end of his trident to prod at it.

The dark green rind of this pumpkin is covered in hundreds of bumpy lumps that
give the sphere-like shape a deformed appearance.  While most of the pumpkin
is randomly mishappen, one side is contorted into an almost puckered,
face-like appearance.  A broad, hand-shaped leaf attached to the pumpkin's
curled vine casts shade over the pumpkin, the shadows giving the impression of
a face deeper definition. 

Selinda says in common, crossing her arms, 'I'm not sure if this is the largest pumpkin I've seen. It's kind of... tiny.'

A lumpy, dark green pumpkin with a curled vine wobbles from side to side with a soft cheeping sound.

Imbria says to Selinda in common, as she points at the pumpkin, 'See! It does /that/.'

Selinda says in common, crossing her arms, 'Okay. That is most certainly not how normal pumpkins behave.'

Selinda says to Imbria in common 'Are you sure this isn't some sort of Tower mishap?'

Imbria says to Selinda in common, mournfully, 'We thought of that but aren't Tower mishaps generally all about things like.. explosions and flashy bangs and rearranging the landscape?'

Toukaj says to Selinda in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'Usually they take credit for it quickly, yes.  They are most infamous for it.'

Toukaj says to Selinda in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'The Nexus has been in the Tower and has not seen any evidence of plant magic.  The apprentices are mostly on vacation now.'

Selinda says in common, tilting her head, 'Is that so? Well...  I guess if it isn't the Tower's fault then... crack this one open so I can examine the seeds. Though, it doesn't seem to be very mature. The seeds might not be obvious.'

Imbria says to Selinda in common, pointing west, 'Let me take you to the one in the center then! It might be bigger? Hopefully!'

<more walking>

The Inner Circle of the Serian Center Square
Four slate gray planters shaped like half arcs form an incomplete circle
separating the fountain area from the corners of the square.  Yellow and
purple pansies fill each vessel to the brim, spilling out over the edges in a
display of color.  Russet flagstones cover the ground in a circular design
that radiates outwards toward the distant parts of the square.  The sky above
is open, though the tallest boughs of trees frame the northwest, northeast,
southwest, and southeast.  Paths lead out of the square in the cardinal
directions, heading toward the city's main streets. 


[Exits: north east south west]
     A white marble fountain is here, topped with a pynium statue.
     (Glowing) A tall, wrought-iron lamp topped with a glass bauble stands here.
     A bench made of wood and wrought iron sits beside the fountain.
     An open book lies on a white marble podium beside the fountain.
     Several warty, pale green pumpkins huddle in a bunch on a vine here.
     A patch of broad-leaved vines sprawls through most of the circle.
Toukaj the Lodestone, Compass of the Nexus is here.
(Translucent) Imbria the Tempest, Compass of the Nexus is here.
Selinda has arrived from the east.

Selinda kneels at the edge of the vine patch to examine the pumpkin.

Imbria looks consideringly down at a warty, pale green pumpkin then east.

Selinda says in common 'This one seems a bit... different.'

Selinda says in common 'And certainly much bigger.'

Toukaj says to Selinda in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'It is a funny color.'

Toukaj says in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'The other one was darker!'

You say to Selinda in common 'Clearly very magical! Maybe it has magical seeds too. Could we just split it open without damaging them much?'

Imbria says to Selinda in common 'It still cheeps! And then wriggles and stuff- er. Do you need a knife?'

A sprawling patch of blooming vines rustles its leaves in an alarmed sort of manner.

Selinda says to you in common 'Pumpkins always contain many seeds, so you should be able to---'

Selinda edges back a few steps away from the vine patch.

Toukaj says in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'It occurs to me that the plants are able to hear us!'

Imbria says in common, as she lowers her voice into a loud whisper, 'But- but normal plants can't do that, can they!?'

Selinda says to Toukaj in common, frowning, 'Plants simply do not have ears. The most they can do is communicate simply and... they certainly do not actually make sounds.'

You say to Toukaj in common 'I do not speak pumpkin, though! How do we know what to do with it if we can't split it open or talk?'

Toukaj pushes past Selinda and scoots closer to the patch.

The leaves rustle again, a bit more loudly, conveying an indignant sort of timbre.

Selinda says in common, reaching around the avian to tug at a leaf, 'Perhaps... ah! I have it!'

Toukaj says to Selinda in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'Maybe it is time that we think that they are not actually purely plant!'

Selinda says in common 'These must be parasite-infested pumpkins. There must be some undiscovered creature growing inside them.'

Toukaj mulls a bit.

The vine whose leaf Selinda tugs at recoils sharply.

Toukaj says to you in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'Do you think they speak lodekryn?'

You say to Toukaj in common 'Maybe! Lodekryn are the closest thing I can think of. Can you speak it?'

Imbria says in common, as she crouches next to the patch, poking at one of the pumpkins with a finger, '..What kind of creature would grow inside of a pumpkin?'

Toukaj says to you in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'I can, yes, but my lodekryn bark is much worse than my bite and my bite is abysmal since I do not have teeth.'

Selinda says to Imbria in common 'There are wasps that will lay their eggs inside acorns and figs. Perhaps there's some kind of insect that does the same in gourds.'

A vine rises from the patch and curiously pokes back at Imbria's finger.

Toukaj says to Selinda in common, pointing at the vine, 'How is it moving the vines if it is inside the pumpkin?'

Selinda says to Toukaj in common 'I don't know. We should crack one open to figure out how it moves!'

You say to Imbria in common 'Oh dear! You should be more careful. What if there are more vines underground and they poke you back?'

Selinda says in common 'I truly hope this isn't some critter that will take to my gardens...'

You get an amber-studded kris with a fiery blade from a rucksack made from the hide of a gray shark.

The leaves all rustle in alarm and the vine does its best to hide behind Imbria.

Imbria blinks and twists around so she keeps staring at a sprawling patch of blooming vines. She offers her hand to one of the vines.

Toukaj tosses his bags to the side.

Toukaj draws a glittering mace of spiked fiery quartz from a belt sling of tooled cerulean leather.
Toukaj wields a glittering mace of spiked fiery quartz.

Toukaj says in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'Smashing is okay, yes?  I only want to smash one.'

The vine gently curls around Imbria's hand.

Selinda says to Toukaj in common 'If it's parasitic then it's bad for the pumpkin. Smashing it is just fine.'

Circling Imbria, you pulls out a kris and scans for a near pumpkin.

A second vine rises from the patch and waves alarmedly toward Toukaj.

You say to Toukaj in common, pausing with the knife in hand, 'It likes Imbria, I think! Can plants feel things? Maybe we should not smash one if so...'

Imbria shakes the vine carefully, like a handshake. She looks thoughtful.

Toukaj hefts his mace, ready to smash the nearest pumpkin, but hesitates at the vine's approach.

Imbria says in common, mostly addressing the vines, 'Hi! We're just uh, here to see why it is that you're.. here. This isn't really your uh- your natural environment, is it?'

Imbria's vine twines up her arm in a very friendly manner. Toukaj's vine bravely puts itself between him and the pumpkin.

Alarac is here, near the human woman with a fiery knife poised.

Selinda leaves east.

Toukaj says to you in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'What if it is like a lodekryn in its sentience?'

Selinda arrives from the east hauling a massive pair of garden shears.

A sprawling patch of blooming vines shakes in terror.

You say to Toukaj in common 'Then we could not squash them for seeds in good conscience! But we need answers still. This is a very sticky situation!'

Imbria shivers and hesitantly pats the vine curled around her arm.

Toukaj lowers his mace resignedly and leans it on the ground.

Imbria says in common, after a short pause, 'Are uh- are people your natural environment? I don't think you can grow on people though..'

Toukaj says to you in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'Maybe they will come with us for observation?  A small plant or somesuch growing in a controlled manner in the loft!'

The vine around Imbria's arm seems too occupied with shaking with terror too pay attention.

Selinda says in common, hefting up the shears, 'I bet that it's some sort of self-defense instinct. It doesn't have any natural weapons so it uses deception to trick you into complacency! Much like a flytrap!'

You say to Toukaj in common 'That would be perfect! We would treat them very well, yes... but what if Selinda is right? They might be manipulating us and bringing them into [our territories] would give them an easier time taking over!'

The vines in the patch droop pathetically.

Toukaj mulls a bit.

Toukaj says to you in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'We have a Kedi though.'

Imbria says to Selinda in common, as she holds up her free hand, 'Er- er well! Let's not with the garden shears yet okay? They seem to be wanting to communicate!'

Toukaj says to you in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'His cleavage is mighty.'

Selinda says to Imbria in common 'When you have the threat of parasites in plants, you have to nip the situation in the bud!'

Selinda snaps her shears for emphasis.

You say to Selinda in common 'I agree with you, yes. We can maybe just take one. We only need to study some seeds! Is it possible to harvest some without killing the plant?'

Imbria says to Selinda in common, as she pets the vine on her arm, 'Ye-es but. But they seem kind of nice right now? Really nice?'

The vine around Imbria's wrist rustles its leaves plaintively.

Toukaj says in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'We could take a cutting of vine that has roots along with a fruit and put it in our loft with lots of sun and water!'

Selinda says to you in common 'Certainly! Just remove one of the pumpkins. They're just the fruit of the vine, anyway.'

Toukaj says in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'If it is vicious, Kedi will handle it.'

Imbria says in common, mostly addressing the vines again, 'Er- ..Is that all right? If we just take one pumpkin, is that all right?'

There's a thoughtful sort of pause as the vines seem to draw in toward the patch and all rustle at each other.

Selinda says in common, gesturing with her shears to the largest pumpkin, 'That one there would be perfect!'

The vine between Toukaj and the pumpkin heads toward him again and pokes its tip hopefully at his hand.

You say to Toukaj in common 'I think that one is volunteering!'

Toukaj says in common, nodding emphatically to the patch, 'Yes, yes!  We will keep it very safe.  Err, maybe we may have two as well so they will not be lonely.'

Imbria says to Toukaj in common, as she waves a hand around in the air, 'I mean- they /seem/ to be able to sort of communicate? If it's like that, then maybe they can tell us why they're here.'

The vine pokes hopefully at Toukaj's hand again, as though searching for something.

Selinda says in common, muttering, 'Probably here to infest and take over the green house...'

Toukaj mulls a bit.

Toukaj gets a burly groth puppet made from overstuffed burlap from a lacquered black case with irium clasps.

Toukaj drops the puppet over the searching vine.

The vine ignores the puppet and continues poking at Toukaj's hand.

Toukaj says in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'I am not sure that will help them to talk though.'

Imbria says to Toukaj in common, blankly, 'Why would it? They're not pretending to be groths.'

Toukaj mulls a bit.

Toukaj says to Imbria in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'I do not have a vine puppet.'

You say to Toukaj in common 'Maybe it is looking for dirt to live in! I do not know. It wants something from you.'

Toukaj gets a cup of wriggling mealworms from a lacquered black case with irium clasps.

Toukaj sets a cup of wriggling mealworms down.

Imbria says in common, as she pats the vine on her arm some more, 'So. Is it that you guys like.. warmth? I don't think I've seen others being ah- all hugged by one of you before.'

The vine seems to perk up and makes greedy motions at a cup of wriggling mealworms before curling around it happily.

Selinda begins to edge around the vine patch while the vines are distracted, her shears raised.

The vine on Imbria's arm begins poking searchingly at her hand. As the other vine curls around the cup of mealworms, they begin to disappear, as though something is eating them.

Toukaj pretends to look away and coughs loudly as he glances to Selinda.

Alarac's bottom lip projects slightly and he eyes his filthy boots, scuffing at the ground.

You think in common 'I am sorry vine creatures!'

Imbria says in common, rolling her eyes, 'Really? You like /mealworms/?'

Selinda reaches one of the furthest pumpkins and slowly lowers the open shears, preparing to snap them closed on a vine.

The vine continues to poke hopefully at Imbria's hand, unaware of the approaching doom.

Imbria digs around her packs and takes out a cup of mealworms as well, setting it down on the ground next to herself.
Imbria gets a cup of wriggling mealworms from a rucksack made from the hide of a white winterwolf.

Imbria drops a cup of wriggling mealworms.

Toukaj gets a burly groth puppet made from overstuffed burlap.

Imbria says in common, with a shake of her head, 'Have at, okay?'

Toukaj puts a burly groth puppet made from overstuffed burlap in a lacquered black case with irium clasps.

Toukaj gets a bowl of oyster stew from a lacquered black case with irium clasps.

The vine happily unwinds from Imbria's arm and curls up around the other cup to eat.

Toukaj drops a bowl of oyster stew.

Toukaj pushes a bowl of oyster stew toward a sprawling patch of blooming vines with his foot.

You get a slice of pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing from a rucksack made from the hide of a black-feathered griffin.

Selinda snaps the shears closed, severing the vine. The attached pumpkin falls to the ground with a dull 'thunk.'

Imbria stretches her suddenly freed arm with an exaggerated motion.

Toukaj says in common, very loudly, 'Oh no!  How terrible!  She's kidnapping the warty gourds!'

All of the vines recoil and make angry rustling noises, rushing toward Selinda and the severed vine, trying to push her away from it.

Imbria says to you in common, as she gapes at the johgo, '/What/ are you doing. Mealworms, not- not cake like /that/.'

Selinda wields the shears with swift surety, snipping the vines that get too close to her.

The rustling seems to turn agonized as the vines try to ward Selinda off.

As the vines are occupied with Selinda, Toukaj pushes you toward the severed pumpkin and then takes a deep breath.

Toukaj yells in common, clattering his beak loudly, 'Vine murderer!  Help, help!'

Selinda says to Toukaj in common, continuing to snip the vines, 'While all of you are so eager to play nice with these things, I happen to know a bad critter when I see it. I'm not going to let them get to my gardens!'

Imbria says in common, as she clambers to her feet, placing herself between the siriyu and the vines, 'That's- that's all we want okay? Don't hurt yourself like that!'

Alarac puffs out a sigh and tries to nimbly rescue the fallen pumpkin from between Selinda and the vines.

Toukaj gets a scroll inked to resemble a travel ticket from a lacquered black case with irium clasps.

The vines curl sadly around Imbria, leaking sap and generally appearing miserable.

Toukaj pretends to cough loudly as he turns to read from a scroll inked to resemble a travel ticket.

Toukaj recites a scroll inked to resemble a travel ticket.
[Alarac is transported back to Manhunter’s!]

You are now seen as:
Alarac is here, cradling a pumpkin between his arms.

You have new mail!
------------------------------------
Number: 330
To: Alarac
From: Toukaj
Date: Sat Nov 16 20:53:40 2013
Re: // a note carried by a chill wind //
------------------------------------
We are damage controlling, yes.  Keep that one safe and out of sight of the
other vines!
------------------------------------