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In Progress The Fall of Tamriel (Court CYOA)

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by MercantileInterest, Dec 14, 2016.

  1. Nevill Arcane

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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    1a
    2b - Not a lot of reliable and resourceful agents around. Would be a waste.

    Show Spoiler
    If you do, tag me plz.
     
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  2. Usury Arcane

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    Am going to regret this.
    Updated Succinct Review (open)

    Our character is Decius Coriolanus, advisor to the Emperor of Tamriel. Our adventure began when we detected the middle aged maid, Cassia, spying on our personal chambers. We traced the espionage as far back as the cook Runa before a couple of characters known as the longstrider twins kidnapped us right out of the Imperial palace and handed us off to some lowlifes for disposal. Fortunately, the lowlifes decided to double their pay by selling us to bandits who in turn attempted to sell us to elves, which ended with several dead bandits and our agreement to filter elvish information to the emperor. We have just returned to the Imperial City.

    The Elder Council consists of Vitellius, the bureaucrat, Esja Comnena, the Nord ambassador, Amaund Motierre, the Breton representative, Varys, the spymaster, Septimus Gracchus, the usurer, and Domitian, the Marshal of the Imperial Legion.


    We just stole a guarded box from Amaund Motierre. Let's see what's inside!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Iron dust settles the desk as the file wears through the clasp. It catches and shears through the final link. You set it down and lift the lid of the box, with only a lamp to illuminate your efforts. A shirt blocks the crack under the door. Wouldn't do to have a listener hear the sound of filing. Anyone up at this hour is precisely the sort of person who would not forget such a thing. You slip the tool into a bag. At dawn, it and anything else traceable will go into the river.

    You draw a soft cloth from the box and spread it across the desk. A dagger of bright Colovian steel, very pure, rolls out. An opening in the pommel for a precious stone is empty. Touching the cloth to the edge cuts the fabric and the weapon shows no sign of wear.

    A leather rolls holds four withered nightshade stalks with only nubs of petals remaining. A leather folder beneath these items holds three documents. The first is a stiff waxy parchment brown with years.

    The second message is written upon crisp expensive paper. The style of the letters suggests a formal Imperial hand. Delicate tracery, most likely a woman.

    The final paper sags in your hands. The ink is faded and blurred. The edges crack away to nothing.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Updatin' 'cause Lithium Flower. Will add choices when I think of them. If you all want to suggest a good course of action, will do that instead.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
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  3. Lithium Flower Magister

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    what the fuck
     
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  4. Lithium Flower Magister

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    The world is full of inspiration. One could go outside and marvel at the works of God, curl up with a good book, or become infatuated with someone or something beautiful.

    Or one could be inspired to continue writing their interactive political drama by some Ukrainian retard who posted the shittiest thing in the history of the internet.

    Not that I am unhappy at the result, just confused how we got here.

    Anyway, sweet stuff, a lot of important implications. Will post an analysis sometime later. I would probably wait for the choices before suggesting a course of action, though.
     
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  5. Usury Arcane

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    Part II: Giving Zakat

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Two days pass. Messengers from the north bring no news of the invading army. The emperor orders two Occulati agents to guard you. Captain Maro assigns them in shifts, so you haven't opportunity to win them over. The Elder Council does not meet in this time. You continue to collect information on the appearance of counterfeit coins, which have now spread outside the city. They seem to originate around the temple district.

    At the midday, you recline in your chambers. A pair of flies drone about, sometimes settling on head or shoulders. One of the Occulati stands in the hall, the other outside the window. A soft hand knocks.

    "Yes, yes." You say.

    A servant enters with a platter of bread and venison. You stare at her lissome figure. She flinches away. Good. Discomfort distracts her. You lounge up and lean close.

    "Camilla, yesterday's soup was off. The one with the vegetable, whatever you peasants call it. Stay with few a few moments and explain." Your hand settles on her hip.

    She squeaks and stumbles back into the wall. "Not Camilla, m'lord. Mustn't stay. Cookie would be right cross, m'lord."

    The servants darts out the door. There. Let them gossip about something other than my last disappearance. You throw yourself into the chair and sink your teeth into a spiced apple. A faint bitterness teases your tongue. You stop and spit. Rinsing out your mouth with water, you spit again and then a third time. The apple has been skinned and stabbed repeatedly, so the spices can soak into the holes. The fresh bread is warm to the touch but the apple is not. Sniffing carefully, a distant bitter scent can be discerned under the other flavors.

    You stand and walk over to the door. The Occulatus agent glances at you and turns his eyes back to the hall. You lean against the frame.

    "Pretty creature, isn't she? Horribly unfair but I think she's cold to me. Says her name's not Camilla but would she know? Why don't you say anything, Hadrian?"

    "I am not Hadrian." The bodyguard does not look your way.

    "You all conspire against me. What a monstrous joke." You slam the door and count off a few minutes. Then, you open it again and step into the hall with platter in hand. "I can't eat after her treating me so unfairly. I'm going to give this to the poor. My father, you may know, is a baron in Bruma who also cares very much for the poor. They call him "the gouger." A term of affection, I believe."

    A hint of a smile creeps onto the agent's lips.

    You exit the palace and stroll through the gardens, chattering all the while about your father. At last, you step out into the market district where a great throng has gathered. Among them move several beggars. A soot stained young boy steps forward with a ragged cap in his hand but he steps back upon seeing the soldiers. You motion him forward.

    "Give me copper." He mumbles.

    "To buy bread?" You smile. "Why not an apple instead?" He yanks the fruit from your hand and begins to dash away. "Hold up. I've more than that to give."

    The boy returns and another beggar sidles up. The Occulatus agent notices your nod and cuffs the vagrant. You lead them into an alley where only rats scamper. The less people notice, the better. The boy gnaws his prize down to the core. You parcel out the venison and then the bread. The beggar child bites of chunks and swallows them whole. By the time he licks the crumbs off the platter, he is coughing and clutching his stomach.

    "Feel free to leave." You say. "I've no more."

    The boy coughs, shakes and curls up on the muddy cobblestones. Not long after, he is still. The Occulatus agents look at each and say nothing. You stand.

    And, of course, I'm still hungry.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1(a) Find a necromancer. The Imperial City is sure to host a few soils in this illegal profession who will surely be able to dissect the corpse and identify the poison.
    1(b) Bribe a priest of Arkay to examine the corpse. Much safer but he may not be able to identify the poison. His job, after all, is to lay the dead to rest, not seek after their secrets.
    1(c) Investigate 'Camilla,' the servant who delivered the poison.
    1(d) Set aside the assassination attempt temporarily and solve the counterfeit mystery to win over Vitellius.
    1(e) Visit the Thalmor Embassy for information.
     
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  6. Lithium Flower Magister

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    Since most of you guys are probably nor familiar with muh TES lore (although, let's be honest, everyone still played Skyrim, with or without tasteful rape mods) I will do my best to explain the significance of some of these items and we can hopefully brainstorm some sort of next move from there.

    Depending on the thickness of the cloth, the dagger's sharpness might be very impressive indeed. Since this is a setting which allows for magic in rare cases, perhaps the opening in the hilt is for a soul stone, removed during storage for the same reason one would remove non-rechargeable batteries from an electronic device.

    Nightshade, of which there are four dried stalks in this folder, is pretty peculiar. Poisons can be derived from it, thus it is associated with assassins and, specifically, the Dark Brotherhood. If I remember correctly, it is also used for the ritual of Black Sacrament.

    What's a Dark Brotherhood? It is a cult of assassins that, besides taking money for its contracts, kills to appease its patron deity, Sithis, who is basically the representation of enthropy and misanthropy. He supposedly impregnated some bitch and we call her the Night Mother now.

    What's a Black Sacrament? It is a ritual involving a prayer to the Night Mother in order to summon a member of the Dark Brotherhood (one of her "children") and hopefully initiate a contract for someone's death.

    The first letter is a report or maybe a letter penned by some constable or minor lord. It could be quite old. It describes who I can only guess is an ex-assassin from the Dark Brotherhood and his encounter with the writer of the letter. I assume that "I'm a loose end, yes, but you will tie me off" is an indirect plea for death, as people who desert from the Dark Brotherhood are inevitably slain by other members for being loose ends. Of course, the lord's involvement with the ex-assassin means that he, too, is going to get fucked. The reference to the "father" is a reference to Sithis, for the Dark Bros believe Sithis to be their father just as Night Mother is supposedly their mother. Metaphysically speaking. Maybe.

    Second letter is obviously a copy of an original, meaning that Amaund Motierre is keeping incriminating documents on, in this case, the Domitian. Could it be the same Domitian that sits on the Council and marshal's the Empire's legions? Probably, because we know he is up to no good. His secret plan to bolster a legion in the heart of Cyrodil always smelt like a coup d'etat in the making to me. We don't know any Quintus, though, although Domitian did mention a Legate QuintIUS recently, though these are slightly different names, not to mention common and it could be a coincidence. As to who was responsible for the tracery, it could very well have been Runa, which would make her Motierre's agent. Then again, that's just the only woman we can think of at the very moment.

    The second letter is obviously written in code. It seems to speak of something that had been botched but the Domitian is sure that he can make it work with proper assets. The food metaphor makes me think of a poisoning, but it could be any kind of plan. An assassination, perhaps? Not good.

    Finally, the third letter is a prayer to the Night Mother, seemingly the same one that would be used to perform the Black Sacrament:
    "thus a sonn to his mothr a dottr to thi un hwo unto her gaev birth thus thi faithful rendr homaege for baptism of sins und hoep of deth do we raes our prayr thus thi blest rite nocturn" blah blah, we love killing dudes, lets pray about killing dudes, blah blah, also the night mother is our actual mother or whatever

    "of thi unworthsome fashion an ymnaege with skul und rib und heart of mann about thi ymnaege let thaer twinkl candls dimm" refers to the way the Black Sacrament is arranged, with a human effigy made up of human heart and bones surrounded by a circle of candles.

    "with a knief of steel let it nott be of iorn but let it be ensacrated by dolors leaf piers the heart of mann agen piers agen und agen piers the heart und whispr such prayr" you perform the black sacrament by piercing the heart with a steel dagger sanctified by "dolors leaf," nightshade perhaps? Maybe the steel dagger and the nightshade enclosed in the folder were both used during the ritual of black sacrament.

    "mothr sweet sweet mothr mine send sweet sonn of thine unworthsome sinnr bles with fear und bles with blood" asks the Night Mother to send one of the assassins, her "children," to the speaker to shed some blood, basically.

    "dreead fathr" once again refers to Sithis.

    ---

    So, the way I see it, the first and third letters, as well as the nightshade and steel blade, seem to suggest that Amaund performed the Black Sacrament. If these documents belonged to anyone else, he could have had them traced like he did with the Domitian's letter, not taken and kept with him.

    The second letter suggests that the Domitian is up to no good, and that AM has been spying on him.

    The way I see it, we need to act immediately. AM knows his murderbox had been stolen. Imagine the urgency with which he will act from now on.

    So, first of all, entrust the matter to the Penitus Oculatus. Hand over all evidence to them but keep the dagger in case we need to blackmail AM directly (which we really don't want to do if he can call the Dark Bros on us.) We are one man, they have an intelligence network which spans the Empire. Suggest to Maro that they try to find the village from the first letter by cross-referencing records. I'm sure murders and imprisonments in the civilized provinces are documented, and if not we will know that this occurred in a not-so-civilized province. Perhaps we might be able to find out the cause for AM's black sacrament by following the trail of these loose ends.

    Also, let the Occulati take the boy's body back for examination. Perhaps our attempted poisoning might be connected to the AM/Domitian investigation and we kill two birds with one stone.

    Meanwhile, talk to the Emperor but do not tell him of the conclusions we have drawn or emphasize either the Domitian or the AM as a threat. We could spook the old man into doing something stupid. Maro will probably filter any specifics he deems important anyway. Instead, take advantage of our relationship, built on honesty and trust, and ask him

    "What do you think of Amaund Motierre, truly?"

    and

    "Why did you appoint Domitian as marshal?"

    We need to know the Emperor's history with both people if we are to draw more conclusions.

    Since we are mostly relegating tasks, we should concentrate on 1(d) and solve the counterfeit mystery for Vittelius in our own free time. We already set this thing up, might as well go through with it while we have the chance, or else we risk wasting all the time we spent on the matter so far.

    MercantileInterest feel free to tell me if this is too broad in scope, so that I can trim this plan down to size.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
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  7. hello friend Arcane

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    I second all of Lithium Flower 's suggestions.

    Although we should make a private copy of the instructions for contacting the Dark Brotherhood, in case we ever need to call a hit on someone.
     
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  8. Lithium Flower Magister

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    It's a fine idea in theory but it is a bit like playing with fire. Involving yourself with a death cult leads exactly to the types of situations described in the first letter.

    Besides, we've got the Emperor's assets for now, and I'm sure the Oculati discreetly disposed of a lot of political dissidents in their day.
     
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  9. hello friend Arcane

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    The best thing about having nukes is that you don't have to use them.
     
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  10. Grimgravy Augur Patron

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    The above seems reasonable.
     
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  11. Storyfag Arcane

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    +1
     
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  12. Lithium Flower Magister

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    I agree to keeping a copy of the instructions with us with the caveat that it gets stored in a safe cache somewhere where one would not immediately think to look. Our room was infiltrated too many times for us to keep incriminating materials on ourselves there. Same goes for the Molag Bal amulet, if we still have that.

    Don't get me wrong, I think its a really cool idea, I'm just worrying about the practicalities because in my experience, being a paranoid bastard is the only way to survive in these types of games.
     
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  13. Usury Arcane

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    Yes, you can do everything you've suggested but your attempts will impede each other. Here goes, then. Let's report our findings to the Penitus Occulatus. You don't need to make a copy of the summoning instructions. Decius Coriolanus has a superb memory.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Two soldiers of the Penitus Occulatus stand beside the oak door inset with iron plates. Their hands rest upon the pommels of their sheathed blades. Their eyes sweep over the visitor, seeking out swells of fabric where a weapon might hide, the tenseness of one prepared to fight or the scent of strong poison. Then, they ease, so subtlety that few would note it. They are stern men, muscled and worn, and, even at ease, not lightly surprised.

    "I must speak with Captain Maro." You stride down the hall with leather folder in hand. Then, you lower your voice. "A member of the Elder Council cavorts with daedra. He has summoned the Dark Brotherhood."

    The Occulati blink. One knocks upon the door. A view slot slides open. One of the soldiers clears his throat.

    "Lord Coriolanus wishes to present a matter which he believes to be important."

    The iron tab squeaks shut and a series of bolts can be heard scraping loose. A third soldier pulls the door open from the inside. You enter and hear it thud shut followed by the bolts clicking into place. At his desk, Captain Maro places a sheaf of papers inside a drawer a beckons you to a chair. You lay the folder upon his desk.

    "Amaund Motierre has called the Dark Brotherhood. I recently procured these items from his house. These documents, some of them quite old, all relate to the assassins. This dagger and these flower stalks most likely were involved in the summoning ritual."

    "You broke into the house of an Elder Council member?" Captain Maro asks.

    "No. Hired a man to do it for me."

    "You're minor noble. Motierre belongs to one of the most distinguished houses in the Empire. Can you prove these papers belong to him?"

    You shake your head. "No but I've brought the matter to you so the Occulati might uncover more evidence."

    The captain of the emperor's guards leans back and steeples his hands. His eyes move out of focus. Then he sighs and rings a bell. "There's a simple way to know the truth of this."

    Two more soldiers enter by another passage. They bind your hands behind your back and fasten a cloth over your eyes. Vaguely alarming. They march you off a ways, to a place where the only sound is a slow drip, where the moist air cloys on the skin and rather than carpeting or smooth tile, rough stone catches at the shoes. The soldiers stop leading you. A rush of air brushes your face and a heavy metal clang sounds.

    ***​

    Some hours later, you sit on the hard floor of your little cell. With hands still bound, you have felt your way around the perimeter. One side is a door of swinging bars and a two men can be heard breathing on the other side. Occulati, most likely. They have said nothing. A distant dripping echoes over stone. At last, hunger and boredom have joined your fear.

    More footsteps approach. No more than five men. The bars creak open and rough hands tie you to a chair. Someone presses your right fingers, one at a time, into a porous but damp substance. A sponge? Then, he presses the fingers against a paper. This repeats several times. People move about.

    "They match." A low voice.

    Captain Maro unties the blindfold. Amaund Motierre, bound in the same fashion, sits across from you. Four men of the Penitus Occulatus stand around you with torches. The flames flicker in the darkness of the dungeon. A large glass shines on a small table to the side.

    "Explain this." The old soldier holds up the summoning ritual.

    "You are very bold." Motierre looks about every way. Clearly nervous but trying to soothe himself. "The emperor will hear about this."

    "The emperor will know when I tell him." Captain Maro seizes his chin and forces the Breton's eyes up. "We know, by the necromantic art, you have touched this. Whom do you desire dead, Motierre?"

    A sigh. "King Robert." He lies. "With his death--"

    "This second letter? Who wrote it?" The agent paces between the two captives.

    "Maven Black-Briar." That much is true. "An influential merchant from a powerful family in Skyrim. The Dark Brotherhood didn't answer the summons. I think they've gone extinct in Cyrodiil but they still work their murders in the north. She's helping me find them."

    "You are working with Coriolanus?" The captain's eyes flash over to you.

    "No." Says Motierre. "The man is a king rat, innocent in appearance but gnawing away at the inside. I seek to save the empire but he only filches trinkets for his nest. He had this stolen from my house. No doubt he has the little rats burrowing their way into his betters' business. You'd be wise to kill him and leave his body rotting in the sewers."

    "I serve the emperor." Your voice resounds through the dungeon. "You consort with daedra and the servants of long night."

    "Very well." Says Captain Maro. "We'll let the emperor judge between you."

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Next up: The Wisdom of Titus Mede II.​
     
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  14. Lithium Flower Magister

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    Uh oh.

    I'm retarded and people should stop listening to me.

    EDIT: I missed the parts where he is obviously lying. If this was a plot against Robert there would be no reason that he would be secretive about this. And hiring Tamriel-based assassins to kill a foreign king seems to easy.

    We may be a king rat, but he is a court fucking jester.

    This might work to our advantage yet. Let's see how this plays out.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
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  15. Usury Arcane

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    To be clear, he's not obviously lying. Our character is a master at reading faces.

    Also, dabbling with murder cults which worship outlawed death gods is an excellent reason to be secretive. The politics of the Elder Council sometimes descend into ruthlessness but they do have standards and appearance to keep. Even without morals of your own, denouncing a rival's immorality is not a bad way to tear him down.
     
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  16. Lithium Flower Magister

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    Right, I should've written that there would be no reason that the Emperor, or someone such as Maro wouldn't be involved, even in secret, to this plan of assassinating an enemy monarch via peculiar means.

    EDIT: and yes, the hard part will be proving the Breton's deception to other people, including the Emperor. It doesn't help that we put big E in the shitty position of choosing between his favorite and someone who is actually important and influential. I think ultimately he will trust us but our relationship might be strained.
     
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  17. Grimgravy Augur Patron

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    Hopefully the Occulatus will turn up something so that it isn't the emperor choosing his favorite over the important guy.
     
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  18. Kalin Arcane Zionist Agent

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  19. Usury Arcane

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    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The blindfold tears loose from your face. You are standing beside Amaund Motierre and before the emperor in his personal chambers. The Occulati prowl about with silent faces but a wolfish step. The emperor shakes his head and for a moment his eyes glisten. He brushes past and begins to loosen the binding about the hands of the Breton representative.

    "Majesty," Captain Maro raises his voice. "These men are a threat."

    The emperor does not slow. "True, these two might make an attempt at my life but neither would do so at the expense of his own. Leave us."

    The soldiers of the Penitus Occulatus file out of the room. No way out of here except past them. The cords about your own wrists loosen and the ruler of Tamriel bids you sit. Motierre rubs the joints between his fingers. The emperor gazes out of gilded glass window ablaze with sun's dying light. The dragon of the Imperial Legion emblazons his scarlet cloak and seems almost to shiver in the lamplight.

    "How have you so much knowledge but so little wisdom? Have you forgotten the Great Anguish? Uriel Septim VIIth died on the swords of daedra worshiping madmen and an empire died with him. But you, Motierre, not content with these old gods have invoked Sithis himself. Will you take hold of death and not be dragged down into the grave?"

    "Majesty," Motierre steps up. "We are not small men. We must preserve this realm and to do so must not limit ourselves with common rules and common cares. What would be a strength, even a virtue, in the sheep would be a failing in the shepherd."

    "Enough!" The emperor wheels about. "I have heard much of such counsel. We reign over men but the divines reign over us. Decius does not understand and that is why he will never be fit to rule. In his mind it is always, always here; never those to come nor those above. Yes, well may we laugh at the temple divines with their beneficence and good nature. The true gods, stern in countenance, place a heavy yoke upon our shoulders, which, did the peasants but know it, would make them grumble less at their little taxes. Grovelling veneration, they demand, offerings of beast and libations of wine. After death, a judgment upon all our actions with the unworthy cast into the wailing of Oblivion." His voice weakens. "The old gods, much crueler than this, you would so lightly stir up."

    "I have done nothing lightly." Motierre cannot glare at the lord of Tamriel but he can do so at you.

    "Nor have I, not for a very long time." Titus Mede II slumps into a grand chair decorated with Septim emblems. An antique then.

    The Breton kneels beside him. "Jurgen Windcaller was very great. The Bards sing of his voice, which shook the Earth and battered down his foes. His slew his enemies in their tens of thousands and conquered the heartland. All men praised him but the Dunmer defeated him at Red Mountain. Then, with an insight greater than I can understand, he left his armies, his gold and all his heirs to meditate upon a lofty mountain. This, the priests teach us, was high wisdom."

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1) Allow Motierre to continue.

    2) Interrupt
    (a) Accuse the Breton of sedition.
    (b) Support Motierre's proposition.
    (c) Disagree with Motierre but do not attack him personally.

    3) Other____.
     
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  20. Lithium Flower Magister

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    Hmm.

    If the old man was strong, I'd go with 1. We would show him that we know our place whereas Motierre doesn't.

    But he is weak so this is some Wormtongue-tier shit.

    Tentatively voting 2C

    Although 2b has potential as some 8D backgammon shit but I am struggling to think of what the point of that would be.
     
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  21. Grimgravy Augur Patron

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    1>2c I kinda want to hear what this madman has to say.
     
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  22. hello friend Arcane

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    1
     
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  23. Storyfag Arcane

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    2c
     
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  24. Lithium Flower Magister

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    He is not mad, though, he is clearly very intelligent and pushing the Emperor where he is vulnerable, which is his difficult relationship with his own faith. I think.

    The question is, would you trust the Emperor not to fall for his speech? If yes, then it would be best to keep silent and let big E to speak for himself.

    But I don't trust him because it seems that he is an exhausted old man. Even if Motierre doesn't entirely compromise him with his words, he could cloud his judgement.

    Remember that we are supposed to be here to be judged by the Emperor, not have a debate about the ethics of rulers and theology.

    You are letting Motierre control the conversation.
     
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  25. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Infinitron
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,153
    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    Big E seems confident that stirring up the old gods is a bad idea. I'm not sure what the Breton is on about with meditating on a mountain. As such, I am loathe to agree or disagree with him.
     
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