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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. Storyfag Arcane

    Storyfag
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    1B
    2 idk yet.
    3A
     
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  2. Lithium Flower Prophet

    Lithium Flower
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    You know what, let's do 2D - Gracchus.

    Bringing Domitian is too risky because of the upheaval that replacing Tullius might bring and besides we would be giving Domitian immediate command over a larger force, even if he doesn't have as much personal influence over it. Plus we've already foiled his plan to reinforce one of the Cyrodillian legions.

    Varys is, as I said, an unknown quantity, but doesn't appear to be working with Motierre&Gracchus.

    Bringing Esja is dangerous. If she is not a conspirator, her influence in Skyrim could be helpful. If she is one, however, it can get us all killed. If Domitian is (arguably) more powerful in the Imperial City than in Skyrim, she is much the opposite.

    But Gracchus....

    Gracchus is a bloated monger who bought his way onto the Council and is now conspiring with Motierre. He is the most obvious threat and also one most out of his element, the easiest one to break. Imagine this oiled-up fatty in the cold mountains of Skyrim. Out of his comfort zone he will start making mistakes, or perhaps cling to Motierre, so that we might be able to keep an eye on both at once or use Gracchus to compromise Motierre. Gracchus might use his wealth to bribe people around him, but we can dip into it as well.
     
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  3. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    He's well insulated so he's liable to be the least bothered by the cold
     
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  4. Nutria Savant

    Nutria
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    That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said about me. I'll see if I can catch up from the beginning to where you are now.
     
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  5. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    2C>2D
    Voting post updated. I'm going with my first impulse. Big E asked who we mistrust the most. Gracchus' motivations are clear. Varys is an unknown, but I hope his plans run counter to Motierre and the Marshall.
     
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  6. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    Alright, I'll flip again.

    2D
     
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  7. Gauldur's Bait Learned

    Gauldur's Bait
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    1B For reasons stated before
    2 Toough one - bringing Gracchus along might postpone some of their scheming, but it does not gains us new friends. Varys coould be an asset in many ways in the long run but has little authority here and bringing him along might make others suspicious. Lets go with
    2D
    3A
    We keep it secret and safe for now..
     
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  8. Lithium Flower Prophet

    Lithium Flower
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    Do you mean 3B? 3a is the option to reveal it to the Emperbro.
     
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  9. Usury Arcane

    Usury
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    Right ho. If the bean counting monkeys successfully operated the abacus, the votes are (1B), vote against hiring mercenaries, (2D) bring Gracchus and (3B) save the prophecy for later. 'Pologies, Grimgravy, somehow missed your question.

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    [​IMG]
    The dunmer sharecroppers tore at the earth with heavy mattocks. The stony soil was poor and overgrown with weeds, for they had left it fallow the season before. The omens promised another harvest before winter and the wise agreed. Every freeze squeezed more rocks up through the ground but, all throughout the long spring, the farmers had already torn them out. They knew old secrets of ploughing in manure and fungi to make the weak earth yield abundance. In the driest months of summer hand pumps pushed up water to irrigate the terraces but the autumn rains blew in a few times every week. Fetishes of dry bones and dangling charms lined the fields.

    Distant at first, a clattering began. It rose to a rolling rumble unlike any natural clamor--eight thousand hooves. The sharecroppers straightened their backs. Hundreds upon hundreds of knights wound down the great paving blocks of the road. There was a flutter of pennants and banners and a multitude of sigils among gleaming armor. They wore plate and mail and bore painted shields. Strings of unridden horses, should those of the warriors fall, cantered among them. At the forefront of the army rode a stiff man, much aged, and a golden haired pug nosed man in the strength of his years.

    "Why must we march in armor, uncle?" The golden knight asked. "Too hot under the sun and miserable in the rain."

    "Do you see these people?" The older man had not lost his strength. "These ash skinned creatures we have been marching past for days. What have you noticed about their speech?"

    "Only that it is strange and unpleasant to my ears. It has more of a twang to it than I first noticed. Perhaps, we sound no more pleasant to them. Is this a test from the sagacious Tywin Lannister?"

    A snort. "Not so sagacious as to avoid get entangled in this affair. No, it wasn't a test. The dunmer speak a different tongue every score of miles."

    "What of that? We do not speak the same as the men of the vale, or the crownlands, or any of the northern dialects."

    "There is a language of the Westerlands. A single speech makes us a single people. The small folk marry and wander about as they will. They intermingle, Daven, but these Dunmer have so little traffic with each other, they need hardly speak. Their hovels are fortresses."

    "Fortresses of mud." Daven smiled.

    "Their farmers are treacherous in their dealings with each other. Their sailors cheat in our ports. On any page in their histories, you will read of lies and betrayal." For this reason, the Lord of the Lannisters had brought only two thousand knights and the remaining Unsullied. The Great Houses of Morrowind would not judge them numerous enough to be worth attacking. Had they been more, the dark elves could have won favor with the Empire by ambushing and destroying them. Nor would so few stir up much strife with the womenfolk. Many indeed would not desire to do so. In his youth, Tywin had nearly bought a dunmerish whore in Lannisport but, for all her uncanny attraction, the gray skin, sunken, lifeless eyes and sharp ears repulsed him. "King Robert may think it shrewd to dispatch a force through Morrowind, and we must obey, but he's the sense not to choose this route for himself."

    A few minutes trickled by with only the clattering of hooves. The sharecroppers drew away from the road. Some of the knights sang a popular song. At last, Daven guided his steed a little closer.

    "Is it wise to speak of our liege this way? On campaign, he may take it for disloyalty."

    "The King knows my opinion. We should have conquered Morrowind. Even Vvardenfell, would have been ambition enough. The Tamrielic Empire is too big. The small council wants to break the Empire while it's weak. They're drunk with the victory at Braavos."

    "Too big?" Daven asked.

    "Not to conquer. To rule. An extraordinary man might even hold it all together but I do not believe any man could hold it to the iron throne. I fear a certain--" The older man cut himself off.

    "Yes? Uncle?"

    Tywin Lannister looked away and would not speak again. The army continued and the sharecroppers resumed their labor.

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    Morrowind (open)
    [​IMG]


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The councilor poured out a libation to Azura, a goddess of twilight. Only a few rush candles lit the cluster, for the dunmer built thick walls and few windows. Twyin suspected they saw better in darkness than men. Was distant Ib also so different? Their hosts set out platters of gourds, puddings and mushes. Earlier, many of his knights had fallen ill and this forced a halt to the march for two days but they were now more accustomed to the dishes sold. If possible, the dark elf interpreter convinced every councilor they encountered at the end of a march to break bread with them. This was not a matter of hospitality but rather of allegiance to the great houses.

    One of the native women lingered around Daven--a relative, perhaps, of the councilor. She understood nothing of the westerosi nor they her, but she giggled and sighed over him. The room was so dim, Tywin saw only that she kept tracing her fingers over his face. He had been long enough in this land to lust after a loose dark elf but what could she want of him? Likely, little good would come of it.

    "Daven." He said. "Post a few more sentries. I want you sleeping in your armor tonight."

    "You needn't fear an attack." A pale voice spoke in the language of the westerlings. In the gloom, a pair of golden eyes shone. "There are no armies within a days march of here."

    "You are dunmer?" The lord of the Westerlands concealed his surprise. "I've not seen one like you before."

    "I am Altmer--high elf. I serve the Aldmeri Dominion, as an envoy to the dunmer. The councilor invited me to his household. I am glad of the opportunity to meet you. We have not had a new race in Tamriel for a very long time."

    "You're not here from curiosity." Said the old lion. "You've come to make an offer."

    "It is as you say." The elf bowed.

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    The preparations for the Emperor's departure took longer than planned. You have assembled the things you believe will be needful. With what time is left in the Imperial City, you've had quite a lot of work in little time: bribes to offer, favors to repay, favors to incure, servants who need to remember you fondly, officials who need to fear your return and others who need to see you as little as possible. Might be ruined for Motierre but some still think me a fool.

    You unroll a blank length of parchment. The time has come to make a bold move. Your family has connections to the Argonians of Clan Shiverscale. Argonians tend towards loyalty and, at present, they stand in your debt. I won't give them a cold demand. Not subtle enough. One letter will go to your father, the baron, instructing him to send a payment to Clan Shiverscale. All those peasant blood-taxes will do some good. Sweetened by the sum and mindful of their debt, the Argonians should be willing to listen.

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    (A) Ask for a warband to march through Cyrodiil and join the fight. Extra troops at no expanse should impress the Emperor.
    (B) Ask them to ship out privateers to harass Westerosi shipping. Less politcally useful but probably more practical, since the Empire is reluctant to risk the fleet.
     
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  10. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    B Yar, shiver me timbers! Armies on the move need supplies. Disrupted supply lines will be much more helpful than a few more boots, or webbed feet in this case, on the ground.
     
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  11. Lithium Flower Prophet

    Lithium Flower
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    B - The Westerosi are crossing an ocean(?) to get here, so their supply lines are hella stretched and vulnerable I would assume. That being said, tough choice because winning the Emperor's favor is something we would like very much. Then again, the stone of Barenziah can do just that. Plus 1. it would take a very long time for the lizards to get here 2. it would also make it very obvious to the Emperor's retinue that we are not the idiot we pretend to be.

    Theory time: perhaps Motierre's (or Varys'?) plan is to sideline/weaken the Emperor, essentially set him up to lose the war early, and when the Westerosi realize that they do not have the infrastructure to govern Tamriel the plotters rise up and restructure under a new government. Perhaps this is what Tywin fears.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
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  12. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    B
     
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  13. Gauldur's Bait Learned

    Gauldur's Bait
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    B definitely
     
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  14. Storyfag Arcane

    Storyfag
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    B
     
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  15. Usury Arcane

    Usury
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    Your choices are driving this story in an unexpected direction. Enjoyable but who can say where it will end? Overthrow and ruin, I hope. Anyway, we sent out the lizard pirates. (B)

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    Books and bones clutters long tables, mingling with inkpots, unblotted parchments and quills. Mirrors amplify the lamp light and the autumn sun radiates through the open windows. The palace marble reflectes the glow and cools the afternoon heat. Maester Agrippa examines a worn leather tome as you enter. He has reached his middle years and the hair left on his pate has begun to gray. Sweat soaks his collar.

    "Is that the skeleton of a mountain cat?"

    "A Tamrielic lion." The maester opens another book. "Coloration and habits described here by Corwin but that was six hundred years ago. Aren't any left these days. All hunted or slain in the Arena." Your bodyguards sweep the room. One positions himself by the windows, the other by the door. Agrippa at last notices them. He has not seen you for some time, certainly not in the presence of the Penitus Occulatus. "You desire ointments?"

    "None of us ill, yet. Why the interest in this dead creature?"

    Agrippa holds back a smile. "Can't say just yet. All part of the commentary. More on it later. Well maybe a little now. This scroll describes the lions of Westeros and here's an epigram on the great cats of Essos. More text on them in the green book. Now, the skeleton we have on the table," he clears his throat, "differs from those in the scroll, which differs also from the lions of Essos, although the Akaviri cats resemble each other much more than ours. Length of the femur, arrangement of the pelvis, jaw structure; by any measure.

    "Bruma has many breeds of deer. The lanky spotted ones get into gardens and eat up the vegtables, or so the peasants say. Nothing like the great stags but it doesn't matter. A deer is only a deer." Fellow has a way of taking me off topic. Not many can do that. Now, to ease into what I truly want. "With all this furor about the Westerosi, I'm concerned we're forgetting the elves, treacherous fiends that they are, always whispering and plotting in the shadow."

    "I strive to learn many things." A shrug. "But I've no more than a simple understanding of rulers and realms. Now, the existence of the elves has often troubled me. A strange kind, with a different sense, so to speak."

    "Do you suppose they can really utter prophesy?" You leaf through one of the books. "They frighten me but it would be a grand thing to know my fortune." There we go. Can't let him trick me off my act. But it's not a trick. Something about this man disarms me. Dangerous.

    "That blue volume touches on the subject. I've read it, of course, but am more concerned with their blood and form. Borrow it if you like."

    One of the Penitus Occulatus coughs, coughs again, bends and straightens himself. A wheezing sickness and a fever is passing through the Imperial City. Motierre was too ill to attend the council meeting and a few others present were worsening. The maester offers a goblet of some sticky substance to the bodyguard but he refuses to drink.

    Soft but bright, Varys slips through the door. "Lord Coriolanus, Maester Agrippa." He nods. "You've informed him of the elder council's ruling?"

    "Divines above! I forgot." Look startled. "Not too long ago, in the Elder Council, we--more the others than me, really, and it was his majesty's decision in the end--decided to suppress the order of maesters in Tamriel. Can't have you--them--sending messages to their colleagues in Akavir."

    "I have always been loyal to the empire." The scholar says. "Never have I even left Cyrodiil. How can you suspect disloyalty from me?"

    "Well, you know, the masters of the maesters (so to speak) reside in the citadel which is in King's Landing."

    "The citadel stands in Oldtown." Varys interrupts. "We have merely placed the order under house arrest for a little time. But you, maester Agrippa, we do not doubt. This waiver exempts you from the decree. You will notice the emperor's seal." He hands over the document. "I've also something for you, Lord Coriolanus." He pats his golden robe. "Hmmm... Seems I've left it in my quarters. Do come."

    In the hall, he drops his voice, low but clear. "We've an opportunity. With the Westerosi storming Windhelm, the Stormcloak rebellion wavers. The right man could bring the city of Riften back under our banners. Many there have not forgotten their loyalty to the Empire and the rest may be willing to rejoin from fear."

    "Oh." You exclaim in a loud voice. "You'll be going then? Very brave, I'm sure."

    "You needn't act." His tone drops even lower. "I saw through it some time ago, though not at once. Riften amounts to more than one city. The Rift in our hands would contest all Eastmarch. King Robert would not be able to march on Whiterun without fear of our Legions circling round his army. If you ride out with a change of swift horses, you can make the journey in a fortnight. You are, please remember, the only man with sufficient talent to place the necessary bribes and arrange the right disappearances. This is not a matter I can direct at such distance."

    "The emperor departs tomorrow. I don't fancy him going without my counsel."

    "That is unfortunate." The eunuch says. "Lord Motierre has fallen so ill he won't be able to accompany his majesty either. In fact, the emperor is so greatly worried about his loyal servant's health, he has allowed me to personally oversee the man's recovery. I very greatly fear he won't be better for some time."

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

    [​IMG]

    Note: The game map on page 1 gives a much better sense of Riften's strategic importance.

    (A) Refuse the offer. Stick with the emperor.
    (B) Accept the offer. Ride to place Riften once more under the Imperial Banner.
     
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  16. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    B
     
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  17. Lithium Flower Prophet

    Lithium Flower
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    Interesting.

    Control over the Rift not only would limit King Robert's movements from Windhelm but would also provide a buffer between the province and the enemy army in Morrowind.

    On the other hand, leaving the Emperor is unfortunate. However...

    Note that we didn't bring up Motierre - Varys did. In other words, he knows that the reason why we are uncomfortable with leaving the Emperor alone is that we fear Motierre's worm tonguing his royal butthole with lies and corruption. Varys is more or less implying that he will deal with Motierre - that Motierre is our mutual concern. He is effectively doing us a massive favor. It seems smart to accept his request in return: Varys, much like us, only values people for their utility so cooperating with him, if only this once, could be a good way to avoid ending up as a casualty in his future machinations.

    Besides, we need allies and while we know that Varys has an agenda, we know that it is unlikely to be the same as the usual suspects'.

    So,

    B
    +
    this gives us the free time we need to read up on the prophecy and perfect our plan to turn the Emperor into the God-Ruler of the Divine Tamrielic Empire. Or perhaps not, if we are going to spend every minute traveling?

    Or this is a set-up and Varys has already informed the Stormcloaks in Riften of our arrival and we are going to rot in a jail somewhere as the Emperor gets assassinated and the new administration is formed without us. But hey, that kind of thinking is too paranoid...right?
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
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  18. Storyfag Arcane

    Storyfag
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    B
     
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  19. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    I'm inclined to agree. Not sure I like this bit: "You needn't act." His tone drops even lower. "I saw through it some time ago, though not at once." Varys lets us know he sees through our charade and adds a bit of compliment. He's buttering us up a bit.

    B

    But who will be with the Emperor? Motierre is staying behind.
     
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  20. Lithium Flower Prophet

    Lithium Flower
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    Well, we already knew that Varys saw through our ruse a long time ago. But yes, the compliment was kind of pointless and patronizing, but such is the way of the eunuch.

    As for the Emperor, I assume the retinue would include Penitus Occulati and while they are not infallible, they are probably harder to buy than regular soldiers. Also Gracchus, I guess? I feel comfortable leaving Gracchus with the Emperor since I doubt the latter has any respect for the former.
    MercantileInterest is Cockmander Maro going to accompany the Emperor? He is probably more trustworthy than his men. Probably.
     
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  21. Gauldur's Bait Learned

    Gauldur's Bait
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  22. Usury Arcane

    Usury
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    Ok, ok, ok. Am no longer dying of Ebola or Leukemia or whatever it was. Let's kick in a mini-update to prime the game. We're going to Riften. Commander Maro will accompany the emperor.

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    It is a simple oak box with a brass hinge and clasp. A peasant delivered it to the palace as a present for you and the servants accepted it without questioning him further. It weighs heavily in your hand, but you shake it before setting it down. No rattle or motion. You draw out a dagger and sever the twine on the clasp before prying the lid open. Within sits a large glass jar sealed with lead and nestled among packing straw. You draw it out and salty liquid swishes within. The pickled and eyeless head of a man, starched and stretched, stares back at you from the brine. This Nord will no longer brawl or steal for your coin.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You comrades have raised some concerns over the Riften endeavor. Varys will not be appraised of any of the following choices.

    (1A) Go as yourself. Decius Coriolanus, minor Bruman nobleman. If the people of Riften haven't heard of you, no matter. If they have, you may be able to manipulate them through your reputation as the emprah's fop.
    (1B) Disguise. Merchant, wastrel, Nord (you can do a convincing Helgen accent), soldier-of-fortune, beggar, displaced farmer, anything you like.

    (2A) Captain Maro has assigned you a pair of Penitus Occulatus agents for safe traveling. They'll won't wear their uniforms, of course. You can take them into the city.
    (2B) Or leave them outside.

    (3A) Varys also wants you to take Maester Archibald Agrippa, a good source of info. You can take him all the way to Riften, or
    (3B) 'Accidentally' forget him halfway through Cyrodiil.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
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  23. Lithium Flower Prophet

    Lithium Flower
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    I'm glad you are feeling better, FurrcantileYiffterest.

    The Nord is probably Motierre's handiwork. Oh well.

    1B - going as ourselves is stupid. First of all, as established, we have fuck-all influence (going with youthful genius during chargen meant we have no influence but all the talent). Taking on a disguise will allow us freedom in how we present ourselves. Remember that one time we got kidnapped: our foppish persona and reputation only hinders us outside of the palace, and that is to say nothing of our family which the commoners despise.

    Not sure about 2. on one hand, protection is always nice. On another hand, Penitus Oculati are bodyguards and intelligence officers, not spies. They might be too unsubtle. They might (will) report everything to Maro which might be problematic in case we need to make deals with enemies of the state or whatever.

    Also not sure about 3. To say that Master Archie will tell Varys of everything we do is to say nothing at all. The question is, is dumping him worth losing him as a source of intel? I doubt this decision will affect our standing with Varys, though. We are both practical people; he'd understand.
     
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  24. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    1B - [Disguise] Pretend to be a merchant.
    2B
    3A
     
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