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Myth: A New Age CYOA

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by Fangshi, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    About a half dozen half-ogre bodyguards for starters.



    Sure, should you be so inclined you can try to integrate into the dwarven upper class. Demonstrate that you are one of them and not trying to 'rock the boat'. There are definite possibilities there and not all of the loyalist houses like each other or believe in the same things.

    It would probably involve hosting a few dinner parties and proper balls though.

    Show Spoiler
    But hey it would give you a chance to go dancing with Thaïs under the stars should you so desire. :oops:


    At any rate we can get into the social stuff if you manage to pull this off without getting killed or burning down the city (again) or having to fleeing the country as fugitives.

    Not that any of that could happen. :troll:
     
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  2. Kz3r0 Arcane

    Kz3r0
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    Details.
     
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  3. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    They do not deal in the annual interest rates. They also do not deal with annual incomes. The system is built around monthly values, and should be treated as such.

    I am merely citing what was said earlier. The loan will be seen as a favoritism, and considering the things we use it for, even more so.

    The profits are atrocious as well, and as long as they pay for the interest rares (as I have shown they would), we are coming out as a power rivaling the great houses. Only, you know, without an army and the support to actually hold onto it.

    Yeah, diplomacy worked so well with the Eberhardts.

    Look, Blue Creatures Spider Goddess Necromancer Oneiroi diplomacy is not going to help you when you are slowly pulling the rug from under the other people's feet. The actions speak louder than the words ever could. Sweet talking them while you grow more powerful with every passing day in not going to work on anyone with half a brain.

    Edit:
    Oh, very likely if they think he wants to get rid of them and usurp the right to rule the kingdom alone without their consent.

    Do you not read the quotes?
    We were told that the estimate is from 20% to 30%. It is acceptable, considering that we have gained other sources of income. Even at 15% (that is, under the interests rate) we would be done with the loan in a year and a half despite the outrageous percentages. Maybe even sooner, considering the other avenues for profits.

    The only thing the higher profits do is let us get filthy rich faster, at a cost of endangering our well-being. Nothing changes the fact that we will become filthy rich in a year. All you get out of it is that you achieve it sooner.
     
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  4. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

    Smashing Axe
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    Divinity: Original Sin
    You're really mischaracterising how this will go down. We are simply going to compete for some of the properties with the Great Houses, we're not denying them everything, and they have their own cash reserves to fall back upon. They may not like competition, sure, but it's not this diplomatic catastrophe you're portraying it as. There will be some houses amenable to alliances, and other houses who dislike us. That's just how it is. Hell, we might even be able to get some of the weaker houses to follow us under a banner in exchange for financial benefits. The more we have to trade from this acquisition, the more influence we can put to these dwarves. It's perfectly reasonable for us to go for what we can get during this period of turmoil. Don't forget, we're a national hero right now. We can get away with a lot.

    Also we have the army and support to hold it. What are you talking about? Most of what we're acquiring is that army, and we're on good terms with the king's own army. That's plenty of army. As for support, well, Mayer has a number of connections in this country we can utilise.

    As for diplomacy with the Eberhardts, well, for one, we never tried it. Nor was it necesssary. And look where facing them off got us.

    As for our profits, that's an estimate, you don't know what return we're going to get, especially because we're not going for what will net us the best return because we're scared of stepping on a few toes.
     
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  5. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    I like the 'we're not denying them everything' part.

    Yeah, that would be A, and it would be the ultimate 'fuck-off' choice. As it is, we are just grabbing favors that we honestly don't have a right to, not in the eyes of the other houses. They don't know about the maul, they have no idea what we actually did for the King, and it looks like he is using us to remove the noble houses he does not like.

    Naturally, no one will feel endangered by our rise to prominence. :roll:

    Yeah, because it was never an option. Why would they talk to us when they can crush us?

    Fotrunately, the King have backed us in that case.

    Want to test your luck some more?
     
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  6. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

    Smashing Axe
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    Oh man, we're not attempting to seize control of the entire kingdom, nor are we a threat to the king. That's a complete mischaracterisation of what's going to happen. We're certainly going to be very powerful, but at worst only on a level of the Eberhardts before they started moving against the throne (and they needed a lot of allies to do that), which we just aren't going to do. You're being overly concerned about making a few enemies. It's worth the price, and we can, despite your denial, mitigate the effect with some effort at diplomacy. We've handled far worse than the ire of some of these people. I honestly don't get why you're so afraid.


    If they don't already feel endangered at the huge noble cull already, then they're either sure of their position, which won't change with us being handed a big reward, or they're true loyalists to the throne. Either case, not much will change comparative to what already has occurred. And again, diplomacy can solve a lot of these issues if they even arise in the first place.

    Yes? The Eberhardts wouldn't listen to us because as far as they were aware we had nothing worth trading, we had no power or influence they could use.

    What does grabbing for power here mean? Surprise, we have influence, wealth and power worth trading. Perhaps we're worth listening to? Perhaps we're worth negotiating with? Perhaps attempting to stamp us out will cost them more than they gain? Hm...
     
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  7. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    That's not what we are going to do.

    But did you ever consider it from the perspective of the other noble houses?

    Two adventurers come by the city, and the next thing you know, 20 houses fall, while their assets are given to the adventurers ahead of the other houses. They get money from the King and start actively entrenching themselves in. They take control over trade routes and a private army - all with the King's silent approval.

    They are going to think that the King uses us to seize control, yes. What else does it look like when two nobodies get ahold of that much power overnight? They are obvious fakes and puppets in the hands of the King.

    And what if they do feel endangered, just not enough to risk raising a voice, considering the Eberhardt's fate?

    If we push them further, they might explode.

    Perhaps. Or perhaps they will treat us as a Spider Goddess that is not worth talking to no matter how much power she wields. Or perhaps they would want to take it to the King and demand answers why is he allowing the outsiders to have so much influence over the matters of the kingdom, making him choose between us and his supportes. Or a thousand of others 'perhaps'.

    You are pissing off a lot of powerful people without a good reason. As far as I am concerned, at least, for I do not view greed as such.
     
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  8. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

    Smashing Axe
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    Hm, sounds like a problem of miscommunication. I wonder what talking with them might accomplish?
    They won't act, not with what they've all witnessed. The cost of acting outweighs the benefit of staying silent. It's not like we've shown any designs to end them, we're just competing with them for assets. Jesus. It's not like the CEO of Apple thinks Microsoft plans to send assassins over to his place to end him just because they took some of Microsoft's market share. Yeah we're human, but we're the only human effectively ennobled in the kingdom. The dwarves won't perceive it as losing ground to the exception. If there were more of us doing this, then yes. But there aren't.
     
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  9. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Well, let's just say I do not share your optimism and I do not view our actions as safe.
     
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  10. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

    Smashing Axe
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    Okay. I think 3C is far too passive and impractical given the interest we are paying and the necessary size of our investments. Furthermore I think any problems that arise can be mitigated with effort.

    And no action is safe. Trying to heal the disfigured girl, for instance.
     
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  11. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Sure. As I said, I need good reasons to willingly endanger ourselves.

    Or a touch of stupidity, that works for me sometimes, too. :lol:

    P.S. Also, I want to add that you are setting yourself on the path of Lesbomancy, as I will do everything in my power that will help us mitigate the effects of our ruthless actions, and it will come to this eventually:
    :salute:
     
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  12. GreyViper Erudite

    GreyViper
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    Flipped to 3.B guess we will see how this turns out
     
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  13. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Fangshi, it just occured to me that I do not understand what exactly we are getting into.

    What does a trade contract mean? Who are the parties involved, and what are our responsibilites to them? Is it providing protection to the merchants? Or are those the kind of trade contracts where we have to supply the third parties with goods? Or what is it?
     
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  14. archaen Arbiter Patron

    archaen
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    Actually while we are at it:

    A) Mines - I take it we get the mineral rights but is there a miners union or contracts in place? Is the end user of the ore in the city or are we dependent on the caravans to get to our customers?

    B) Warehouses - About how much tonnage are we talking about? Who owned them and is there anyway we can send someone to kick open a few random crates before we make a decision?

    C) The Factory - Can we find the person who designed the facility and figure out the operating capacity? How many operators and how many yards of cloth per hour?

    D) The Farms - Farmland is farmland. Sounds like a good piece of property to have from a "I can starve out the Kingdom at will" perspective but likely impossible to manage effectively. Most likely spot for an undead uprising problem.

    E) Blackrock Securities - About how big is this organization in man power? Do they come with their own armory? Do they actually have any jobs lined up?

    F) Caravan Contracts -
     
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  15. Jester Arbiter

    Jester
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    Like a Jew would be pretty cool sounding to.

    You write PHOTOS in strange way.
     
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  16. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

    Smashing Axe
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    If 3B turns into the national calamity that Nevill portrays it to be I promise to take all and any blame.

    What I'm saying is, I will be your Azira, Azira.

    If, uh. Someone flops to B. Because we have a tie right now.
     
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  17. Jester Arbiter

    Jester
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    Cant help you i am already voting that. Guess i could screw you over, but neh not today.
     
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  18. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    Given how unstable the region is and how dangerous travel is any trading done is done through the formation of caravans to increase the odds of goods making it through without being stolen or destroyed. The nobles saw this and got the beautiful idea to limit who can form legal caravans as a way to try and curb the growing power of the merchant class. As of ten years ago to form a caravan (legally defined as more than ten pack animals or more than twenty porters) requires special dispensation from the crown in the form of caravan contracts. Those who hold the contracts essentially control the trade route between Myrgard and Stoneheim. Merchants tend to sign up with the holders of these contracts and pay a fixed sum to have the privilege of traveling safely from Myrgard to Stoneheim. If you keep them happy and safe they will continue to seek your services and will generate for you a steady stream of income.

    If you make them unhappy or get some of them killed then they will consider trying one of your competitors. You do not have to supply them with goods unless you also control the means of producing such goods (if you control the mines they get their ore from and the workshops that turn it into finished products then you might make money off every step of the process for example), they will look after supplying themselves. You will have to protect them though, the Eberhardts had guards for this and based on the winning options so do you. You also have to maintain the caravanserai (fortified inns) where the caravans will stop on your route. The nicer your establishments and the better you do your job the more merchants you are likely to attract.

    For now you will start with about one third of the Eberhardts' client list. Mostly the more carefree merchants that are willing to give a human a chance. Initial earnings may not be spectacular as a result but they can build over time if you gain a reputation for competency.


    A) Yes you get the mineral rights. No there is not a miners guild. Dwarves have not dug in holes (like animals, they will be quick to add) for centuries. The mining industry is based entirely on slave labour, mostly ghôls captured in raids and chained up down there, though you also get the odd batch of human criminals (a dwarf will never be made to work for another as a punishment, most will simply be executed if they commit a serious crime). Most of the ore is purchased in Myrgard, you would simply have to make sure it gets there.

    B) Most of the Warehouses average about nine hundred and thirty square metres. They belonged to about half a dozen minor houses that sided with Eberhardt. A random sample of crates revealed: wine, iron ore, Tyrian cheese, glasswear, a dead bear packed in ice, shovels, bolts, window panes, and cloth. You have no idea what else might be in the warehouses.

    C) You could try to find the dwarf responsible but he disappeared during the attack and has not been located yet (he may have died). Derryth does not understand how the machines work or how quickly they work, the factory would have to be finished or Meletē would have to examine it to get any more information.

    D) The farms are also run through slave gangs, the dwarves do not have the population yet to do it themselves. Other than that, yes they are just heavily defended farms (the army is protecting them at the moment).

    E) About one hundred and twenty people all told, mostly dwarves but with a few dozen humans and a handful of mauls as well, most of the veterans saw service in the last war and were down on their luck. They have their own weapons, armour and uniforms already (though you may want to change the uniforms to mark a clear break with the previous management). They have a few contracts they are currently pursuing but without much of their management and without a patron to help them find work they are struggling to make ends meet. They will have to start letting people go if they can not find work in a month or so.


    By my count B is ahead with 6 votes to 4 votes unless I missed someone.

    B votes (after flop): Smashing Axe, asxetos, Kipeci, archaen, Jester, GreyViper

    C votes: Azira, Nevill, Kz3r0, Grimgravy

    It should be safe to close the vote soon in fact.

    Current Vote:

    Show Spoiler
    Azira: 1.Biii, 2.EG, 3.C, 4.A (500WPs)

    Smashing Axe: 1.Biii, 2.EF, 3.A>B, 4.C

    asxetos: 1.Biii, 2.AE, 3.B, 4.C

    Nevill: 1.Biii, 2.AE>EF, 3.C, 4.C

    Kipeci: 1.Biii, 2.EF, 3.B, 4.C

    Kz3r0: 1.Biii, 2.EF, 3.C, 4.C

    archaen: 1.Biii, 2.EF>AE, 3.A>B, 4.BC

    Grimgravy: 1.Biii, 2.BE>EF, 3.C, 4.C

    Jester: 1.Biii, 2.FG>FE, 3.B, 4.A (500WPs) (only if FG wins)>B

    GreyViper: 1.Biii, 2.EF, 3.B, 4.C

    1.
    A)
    i.
    ii.
    B)
    i.
    ii.
    iii. 10 votes
    C)

    2.
    AE) 2 votes
    BE) 1 vote
    EF) 5 votes
    EG) 1 vote
    FE)
    FG) 1 vote

    3.
    A) 2 votes
    B) 4 votes
    C) 4 votes

    4.
    A) 2 votes (500WPs, conditional on 1.G)
    B)
    C) 7 votes
    BC) 1 vote


    Post Flop:

    1.
    A)
    i.
    ii.
    B)
    i.
    ii.
    iii. 10 votes
    C)

    2.
    AE) 1 vote
    BE)
    EF) 7 votes
    EG) 1 vote
    FE) 1 vote
    FG)

    3.
    A)
    B) 6 votes
    C) 4 votes

    4.
    A) 1 vote (500WPs, conditional on 1.G)
    B) 1 vote
    C) 7 votes
    BC) 1 vote



    I will close the vote in one hour as I have a few thing to attend to first.

    The vote is now closed.

    If nothing changes the winning options will be:

    The winning options are:

    1. Biii, go drinking with a Brannon

    2. EF The caravans and the security company

    3. B Mayer will do everything he can short of bending the law, he will be firm but fair

    4. C You will take out the 1000 WP loan to finace Mayer's activity.

    The update should be out within twelve hours.
     
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  19. archaen Arbiter Patron

    archaen
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    I have a feeling we are going to need that Thais reroll...but the possible hijinks are too good to pass up. Let's not let him choke on an olive and die please.

    We are gaining a trade route with it's client base cut in a third and a security company that is barely afloat. I hope the properties Mayer purchases for us garner more than 20% ROI monthly or we might have to firesale some things to meet the first month's interest.
     
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  20. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Location:
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    Codex 2012
    I have the eerie sensation that we've been too greedy and are going to take a beating for it. A heavy loan, and two floundering enterprises. The potential backlash could be severe.

    Ah well. Time to kick back and wait. :avatard:
     
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  21. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Hmmm... I know I said that I won't complain about the enchantments and please do not take it as such, but I can't help but notice our mages' slight infatuation with the Path of Clarity spell:

    I'd like to know if they have a rationale for it. I wonder if there is more to it than simple recognition of illusions, because clarity is generally a more encompassing term. Maybe it helps them stay sober while drinking? Maybe it helps them keep their heads clear after sleepless nights? Or maybe it is something else entirely?

    Just curious, is all.
     
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  22. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    It all comes down to how someone goes about recognizing things as illusions. Whether it was the spiders in chapter 1 or the fake Mazzarin out in the desert. The most common way to detect illusions is to look for what is wrong with them. If something does not make sense then it may not be real. The Path of Clarity helps with that sort of mental precision. So yes it can help when intoxicated or tired to a degree in that you will be more likely to notice things than you normally would. The all use the spell because they all like the spell for different reasons and it works well with jewelry.

    Though if you would prefer more control over what they enchant that is also an option as messy as it will be.
     
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  23. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    So it is more about mental acuity in general than illusions? I can get behind that.
     
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  24. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    It was built for illusions but the ladies are smart enough to realize its general potential.


    Anyway the update is done, I am just going to give it a few more passes and then it will be up. Maybe another hour or so, two at the most.
     
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  25. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    Chapter 34: Streams of Whiskey

    Damh Brannon and Eagle stare at one another. It is clear that the Guard would very much like the nobleman to leave. You decide to help and perhaps gain the permission you need to borrow Eagle.

    "Mr Brannon?" you stand and walk towards the man, "Maybe you need another drink?"

    He snorts, "What the hell do you mean by that?"

    Thaïs rushes up next to you, "What we mean Sir Brannon is that it would be our honour to buy a patriot such as yourself a drink."

    "Exactly," you chime in, "To honour the memory of your son."

    He narrows his great eyes, toys with his magnificent moustache and considers your words. His response is not directed at you but at Eagle, "I am going out, I want everything ready by the time I get back. Is that understood?"

    The Guard merely nods.

    "Good," he extends an arm to each of you, "Now about that drink ladies."

    The three of you are quite a sight walking the four blocks from the embassy to the tavern, surrounded as you are by over sixty armed guards; your escort of twenty and Damh's own escort of forty Clan Brannon guards. The man does not travel light.

    He asks about your guards and Thaïs feeds him a story about merchant caravans and security contracts; the truth, just a little distorted, a little bent, to your advantage. You are glad she is with you to smooth over these issues as you suspect this will not be the last lie you have to tell him this evening.

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

    The Silver Flame is an odd name for a drinking hall. When you first heard of it you thought it was perhaps a temple to some obscure local deity.

    In a way you were right.

    Of the two thousand taverns, mead halls, and drinking houses in the city the Silver Flame is the most exclusive. You would think that this would lead to a building filled with nothing but the rich, the upper class of dwarven society but that is not the case. One can not buy entry to the Silver Flame, one can not simply walk through the front doors either. To drink here a person has to have done something to earn it or be the guest of a member.

    The curious part is that no one knows what is required to earn an invitation and it seems to be different for every individual. Farmers, bankers, crooks and lords all come to the Silver Flame and no one dares to start anything.

    Somehow Damh Brannon is a member of this small club. Somehow he has membership and so that is where you are headed this evening.

    The compound that houses the tavern is substantial: exterior walls, a courtyard, separate stables and guard quarters. In truth it is less a bar and more a fortress. Brannon vouches for you and your friend but your escort, like his, must wait outside. They join a throng of servants and bodyguards milling about in the wide courtyard as you enter through the intricately carved wooden doors.

    You stop for a moment and examine the doors.

    On the right door are fields in bloom, children playing, a joyful, low sun hanging protectively in a clear azure sky. Hundreds of tiny figures stand frozen in the minutiae of day to day life. Here a farmer haggles over the price of his grain, there a bard woos some young maiden. At the top of the carving sits a figure upon a magnificent throne. Without face or clear form it is impossible to discern the exact nature of the figure. As you stare at the door you are overcome with a feeling of peace.

    You reluctantly turn your attention to the left door only to be greeted with a scene of horror. It is war, it is pestilence and famine and death. Crops aflame, corpses in the streets, mercenaries and monsters battle one another and slaughter the helpless. A cracked throne rests at the head of the carving, before it lies a broken figure. You shudder as you drift inside.

    There is magic at work here, that much is painfully obvious.

    The tavern itself is well lit and beautifully appointed. The air betrays subtle notes of honey and citrus. A small band plays a relaxing little number as the guest talk quietly amongst themselves. No one pays you any mind as you enter and find a free table.

    Damh's entire demeanour has begun to shift, there is less of an edge to him here, away from embassy and the body of his son. You wave a waitress over and order three pints. She brings you your drinks and as she leaves he stands and loudly proposes a toast, "To my boy. Never was there a braver young man, never one so dedicated to the truth, never one that held honour so high!" he knocks back the drink as you and Thaïs follow suit. Some of the other patrons even raise a glass out of sympathy, their gesture earns them a grateful nod from the old gentleman. He sinks back into his chair and orders another three rounds, you begin to wonder just how much he expects to drink today.

    You toast to his son's courage, to his honesty, to his bravery, to his commitment to justice, you even toast to his fine taste in clothing. After a half dozen toasts you begin to question just how much longer this is going to go on for before Damh allows you to even speak.

    It is not that you do not respect his grief, you know the loss he is feeling and though he is by all rights your enemy your heart still bleeds for the man. You are not so cold yet that you are incapable of that small act of empathy.

    Yet you are also aware that his is not the first young son to march into battle never to return. You have met dozen like him in your years wandering the empire. So proud, so bold, so daring; quick to anger and quick to laughter. They love and live so freely these young men.

    They live so very quickly and they die quickly as well.

    You remember a hazel eyed farm hand from Tyr, broad shouldered, strong jawed and honest even if a bit simple. You spent an enchanting pair of evenings with him in your youth, long before the war, you even tried to keep in touch with the man during your travels.

    When war came he enlisted.

    Last you heard he is buried somewhere outside Scales.

    If only such stories were rarer. You shake your head, shedding the memories as Damh drones on.

    "He was such a good boy," Damh mutters, "So quick to help others. So quick to see even the smallest wrong righted. He never spared himself and now, and now he is gone."

    He continues to speak airing out dire thoughts that have multiplied in the dark, "It is my fault you know. It is all my fault. I should have stopped him. I should have come myself. I should have, I do not know."

    "We can only imagine," you offer your condolences.

    He brushes them off as his temper flares, "Everyone I know has given me their 'sympathies', their 'condolences'! When my eldest fell to that witch and her contraptions I received 'condolences' from every quarter! But no help, not a single one of them even tried. So when the news arrived that my dear Colin had fallen to those, those horrors, well I knew what I would receive! A lot of talk but no help! So thank you miss but no thank you! Words mean little to me, actions mean everything!"

    "Like buying you another round?" you offer.

    He smiles at that, "Yes, another round!" he shouts. He is beginning to draw the occasional glance from the other patrons so your friend tries to reign him in.

    "Your son sounds like a good man taken far before his time," her voice drips with sympathy as she speaks, "Why not tell us more of him."

    He nods, "Colin was a brave man. Ever since he was a boy he never backed down from a fight and he looked up to his brother, he idolized Devlin, that was my oldest. Everything Devlin did, Colin tried to do as well. When Devlin joined the officer corps it was only a matter of time before Colin would try as well. I, I loved both my sons but Devlin was a useless sort, in battle he was a terror but out of it, out of it he was a little simple, weak willed and not terribly bright. Naturally he was promoted quickly," Damh chuckles at his own joke, "Colin on the other hand. He was going to be someone. I could feel it in my bones. He was a good man and he could have been a great one! Damn those necromancers that laid him low and damn that witch that made him come down here in the first place!"

    He slams a fist on the table.

    He is at least eight pints in and you have no idea how much he drank prior to this but he is remarkably lucid, that or you are just drunk enough to follow him. Either way you are determined to hear more of his story, "Who is this witch you mentioned?"

    He grows increasingly agitated, "Alric-" he catches himself, "Emperor Alric the First, engaged a mage to help modernize our army. Supposedly she had all manner of tricks and tools taken from the dwarves that would make our army unbeatable. Ha! She was a charlatan, and worse she was dangerous. She killed Devlin with her magic and fled the capital soon after. We lost her trail for months but my cousin has many friends, he is the Emperor's most trusted adviser, and he managed to locate her. The hunt was on and Colin always liked a good hunt!"

    You share a quick glace with Thaïs, you are both certain that you know who he is talking about, still confirmation would be nice. You push on, "What was this mage's name and how did she kill your son?"

    He snorts, "Meletē, I will never forget her name and I will never rest until she is broken and dead," he runs a large hand through his greying hair, "She killed him with one of her infernal devices. I do not remember what it is called, she claimed it would spit fire and death at the enemies of the Crown, instead it took the life of my son."

    "Could it have been an accident?" you suggest.

    His jaw clenches, you can hear his teeth grinding, when he does speak it is in a tone that will brook no dissent, "It was no accident."

    Thaïs draws the conversation away from your sleeping inventor, "It sounds like a great tragedy and a grave miscarriage of justice to be certain," Damh nods along with her, "It is good that we have had this conversation, for I see in you a man of firm principles and great will," you almost laugh as she spits out that line, she gives you a slight kick under the table, "If we could have done anything to help your son in his search, knowing this tale we certainly would have and if we ever uncover anything about this scoundrel this Me... Mel..."

    "Meletē," Damh practically growls.

    "Yes, Meletē," she nods, "Should we ever find this foul murderer we will do everything we can to help you bring her to justice. But first we need to stop another tragedy from unfolding before our very eyes."

    He tilts his head and motions for her to continue.

    "A friend of ours and his young child have recently escaped a most horrible fate. They were help captive by worshipers of the Dark that tortured and murdered most of their family. They were rescued but not before they were both horribly mutilated by their captives. They will have to go through their entire lives disfigured as a result."

    He nods gravely, "Horrible, absolutely horrible. What can I do though? I can not bring back the dead and I can not heal the wounded."

    "But Eagle can," you add, "With our help Eagle can restore this girl and her father physically, if not mentally. We merely need his help for a few days."

    Thaïs builds upon your request with a plea of her own, "We throw ourselves on your mercy, do not let another family suffer as yours has."

    He plays with his moustache absentmindedly, he considers first you and then your friend, "That is why you wished to borrow Eagle? To restore a father and child? Perhaps, perhaps that is a reasonable request. Yes, alright," he demands paper and ink from the waitress and after a heated but brief exchange she gets it for him. He draws up a formal order for Eagle to help you, and only you, "You may borrow him but for two days only. After that I am afraid we must leave and Eagle must come with us."

    "Why two days?" you ask.

    "The embassy is closing," he laughs, "My cousin saw to that. Half his city burnt down and a representative of the Emperor dead. Albrecht has lost control of the situation and he has even gone so far as to execute staunch enemies of the Dark like the Eberhardts. It sickens me to see him betray his own people like that. It is one of the reasons I refused to even attend that sham of a trial. There was no justice to be had there! I hear he is currently wasting his attentions on a pair of mages from the north. Great terrors those two, seven feet tall with eyes hardened by foul sorcery and dark secrets. Stay away from Albrecht and his pet mages ladies. No good will come from dealing with them and I will tell all that have ears to hear as much!" he bangs the table again and demands another round, "Just wait I will tell you all about what I have heard of them and you will agree with me I know it!"

    The direction the conversation is taking makes you uneasy. You weigh your options.

    Can you bow out now or will he object and take offense? As you attempt to gauge Damh's behaviour Thaïs pursues another course, "How about a song instead? Something in remembrance of your sons?"

    Damh stops and grins, "Yes, a song!"

    He begins to chant it and soon enough some of the more intoxicated patrons take up his call. Gracefully Thaïs glides toward the musicians and after a moment they begin to play one of the most haunting songs you have heard.

    Her voice is beautiful in its purity, she sings in the ancient dialect of the south, of the quickness of death and the value of life. The lyrics are simple and their repetition moving as the tavern falls to complete silence before her.

    You close your eyes and let the music take you.

    "While you live, shine

    have no grief at all

    life exists only for a short while

    and time demands its toll."

    As she finishes her number the tavern stares on in silence.

    Damh cries to himself and a few of the other patrons begin to weep as well.

    Well this won't do. A sad tavern is an unhappy tavern which makes for unhappy management and you want to get out of here with a minimum of difficulty.

    You hop up from your chair and race over. You direct your friend to the bar as you turn to the band.

    You are no musician and no enertainer. You can not hold this room through your presence the way she can but you know bars like the back of your hand and you have often been told that you do in fact have a beautiful voice when you choose to employ it.

    You have no intention of trying to compete with the performance you just heard. Instead with a few quick words to the band you start in on a joyous rendition of a song you have sung in bars, taverns and watering holes throughout the empire.

    "There were three farmers in the north, as they were passing by
    They swore an oath, a mighty oath, that barleycorn should die
    One of them said drown him and the others said hang him high
    For whoever will stick to the barleygrain, a beggin´ he will die

    They put poor barley into a sack of a cold and rainy day
    And took him off to the cuillin´ fields and burned him in the clay
    The frost and snow began to melt, and the dew began to fall
    And the barley grain put up his head and he soon surprised them all

    Bein´ in the summer season and the harvest coming on
    The reaper and the binder came and cut poor barley down
    The farmer came with his pitchfork and pierced me through the heart
    Like a thief a rogue or a highwayman they tied me to the cart

    They thrashed me and they steeped me, and they dried me in the kiln
    They used me ten times and worse than that, they ground me in the mill
    They used me in the kitchen, they used me in the hall
    They used me in the parlour among the ladies all

    Oh the barleycorn is a comical grain, it makes men sigh and moan
    But when they drink a glass or two, they forget their wives at home
    The drunkard he is a terrible man he used me worst of all
    He drank me up from his dirty paw and he pissed me against the wall."

    It works better than you could have anticipated. By the second verse half the bar is mumbling along, some are even laughing. By the fourth everyone is singing, or trying to, and they are all ordering more drinks.

    You do not give Damh a chance to drag you away and back into conversation. Instead the two of you run through every drinking song you can think of. At times you take turns, at times you sing together, you run the band hard but it keeps the place lively and the barman even shoots you an approving wink as you finish up your set.

    As you finish they applaud once for your performance and again for your friend's. Damh stands up and raises his pint in a toast to the both of you. He begins to speak, but instead tips backward and hits the floor with a thundering crash. He has finally managed to drink himself into oblivion. You strongly doubt he will remember any of this come tomorrow morning.

    You shake your head as a pair of guards carry him outside to his men.

    As the two of you move to leave, the barman waves you over. He passes you a pair of same cards, black with a silver flame etched on each, "Should you ever wish to come back for another performance, though they are only good for one visit," he grins and winks as you nod and leave the establishment.

    Thaïs takes you by the arm as you step out into the cold night, "I did not know you could sing."

    "I can't," you reply, "Not really."

    She scoffs, "You can and you could be quite good at it if you took the time to try. Just like you can be very sweet when you want to be. You should try it, you would make fewer enemies."

    Something to consider perhaps.

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

    The next morning is suitably uncomfortable. A mild headache, a weak stomach, and a sore throat greet you as you wake. As you meet your friend and Lyssa for your morning magic lessons a number of letters arrive from throughout the city.

    Mayer sends you his report, he has taken out a loan in your name to the amount you specified, it is an astronomical amount and only your reputation and connections with the King allowed you to get it. The rate of interest is quite high but he swears he will do his best to secure as many properties as he can without bending or breaking the law as per your instruction. If Mayer is even half as good as he says he is you should be able to pay it off without drowning in debt, you hope, you do not want to have to flee the kingdom with a bounty on your head.

    Albrecht's agents have also sent you the revised caravan contracts and ownership licence for Blackrock Securities. You will begin the transition process to seize control of both in a few days. This will require setting up meetings with the remaining leadership of Blackrock as well as the major merchant firms that previously dealt with the Eberhardts. Of course you will also have to look into the state of your caravanserais. Then of course there is the girls' education to keep watch over and your own magical studies.

    Your days are going to be very busy indeed.

    But before all of that two letters demand your immediate attention. Eagle has agreed to help you with your spell and hopefully you will be able to perfect it before he is required to leave. If you are quick enough you may even be able to conduct the ritual with his direct help which would be a definite advantage.

    The second piece of information to draw your attention is that the Academy has finished examining the spells you gave them. There was a trap built into them and a rather subtle one at that. It seems that the spells require the casting mages to enter into a trance like state when the moon is in the proper phase to raise the target's mind out of slumber. The version you were given though had flaws in it that would prevent you from waking yourselves. The Oneiroi were trying to trap you just like your friend it seems.

    The fellows have drawn up revised versions of the spells that should be safer and are awaiting your instructions. They inform you that the spells are still dangerous, you are still entering a comatose state to unravel a number of complex spells, but they should now function as designed.

    There is a problem however and it immediately presents itself to you. Your window to cast the spell will close within the next two days, the same time you will need to practice your healing ritual with Eagle.

    If you miss this opportunity you will have to wait a month for your next chance. It does pose something of a problem. You could try to squeeze both in but your instincts tell you that trying to prepare for two untested and demanding rituals at the same time might be a bad idea.


    1. You choose to:

    A) Go with the healing ritual, Meletē will just have to wait the extra month.

    B) Go with the revised Oneiroi ritual, you will have to do without Eagle's help and figure things out later.

    C) Try to do both yourself.

    D) Split up, Derryth will focus on the healing ritual with Eagle while Thaïs works on performing the Oneiroi ritual with Lyssa.

    E) freeform
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
    • Brofist Brofist x 4
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