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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
    Joined:
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    1,997
    For the basic sorts of messages you listed, no you do not need a pre-set list. As long as it remains basic, it is something the mages should be able to handle without any real difficulty as far as skill goes.
     
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  2. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Well, there is a problem with the range. How far was the Blackrock fort when we sensed magic on our way to it?

    Before we talked about the necklace, you said that Nanshe could send us a signal for when to pick the gold up. What was it? Maybe we should set up a backup method - this part is pretty important to the plan.

    Well, if all else fails, we can have her on the plains posing for our eagles once her people back away (50 meters away from the gullies would be enough both for her to get noticed by eagles and to get away before the dwarves arrive), but if she has something else in mind, it would be nice to know.

    All the more reason to convince her to move south-east, I guess.
     
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  3. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    Several kilometres, you do not really know how far though. You were in a closed carriage weaving up and down the mountains and did not really have the luxury to measure. Derryth believes at least four or five.

    Noise and light. She refuses to elaborate as she still does not trust you. She says you will know it when you see it.



    Anyway Bii wins, you will attempt to form an alliance of convenience with Nanshe and see what happens from there. The update should be out in sixteen hours or so when I have a moment.
     
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  4. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Well, here's a nice opportunity to notice when the signal will begin to fade. If we can still sense it when they are 12 miles across from us, there is our answer. :) Might come in handy when dealing with the other bearers.

    Wouldn't be the Dex LP if we didn't fuck up majorly at least once. Now watch as it turns out that the white mage was among the ghols all along, shapeshifted into Nanshe's apprentice. Out of boredom, of course.

    :avatard:
     
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  5. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    Nah he is not with Nanshe's followers. The thing you have to remember is that your enemies did not originally expect you to be there. They have had to modify their plans a little but for the most part they are still proceeding with their original objectives. You will see when the update goes live I guess. (Assuming I don't get distracted by D:OS or something and push the update back by a week. :lol: )
     
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  6. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Ahem. Nanshe did not expect us to be there. Who says that our enemies didn't? *paranoid mage* :)

    Ah, at least if we fail, I hope it would be in a spectacular way. With lots of light and noise.
     
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  7. archaen Arbiter Patron

    archaen
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    I'm not worried. If things go badly Berty Levy dressed as a family of muskrats will pull our bacon out of the fire.
     
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  8. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
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    Messages:
    1,997
    Chapter 39: In for a Pound

    You are still not sure that this is a good idea.

    If you do this, if anyone finds out, well, treason to the dwarven nation would be the least of your problems. It is likely that your soldiers would betray you, attack you, or simply desert. They hardly know you and they certainly won't trust you in this. Your escort would likely arrest you as well, drag you back to the king and have you hung. Well, at least they would try.

    So then why take this risk?

    Because the reward may just be worth it.

    If this little plan succeeds then you will have deprived the Watcher's armies of the only mobile elements they possess. His armies would actually be slower than the dwarven defenders on top of being less skilled and less motivated.

    From what Nanshe tells you the Watcher currently has over eight hundred ghôls in his service, most are organized into three great armies while the rest serve as scouts, messengers and enforcers. He can accomplish a lot with eight hundred ghôls if he throws them against the Kingdom but he has not and Nanshe says he will not. His ghôl armies currently lie far to the southeast where they are conquering the scattered clans of her people. She tells you that he intends to draw every last ghôl, both the living and the dead, into his armies. They would number in the tens of thousands.

    If what she says is true they would comprise a fighting force of such size that the dwarves could not hope to hold them at bay. They would be overwhelmed by sheer numbers.

    An unbeatable enemy indeed.

    You remember Connacht and the Trow. A seemingly invincible foe undermined from within. If this works it could be the next step towards defeating the Watcher, protecting the kingdom, and most importantly securing your investments.

    You just hope it works.

    First step is to get rid of the dwarves. You might be able to negotiate with the humans and mauls if the plan falls through but the dwarves will never accept your deception.

    "What do you mean you want us to leave?" the captain asks. He is not taking the news well, "With all due respect ma'am we can not simply leave you alone and surrounded by enemies!"

    "Captain, you will not be leaving us alone. We will still have Blackrock on hand to deal with any threats and I don't want these ghôls escaping. Particularly as I have learnt from the prisoner that our prey are carrying a substantial amount of plundered wealth with them."

    He perks up at that, he may be your minder but he is also a true dwarf, "What kind of wealth? Where did they get it?"

    "Diamonds," you reply, "Supposedly they robbed and murdered a supply caravan on their way through the mountains. That is why they are moving so slowly, they have my gold and a load of diamonds with them."

    The captain plays with his beard as he thinks, you already have a fairly good idea of what he is going to say so you wait patiently for him to spit it out, "You know it is customary for officers to receive a percentage of all loot captured from the enemy."

    A thin smile slips onto your face, "How much?"

    "Twenty percent," he answers with a straight face.

    "Bullshit," you scoff, "Myora!"

    The maul crosses your temporary camp at the sound of your call, "Yes, Miss Derryth?"

    "What is the customary payout to officers of assets seized from the enemy," you enquire of her.

    "Three percent ma'am," she reply cooly, "Anything else?"

    You wave her off with a warm smile, "No, that will be all for now."

    The captain is crestfallen, "Ah well, you see-"

    You laugh, "You were just trying to get the best return possible?"

    He nods as he stares at his boots, "Yes, ma'am."

    "Get your men ready, load up the grenadiers, take the carriage, and head out this instant. Follow the plains east and then north, with any luck you can cut the enemy off. Your primary aim will be the stolen wealth not the ghôls, those chests are worth far more to me than a few dead savages. If I need to contact you then I will do so by eagle, understood? " he nods, salutes and turns on his heels. He does not once look you in the eye.

    Not exactly ideal, he will do this for you but what you really want is for him to want to do this. You begin to count in your mind, when you reach ten you call out after him, "Captain!"

    He stops dead and slowly turns, "Yes ma'am?"

    "Retrieve those diamonds and you will get four percent! And a diamond to each of your men!" the effect of your words are instantaneous.

    He immediately brightens, "Yes ma'am!" with a hop in his step he is off to rouse his men.

    Well that is a start but it is only going to get harder from here.

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

    Your second step is to round up your group and strike a deal with Nanshe.

    They are where you left them. The four of them surround your prisoner, out of her reach but within range in case she tries anything. Your mercenaries give the whole group a wide berth, perhaps out of caution, perhaps out of fear. Either way it works in your favour.

    You march right past your allies and up to the ghôl, she greets you with an amused smirk, "Want something?"

    Before you can answer your allies approach, "Is something the matter?" Lyssa asks.

    "We are going ahead with my plan," you respond.

    Berty grins, Lyssa frowns, Thaïs shakes her head but gives you a supportive look.

    "This is a bad idea," the witch stresses, "There are far too many ways this-"

    Thaïs stops her with a single delicate hand on her shoulder, "If Derryth says we are going to do this than there is no stopping her. Our efforts would be best spent in aiding her."

    Lyssa sighs and nods, "I suppose."

    Berty chimes in, "Oh! Oh this is going to be fun! " You are not sure if you should find that encouraging or upsetting.

    Your friend turns to you, a slight smile creeps across her face, "Anything you need Derryth, you have our full support as always."

    Nanshe coughs, "I assume this plan of yours has to do with me?"

    "Yes, now this may sound insane but just hear me out..." you take a deep, calming breath and commit treason.

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

    "That is insane," the ghôl laughs.

    "But it will work," you insist.

    "Maybe," she replies, "It might work, or it will get us all killed."

    "A chance of death is better than the certainty of death is it not?" Thaïs reminds her.

    "And you would be free of the Watcher as well," you quickly add.

    "Oh certainly," the ghôl beams, "What I can't understand is why you would help. You are no servants of the Golden Ones, you are no slaves of the Watcher, and yet you would help me. You would give me back my life and what's more you would give me the means of hiding myself and those like me from the master. It is almost too good to be true."

    She considers you both, she glances past you at Lyssa and Berty standing guard, she looks up at the sky and down at her feet, she looks you in the eyes and she nods, "I will do this. I don't see what other options I have really. I will trade you the chests for my freedom and the means to hide from the Watcher."

    "Alright then, when you meet up with your people once again you will lead them to the southeast and deposit the chests on the edge of the plains. I will then send you the instructions necessary to hide yourself from the Watcher," you take Thaïs' glove from her and produce your own as well. When wrapped around her neck they should hide her from the Watcher's agents. Sending them by eagle would raise too many questions so as much as you hesitate to do so you must give them to Nanshe now.

    As you do an idea occurs to you. If the gloves can hide her signal then by taking them off and putting them back on she should be able to send you simple messages. It would be a great way to communicate but you are not sure you will be able to persuade Nanshe to do it without revealing their true nature. Instead you lean over to Thaïs and whisper your idea in her ear. She nods slowly.

    As you hand the gloves to your prisoner your friend speaks, "These gloves are stolen from the Temple of the Shadow Hand in distant Tyr. The thieves that work in the temple must communicate without making a sound. They do so by wrapping the gloves around their necks in particular patterns. We will show you so that you may communicate with us."

    Nanshe nods along as you spend the next ten minutes setting up a quick and dirty code system to communicate though. It is rough but it should work. One interruption of the signal will mean she has reached her group. Two will mean she has deposited your goods, at which point she will send up a signal for your eagle to approach. Three will mean she has received your message and is leaving the area. Hopefully you will never meet again.

    "So how are you going to get me out of here without injuring anyone?" your prisoner naturally asks.

    "Deception and illusion," you reply together.

    You elaborate, "The three of us will handle your escape. When it begins use your iron spell to break your chains and flee. Remember though, you are not to harm any of my men under any circumstances, understand?"

    Nanshe shrugs, "I will defend myself, I am not going to let your mercenaries murder me when I am this close to freedom," you frown but she pushes on, "I will try not to harm any of them though. You have my word on that."

    The word of a ghôl, you are not sure how much that will mean but you are committed.

    "Since we are becoming such good friends I have something for you two as well," the ghôl winks at you. She produces a small sliver of black stone engraved on all sides with a red bulb for a handle on one end.

    "What is it?" your friend asks.

    "A key," your prisoner answers.

    You thank her and take the sliver of stone as the two of you back away and approach Lyssa.

    It is time to begin the most difficult stage of your plan.

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

    Myora is not happy as she sits on a large boulder looking out into the maze of gullies before them.

    They are wasting time! These mages, her new employers, are letting the enemy slip away while she waits trapped in this improvised camp. Every second they stay here, interrogating that ghôl, represents a lost opportunity.

    It is not that she loves battle, though she will admit she is quite fond of it.

    It is not that she loves profit, though she will admit their quarry could be worth an awful lot.

    It is not even that she hates ghôls, her first taste of travel came during Soulblighter's War where she served in the northern armies fighting Berserks and Warlocks.

    No, it is merely that she hates being useless. If it were Jawbone leading them that would be one thing, he may be getting old but she trusts his judgement.

    If it were one of the old bosses then she would wait patiently as well. They knew what they were doing! Well, right until they didn't. The day they were rounded up in Myrgard and hung, every last one of them. The thought depresses her slightly, some of them were not so bad all things considered.

    This Derryth, however, she is not so sure of. With the notable exception of Alric, mages do not make great generals. How many blunders, how many mistakes had Soulblighter and his lieutenants made? Or the Avatarra and Fallen Lords before them? No, mages simply make for poor commanders, not a one of them cares even in the slightest for their soldiers and she will be damned if she will let this mage throw away the lives of her men.

    Mages, humph, good for nothing except getting good soldiers killed.

    What they should do is simply kill their 'prisoner', it would be a mercy really, and run down their prey. In fact that is exactly what she is going to tell her new commander, she is not going to just sit here and-

    A nearby bush stirs.

    What was that?

    Now a tree wavers.

    And she sees it, the putrid, swollen face of a wight.

    Followed by another, then a third, a fourth, a fifth, just how many are there?

    "Attack," she hollers, "We are under attack!"

    The mercenaries form up as she races over to them.

    There must be dozens of them. She has no idea how they managed to sneak up on them but with only two archers against over thirty wights they stand no chance.

    "Archers prioritize the lead wights, warriors, wait until they close and ready your javeli-" her orders are cut off as the lead wight disintegrates before her eyes, "What the hell?"

    She glances across the camp. Her new employers have formed a circle with their guards around them. They stand chanting with their eyes closed and their hands joined; from the center of their circle azure spheres slowly rise into the air. Each is semisolid but riddled with tiny holes, tiny rodents contort in rage; they twist and turn and tumble over each other along the surface of each sphere as each speeds towards its target. Every sphere strikes a wight and each wight that is struck dissolves into thin air without so much as making a noise.

    This silent battle unfolds in front of her and it is all she can do just to watch it.

    The noiseless dance of the spheres and undead is interrupted by but a single sound, metal on metal.

    The prisoner has broken her chains and is racing past Myora's employers.

    That Berty fellow yells to the two children that travel with them. They nod and hold their ground as he advances on the ghôl, he bobs and weaves around the prisoner as she tries to strike at him but she quickly gets the better of him. He throws a wide punch, she trips him and bursts past him into the gullies that lie before them.

    Myora frowns, the prisoner has escaped, that much can not be helped. She blames herself as much as anyone, there should have been at least an eight soldiers guarding such a creature.

    The mages continue to chant, they must not be able to sense the prisoner's escape while working their magics or perhaps they can but are powerless to stop it.

    She wants to help, she wants to stop the prisoner but there is just no way to follow the ghôl with so many wights closing in on them.

    The chants from the mages get louder as more and more spheres pour forth, now in a multitude of colours. Crimson, spheres that swim with fish of flame. Golden spheres, that swarm with biting insects. Violet spheres, upon which slither and writhe a multitude of serpents before her very eyes.

    They swarm the undead and where each one strikes the wights fall leaving no trace.

    The battle is over in moments as the silent spheres overrun their attackers.

    She breathes a sigh of relief as the mages break their connection.

    By her count they had been attacked by over sixty wights.

    Without those mages they would all be dead.

    Perhaps her new employers really do know what they are doing after all?

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

    "How are the mercs?" you ask with a whisper. You are back on the march, trying your best to 'catch' your fleeing prisoner and her subordinates. You will do everything in your power to make sure you fail in that task.

    "Suitably impressed," Berty replies quietly with a chuckle, "They are convinced that those wights were real and that the only thing that saved them was you combined magics."

    You nod, "Well I am glad they bought it because it cost us most of our energon cube to pull off without draining ourselves."

    "Hell Derry," he slaps you on the back, "I knew they were fake and I almost bought it. Whatever you and Taide cooked up-"

    You stop him right there, "Oh no, that was all Lyssa. We simply provided the extra power needed to complete her spells. If you want to praise anyone then praise her."

    He whistles, "Lys did all that? Damn, did not know the girl had that in her."

    Thaïs laughs, "You should have witnessed what she did when we first encountered her. Unless you have a keen mind for such things it is all too easy to be taken in."

    "Well then I owe the girl a drink," he grins, "So what's next."

    "As soon as we get her si-" Nanshe's signal drops then after a minute reappear, "Did you feel that?" you ask your friend.

    She nods, "She is back with her people."

    "Alright, better get that eagle in the air then," you wave Lyssa over as you slide a pair of notes from your pack.

    The first bears instructions for the captain. It warns him that the prisoner has escaped while reminding him to prioritize the chests over the ghôls. The second is for Nanshe and gives instructions on the true nature of the gloves. She will receive it after you have collected your goods.

    Everything is going wonderfully, however that slight signal you picked up has split and begun to move. One of the signals, the weaker of the two, is moving rapidly in Nanshe's direction. The other signal, still weak but the stronger of the two, has matched your speed and general direction. It has not moved closer to you and instead seems content to shadow your movements. This concerns you more than a little but there is nothing you can do about it while pursuing your plan.

    There is precious little left for you to do really except continue down the path you have chosen and hope for the best.

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

    Perhaps it was too much to hope for.

    The quick, weak signal reached Nanshe forty minutes ago. Shortly after that both her signal and the mystery one disappeared.

    The second mystery signal continues to shadow you as you head east toward the plains and your dwarven soldiers.

    By all accounts it seems your plan has failed.

    Then something unexpected happens.

    The sky to your northeast lights up, bolts of silver lightning arc from the gathering storm clouds as a trio of explosions rock the night. In the distance you can hear hundreds of crows screaming as they light up the night sky, little points of flame quickly consumed by the hungry dark.

    You give the light show as much space as you can. With so few soldiers you do not particularly want to stumble into a battle.

    You press on to the east. The mysterious signal trailing behind you always keeping its distance. From what Lyssa tells you more crows are gathering behind you, forming another screen to your west between you and the signal.

    Everyone is nervous and the men are in low spirits.

    The night is oppressive and it closes about you, slowly suffocating you.

    You desperately need those extra soldiers.

    You push on until you hit the plains.

    Still no sign of your dwarves.

    You are in the general area Nanshe was to drop your chests but you see no sign of the ghôls or your dwarves.

    The signal behind you has grown in power and is quickening its pace.

    You do not want fight whatever is following you with so few soldiers.

    You swing north, following the low hills that lie between the gullies to your left and the broad plains of this plateau to your right. The signal continues to build behind you as you force your soldiers on. You run like the Watcher himself is pursuing you. Perhaps he is, at least a part of him anyway.

    It is with indescribable relief that you catch a glimpse of your carriage as you crest the next hill. You are about to send your remaining eagle on to warn the captain when the signal that has been pursuing you begins to back away and diminish.

    It does not disappear but it seems unwilling to get too close now that you have rejoined the main body of your hunting party. It sits, nestled in the gullies somewhere behind you, screened by a growing body of crows.

    You will likely have to deal with it eventually but first you desire to know the results of the captain's foray.

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

    "Well as you can see ma'am," he gestures to the two piles and smouldering pyre before you, "Awfully strange business this."

    "Yes I can see that," you mutter as you survey the scene.

    In one pile rests your chests. Four large, marked chests contain your gold while a dozen smaller, unmarked chests hold your diamonds. They seem to all be there though you have not opened them yet.

    In the other pile rest fifteen ghôls, each has had their hands cut off, their eyes removed and their tongues cut out. Their armour has been torn off and much of it is missing, their weapons, those that are not broken, have also been taken.

    The smouldering pyre is made out of what spare wood could be dragged together and has been lit by large piles of tall grass gathered from the plains. Five charred corpses rest upon it, all ghôls.

    You approach the piled dead and drop to a knee next to them.

    At first you are puzzled, then you examine the corpses more closely. All of the unburnt ghôls bear the mark of the Watcher, a skull branded on their forearms or chests. They are all dumped together and next to the pile is a human woman. From her robes you would guess she is a mage but you have no clue what Circle she is from. Her robes are gold and white, now smeared pink with blood. Her staff is broken, her throat crushed and a fist sized hole has been punched in her chest. Other than that though she looks undisturbed, she has not been mutilated as the ghôls have. She has been stripped of anything magical she may have had on her person and a quick search turns up nothing much of interest with one exception. Around her neck hangs a small black pouch, if it is what you think it is you do not want to even touch it.

    "So everything was exactly like this when you arrived?" Thaïs asks as she and Lyssa drag over one of the smaller chests. Berty and the girls are close behind with one of the larger ones.

    "Not exactly," the captain replies, "When we came on the scene those five were already burning. For a second we considered pulling them out of the flames and roasting them properly but it is not professional to eat on the job. The rest were scattered all around so we piled them up. There are a number of tracks headed northeast so it seems that some of the enemy survived but your orders were to stick with the chests so we did not pursue. Found that human girl while we were cleaning up. It did not seem right to pile her with those animals, she must have been a prisoner or something."

    "Captain," you reply as you rise to your feet, "She was definitely a prisoner, just not of the ghôls."

    He gives you an odd look as you brush past him.

    You turn your attention to your allies as they open the first pair of chests.

    Berty and the girls wrest open the first chest and it is filled top to bottom with dwarven sovereigns. If each of the four chests are similarly filled then you have enough to run Blackrock for at least a month.

    You smile in relief. You have managed to recover your stolen wealth at least.

    "Derryth," Lyssa calls to you, "We might have a small problem."

    As you approach you look down at the chest of diamonds, it looks full but you quickly realize that it has been dummied up. Less than half the diamonds are still in the chest.

    You curse under your breath.

    A quick search of the other chests confirms your fears. All of your coins remain but over half the diamonds have gone missing. Each chest contains a couple dozen small bags and under them nothing but rocks and dirt.

    All except one that is. From one of the diamond chests you pull out a small locked box. It is made from a single piece of obsidian without any sort of lock or hinge

    You shake and something slides inside.

    As you run your fingers along the exterior of the box, mindful of any traps it may have you find a tiny hole. A small crack in the stone.

    Instantly you remember Nanshe's 'key', that tiny splinter of black stone she gave you as a gift. She must have been planning this the second she agreed to help you.

    You wave over Thaïs and Lyssa as you slip around your carriage and out of view. When they join you, you insert Nanshe's key into the hole while pointing the chest away from yourself and your friends. Slowly you pull open its slidding compartment. You can never be too careful with a mage or a ghôl after all.

    Nothing happens so you carefully turn the box around to get a better look.

    Inside are a handful of notes.

    The first is a letter addressed to 'my partners'.

    The second is a single dirty sheet of paper. Across it are scrawled a number of characters, some dwarven, and some in a language you have never seen before.

    "That is temple ghôlish," whispers Lyssa.

    "Can you read it?" you and your friend ask in unison.

    "No," she shakes her head, "It is rare even amongst ghôls to find someone who can. It is what their priests use when they write to or receive messages from their gods."

    The remaining sheets are in Bruig and look to be torn from a larger work. They are in a completely different hand than the one that wrote the letter and ghôlish sheet. From a quick glance they are definitely spells but it will take you a little time to identify their exact nature.

    You tuck them and the ghôlish note back into the box as you flip the letter open.


    To My Esteemed Partners:

    You have shown a great deal of faith in me. More than I thought possible for people with so little in common. By all rights we should be enemies and yet you have given me both life and hope.

    You have done me a great service tonight and in exchange I have robbed you. You must be feeling betrayed and angry at me. I can understand that.

    It is for that reason that I write this letter.

    Most people believe my kind to be animals or idiots or both and too be fair all to few of my people even attempt to subvert that reputation. I however am not a beast or an idiot. Your interest in my necklace, that little experiment you did with your glove in my cell and your instructions and parting gifts have all clearly revealed the nature of your 'cure'. I have made a collar of your bracelets and I tested it out on the Creature's slave. It worked to perfection, she did not expect a thing. So I thank you for the double freedom you have granted me and I promise to use it well.

    However one thing has bothered me since I agreed to your plan. Now bear with me here my co-conspirators. Have you ever heard the story of Connacht and the Trow? Well of course you have, anyone that has had any historical training knows that one. Connacht freed the Oghres, the slaves of the Trow, and then he hid and built up his strength. Connacht built a great army while the Oghres fought and died against the Trow. The Oghres were slaughtered to the last of them but his plan worked. Connacht won in the end, the Trow were entombed alive and the Oghres ceased to exist.

    I am sure you can see a few parallels here.

    I am no Oghre.

    I suspect that you intend for me to start an insurrection. Armed with the knowledge you have given me I suspect you desire me to undermine the Master's hold on my people. Rest assured that in this we are true and eternal allies. I will do everything in my power to see the archmage fall and if we succeed in this then perhaps I may be able to help you kill your master as well.

    However, such bold claims bring me back to the matter of your diamonds. No doubt you are well aware that you are missing half of them. I will not lie to you and say that I left some out of a sense of fair play or charity or fondness. I took as much as my remaining soldiers could carry without slowing at all.

    As I said, I intend to remain true to you, I intend to fight the Master, I intend to raise an army, and I intend to win.

    To that end I will need armour, I will need weapons, I will need supplies and I will need mercenaries to cover the weaknesses in my forces. All of these things will require money, a great deal of money as there are very few people I can turn to for help and they will charge a great deal.

    Think of the loss of your diamonds as an investment, as the first seeds from which will spring a free and unified nation for my people. You will be the mothers of it as much as I am, if not more, for without you I would stand no chance at all.

    You have my thanks but that seems wholly insufficient. In humble thanks and friendship I offer you a few pieces of knowledge. The most valuable currency in existence for ladies such as you and I. The first you have experienced yourself, under those purple suns you fought this spell and I hope it proves to be of use to you though I only had time to record the first steps on a scrap of old parchment. The rest of the spells are ripped from the spellbook of the Creature's slave. I can not read Bruig and so they are of no use to me.

    May these morsels fill you, I hope.

    Yours in eternal gratitude,

    The Princess

    p.s.

    Should you require me for anything look up the esteemed persons of the Brothers Dietfried. They will know how to find me but be careful, do not cross them.

    Also a word of warning, do not return to Fort Blackrock. It has likely fallen by now and the Creature himself was to lead the charge.


    "Well great," you mutter, "So she robbed us."

    "Told you we could not trust her," Lyssa grins.

    "Well she did not exactly betray us," you counter. In truth you might have done the exact same thing for your people. It does little to soothe your smarting pride though.

    "So what do we do?" Thaïs asks, "With the fort fallen it would take the better part of four days to get back to Myrgard-"

    You nod and grumble, "And that is assuming that we are not attacked on the way."

    Lyssa hazards a suggestion, "She did say that it has 'likely' fallen. Not that it has fallen for sure. We may still be able to save the fort and its defenders if we hurry."

    "That would mean ploughing right through the signal that has been trailing us though," you remind her.

    "Maybe it will flee," she suggests.

    "It would be nice to have someone running from us for a change," your friend adds.


    1. You chose to:

    A) Head back to the fort. You might have to fight the source of the signal that has been following you and then there would be whatever is waiting for you at the fort itself but you may be able to save Jawbone and the rest of the defenders. The journey will take several hours provided you avoid a fight. If you are attacked you are not sure how long it will take.

    B) Head to the south along the plains and then cut southwest through the great mountain passes back to Myrgard. Your soldiers will not like it and morale will be low but you believe the fort is lost and all its defenders slain by now. The journey will take four days provided you are not attacked.

    C) Head west through the gullies and try to lose the signal that is following you though you will have to abandon the chariots and carriage. You will then turn south and head for a nearby dwarven military outpost. Your soldiers will not like it and morale will be low but you believe the fort is lost and all its defenders slain by now. The journey will take two days provided you are not attacked.

    D) Head south then west around the gullies and towards the dwarven outpost. You will likely run right into the signal that is shadowing you unless it flees. Your soldiers will not like it and morale will be low but you believe the fort is lost and all its defenders slain by now. The journey will take two days provided you are not attacked.

    E) Head northeast, you will try to catch Nanshe before she reaches the Watcher's stronghold. You still want your diamonds back. To hell with the risks.

    F) freeform


    2. What do you do with the loot?:

    A) You take as much as can be easily carried.

    B) You take it all on foot though it will slow you down.

    C) You take it all and load it in the carriage. You will not be able to use the carriage to transport soldiers or yourselves this way (This option is not available in any choice 1 option that abandons the carriage.)

    D) freeform


    3. There are fifteen dead ghôls in a pile and five on the pyre. Do you do anything with them?:

    A) No, you are not about to go chopping up corpses when you have more important things to do.

    B) Yes, you take the heads off the Watcher's ghôls but leave Nanshe's alone. Each of those heads is worth a gold coin though you will not desecrate the remains of 'allies' even if the term is applied rather loosely here.

    C) Yes, you take the heads of the Watcher's ghôls and Nanshe's. Each is worth a gold piece and they do not need them anymore.

    D) freeform


    4. There is a little black bag around the dead mage's neck. It likely contains a piece of the Watcher. You are not stupid enough to put it on but you wonder if perhaps you should take it to deny it to your enemy.

    A) You take it and put it in the obsidian lockbox.

    B) You leave it where it is.

    C)Take the Watcher's stone but give it to the Captain of the Royal Escort. Have him keep it in the obsidian box and inside his backpack at all times.

    D) freeform


    5. Do you wish to send an eagle to Myrgard to ask for reinforcements?:

    A) Yes, you send an eagle to the Pathfinders. They will be able to respond quickest and have the best quality soldiers of any of your allies even though there will only be a small number of them. Also you promised Bari that you would let him in on your next suicidal adventure, this would probably count.

    B) Yes, you send an eagle to the Arrows. They will be able to deploy rapidly and Ceannard likes you enough that he may help as long as the promised payout is good (100+ WPs). There soldiers are quiet skills though it may take them a bit longer to mobilize.

    C) Yes, you send an eagle to the King. He will be able to mobilize the largest force and bring proper siege equipment if necessary however his soldiers will also likely have the least training of any of your options. This is also likely to be the slowest option.

    D) No, you will not call for help. It may not reach you in time and this is your business and no one else's.

    E) freeform


    6. Do you want to change the spells in your rings? (This will require a majority of voters):

    Derryth's Ring:

    A) Yes. (List the spell you want to place in the ring, no rituals.)

    B) No. You will keep your Heal spell.

    Thaïs' Ring:

    A) Yes. (List the spell you want to place in the ring, no rituals.)

    B) No. You will keep your Heal spell.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
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  9. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    Party/Organizational Changes:

    Party Changes:


    Show Spoiler
    Derryth:

    Lost the following items:

    1. Eight Energon cubes used to maximize and fuel Lyssa's Animated Area Projection.

    2. Lead Glove given to Nanshe

    Gained the following items:

    1. Obsidian Lockbox and Key

    2. Purple Sun scroll

    3. Half a dozen unsorted spell pages.

    Thaïs:

    Lost the following items:

    1. Eight Energon cubes used to maximize and fuel Lyssa's Animated Area Projection.

    2. Lead Glove given to Nanshe

    Lyssa:

    Lost the following items:

    1. Eight Energon cubes used to maximize and fuel her Animated Area Projection.

    Myora:

    Staus Change:

    From neutral to accepted

    Stats:

    Stats revealed

    Nanshe:

    Leaves Party

    Status Change:

    From neutral to ally

    Stats:

    Approximated stats updated in light of new information.

    Gained the Following Item:

    1. Lead Collar

    Affiliation Changes:

    The Dark: Pretender

    The Watcher: Rebel



    Organizational Changes:

    Show Spoiler
    Gained WPs:

    1. 45 WPs of gold

    2. 94 WPs of diamonds

    New Total WPs:

    -288 WPs



    Rolls:

    Show Spoiler
    The first rolls were to convince Lyssa and Nanshe of your plan. Nanshe was easy (what else is she going to do really) while Lyssa was more difficult. You needed Thaïs' reroll for that.

    Then came the actual negotiation. Thaïs did her best but Nanshe is not an idiot and given everything you were doing with the necklace it was not terribly difficult for her to piece together a working theory. She agreed to everything you asked of her but it was all lies or half truths, she was using you as much as you were trying to use her. If you had rolled better and she had rolled worse things may have gone differently. It was essentially a social encounter/duel.

    Following that came the illusion work and Lyssa did magnificently so she got to have a little fun weaving her illusions. Miosguinn had more mastered spells but Lyssa has a bigger spell list and much greater potential as an illusionist from what you can tell.

    There were still a few ways for things to go wrong. The soldiers had a few very difficult checks to see if they would suspect anything, as did Myora but they would have had to pass multiple checks as Lyssa really did do a fine job.

    After that things were mostly out of your hands and were operating on the 'tactical' and 'strategic' level.

    Nanshe rolled for her progress. The Creature's slave rolled as well.

    There were a few abstracted rolls to see how the fight in Nanshe's group would go down. There were a few rolls to see how Nanshe's ambush of the slave would go. The slave had more raw power but Nanshe had the element of surprise which can count for a lot in a mage duel.

    You chariots had a few rolls to see how quickly they would arrive on the scene. If they had done extraordinarily well they may have arrived before she had a chance to escape but the odds were low given your attempts to purposefully slow them down (they were carrying extra riders with explosives and your eagle arriving forced them to stop for a while as well).

    Then you had your race with the signal behind you.

    Also there are/were probably a number of rolls associated with the defense/attack of the criminally understaffed Fort Blackrock but you can't know what those are yet. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
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  10. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Wait a minute. Why would the soldiers not like it if we don't head to the fort or don't pursue the ghols? They don't know the fort is besieged or fallen yet, right?

    And yeah, without a mage and only a handful of warriors... the fort is likely to have fallen by now.

    Our list of allies looks funnier and funnier:
    Ceannard, Mercenary Captain
    Bari, Veteran Pathfinder
    Argus, Royal Champion
    Nine, Amalgamated Archmage
    The Faceless Man, Ancient Wanderer
    Nanshe, Ghôl Rebel Leader

    A mercenary, a veteran assassin, a veteran soldier, two Fallen Lords and a ghol princess. Half of them belong (somewhat) to the Light, and half of them to the Dark. Of course, only the latter half is female, so if it comes to choosing sides... :lol:

    The piece of the Watcher is probably safe to take if you don't come near the White Mage - give it to the captain and instruct the guards to keep an eye on him in case he turns. I mean, Ori could handle one just fine.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
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  11. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    You dragged them cross county in the middle of the night and now they expect to go home and back to their beds.

    Instead you are either telling them that the Fort has fallen (without explaining how you know that/making up an excuse about the eagles telling you) which will hurt morale severely or alternatively you won't tell them anything as you march them through the mountains for a day or four which will also hurt morale (though not as much) and will make them careless on top of being resentful.

    If you head back to the fort then they will be glad to return home/fight for their home. If you go after Nanshe then they will be happy (or at least the dwarves will be) since they will get to actually do some killing (naturally you will not tell them the fort has fallen in that case).

    Simple as that really.
     
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  12. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Well, I don't want to tell them about the fort (now is really not the time), but I would expect that being close to the Watcher's fortress, as well as being pursued by another of the Watcher's slaves would hold them in shape.

    Taking back the fort is an interesting idea. I wonder how much time would it take for one of our eagles to fly back to Myrgard and request aid.

    Also, with our rampant use of eagles, how come Albrecth still pretends he does not know about them?

    Also, Fangshi, how much can 'easily be carried'?
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
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  13. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    You used one to send a message to Gareth.

    You took two with you on this outing.

    Other than that you have done nothing (that I can remember) with them so he might not have found out yet. Or he may have some other reason for not coming clean, who knows?

    Well they won't desert or anything (at least not until you get back to a city) but their morale will be low. They have been gutted, stolen from, marched around in the dark and now their home is under attack/has fallen. They won't exactly be in high spirits as one can imagine.

    Two days to Myrgard if they hide from the crows. They could do it in one or less if they did not have to worry about being attacked.

    The King could probably muster a proper army to attack the fort in a couple days if he tried. Now if you want warmachines and the like it would be longer and if you wanted him to just send what he has to hand out then it could be done in a day but it is highly doubtful he would agree to that. He would be reluctant to race out into the unknown and leave the city exposed to an attack. He would also be naturally concerned that it is a trap.

    Ori is not a mage as far as you know.
     
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  14. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    We used them to communicate with our Royal Escort just now. :)

    Not to mention they roosted under his very roof, and Lyssa constantly tends to them. I know the Palace staff is portrayed as a bit incompetent, seeing how the attack on the Palace happened in the first place, but that would be too much even for them.

    I think the cat should be long out of the bag by now.

    What about our Pathfinder bros? Should they require a permission from the King if we send for their help?

    Also, how far is fort Blackrock from Myrgard? From what I've read, it is six hours away from the capital if you ride in a carriage. Am I correct?

    So is the captain of the Royal Escort, who I suggest should be carrying this instead of us. Supervised by two guards.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
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  15. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Sep 12, 2013
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
  16. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    But they can not give him any sort of report unless they make it back alive. I see no reason for Albrecht to raise the issue until such time as he has been 'told' of it. Anything less would be rude.

    You and your people have been given run of the palace with the exception of the royal suites, the armoury and the treasury. The staff know about Lyssa and her eagles but that is no guarantee that they have told the king or 'told' the King as the case may be.


    What do you think? ;)

    They could not keep Bari away if they tried.

    Six hours by the King's fastest carriage and chariots yes.

    If you had heavier chariots or a regular carriage it might be seven or eight.

    If you had to do it on foot double that, maybe triple if you were not in a rush as long as you stick to the roads.

    Right, I can add it if you want. How do you want him to carry it?

    About half (60-70 WPs).
     
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  17. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    How did Ori carry it? We want it in an obsidian box, put in another box, in a lot of cloth wrappings, put into a small chest (and have him swallow the key, too), and finally tucked into a backpack.

    If I am exaggerating, then only slightly. Basically, we don't want to open the container the stone would be transported in, we don't want anyone opening it, and if it operates under the same principles as the necklaces, we want something to block its influence and/or signal, hence the layers of fabric and metal and whatnot. It seems to help, though not by much.
    And don't have him carrying this thing near us.

    Also, how much time have passed since we sallied forth from the fort?
     
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  18. Kz3r0 Arcane

    Kz3r0
    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
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  19. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    4C - take the Watcher's stone but give it to the Captain of the Royal Escort. Have him keep it in the obsidian box and inside his backpack at all times. He is not a mage and should not be affected by it.

    ACAC

    Also, I propose 5 - Send an eagle to Myrgard for help. Currently the only ones that would be able to help us quickly enough are the Pathfinders, and only in the case we would be the ones laying siege to the fort.

    I am not really sure why the journey to Myrgard would take half a day for a carriage, but a day for an eagle, even if it flies straight through the crows. Is our carriage faster than our eagles? :|

    Can't say I am too upset about the results, except for the potential fall of our fort. There were so many ways for the plan to go south that donating about 100 WPs to the ghol resistance fund seems tame by comparison.

    A smarter person would write the fort off as a loss... but hey. When did we behave smart? :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
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  20. Jester Arbiter

    Jester
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Messages:
    1,493
    1C for now - Cant we send Eagle to check on fort? In what direction is compound?
    2C
    3A
    4B

    Berty didnt warm up to Derryth? Expected him to fall for her insane planing skills.
     
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  21. archaen Arbiter Patron

    archaen
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2014
    Messages:
    620
    I agree that this went particularly well, especially if blunt the Watcher's armies in the future. We lost out on some immediate cash and gained some esoteric magic spells and avoided a battle. Even if we get caught with our Ghol relationship we can say we planted the seed of rebellion in her and let her go to forment a civil war among the Dwarve's enemies. Make your enemies' strength your own and why wast the lives of real people when you can spend the

    Our men in the fort were already in deep trouble as soon as we sallied forth. We can hope that Jawbone saw he was screwed and had an exit tunnel to get out. IF this is the case, he will be running for his life and us returning immediately could save him. If he elected to stay in the keep then they are all probably dead.

    If they are dug into the fort we are going to need massive amounts of magic and a siege weapon to get in. I propose we send a message back as fast as possible and ask Bari to hire a siege crew and buy us energon cubes if he is able to.

    A) Head back to the fort. You might have to fight the source of the signal that has been following you and then there would be whatever is waiting for you at the fort itself but you may be able to save Jawbone and the rest of the defenders. The journey will take several hours provided you avoid a fight. If you are attacked you are not sure how long it will take.
    C) You take it all and load it in the carriage. You will not be able to use the carriage to transport soldiers or yourselves this way (This option is not available in any choice 1 option that abandons the carriage.)
    A) No, you are not about to go chopping up corpses when you have more important things to do.
    C) Take the Watcher's stone but give it to the Captain of the Royal Escort. Have him keep it in the obsidian box and inside his backpack at all times. He is not a mage and should not be affected by it.
    5A) Get word back to Bari and the Pathfinders as fast as possible, either a lone chariot, eagle, or both. Have them hire a bombard if it can get to us in a reasonable amount of time and to buy energon cubes and bring them and we will reimburse him.
     
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  22. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
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    Messages:
    11,056
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Nope. Ghol relationships, much like necromancy, result in an immediate death penalty as far as the dwarves are concerned, regardless of how noble you think was the reason that made you do this. So your best bet would be to deny your involvement by whatever means possible.

    Yup. If Nanshe could have taken a couple dozen dwarves with her Iron Body spell, 16 warriors stood no chance against her teacher, who could easily pass for a minor archmage. I suppose they are fucked. Well, maybe Rand have gotten away, that's what he does.

    Still, I have no idea what forces the mage hit them with, but I kind of doubt he could have sneaked in a big enough army and remain absolutely unnoticed. We were away for just several hours. If they got to the fort, maybe we can lay siege to them, or at least ambush them as they are trying to leave. Though I am kind of beginning to worry about getting sandwitched between the White Mage and whatever it is that is tailing us.

    In any case, I think we need to put something with a lot of bang in one of our rings. Healing spells are fine and good, but we don't have a lot of tools that would be effective against the Creature.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
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  23. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    Alright added, some small part of me was hoping you would just let him wear it. :lol:

    Well you asked how long it would take them to fly to Myrgard and get aid. That is how long it would take. They have to reach the city, find someone that can help, get a message to them and wait for help to be organized. Taking the quickest help you can find (the Pathfinders probably) and the fastest travel time (straight to the city without worrying about crows) it would take about a day. Where as it would take about two to four days to get help by carriage at this point. My apologies if that was not clear.

    Added.

    You can try if you want but there are a lot of crows between you and the fort. They might not make it.

    If you want to though then let me know and I will add it as an option.

    Derryth still is not too sure about Berty. He seems nice and he has saved her life but he is also a bit unhinged.

    If you want I can add the option to change your ring's spells.

    This is where Albrecht being incredibly pragmatic may come in handy. He might just accept such an excuse as long as he is the only one that finds out (you would have about even odds there). If it becomes public knowledge though then you will be charged with high treason and if found guilty you will be hung, decapitated, and quartered. Your remains will then be burnt.

    Current Tally:

    Show Spoiler
    Grimgravy: A,C,A,A,A,xx
    Kz3r0: A,C,A,A,x,xx
    Nevill: A,C,A,C,A,A(Greater Energy Bolt)B
    Jester: C,C,A,B,x,xx
    archaen: A,C,A,C,A,xx

    1. Where to go:
    A) 4 votes
    B)
    C) 1 vote
    D)
    E)

    2. Wealth:
    A)
    B)
    C) 5 votes

    3. Skulls:
    A) 5 votes
    B)
    C)

    4. Watcher's Stone
    A) 2 votes
    B) 1 vote
    C) 2 votes

    5. Eagle Message
    A) 3 votes
    B)
    C)
    D)

    6. Rings:
    Derryth's Ring:
    A) 1 vote (1 vote Greater Energy Bolt)
    B)
    Thaïs' Ring:
    A)
    B) 1 vote
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
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  24. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
    Joined:
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    Add 5A to my vote. Can't leave Bari out of the mayhem agian! Abstaining from 6 unless someone comes up with a good alternative.
     
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  25. Kipeci Magister

    Kipeci
    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,932
    Location:
    Vicksburg
    oh boy

    I just don't get this. We invest so very much into the dwarf kingdom only to establish a relationship with the ghols that can destroy everything for a benefit that has only a slim chance of occurring, and on top of that they steal from us.

    And we could have just sold their carcasses for huge money!

    I'll just not vote for now, there are just too many options.
     
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