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Myth: A New Age CYOA

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

  1. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Messages:
    8,170
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Codex 2012
    I'll take that at face value. :salute:
     
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  2. Jester Arbiter

    Jester
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
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    1,493
    "Fool me once..."
     
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  3. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
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    1,997
    Update is done.

    I am just going to give it one more pass then post it.
     
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  4. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Messages:
    8,170
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Codex 2012
    :kfc:
     
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  5. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    Chapter 67: The Good Neighbours

    The last, delicate rays of light desperately cling to the dunes around you and the mountain peaks in the distance. They stand glittering, great teeth of polished stone, barring the way to the coming dark. A deep, endless darkness that threatens to devour all it touches.

    Your people sense it, from the mightiest mage to the smallest mouse. A shock and thrill of danger, of excitement, something is about to happen.

    Best be prepared for it.

    “We will wait, thank you,” you give your measured answer to the Hunter and he simply nods, swinging his club back and forth lazily.

    “Fair enough Cousin, fair enough,” he gestures to the south and the east, “My Lord will be along soon enough.”

    He drops into a squat, “Don't mind if I get more comfortable then?”

    “By all means,” Thaïs answers for you. She whispers to you, “What is the plan?”

    “We need to talk,” you answer, Cropper grins at you, you politely smile back, “Ah, think he can hear us?”

    Cropper wiggles his ears, “For a certainty Cousin, for a certainty! But don't let that stop you!”

    The hounds laugh.

    You shake your head and repeat your instructions to your partner, “We need to talk,” you cast another glance at the happy Hunter, “In the carriage.”

    He laughs as you signal to your officers to meet you by the carriage. Berty leaves a couple of your mercenaries in charge as Hámundr reiterates his standing orders to his men. Hopefully they won't do anything stupid for the few minutes that you are gone.

    Lyssa, Berty, and Hámundr all arrive quickly, the Old Man comes as well, not on your invitation of course, but by his own initiative. You do not order him back to his post. One look at the mage is enough to tell you that he is still teetering on the very edge, he does not like this situation and it is a damn certainty that he does not trust you in the slightest. You have no desire to add yet more strain to your relationship with the man and so he stays.

    “Right, I am going to be quick,” you begin, “Berty, Lyssa, I want you to monitor the dwarven scouts that Cropper and his people were chasing. Find some way to render them helpless, if they are the Watcher's spies I do not want them hitting us in the back or starting a battle when Cropper's lord arrives.”

    The tiny man and the witch nod, she speaks, “I am sure we can come up with something.”

    “Hámundr,” the dwarf gives you a curt nod, “You are the ranking officer here. Will those scouts listen to you if you give them an order?”

    The dwarf grunts, “If they are true sons of the Kingdom then they will.”

    “Good enough,” you push on, “That will help separate the loyalists from the traitors.”

    The Old Man has listened to your plan in silence so far but now he speaks, “And what part do you have for me in your plan.”

    You had intended to approach him separately for this but you suspect the mage will find precious little to object to in your request, “You know how to interrogate the minds of others, correct?”

    He grins, “Yes, trial by flame.”

    “Good,” you respond, “We are going to pick through the mind of the scout that Cropper's people captured but we thought you might like a chance to verify our claims, prove to yourself and your people that we are working in the best interests of the Kingdom.”

    The Old Man beams, clearly warming to the idea, “I will gather the necessary components for the ritual.”

    Thaïs stops him as he moves to leave your carriage, “Components? We do not have much time, will it take long?”

    “No,” he laughs, “It is quick and easy.”

    He slips free of her grasp and disappears into the twilight.

    With the orders given the pair of you move back to the front of your formation. You call to your disembodied officer, “Caoilainn, keep an eye on things for us will you?”

    She grunts something you think is a 'yes'.

    “Caoilainn?” you whisper a second time.

    Hmmm?” she answers absentmindedly.

    “Are you listening?” your better half asks.

    Yes, yes, I will keep an eye on things,” she answers quickly. You hope she means it.

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

    Not a terribly complex mind to be dealing with really.

    The Scout's mind takes the form of a village, two neat rows of tiny, square houses cooking under a hot and merciless sun. Around the houses are small fields, withered and wasted, parched maws begging for even the slightest drop of rain. In the distance the same mountains you recognize from your time at Fort Blackrock rise, blood stained fingers clawing at the sky.

    If you had to guess, based on your position in relation to those mountains you are probably a day and a half out of Myrgard. You suspect that this is the Scout's hometown, a fairly safe assumption given your experiences over the last few months. The mind, particularly the minds of the untrained, seek comfort and structure from the familiar and what could be more familiar, more comforting, than one's home.

    At least, on the surface it should be comforting, but something bothers you. There is something incredibly wrong with this entire scene and the mind it represents. Thaïs feels it too, your minds so close that thoughts can pass with barely a gesture.

    The shapes that move below you do so with a certain lack of finesse. They are stiff, they are slow and though you can sense fear, understandable given the Scout's predicament in the real world, it is not a fear of death.

    Together, the two of you resolve to push a little further. You will probably give yourselves away but there is a mystery here that you can't help but poke at.

    You bend your thoughts to the same purpose. Granting them speed through will and accuracy through intellect. The traits that will turn them into hunters, predators, in this eerie dreamscape. Combined, it takes them a but a moment to latch on to the feeling of terror that you can vaguely sense. With the scent secured your thoughts drag you along, away from the signs of civilization, away from the odd little village and towards those distant mountains.

    A flash of fire, the creaking of wood, screams in the dark. It plays before your eyes and in your ears, mere phantoms, barely discernible, but you push on toward it, carving a crisp circle, driving on between the great cotton mounds around you.

    As you cross the low hills, headed for those distant mountains you catch sight of a reservoir. Low and shielded by the surrounding hills. It is here that your thoughts take you, the two of you fixed on the mirrored water below you. You begin to descend toward this artificial lake and the screaming, unmistakable now, builds. Below its sublimely still surface you can make out innumerable shadows. From their movements your first thought is that they are dancing, and in a way you are correct. The figures twist and turn, crackle and pop below the water. They are being burnt, tortured, you drift down until you are mere metres from the surface. Beasts of bent brass and bone, of smoldering pitch and jagged iron are cutting and slashing at the shadows. They throw them in great heaps, raking them across an infinite bed of burning, crackling wood, their bodies melting, popping from the heat.

    You fight the urge to scream, to turn in horror from the tragedy before you. Your minds cling to one another, a profound comfort and source of strength.

    One of the beasts looks up, it howls, black water, pitch black water, fluid darker than you could ever imagine, pours forth and his fellows turn to join him. They begin to claw upward, tearing themselves free of the lake bed, racing toward you. As the first twisted claw breaks the surface and a wave of rage and hatred washes over you, the two of you flee, not just from this lake but from the Scout's mind altogether.

    Your heart in your throat, you hands shaking, you nod to one another.

    You are certain, the Scout is under the influence of perhaps the second most powerful being in existence.

    He is a slave to the Watcher and as you cast a glance behind you at your men you can not help but wonder how many more of them are in your ranks?

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

    “What is the name of Wyrd do you think you are doing!” the Scout Captain shouts.

    The Old Man merely grins, “Testing your loyalties.”

    He was more than willing to entertain the idea that some of your men had fallen to the Dark when he realized that he would be the one 'putting them to the test'. A test, which it seems, will involve fire.

    Your scouts were less than happy when Hámundr confiscated their weapons, they were even more upset when it was revealed that they would all have to be screened for the influence of the Watcher but this has to be done. You want your negotiation with Cropper's people to go smoothly and you do not want any enemy agents forcing a battle here.

    Turns out there were quite a few too.

    By your count fully half of the scouts that fled to you seeking help are agents of the Watcher. At least that is what you were able to extract from the wounded scout when you pushed back into his mind for a second time.

    You doubt he hid anything from you, you were not gentle.

    “I don't need a damn 'test' of my loyalties mercenary!” the Scout Captain, turning purple in the face, responds.

    You have to agree, technically the Scout Captain does not need a test. Based on the information you have he is 'clean' of any influence from the Watcher. Still, you want the Old Man to trust you, that will involve letting him check all of the scouts so that he can be certain you have the right ones.

    It will also leave you with a bit of time to take care of something else you feel you need to do.

    “That enough wood?” Berty enquirers of the Seeker.

    “Yes,” the Old Man answers with a laugh, striking a fire in the center of your formation, “That will do nicely.”

    His mages form a wide ring around the fire and begin to chant while the Old Man begins to explain the ritual to your scouts, “This is a simple and easy ritual. Step into the fire, if you are pure it will not burn you. If you are corrupt then we will all get a bit of a show.

    “We need to turn the Watcher's agents over to Cropper's people remember,” you caution him.

    He grunts, annoyed, “Right, well, we will be sure to extinguish the traitors before they die.”

    You shake your heads, you would stand here and argue with him but you have other things to attend to so you settle for a few quick instructions to Lyssa and Berty, “Don't let anyone start a battle, don't let the Seekers kill all our bargaining chips, and don't let those hounds or the hunters near our barricades, understood? We need to take care of something.”

    Berty cocks his head and grins, “Simple!”

    Lyssa smiles wearily, “Yeah, simple. Just hurry back.”

    She must have an idea of who you are off to see, hopefully she does not realize that it is in order to make up your will, should worse come to worst you want your affairs in order but it would not do wonders for morale if that fact got out.

    The pair of you climb quietly into your carriage as behind you someone screams.

    Guess they identified your first infiltrator.

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

    “I wonder if he enjoys making us wait?” your better half asks to no one in particular.

    “Well, we could leave the meadow and see if we can track him down,” you weakly suggest.

    She shakes her head.

    You smile.

    “No time,” you answer together.

    “No time for what?” a familiar voice calls from behind.

    You turn and spot your tardy demon prince. He grins, his wings folded over his shoulders like a great mantle.

    “We need to talk,” you cut immediately to the task at hand.

    “Really?” he winks, “Story time already?”

    “We are afraid not,” Thaïs informs him, drawing up level with you.

    “A shame,” the Prince answers with a wave of his left arm, his wings parting slightly, “What did you wish to speak about?”

    “Our will,” you answer together.

    “I-” he pauses, “What are you about to do?”

    “Something brilliant,” you assure him.

    “Also, probably something incredibly stupid,” your better half feels compelled to add.

    Hmmm, she knows you too well...

    “Well then,” the Prince takes on a very solemn tone, “What do you need done?”

    “We merely need a letter delivered,” your partner reassures him, “You will be compensated for your troubles of course.”

    Morpheus clearly seems hesitant, “And who is the letter for?”

    “Gareth, formerly of the Legion, currently of the Lost” you begin.

    “Or,” Thaïs finishes, “Brigit, formerly of the Merchant Co-Prosperity Consortium and currently of the Lost.”

    “Friends?” the Prince asks, curiosity getting the best of him as usual.

    “Family,” you correct them together.

    He laughs, “You two have an awful lot of 'family' from what I hear. I could almost mistake you for demons yourselves!”

    You are not sure if you should take that as a complement...

    You hand the Prince the note and once more his wings carefully part to allow his left arm to poke out. He carefully takes the letter in his hand and pulls his arm back under his wings.

    Thaïs informs him of your final condition, “The letter is to arrive unopened and unaltered by you or anyone else, is that acceptable?”

    His left arm slips back out, he strokes his chin, “It is easy enough to accomplish provided these 'relatives' of yours are not powerful mages or terribly secretive. What will I receive in exchange?”

    “Certain documents we have,” you answer, “We can get you the Thin White Mage's spellbook and journal along with the spellbook of a Shade.”

    He tilts his head, “Hmmm, a fair enough price for delivering a letter. Who do I see for my reward?”

    “Your daughter,” you grin, “Nephila.”

    He smiles slyly, “I really do need to visit that girl more often, we have so much to talk about now!”

    He extends his left arm to you, “Alright, it is a deal.”

    He is not normally so restrained in his motions, something is wrong perhaps?

    Thaïs shakes his hand as he presses on, “You know, if you find yourself in trouble then simply open a gate and I will come running. You two owe me far too much to go dying now. It is the least I can do to keep you alive and I am sure we can come to some sort of arrangement for my help should it be necessary.”

    You will grant him this, he is always looking to make a deal but if you conjured him up in the physical world at this exact moment you would definitely have to slaughter all of the Seekers. Summoning up a demon lord would be far too much for the Old Man to handle.

    He turns to face you his left arm extended.

    You extend your right arm, just to see what he will do.

    “Ah,” he coughs, “Other hand Derryth.”

    “Yes,” you insist, “You should use your other hand it's only right after all.”

    “Well,” he shifts, “How about we do things my way since this is my realm?”

    “What is wrong with your other arm?” you forego further subtlety.

    “I- ah,” he stammers, dropping his gaze.

    “Morpheus, show us your arm,” if he has some sort of trick he is hoping to play on you then you will be damned if you let him.

    With a grunt, then a sigh, he slowly unfolds his wings.

    Well, good news is he isn't holding anything in his right arm.

    What catches the both of you by surprise is that he is missing the entirety of his right arm, right up to the shoulder.

    “What...” you search for the words.

    “We are terrible sorry,” your better half covers for you, “May we ask what happened to your arm.”

    “Family squabble,” he answers, trying to downplay his injury, “The arm will grow back, eventually.”

    “What was it over,” you can't resist pressing for details now, “The 'squabble' I mean?”

    “Well,” he is clearly reluctant to say, “We, my brothers and I, were drinking, pure, distilled jubilation and we came to bragging, then we came to betting, then I may have lost a bet or two and started a bit of a fight. Don't much remember what happened after that, lost the arm, not sure which one of them did it and I have not had a chance to speak to them since.”

    “I am sure it will all turn out fine,” your partner tries to reassure him, “At least it was only an arm right?”

    He drops his gaze again, “Well, like I said, bets were made...”

    You get one of your sinking feelings again, “What did you bet?”

    “Just a few canned memories, the odd guest, that sort of thing,” he answers in an attempt to sidestep the specifics.

    “Please tell me you did not bet the Thin White Mage,” you practically groan as you ask.

    “Of course not!” he answers with a snort, “But when I refused to pay up my brothers decided they would just snatch a few pieces and make a break for it. One of the dreamers they grabbed happened to be the Mage.”

    “So he is free,” Thaïs asks, rubbing her temples. Seems you both have a headache coming on.

    “What?” he turns to her, “No! He is safely locked away in his dreams. It is just that, well, it is just that one of my Brothers has him now.”

    “Which one?” you feel the need to ask.

    “Not sure,” Morpheus answers, “Look, don't worry about it. The odds of the Mage getting free are so low as to be nearly impossible. Why, I can count the number of people who have managed to escape the Dreaming on one hand!”

    “Well that is a blessing,” you shoot back, “Since you only have the one now anyway.”

    The Prince narrows his eyes, he smiles at you but for just a moment the warmth disappears from it,“It will be fine, understand?” Then the warmth returns and he is once more the relaxed though slightly embarrassed 'friend' you have come to know.

    All you can think in response is, 'it better be', but you know enough not to further antagonize Morpheus. He may choose to be jovial around you but he is a demon at the end of it all, and you hope you never forget that.

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

    Wake up!” Caoilainn snaps you both out of your dreams, “Wake up damn it!

    “What- Caoilainn?” you mutter, “What is going on?”

    Shouting!” she answers, “For a minute now, there were strange sounds, horses, then muttering and now shouting!

    You burst out of the carriage only to be greeted by a fairly distressing scene.

    Your camp is in chaos, dwarves and men racing about as beyond your line a great host charges along the horizon.

    So many horses...

    So many men...

    A hunting expedition?

    No, this is an army. Though it moves with an unnatural grace and speed.

    It seems as if scant few moments pass before they are in front of you. Led by a core of armoured nights, fine, fair, beautiful. You gape as the first amongst them removes his helmet and orders his horse to advance. Alone, on his great black steed, he approaches your expedition. His poise, his deportment, he holds himself like a ruler, a lord, a king and you decide in that moment that this must be Cropper's Lord. This is Finnbheara.

    Broad forehead, long and slender nose, a curved mouth set above a narrow chin and a great beard mark his dark beauty. Draped across his shoulder, his black velvet cape flutters slightly in the evening breeze.

    He considers you, Thaïs and finally Lyssa. His deep, dark eyes filled with the promise of compassion and understanding. Around him, hanging thickly in the air, you can feel the magic at work in this being. It is cool, clean, still, in contrast to the heat and fury of the archmages you have met. Here is a being for which magic is innate, inseparable from his being...

    He smiles at you, or maybe Thaïs, possibly Lyssa, it is hard to tell.

    Caoilainn sighs, “He's magnificent.

    You do your best not to nod in agreement.

    You blink twice, closing your eyes, and drop your head. This negotiation is not going to go well if you can't focus. You wonder if he is doing this on purpose or not.

    “Beautiful evening for a stroll, is it not?” you look up at him as he speaks.

    Once more blinded you manage to sputter out a few words, “Yes, yes it is.”

    You notice Lyssa and Thaïs nodding along happily.

    He dismounts, leaps over your chariot barricade in a single fluid motion and lands within the center of the three of you. Your mind shouts at you, he is within your defenses and has completely compromised your line of fire. You could not throw a spell at him now even if you wanted to, the risk of hitting your fellow mages would be to high.

    You are not too troubled by these thoughts though. Everything the King does is just so wonderful you are sure that no harm will come to you.

    Immediately the Old Man waves three of his protectors off of the battleline and makes for your position. The King turns to Thaïs and with a careful bow asks her, “My dear lady, could you be kind enough to order your men back? I shall only be a minute.”

    Your partner nods several times, “Of course,” she spins on her heels, “Everything is fine! Return to your positions!”

    “Like hell I will,” the Old Man continues to close.

    The King frowns slightly, and glances at Lyssa, “If you could my dear, would you please order your men to intercept those mages?”

    The witch nods, and shouts at your mercenaries, “Form a screen between us and the Seekers.”

    You simply can not fathom what has gotten into the Old Man. The King before you is certainly not a demon, nor is he a threat of any kind really.

    Four more shapes quickly clear your barricades, two male and two female. They land in amongst your soldiers and begin to whisper to them. Slowly your men relax, slowly they sheath their weapons as more of these beings leap over your barricades.

    Some very rude and boorish part of your mind is screaming at you. Something about negotiations, something about stating your demands, something about maintaining your defenses but really who cares?

    The King steps back from the three of you and bows, “My ladies, I am Finnbheara, King of the people you see before you. It is my understanding that certain members of your expedition serve a vile creature and I should like to spare you the trouble of having to deal with such traitors.”

    “We already did,” the three of you begin to answer.

    But he raises a hand. That is right, you are being quite rude, interrupting him like this. You should let him finish, it would be the proper thing to do.

    “I am most appreciative of your efforts,” he bows again, “You have certainly saved my people a little time,” he glances over at the row of slightly charred traitors the Old Man identified.

    Odd, there are far more in chains than your probe of the Scout's mind would suggest.

    Oh well, you are certain the Great King will sort this all out for you. No need to worry.

    “However,” the King pushes on, “I feel it is my duty to ensure that no evil should befall such charming creatures as yourselves. In fact, it would be a grave failing on my part to let you go without fully investigating the soldiers you travel with. Any of them could be in league with my enemy and I simply could not live with myself if something were to happen to you as a result of my negligence. So, I suggest you allow me to escort you to my camp where my people can protect you until this whole piece of nastiness is resolved.”

    That sounds wonderful, why just thinking about it makes you want to say-

    “Alright! That's enough!” someone shouts from the rear of the formation.

    Who could be so rude?

    The three of you turn with the King, frowns on your faces.

    There he stands, with Biliku and Uttu beside him, Berty.

    You have half a mind to order him to apologize this moment.

    The King stares at the little man and grunts, “Lost your cap have you?”

    “Lost your mind have ya!” Berty shoots back, “Those three serve Mazzarin! You really want to piss him off!”

    “As I was explaining,” the King gestures to you, “They will simply become my guest for a night or two and then they will be on their way.”

    “Yeah!” Berty spits, “An' what did they say about that?”

    “They have not answered yet,” he smiles sweetly at you, “Well, my dear?”

    You want to yes, more than anything you want to say yes. You scan your camp, even the Old Man is smiling, three of these beings surrounding him and chatting quietly. It is good to see they were able to calm him down, he was being far too unreasonable.

    “Yes,” your better half answers for you, “We would love to enjoy your hospitality.”

    “See,” the King returns his gaze to your unhelpful little officer, “There is no need for conflict here. There is no need for you here.”

    Your tactician shakes his head, “See, now I thought ya would show some sense here. I figured you would ride up and try to intimidate Derry and Taide. Maybe make a pass at them, that sort of thing. Never for a moment did I figure you would do this. You have changed and I can't let you take them.”

    “You can not win,” the King confidently responds.

    Berty whistles and the coverings over your mortars are pulled away, “Neither can you,” the little man adds grimly.

    “You are not going to fire on your own employers, you are not that mad,” Finnbheara delivers his answer with just a little less certainty than you expected.

    Berty grins, “You sure about that? I mean I would hate to waste all the salt we brought with us but it would make for one hell of a tale.”

    “I could reach your men before they fire,” the King counters. With some concern you look at his followers, many of which have begun to back away toward their host.

    Berty draws his knife, an iron blade with a silver edge. You have rarely seen him use this knife for much of anything until now. He seems awfully sure of himself, “Absolutely sure of that?”

    The two stand in silence facing one another, the King laughs deeply, it sends a chill down your spine, “I may have changed but you have not. You are still the same crazy bastard you always were.”

    Berty grins wider, “So that's a no then on forcing a fight?”

    The King nods, “Aye, that is a 'no'.”

    “Good,” the tactician beams, “So let them go.”

    The King shakes his head but something about him shifts slightly. He is still handsome, still commanding but he just is not quite as compelling as he was a moment ago.

    In fact, now that you think about it you can't believe you were willing to just drop everything and wander off with him. Seems there are still a fair few sorts of magic you have absolutely no experience with...

    “You alright Derry? Taide? Lys?” Berty calls to you, his eyes still locked on Finnbheara.

    “Yes, thank you, Berty,” Thaïs responds for all of you.

    “I think you should be leaving then!” Berty shouts at the King.

    “Not before we are certain that your companions have not been compromised,” the King insists, “We will need to check each of your number for connection to the Watcher,” the King smiles faintly, “Well, all save you- Berty? Is it?”

    Berty and the King clearly have history, a fact you find a little intriguing as the possibilities begin to bubble up into your mind. Still that might be a question best left for another day.

    With your head starting to clear and the King of the 'demon' army in the south before you now would be a great time to work out some sort of deal, strategy, or agreement. You have prisoners that they want and hopefully you can work out some sort of deal however they seem to want to screen your entire group from possible agents of the Dark and that might bring to light a few facts you would rather avoid sharing.

    Like the fact that you are closely involved with a demon prince and his wife.

    Or the fact that you have a sleeping Fallen Lord in your pack.

    Or the fact that Biliku and Uttu used to be cultists.

    Or the fact that Lyssa was a necromancer and openly helped the Dark during the last war.

    If Finnbheara puts you through any sort of significant testing then such facts are likely to come out but what are your other options really?

    Attack the host?

    Summon Morpheus?

    Try to stall for time in the hopes that you can come up with some sort of plan?

    You do not have many options open to you really.


    1. You choose to:

    A) You will allow Finnbheara to scan your entire expedition. Hopefully he will not stumble upon anything that will compromise your people.

    B)You attack Finnbheara's host (approximate numbers: seventy seven riders and Cropper's hunting party)

    C) You agree to allow Finnbheara to scan your expedition then you attempt to slip inside a wagon and open a gate for Morpheus to come through. An army of demons could help you defeat these creatures in all likelihood. Of course then you will have to deal with the Seekers somehow...

    D) You stall and hope for a miracle.

    E) You tell him to get lost. You should be prepared for a less than enthusiastic response from him however.

    F) Agree to the scan under certain conditions

    G) Fetch diplomacy.

    H) freeform


    2. Provided you decide to work with Finnbheara's people you will need to come to some sort of agreement. This is a freeform option, feel free to put forth whatever sort of offer you want and I will tell you what is and is not workable.

    A) Offer Terms of Alliance


    4. Provided you survive this, you think you could organize an animal division for your forces with Lyssa as a commanding officer. You could ask her to fashion a few items to make the animals be able to talk to one another and to us directly. You also think that having your eagles and mice with gliding cloaks work together may provide you some interesting tactical opportunities.

    A) You commission the items, organize the division, and commence the training of your mice paratrooper squad.

    B) You do not bother with it. Lyssa might have a better use for her time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
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  6. Fangshi Arcane

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

    No party or organizational changes.

    Rolls:

    Show Spoiler
    Alright, the rolls. So first off you had a few persuasion checks to ensure the Old Man would follow your orders. Passed those easily thanks to Taide. Not much to be said there.

    You had a chance to really put your mental interrogation skills to use in the Scout's mind as well. Finding the reservoir is not something you would have been able to do so easily even a few updates ago. You rolled quite well here in fact.

    While in the dreaming you had the odd check while talking to Morpheus to see if you would clue in to the fact he lost an arm. Again not too difficult. You also had a few opposed rolls to see how easily Morpheus would accept the deal.

    While that was going on the Seekers were performing the ritual and your people made a variety of rolls to see what would happen. Would someone try to run for it? Would someone die in the fire? That sort of thing.

    When Finnbheara and his army showed up you had rolls to snap out of the Dreaming. (Essentially Caolainn trying to wake you up. You actually rolled rather poorly...

    Everyone on your side had to make will checks based on the strength of the fairy glamours you were exposed to. Your group had the hardest checks and everyone failed. Derryth came closest to passing though. The Old Man proved to be the hardest to influence, his years of experience and superior magical ability played a large part in that.

    While that was going on Berty grabbed the girls and made for the mortars, implementing his own backup plan.

    The end result was what you got in the update.

    I can also reveal some of the rolls that have gone on in the background now. Morpheus had his brothers over to listen to a couple up-and-coming bands, they had a few drinks, everyone failed their CON checks in hilarious fashion and things spiraled magnificently out of control from there. Those are the risks of trusting others I suppose. :lol:

    There were more rolls around the Kingdom, particularly in Myrgard and even a few for events further north. Naturally, you can not know the outcome of those yet. :smug:
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
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  7. Jester Arbiter

    Jester
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    E) Tell him to get lost.
     
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  8. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Well. It is getting weirder and weirder. Don't have time for something brilliant right now, but I'd like to share a few thoughts.
    That to me suggests that these guys can discern intent. If so, we may at least have a safety buffer, because though our affiliations and our allies look bad on the surface, most of them aren't actually evil or servants of the Dark.

    Lyssa is a former necromancer. Not anymore.
    The girls are former cultists. Not anymore.
    Nine is a former Fallen Lord. Not anymore.

    There is no evil intent left in them... as far as we know, at least.

    I am thinking to go through with it, on certain conditions. Say, extract a promise from them that before we allow them anywhere near our forces, they will have to swear that should they find that a person is not a servant of the Watcher, or the Dark, and does not have malicious intent, they will let them be and will make no move to hinder their mission to defend the Kingdom in any way, shape, or form.

    Demons have oaths. I wonder what fairies have. Or fairy kings, for that matter.

    While it is a very reasonable request, it also precludes them from telling on us to our own forces or the Seekers, because it does interfere with the mission a great deal, as one would imagine. Besides, what would be the point of doing it? Out of spite? Out of moral indignation? From what Cropper is telling us, the fairies do not consider themselves to be holier than thou.

    So long as our own forces don't find out, I am not extremely worried. People have that attitude of 'burn the witches just in case', but people aren't magical creatures that can sense an ill will. If we want to try and request the fairies' help, we'd better be open about our motives and allegiances.

    And, well, if all else fails, there is always a nuke.

    Fangshi, am I correct in understanding that our new contract with Morpheus invoves the transfer of the letter and TWM's journal only in case we are dead/insane/otherwise unable to execute it ourselves?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
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  9. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    That is correct, yes.
     
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  10. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Can we ask Berty how did he come to know Finnbheara?

    Also, he seems knowledgeable about salt and iron. Ask him if there is such an agreement that the fairies are unwilling or unable to break, and what it involves. Is a word good enough, or is there something more that needs doing?

    What about our scouts? Are they alive? Can we check on the ones that we didn't identify through the scout? Why are the others chained? Can we cross-check them, first with fairies' help, and then, if needed, ourselves? If they aren't guilty, they need to be healed. If they are, that is a reason for concern as there might be several different factions infiltrating us.

    Also, did we learn the reason why the Watcher's agents sought refuge with us? What about our own scouts? Weren't they from Hamundr's team? Are they infiltrated, too? Moreover, I don't believe a scout who happened to be the Watcher's agent just happened to randomly stumble upon another group of scouts consisting primarily of the Watcher's agents. There must have been some plan here.

    Can we try and learn about it?
     
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  11. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    You can if you wish, certainly. He might not want to answer though with the King right next to you.

    He informs you that the Tuath Dé do not generally lie, it would be seen as rude, not that they will tell you the whole truth either, mind. He also says that an oath should be taken seriously if you can extract one, provided things have not changed at court too much.

    The King nods, "Dear ladies, what your 'Berty' says is true," the King's eyes dart between you and your tactician, he smiles broadly. He must find something awfully amusing.

    They seem to be, yes.

    From what you can see, three of the scouts are unchained and standing with your other soldiers. The rest, including their captain are bound and a bit worse for wear.

    They did not pass the test presumably.

    If you decide to work with the Tuath Dé then sure. If you attack them then probably not. You can not really ignore the King though, one way or the other, it would be incredibly rude.

    No, you didn't, not yet at least.

    Some were, that is correct. Most were not though. Your scouts ran into retreating Royal Army chariots while on patrol and they all fled back to your lines as Cropper's people began to close.

    Certainly a possibility from what you have seen of the Kingdom so far.

    You can but you are going to need to sort out what to do with the army of Aos Sí currently surrounding you first. :lol:

    A fight could still break out rather easily at the moment and many of your own soldiers are still at least partially under the glamour of these beings.
     
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  12. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Why can't we ask him to help us settle the matter of the scouts' guilt first? Weren't they the reason for his presence here in the first place? We aren't going anywhere anyway.

    Why are you saying that we would be ignoring the King? He only said he isn't leaving until he confirms that everyone is clear. That's all fine, but we aren't asking him to leave.

    I want to find out if it wasn't the Watcher's plan to get our forces in each other's way. I assume the King might be interested in this as well, and less eager to go all trigger-happy if that was the enemy's tactics all along. No one likes being played like a fiddle.

    And if the rest do not belong to the Watcher, it might provide interesting results as well.

    So? It's not like we are trying to break through their ranks.

    There appears to be a stalemate between our forces, and they do not want to force the issue. It is as good a time to talk about other things as any.
     
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  13. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    You can ask for his help if you wish. He will then begin scanning your people, starting with the scouts.

    Yes, they are the reason the King is here since Cropper sounded the horns when he caught up to the fleeing scouts. Now that he is here though he is not terribly interested in the scouts in particular.

    Well, you might be going somewhere though. If one of the options that does not require cooperating wins then a fight will break out.

    Well he is a King, interviewing/questioning your subordinates in detail could be seen as a snub. Strictly speaking he should get all the attention. Not that you have to care at all really, Berty certainly doesn't, but then he is Berty. :lol:

    It is just that 'wasting' time on such 'trivial' issues may annoy the King somewhat. It is likely he would prefer to filter out the traitors as quickly as possible and dispose of them without delay.

    Well, one way to go about this is to look at things from his perspective (or try to). Derryth thinks that the King might consider it easier to scan you all first and then worry about the details after.

    Sure, simply submit to scanning and he will talk all you want.
     
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  14. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Ask him why Berty is excluded from scanning.
     
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  15. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    He glances at Berty.

    Berty beams.

    He shrugs, "It would be unnecessary. He is not compromised."
     
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  16. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    I think Lyssa is safe since she was Big M's understudy and was kinda-sorta 'redeemed' by him.
     
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  17. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Nine is the most suspect. But I think we can solve it by giviing our backpack to Berty before we go for it.

    The problem is how to stop them from talking in front of all the army. I have no problems talking to him privately. Sure it would be good if the Heroes of the Kingdom were knights in shining armor and without a fault, but well, there is a lack of those lately. Might have been killed by the Soulblighter in the last war or something. We are all these people have got, take it or leave it.

    Well, probably not completely privately. In Berty's presence. Since he isn't compromised, I am sure Finn wouldn't mind. :P
     
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  18. Baltika9 Arcane

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    Yeah, let's just say he's there to guarantee our, ehem, chastity.
     
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  19. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    So, uh.

    F - Agree to the scanning if certain conditions will be met, provided they find no traces of connections to the Watcher (asides from being his enemies, of course), no evidence of serving the interests of the Dark, and no malicious intent towards the Albrecht's Kingdom - which is the only ally of the Light in this war, all things considered. Basically, if we aren't aligned with the Dark - which we know we are not.

    Those conditions are:
    - Take an oath of secrecy from Finvarra. The reason is that, being mages, we have plenty of things to worry about hiding (our safety depends on it), and being in service to the ruling house of the Kingdom, we have come to know plenty of things that constitute a state secret. Whatever Finvarra learns is for him alone, others have no business knowing these things.
    - Also take an oath that should our men satisfy the criteria outlined above, he will let them proceed to the rest of our army, and will not hamper our mission to protect the Kingdom in any way, directly or indirectly (detaining or delaying our people, setting them against each other, 'inviting' them to be their guests etc). The reasoning is that if they can't promise us and our people safe passage even if they don't find us guilty in collaboration with the Watcher, this whole thing is pointless.
    - Should the King wish to discuss his findings in more detail, we will do it privately (with Berty and Thais as our companions. Lyssa? Don't know, but I think she can speak for herself well enough, so maybe her, too) and well away from the ears of others, as per the oath of secrecy.

    And if it comes to a discussion (as I think all of this, while not falling under explicit definition of what he seeks, nevertheless requires an explanation), well. We may be not the hero people deserve, but the one they surely need right now. At least we aren't fighting to destroy the Kingdom or hand it over to some puppet of the Dark Gods, as Albrecht is not affiliated with anything shady to our knowledge.

    If they can see deep enough to find out our secrets, then surely they can see our motives as well. That's the only ally they are going to get.

    Also, give our backpack to Berty. Nine didn't do anything wrong, she is not a Fallen Lord, and if we didn't give her away to Mazzarin, we sure as hell will not surrender her to anyone else just like that.

    If anything, the little guy would be excited about the sheer madness of the idea of turning a former Faller Lord back to the cause of the Light.

    Anything I am missing?
     
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  20. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    He buys us dinner.
    Voting for F. :salute:
     
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  21. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    I'm an F fan as well. F
     
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  22. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    As for the second freeform option... Well, obviously, I want an alliance.

    We have two options here - we can offer them alliance either on behalf of the Lost, or - if they have scruples about working with us - on behalf of King of all dwarves. The second one is more appropriate, and it would be seen as one ruler dealing with another.

    There are five sides to this conflict:
    - Mercenaries and the Royal Army under our and Albrecht's command
    - Cultists, Eberhardt rebels and spies under the Spider Goddess' leadership
    - Cultists, spies, undead, and horrors under the Watcher's banner
    - Ghol raiders from several neighbouring clans
    - Fairies under the King of the Fairies (which, to my knowledge, Finvarra is not) and ultimately under Mazzarin.

    Of the five, only two have not tried to assault the forces of the Light in the last couple of years. The Goddess had plans to overrun Muirthemne and drive Alric out, and the ghols sided with the Soulblighter in the last war. While the Watcher is undeniably our common enemy, and the strongest of the bunch, the rest of them aren't friends, either. It is feasible, then, to form an alliance between the forces that share a common goal - if not in a true sence of the word, then at least of convenience - to maximize the effectiveness of our actions and improve our chances of success.

    What I want is the ability to coordinate our actions with those of fairies to call upon them when the time comes to fight the Watcher (and the rest of our enemies, should they feel inclined to do so), to surround their forces, cut their reinforcements, prevent their retreat, stab them in the back, and realize all the other wonderful plancs that can be done with a highly mobile force like theirs. If the fairies have ways to let us communicate, magical or mundane, we would like to get access to them.

    Ask them to let Cropper come with us, if nothing else. The guy has a horn that he uses to notify his Lord when the prey is caught. If all else fails, we can use that to summon the fairies to a decisive battle. I say 'summon' because they are obviously more mobile than we are, being magical creature who can cover huge distances in a short time span. It is much easier for them to answer our call than vice versa.

    Ultimately, though, I would like Finvarra to relay our offer to the King of the Fairies himself. Regardless of what they think of us - or we of them, - cooperating will result in far lesss casualties on either of our sides.

    I am also considering borrowing a pack of hounds if they can be controlled/reasoned with (i.e. if they will get along well with Lyssa) and if they can sense one's intent, as Cropper implied. They would be useful for checking on the infiltrators in the dwarven army and for guarding us, plus it would go well with the animal theme we already have going. As for what to offer them in return... we've heard that Finvarra has an eye for horses, and we have a carriage carried with the best four horses in the Kingdom. A pack of royal magical hounds for a royal carriage. A king's gift for a king's gift, an exchange of gestures of good will to seal our alliance or something like that.

    I would be down for an offer such as this, and I doubt Albrecht would mind if his gift will be used to secure another ally.

    So.

    2A Offer an alliance between the two of our forces, seek out ways to communicate and coordinate our actions, take Cropper and potentially a few hounds with us.
     
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  23. Absinthe Prophet

    Absinthe
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    Nevill, I cannot imagine the Seekers agreeing to this inspection. Your plan will still come to blows.

    Fangshi, is he using the Noble's Mask to radiate an unearthly charisma?

    1G. Thais goes back and apologizes to the Old Man for us and Lyssa goes back and defers to Berty while Derryth negotiates with the Fey Lord alone. Obviously, if it's a contest of charisma he will crush even Thais, so I say we use Fetch diplomacy instead:
    A good old stare-down. If it worked for Berty it can work for us. And since we have One Hell of a Pair, staring down a Fey Lord should be quite doable. Here are our terms: We began the talks in good faith, and he already abused our trust. Now he is asking for far greater trust. This is asking too much. We are not his vassals, and as royal representatives of Albrecht, we cannot simply acquiesce to such demands from a king. Out of respect, we are willing to give him all of the prisoners we have presently discerned to be compromised as befits our mutual goal (this includes the ones the Seekers found guilty) and we will swear to it that these are all the compromised men we are aware of. Otherwise it will go as Berty said.

    I also motion that we improvise and cast a new spell for the occasion I will call Iron Will. We take the basics of the Warrior's Mask - "the unyielding strength of the conqueror, the unbreakable resolve of the defender, it is both so much less and so much more than you have ever known" - but we don't want the actual physical enhancement, just the mood, and we combine it with a really powerful modification of Calm Casting so that our capacity to feel other emotions (and even some of our basic empathy) is deadened. If anything the priority should be that we are protected from feeling other emotions. This should shield us against his mood altering magic and help us stare him down.

    To make this new spell much easier, we're going to skip the requirement that we should be capable of casting spells normally while it is active, so the only spells we could presumably cast while Iron Will is active would be the Warrior's Mask (which if anything should be easier to cast in this state), and maybe a basic war cry as magical music. We could still use our rings and plates, though. Between our mentalist specialization and high wis, our improvisation should be up to it. Fangshi, does this sound right?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
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  24. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    The fairies already know about the Seekers - enough to call them slavers at least. Anyone who knows anything about them knows they aren't with the Watcher. I don't think they are planning to inspect them.

    Finvarra told Berty he will be scanning his companions. That is, us. The commanders. I thought that was his primary focus.

    Fangshi, ask Finvarra if he plans to scan the Seekers as well.
     
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