Official Codex Discord Server

  1. Welcome to rpgcodex.net, a site dedicated to discussing computer based role-playing games in a free and open fashion. We're less strict than other forums, but please refer to the rules.

    "This message is awaiting moderator approval": All new users must pass through our moderation queue before they will be able to post normally. Until your account has "passed" your posts will only be visible to yourself (and moderators) until they are approved. Give us a week to get around to approving / deleting / ignoring your mundane opinion on crap before hassling us about it. Once you have passed the moderation period (think of it as a test), you will be able to post normally, just like all the other retards.
    Dismiss Notice

Myth: A New Age CYOA

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

  1. Absinthe Prophet

    Absinthe
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Messages:
    3,197
    May as well ask, Fangshi, in the event that we are coordinating with the fey to goad the ghôls into attacking the cultists, we are preparing the Path of Intellect for them, yes?
     
    ^ Top  
  2. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    If you are coordinating with the fey to goad the ghôls into attacking the cultists then, yes, you will use the time you have to prep Path of Intellect for them.



    Also, good news.

    The update is essentially done (managed to get most of it finished yesterday), it needs choices and several passes but it should be up as soon as I get a chance to give it that final few passes. Tonight some time, or maybe tomorrow night if I can't get to it in the next few hours.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 2
    ^ Top  
  3. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    "Mostly Harmless" planet
    I log in only to read it and thanks. It is 4 AM in my timezone. :lol:

    Show Spoiler
    Nah, I go to hospital and it happend to you post now. But hey, it is luck!
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2015
    ^ Top  
  4. archaen Arbiter Patron

    archaen
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2014
    Messages:
    621
    We can hope that Fangshi wasn't a kickstarter for POE.
     
    ^ Top  
  5. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    I have a bit of a Kickstarter addiction so I am afraid that hope must be dashed.

    Anyway, I finished checking the update, should have been out two days ago but, well, PoE. :oops:

    It will be up in a few minutes.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 3
    ^ Top  
  6. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    Chapter 69: The Sea of Glass

    November 18, 2542, South of Myrgard

    I am sorry Agata.

    When we set out we had such high hopes. Such grand delusions!

    We were the King's Army, sent forth to protect the Kingdom, and commanded by his eldest son!

    We were the best the Kingdom had to offer, brave dwarves all.

    Reinhard spoke of victory and we believed him.

    Idiots, all of us.

    But I am getting ahead of myself.

    Arkell polishes his shield, he scoffs at my writing, Agata.

    He says either we will triumph and my writing will be pointless, or we will fall and there will be no one to deliver these musings to you.

    I will let you guess which outcome is more likely, my sweet child.

    We are pinned now, trapped north of Stoneheim by a rebel force, dwarves and monsters both. Seinsheim has abandoned us, driven off by ghôlish raiders if fat, old Otho's scout are to be believed.

    It won't matter anyway, there will be no relief for us, no respite. Every hour, without fail, the monsters come for us, they burrow through the sands, hiding from our weapons, you can hear them sometimes, if you really listen, the low, chattering whispers of them.

    They council suicide, they warn us that death will be the greatest kindness we can expect.

    I won't lie, I have considered it.

    All that holds me back is our ancestors, watching my actions, judging my worthiness.

    And so I will fight, until one of those things claws its way over the wall and buries its maw in my stomach.

    They are howling now, the quiet whispers building to a frenzied pace, a cacophony of hungry cries.

    They will come again soon, already the Captain gives the order, back to the walls and the battle.

    I must go though I am not fool enough to hope for victory.

    I love you, Agata, and I am sorry.


    She closes her journal, looping the leather strap that binds it together around twice before she tucks it into her pack.

    The Captain calls again and she answers with the precision expected of her. No sense drawing this out, she must retake her position on the walls. She checks her hammer, secures her cap, rises to her feet and with fatal resolve marches toward the disturbing cries of the monsters.

    All she prays for is to survive until morning, to see the sun one final time.

    Mounting the palisade she takes her place on the line, working her enchantments to hold the beasts at bay. Before her and below her the sands churn and the hissing hordes are born into the night.

    A twisted amalgam of dwarf and spider claws its way up the wooden stakes. Its lean, powerful arms encased in thick black chitin, bury deep into the wood, tearing out chunks for its fellows that follow. Its bulbous eye, fractured into countless little, glimmering shards, fixes on her, a gem of hatred, glowing in the night. With a famished screech it races toward her as she readies her hammer, she will only have time for a single, desperate swing.

    Best to make it count.

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

    Two minds bent to the same task, working in perfect harmony. There are just some things that are easier as a result, for example, forming a plan.

    The archmage Mazzarin leaves Finn's tent, his apprentice close behind. He falls to quite conversation with the King, no doubt saying his goodbyes. The boy's nose is buried in yet another book, gilded pages flip through his fingers. That youth exhibits a degree of concentration and dedication in his actions that would put a great many of his elders to shame.

    Considering the trio, already the first seeds of your plan begin to sprout, “We should-” you need not say 'talk to Mazzarin' or 'convince him to help us', Thaïs already understands your meaning.

    “Yes,” she answers, “We need to-” 'prey on his pride, his station, his self respect', but she no more needs to say that than you would, the meaning is clear for both of you.

    As a team you will manipulate the archmage, you will bend his vices and virtues toward your ends and in doing so you will greatly increase your odds of success in the south. The Great Mage can save a host of lives if he would only make the 'right' choice, you just need to help him see that. To do this you will require subtly and skill but you are both buoyed by a sense of supreme confidence. Together, you can do this.

    One final thought occurs to you, the slightest shadow of a smile gracing your face. You turn to your better half and your expression is mirrored on her face.

    Mazzarin's apprentice, Emrys, the boy is sincere and seems to hold a degree of favour with the mage that you may be able to use. In lock step you spin and call, “Girls!”

    First one, and then the other appear from behind a wagon.

    You wave them over, ready to explain your plan and ensure your success in the south.

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

    “No! Damn it, what part of 'no' do you two fail to grasp?” the archmage spits his reply, laced with a suitable amount of venom.

    He marches away from Finn's tent, his apprentice in tow.

    “We just want to talk, please,” you hurry behind him as he stalks away into the desert.

    “We have nothing to talk about!” he answers, quickening his pace.

    “We have a great deal to talk about!” you respond, reaching out and grabbing his robes from behind. As soon as you do you regret it, but no time to worry about that now.

    “Unhand me, child!” he shouts as he spins round on you.

    “Unhand me, child?” you smirk, unable to completely suppress a slight titter, “Really?”

    “Derryth, let go of my robes,” he repeats his injunction, slightly calmer than before, but all the more menacing for it.

    Thaïs tugs on the cuff of his sleeve, drawing his attention, “Please, we need your help.”

    He glowers, “You have done just fine so far on your own, I am sure you will manage.”

    An archmage, the greatest of archmages, Mazzarin is no doubt a little offended that you have not been more reliant on his wisdom and instruction. Your plan should work as a result, play to his pride, his position, his self appointed space in the world and perhaps you will get what you want. You just need him to listen long enough for your combined words to take hold.

    You sigh and drop your head, “Not this time.”

    “Hmmm?” he mutters, motioning for you to continue.

    You do your best to feign a hopelessness that you do not truly feel, you think you do well enough, “We are currently marching to the aid of the Royal Army, they are outnumbered and outclassed by ancient horrors and vile necromancers. We are-” you look up at him, a few, fake tears in your eyes, “We are at a loss. Without your help, we are lost. Please.”

    Your better half shoots you an approving look, it has taken months but you are getting better at convincing people.

    He holds your gaze, his features softening, “You desperately require my aid, children?”

    “Yes,” you answer, Thaïs with you.

    He smiles innocently, almost fatherly, “Well, good thing you still have that last favour to ask of me,” he gestures dramatically, rolling his hand, as he cocks his head back “You need only put it in words and I will solve all of your problems.”

    Wyrd damn it! You guess you have not quite improved enough, the Great Mage is playing you.

    That smug old bastard, you have no intention of wasting your last favour on something like this. You do your best to suppress your annoyance but from the way his smile grows into a fiendish grin you have no doubt that he is well aware of how you feel.

    Thankfully, Thaïs intervenes, with a tone that speaks of reverence, artfully masking her own annoyance, she begins, “We would not dream of insulting you in such a way.”

    The archmage favours her with a suspicious glance, “Elaborate.”

    She takes a half step back, as if to take in the entirety of the archmage, carefully she lays out the foundations of her arguement, “You are the Great Mage Mazzarin, you are the Champion of the Light and we would not dream to insinuate-”

    He snorts, “I seem to remember you insinuating a great many things when we last met.”

    Can't say you regret it either.

    She pushes on, ignoring his interruption, “In such an important matter we would not dare to so much as suggest that you would seek personal gain when thousands of innocent lives hang in the balance.”

    He raises an eyebrow, “Continue,” he orders.

    “Well,” she spares you a single glance, you nod, almost imperceptibly, giving her your support to try her best, “We know, for a fact, that you will do all in your power to protect loyal servants of the Light. We know you would not endanger the Royal Army, no, the whole Dwarven Kingdom simply in order to collect a single favour from a pair of-”

    “Amateurs?” Mazzarin suggests with relish before moving on to other suggestions, “Infants? Incompet-”

    “Exactly,” you answer with a forced grin.

    He turns his back on you and begins walking again, shaking the pair of your loose, “Normally you would be right but I do not have the time. The Watcher must be destroyed and the Faceless Man must be located, I can do neither from this desert,” he directs his next comment to his apprentice, “Boy, we will be returning to the Palace, I need you to pay a visit to an acquaintance and-” it is only now that Mazzarin realizes Emrys is not with him.

    “Where did he get off to now?” the archmage mutters.

    You're impressed, you did not notice him wander off either. You do have an advantage over the archmage though as you have an idea as to where Emrys went. The girls are probably talking to him, trying to get to know him as per your own instructions. Hopefully they can win him over, you could use another angle to try and manipulate Mazzarin from, and in truth the girls could do with making a few friends their own age.

    Your thoughts are interrupted by the roars of the archmage, his concern is actually a little touching, “Worried about him?” you can't help but enquire.

    He gives you an annoyed glance, then scoffs, “Hardly, this happens every time we go somewhere. He spots a book, or is kidnapped by some sort of demon...” he trails off, shaking his head, “Naturally I am then forced to rescue him,” he cups his hands over his mouth, “Boy! You have three minutes to show yourself or you will be walking back to Muirthemne!”

    Three minutes, best get to work then.

    “You are based out of Muirthemne now?” you attempt to rekindle the conversation.

    “Ah, yes,” Mazzarin answers, half turning as he scans first the desert and then you camp, “It was necessary as King-” he snorts, “'Emperor' Alric has made me Governor of the East.”

    Well that is interesting...

    Your better half sallies forth yet again, buoyed by this new piece of information, “Then as Govenor you must realize the effect that the fall of Stoneheim would have on the territory you administer.”

    It takes you a split second to realize exactly where your partner is going with this but when you do you only barely manage to suppress your smile. If you can not play to the man's virtues then you shall just have to play to his vices.

    So you ask yourself, 'why does the most powerful mage in the world require an apprentice?'

    The answer comes quickly enough, the same reason all mages require an apprentice, because he is lazy...

    “The Kingdom does not fall under my mandate,” he waves her off, “Boy! If I find you collecting insects you will regret it for all your days!”

    You do your best to make the archmage see, “Yes, that is true but if Stoneheim falls it will throw the Kingdom into a panic, dwarven refugees will pour across the Empire's southern border. Refugees you will be responsible for-”

    Without so much as a single second between you, Thaïs strikes again, “And all of the caravans, all of the trade that exists between the Empire and the Kingdom will also grind to a halt. That will also fall to you to fix.”

    He groans and you know you have him.

    As one the two of you speak, “Refugees, merchants, soldiers, emissaries, bureaucrats, and all of them looking to you for guidance.”

    The face Mazzarin makes, you could not have hurt more, “That, that is a lot of bother...”

    “Yes,” you answer consolingly, “But it is within your power to prevent such a future.”

    For the first time tonight you get the impression he might just agree, he grunts, “By helping you save the dwarven army, correct?”

    You flash him a pair of predatory grins, “Exactly.”

    Silence settles over the three of you then.

    You wait together, straining to make out the slightest change in the Great Mage's features.

    Will he agree?

    Will he go, running screaming into the night?

    These are the questions that command your thoughts.

    “Fine,” he shrugs, exhaling sharply.

    Then he draws himself up to his full height, chin raised, chest once more puffed out, “But I do not intend to stay for more than a week. I, Mazzarin, shall rescue the dwarven army, I will save Stoneheim, and I will fix the mess you children have created!”

    Children, again? You have made your fair share of mistakes but he could stand to be just a little less condescending. Still, he is over a thousand years old, from his perspective you probably are children.

    “Thank you,” your better half answers, beaming. She leans in and plants a single kiss upon his right cheek, “Thank you for your kindness.”

    “I- ah, um-” the archmage sputters.

    You can't resist.

    You decide to take advantage, push him just a little further, and you follow suit. If he is going to insist that you are children then it only stands to reason...

    You grin, a nasty little idea taking hold.

    You lean in on his left, mirroring your better half and plant a kiss on his other cheek, “Yeah, thanks, dad.”

    He stares at the pair of you, rendered entirely mute by the double shock you have foisted upon him.

    It lasts only a moment.

    “Get off me!” he shouts as he stumbles backward, “I, I am not doing this for either of you and I care not for your gratitude!”

    He spins on his heels and with a burst of preternatural speed wings his way back to camp, hollering for Emrys the entire way.

    “Well, we've got him,” you note with an approving nod.

    “Now we simply have to manage him,” Thaïs answers with a little less enthusiasm.

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

    November 19, 2542, South of Myrgard

    Child, they have not torn my life from my body yet.

    While this is a poor way to start a letter it is an honest one. I had hoped that I could write to you of victory but survival seems to be all that I can hope for now.

    Every hour they charge the walls, bursting out of the slick sands, churning up the oozing morass. Three times last night they scaled the walls, twice they broke into the camp proper. They are faster than our fastest, stronger than our strongest and some of them, well, they are not fit to commit to memory.

    Whatever the rebels have been dealing in it is dark and I fear we are overmatched.

    If not for Reinhard we would already be lost. In the darkness just before the coming dawn they breached the east wall, collapsing it inward. Our soldier scattered as the bodies of their friends and comrades tumbled into the sand. I can not say I blame them, these things instill a primal fear in even the best of us, or perhaps I should say in all but the best of us.

    The Prince saved us then, saved the whole army, he raced toward the breach with his honour guard close behind. I saw him step into the gap swinging a great maul over his head. As it whistled through the air and struck home against the first of the enemy we all recognized its nature.

    Reinhard wields the Maul of Kings, and before him the beasts fell by the dozen.

    He drove back the attack, bought us time to plug the gap and the men cheered his heroism.

    Arkell told me after that he believes we will win.

    I am not so certain. Reinhard is only a single dwarf and though the creatures now fear him and the Maul he wields he can not be everywhere.

    Should they undermine the wall at multiple places how will we respond? How will we survive?

    The rising sun raised our spirits, a childish fancy I suppose. Somehow, I thought, no, we thought, that the morning would dispel these horrors but they remain, buried below the sands, waiting for a chance to strike.

    I wish I had Arkell's confidence, his faith, but I do not and I can not see a way that this will end well for us.

    If I live to tomorrow I will write to you again, if only to help calm my nerves.

    If not, well, it is not like you will ever see this anyway.


    A deep rumbling stirs her from her task. It suggests size, power, and her own death even muffled as it is by distance and the simple barriers erected by her people.

    She closes her journal, rises to her feet and peaks out of her tent.

    Dwarves race back and forth as beyond the palisade something terrible rises and a pair of massive, black arms grab hold of the wall.

    Ropes tear, wood splinters and a chorus of bestial screams herald what can only be her death.

    She stuffs her journal into her pack, grabs her hammer and sprints out into afternoon light.

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

    “Well, I will grant Seinsheim this,” Hámundr snaps his spyglass closed, “The old bastard knows how to fight an infantry battle.”

    Berty mutters his assent, “That he does,” your tactician tosses Finn's spyglass back to the King, “He could do a better job coordinating his movements with his chariots but other than that he is doing fairly well. Looks like he will have the ghôlish line ready for a rear charge within the next half hour.”

    Your entire command staff is gathered on a large dune overlooking the battle between Seinsheim's people and the ghôlish raiders. You and Thaïs stand at the center with Berty and Finn to your left and Hámundr, the Old Man and the head handler of the Hounds on your right. Lyssa and the girls act as guards, slightly behind you, negotiating with your newly acquired hounds.

    Mazzarin, and by extension Emrys, is no where to be found.

    They are off 'saving' the Royal Army from the cultist forces. Mazzarin insisted that as the 'ranking mage' and 'Champion of the Light' he should get the first pick of opponents. In fact the only thing he seemed concerned about was which enemy force was bigger and more dangerous. When your scouts unanimously answered the cultists he was off without even so much as a goodbye.

    You hope that the archmage will remember to protect the dwarves and not just kill everyone on the battlefield.

    Mazzarin's departure left the task of dealing with the raiders to you, given the assets in your possession you think you can manage it, provided you can keep everyone working together.

    Your working plan at the moment is to pin the raiders between your line and Seinsheim's, once trapped, you will pummel them with mortar fire, spells and cocktails. To that end you have been communicating with the dwarf lord through Lyssa's eagles and so far everything is going according to plan. Should it come to close combat you will utilize the Hound's elephants, protected by the Warrior's Mask but that will hopefully not be necessary.

    It is a good plan, you think, and Berty, Finn and Hámundr are all for it.

    The Hounds, the Old Man and your Coin-Sìth are going to take a bit more convincing.

    The head handler clears his throat, “These spells you are going to cast on us, they are safe?”

    You try to reassure him, “They are and we will be casting them on the elephants, not directly on you.”

    “So you want us to ride into the middle of an enemy host without infantry support or any sort of protective magic?” the Handler asks, shaking his head, “That does not sound like a good idea to me, what if I lose men?”

    “Then the world will be better for it,” Lyssa mutters from behind you.

    “Something you want to say girl!” the Hound handler shoots back.

    “Plenty-” your witch begins.

    You cough, “Lyssa, how are negotiations coming with the Coin-Sìth.”

    “Negotiations,” the Handler scoffs, “They are animals, whip'em till they do what you want.”

    “We won't do that-” you begin.

    “Of course not!” the Old Man interjects, “They are dogs, you only use force on men!”

    “Not this again,” you mutter. You have been trying to convince the Old Man that you are not his enemy.

    Naturally he demanded proof, he asked for the control gem.

    A request you refused.

    He has said maybe five words to you since then and none of them have been polite.

    You ignore his outburst, he will do as you say, not like he has a choice in the matter.

    Both of your mercenary captains know their roles, you remind them that you expect each of them to conduct themselves with professionalism. They are all under contract, they all have a job to do and if they do not do it they will have to answer directly to the King.

    You dismiss them before they can answer, let them think about their positions for a while.

    This leaves you with only your own personnel and Finn.

    “King Finnbheara,” your better half begins, “Would you mind keeping an eye on the Seekers.”

    Not a bad idea all things considered. The small team of Hounds does not particularly worry you but if the battlemages decide to revolt a few extra safeguards may be in order.

    “Certainly,” the King responds with a bow, “Is there anything else you require from me, dear ladies.”

    “Nothing at the moment,” you respond with a smile, “Though I could use a few of your riders mixed in with our advanced guard, a few well placed illusions could save may lives.”

    He bows once more and withdraws to meet with his men. They would be far more useful at night but you do not have the time to waste, you need to attack soon.

    “Lyssa,” Thaïs begins, moving to the next issue you must address, “How are negotiations going with the Coin-Sìth?”

    “Ah,” she shrugs, “They are shrewd negotiators.”

    You could swear the hounds smirk at that.

    You remember Finn's advice, 'be polite but do not be servile or they will never respect you'.

    You address their leader and he struts forward. This will be your first proper conversation with the hound as he has spent most of last night and this morning saying his goodbyes and organizing his, rather large, pack.

    He holds himself with ancient dignity, a coat of read hair trimmed with white around the muzzle that streaks down his throat to his stomach. His head raised, he sniffs the air, adjusting his angle to face you as he walks, and it is then that you realize he is blind. His dead eyes fixed on you he sits three metres away and waits for you to speak.

    Lyssa conducts the introductions, “Derryth, Thaïs, may I introduce to you the greatest of King Finnbheara's hounds, Enrico, great of purpose, keen of mind, of ancient and noble lineage.”

    Enrico? Odd name for a dog.

    Your look suggests as much and Lyssa leans in to explain, “A few decades ago he suffered a slight blow to the head while hunting. His birth name is Eocho but he no longer answers to it.”

    Her explanation does little to relieve your concern, for a moment you wonder if Finn has taken advantage of you, gifting you a defective hound.

    Caoilainn laughs in your mind, “Yes, this was a much better choice than magical power! You could have chosen something that would give you power of life and death, something that maybe, possibly, could have been used to give me a new body but dogs! No, dogs were clearly the right choice!”

    Well that is a bit harsh, you stand by your decision, there are a great many things that fast and tireless scouts can achieve for you and in fact you can already think of one use for them.

    “Lyssa,” you begin, “Tell, Eoch- Ah, Enrico, that it is a pleasure to meet him and that we are looking forward to pursuing a profitable and harmonious relationship with him and his people. Inform him that we will need them to track any ghôls that flee the battlefield. In particular, we will need them to follow any leaders, representatives or even members of a particular group known as the Tusks.”

    Lyssa translates your kind words and your instructions into the tongue of wolves and dogs.

    Enrico ignore her words and instead begins licking himself.

    Caoilainn roars with laugher.

    Lyssa shrugs and tries again.

    Enrico once more ignores the instruction.

    Lyssa shakes her head and attempts to translate your words into the tongue of the fairies, it comes out broken and garbled, that much you are certain of.

    Enrico snorts, shaking his head, he turns around and walks away.

    “Sorry,” Lyssa mutters, “I suppose that did not go well, I-”

    She stops when Enrico returns with a younger hound in tow.

    The ancient Cú Sídh mutters a few words to his younger companion and the two fall to heated discussion. The older hound repeats the same words over and over again. The younger hound protests but all you can understand is a single word, Raniero, repeated time and again.

    Is it a place? An action? An item? You have no idea, so you wait patiently, a slight, polite smile on your lips.

    The younger hound eventually relents and turns to Lyssa, he begins to bark, and murmur much like a regular dog and Lyssa smiles, nodding her head repeatedly.

    She turns to you, “This is Raegen-”

    Enrico shakes his head, and repeats the same word he spoke earlier, “Raniero!”

    Lyssa stares at the older hound, then the younger, the younger hound growls, clearly frustrated, and nods. Lyssa begins again, “This is, ah, Raniero,” oh, so 'Raniero' is a name, you nod as Lyssa continues, “He is Enrico's son and will speak the, um, 'base' tongue of beasts for his father.”

    Raegen, or Raniero as the case may be, nods slowly, clearly unhappy with the proposition.

    You beam, “Good, we are making progress.”

    You instruct Lyssa to repeat your greeting and your instruction. She falls to conversation with the younger hound and he in turn relays the information to his father. As this whole production plays out before you, you can not help but suspect that the ancient hound perfectly understands both Lyssa's speech and your own. Though you are not sure what he would stand to gain from his act.

    Eventually the two hounds finish speaking and Raegen gives Lyssa Enrico's answer.

    She turns back to you, disappointment clearly written across her countenance, “Raniero says his father will perform this task for us but only if we agree to pay the associated costs.”

    “Which are?” you and your better half ask as one, both dreading the answer.

    “Four dishes of pistachio gelato each,” Lyssa begins, “And they want you to hire a team of fifteen servants to scratch them behind the ears for at least an hour a day.”

    The laughter that echos through your mind from your disembodied officer completes your own sense of dismay, “That is unacceptable,” you answer together. Clearly this fairy intends to rob you completely if you let him.

    You stare into those lifeless eyes and wonder just what you have gotten yourself into.

    “Lyssa,” your better half responds, “Inform our esteemed colleague that we will have to negotiate his price.”

    Lyssa relays your message to Raniero, Raniero passes it on to Enrico and then the entire chain reverses, Enrico to Raniero, Raniero to Lyssa and Lyssa to you, she says, “He is open to negotiation but insists that the task is both dangerous and troublesome, his people will need sufficient motivation to dutifully carry out the task you would assign them.”

    Caoilainn cackles incessantly, “I wonder what the real mages are doing right now? You know, the ones that are pursuing arcane mastery and not negotiating with animals!”

    “Caoilainn,” you speak as one.

    Yes,” she answers, gasping for breath.

    “Shut up,” you mutter in unison.

    She laughs.

    You could swear Enrico winks and somewhere in the distance, faint horns sound.

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

    He is the conqueror of worlds, avatar of his Mistress, his Goddess, upon this plane, born of blood and darkness, deep below the earth.

    It took him too long to burrow his way up to the camp, to the tasty little dwarves inside but now that he is here he will reap the lot of them and fill his hungry stomachs with fresh, dwarf flesh.

    He tore down their palisade, crushed it under his weight and allowed his young brothers and sisters to pour through. The dwarves scream as they die, dragged down into the seething sands. Pinned below thick carapaces, fangs the size of spearheads tear deep into them. They gurgle as his kin scream victory to the skies.

    A little premature perhaps, many of his siblings have only fought in skirmishes in the eternal dark of their mother's realm. They have never fought mortals, and they have never fought an army. They have never witnessed the fury that they little beings can unleash when they are cornered, trapped, struggling for every last second of their meaningless existence.

    Sure enough, the enemy are regrouping, dozens have fallen, maybe hundreds, he can not be sure, but so long as their leaders live they will fight on. From his vantage point he scans the enemy lines, if he can take from them their heroes, their commanders, he can break their spirits and a despairing soul is so much more appetizing than one infected with hope or defiance.

    Ah, there he is his, the enemy commander, his banner waving in the sun, surrounded by a rather impressive honour guard, a maul carving great arcs through the demons that seek to devour him.

    That- Prince is it? He will be a worthy meal for the Goddess' champion.

    On heavy legs, each bigger than a tree trunk the monster crashes toward his prey. The long, rumbling howl that he unleashes is enough to scatter many of the dwarves before he even hits their line.

    He laughs, he can not blame them, he is so much more then they are, more than they will ever be.

    He crashes into the Prince's honour guard, throws them back with his great, armoured legs, he raises a single mailed fist, intending to swat the Prince, crushing him dead.

    He howls his victory, the low tone of his voice provoking wails of joy from his family.

    At least until it is cut short.

    Light.

    Horns, shrill and triumphant.

    An 'M', it burns itself into his mind.

    It is so much more than he is, more than he will ever be, and he knows now the form his death will take.

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

    She does not know where the human came from, but she is grateful that he arrived when he did.

    That thing, that monstrosity that tore down the walls had weathered their best attacks. It had shattered resistance wherever it struck and until a moment ago she was certain that it was going to kill Reinhard.

    Then the human appeared. A giant bronze 'M' glowing in the sky, horns screaming his arrival, and with a single flick of his wrist he turned that monstrosity inside out.

    He cracked open its plates, peeled back its hide, sucked it inside out and sprayed its shrieking, still living, remains back upon its followers.

    Screams of joy, howls of victory, quickly gave way to panic amongst the enemy.

    They are fleeing now, scattering to the winds.

    Her comrades cheer, she cheers, but the look on this man's face, it is as if he has only just begun.

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

    “Boy,” the Great Mage calls, “Have you finished that text on Sloan's victory against the bandits of Amon's Grove that I gave you last week?”

    “Yes, Master,” Emrys answers, uncertain of what that has to do with the battle raging around them.

    “Good,” the mage answers rolling up his sleeves, “And how many spells did it take the archmage to break the brigades with?”

    “Ah,” Emrys scours his memory for the answer, “Eight, Master.”

    Mazzarin laughs, “Yes, that is right. Sloan did enjoy playing with his targets a little too much.”

    The Great Mage shakes his head, “Boy, mark my words well. I shall destroy this host with three spells and to make this interesting we shall use this battle as test of your knowledge. You are to give me the names and the creators of each spell I cast, do this and I shall reward you. Fail me and I shall give you to that pair of incompetents to do with as they see fit for one whole week.”

    “Ah, yes, Master,” Emrys tucks his tome away and pulls out a sleeve of paper, he will no doubt need to make notes.

    “Ready?” the archmage inquires as he marches after the fleeing enemies. He pays no heed to the the dwarves that stand puzzled as he pushes past.

    Emrys nods, following in his wake.

    “Good, now the first step toward destroying an army is to drive them together,” Mazzarin begins as he draws in enough power to momentarily blind his apprentice.

    Emrys blinks and focuses on the archmage's movements attempting to puzzle out the first of Mazzarin's spells.

    Hmmm, this is definitely a mental attack, something that requires Mazzarin to calm the mind, but the theory behind it is strange, related to Vailintín's theory of sympathetic resonance perhaps?

    Emrys swings his pack around and begins to search for the book.

    “No cheating,” Mazzarin commands him without turning, “This is not an open book test.”

    Emrys redoubles his efforts, scanning his scant knowledge of mental magic as he watches his master's movements. When the truth dawns on the youth he exhales sharply and does his best to tap into Mazzarin's spell, it is a hybrid construct, combining elements of opposing mental and physical schools into a single magnificent creation.

    Mazzarin is weaving a spell through the demons' own blood, tapping into the vital spirits that bind them together and mark their loyalty to the Goddess. By following his Master's spell outward Emrys can see them all, three hundred and seventy two of them though only half of that number is racing about on the surface.

    The Great Mage is just about ready, “Well, Boy! Do you know this spell!”

    Emrys drops his gaze, wracking his mind, until at last he stumbles upon it. Side-stepping a demon's corpse, he smiles triumphantly as he races after his master, “Yes! March 14, 546, the archmage Padraig defended the walled town of Bremon from the bre'Unor clan of the warlord Jat-Vir. Padraig was heavily outnumbered and losing but worked a spell that drew together all of his enemies and allowed him to snuff them out with a single casting of the Dispersal Dream, it was called the Piper's Call.”

    “Very good, Boy! Do you remember anything else about it?” the mage asks as he unleashes the spell.

    “It, ah, hmmm,” the Boy thinks, “It requires a direct blood connection between all those it is cast upon, if they are not related then it will not work!”

    Mazzarin nods, “Exactly, it was quite fortuitous for Padraig that bre'Unor are notoriously inbred as are these Spider demons if I recall correctly.”

    Emrys does his best to follow his master's movements but tracking the full four hundred demons at once for any sustained length of time is well beyond his ability. All he can determine with any sort of certainty is that they are out there and they are all moving in the same direction, to the south.

    Mazzarin passes through the ruins of the palisade, brushing off the attempts of the soldiers to stop him.

    “It is dangerous out there!” they shout.

    “Not for me!” he bellows in response.

    The two humans clear the camp, and come to a halt twenty metres from the writhing horde of monstrosities.

    Emrys can feel them churning the sands below his feet, he can see them reforming into ranks, slowly spreading out to encircle him and his master.

    The Boy looks to his Master, inching closer to the Great Mage.

    Mazzarin seems unconcerned.

    One of the abominations steps forward and howls at the archmage. It races toward him but already the Great Mage has begun his second spell.

    He draws a single, short line in the sand with his staff.

    A wall of sand rises between the mage and the host.

    It slams into the charging monstrosity and hurls it backward. Hurling it into the ground and snapping its legs.

    The sand shifts under Emrys' feet, drawn away into the wall Mazzarin is casting ever higher into the air. The apprentice steadies himself with his hunting spear as the sands continue to extend before him, great bloody hands reaching up to the sun.

    The creatures howl, trapped behind the wall and Emrys is certain the ones below them are digging their way up. Attempting to escape the spell that greedily sucks them inward toward their comrades.

    A hand bursts out of the ground and grabs Emrys' boot, attempting to drag him into the swirling maelstorm before them.

    He digs in, fighting it,“Master!” he shouts.

    The archmage sighs, “You are not an infant, Boy, you can deal with a single demon.”

    Emrys swings his spear around and drives it into the creature's hand, it readily releases his foot, as it is pulled along the surface and up into the wall of swirling sand.

    “Not what I had in mind, Boy,” his Master chides him, “Any thug can wield a weapon, magic is a nobler tool, observe.”

    Mazzarin's staff darts out, extending the line before him and the sands follow his commands exactly. The wall spreads, rising to east and west, curving slightly as it goes.

    The Great Mage charts a lazy circle in the ground and Emrys does not doubt for a second that far in the distance this impenetrable wall of sucking sand has closed in on itself.

    Hmmm, a circle of sand?

    Emrys is not certain he has heard of this one.

    Maybe it is a modification of another spell, the Searing Circle? The Ring of Frost?

    No, those are both smaller and- And flatter!

    This is not a circle but a bowl, a great bowl of churning sand, of churning earth, oh! The boy smiles, “Master! I know this one as well!”

    Mazzarin shouts over the raging storm, “Well, do not keep me in suspense!”

    Right, the Boy nods, “You modified Merril's Wrath of the Sea, the spell he used to sink the pirate armada that threatened Covenant in the spring of 765. Instead of raising the waves you raised the sands, drawing the entire enemy host into a single swirling vortex!”

    “Two for two, Boy!” the archmage allows himself the smallest of grins, “Now watch this.”

    Mazzarin mutters something, some sort of chant in a language that Emrys has never heard before. Quietly at first but rising with each repetition, an old language, long forgotten by the world but remembered by this man.

    The boy exhales, is it getting warmer?

    “A fire spell, Master?” Emrys hazards.

    “No,” the Great Mage answers without turning his head, “Do not guess, you must know.”

    No, that is right, this is not elemental, Mazzarin is not channeling the element of rage and anger.

    “You had best figure it out soon Boy,” the archmage warns him, “I will give you to the count of three.”

    There is a- A purity to his movement. A simplicity in the words spoken, the arcs he carves through the air.

    The Great Mage stops chanting, “One!”

    The power within the mage builds, the heat above them intensifies.

    A strange sense of peace pervades the scene even as a demon comes whipping around, it fanged maw open and howling as it races across the surface of the maelstrom. Here a leg twitches, there an arm bursts forth only to be consumed once more, the hunger of the desert obliterating, dwarfing, the similar yearning in the heart of each of the beasts.

    Emrys frantically searches for a clue, some light to lead him to the answer.

    “Two!” his Master shouts.

    The sound of the storm and of the army trapped in it should be deafening but here, next to the Great Mage all is silent, unchanging, fixed in place by the withering stare of the sun.

    The sun... A light to guide him... A light...

    Mazzarin opens his mouth and in that second Emrys shouts, “Light!”

    The mage half turns without breaking his focus, “Good, Boy. Now elaborate.”

    Emrys spits out the words as fast as he can form them, “You- You, are going to use the Light, ah, light magic I mean. You are going to- Going to cook them!”

    Mazzarin nods, “That is correct. Do you know what the spell is called?”

    Emrys' expression of triumph becomes one of deepest despair, “No, Master. I don't not know what is called, I have failed.”

    He lets the sheet of paper tumble to the ground.

    Mazzarin laughs, “No you haven't, it does not have a name but I think I shall call it Kharybdis, so great is its thirst, and this, the first place it was used will forever be known as the Sea of Glass. Mark that in your book, Boy, you are witnessing history.”

    The spell breaks loose, Emrys closes his eyes, the sound comes crashing back, sizzling, wailing, howling in his ears, as an army is extinguished.

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

    A well laid plan, competently executed.

    You did not even have to risk your own people to accomplish it. Seinsheim's army managed to turn the raiders, exposing their rear at which point your forces advanced into range and shattered the enemy with a single devastating blow.

    You could say a great deal against the professionalism and loyalty of the Seekers but you can not complain about their knowledge of magic. They sculpted the dunes with expert precision, wind, sand and rock tearing your foe's lines to pieces. Your mortars targeted any enemy formations that survived your magic and your grenadiers picked off most of the rest.

    If there is anything you are disappointed about it is the lack of enemy survivors. You had hoped to take at least a few alive but the lethality of your advance ensured that none that approached you survived.

    At least you won't have to pay Enrico and his pack for a service they can not perform. The Coin-Sìth lounge about in the sun, they smile at you as you walk by. You shake your head but smile back, 'always be polite' the words echo in your mind.

    You are on your way to meet Seinsheim and formally introduce yourselves when you are met by two pieces of distressing information.

    Lyssa wanders up to the pair of you, a worried expression on her face, “Derryth, Thaïs, we need to talk.”

    “Sure,” you answer, “What about?”

    “The elephants,” she replies, “The Hounds want to transfer to Seinsheim's command and he has agreed to their request. Their logic is that Seinsheim serves the King and so they would not be violating their contracts by joining up with him.”

    Brilliant, you could use those elephants and would hate to lose them but you doubt that you have any legal grounds to retain them under. The Hounds work for Albrecht, not you, and if they wish to join Seinsheim you would need to examine their contract to stop them, a contract that is currently several days travel to the north.

    But Lyssa does not stop there, “Also, the Seekers are already meeting with Seinsheim. The Old Man requested an audience as soon as the battle ended.”

    You can only guess what he plans to do, though you believe it is likely that he too wishes to join Seinsheim. With the control gem you could force him to stay but you are not sure how wise that would be.

    As you close in on Seinsheim's teal and gold tent you thank Lyssa for the information, you can always take it up with Seinsheim directly though from what you understand he is not exactly a 'people person'.

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

    “Ladies Thaïs and Derryth,” the guard shouts into the tent, “Seek audience with Lord Seinsheim!”

    “Enter!” a low, rough voice answers.

    You lower your heads, ducking into the dark tent.

    It is almost empty, six figures, five standing, crowd round the center of the pavilion, easily built to hold twenty or thirty.

    The first figure to draw your eye is an old dwarf, prone and clad in dented plate above the waist. This is undoubtedly Seinsheim and he is wounded. He is stripped naked below the waist, a deep wound cuts down his left thigh from hip to knee, his physician works feverishly to treat and close the wound.

    Seinsheim, for his part, completely ignores both wound and physician. He curses under his breath as he runs through the latest reports brought to him by his captains.

    He waves two of the figures surrounding him away, they bow once and make for the back of the tent as you enter through the front. One of them you recognize as a Seeker and the other you think is one of the Hounds' men.

    The final two figures are both women, humans, and if you had to guess they are Seinsheim's champions, Galena and Treva. They stare at you with a confidence laced with curiosity, as befits mages encountering colleagues that may yet be allies or enemies.

    Seinsheim looks up from his reports, he pauses for a moment, shakes his head, “Bad fucking omens.”

    “Don't expect me to thank you for doing your jobs,” he spits into the dirt, “I am sure Albrecht is paying you mercenaries plenty to fight for the Kingdom. So long as you do a good job, we,” he gestures at you with his thumb and then back to himself, “We won't have any problems. Fuck up, like all the other idiots in this damn country, and I will bury you, understand?”

    “Wait, excuse us but-” your better half begins.

    He snorts, winces slightly as his surgeon pushes the needle though his thigh, “Wasn't asking for your permission, wasn't asking for your opinions, and if I ever do want to know what you think, you won't be in any doubt about it. Strictly speaking the only thing I need you to do is shut up and follow my orders. Now that understood?”

    It may be wiser to agree, and if you do you may be able to retain control over the Seekers or the Hounds, provided you still want them. Of course you would have to swallow your pride to do it and you have a feeling that how you react right now will set the tone for your entire relationship with Seinsheim.

    He is waiting for a response, well, in truth he is waiting for your agreement, but whether you wish to disappoint him or not you need to answer now.

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

    A chorus of impressed and intimidated gasps rises from your column as you near the Royal Army's camp.

    Your scouts spoke of a forest of silver glass, marbled red and black, straddling the road south of the oasis. You did not really doubt them but despite that you are struck dumb by its terrifying majesty. It must stretch for kilometres in either direction and you can think of only one cause for its sudden appearance.

    Mazzarin.

    You and your command staff break off from the main column, swinging south to get a better look.

    If you had to guess, that maze of tinted glass is all that remains of the cultist army. Arms, legs, torsos of flesh and chitin dot the otherwise smooth and flat glass walls. As you approach, you spot the face of a dwarf, his neck and brow wrapped in the black cloth of the Spider Cult. The horror in his eyes bears mute testament to the magic unleashed here mere hours ago.

    You suppress a shiver that dances at the end of your spine and order your chariot back to the main column.

    As you approach the damaged camp, passing through a hole guarded by a team of grenadiers you have your suspicions finally confirmed.

    His name is on every tongue, songs and tales of his exploits, some real, most imagined, are told around every cooking fire.

    The minds, hearts, eyes of the entire army are focused on one man, the Great Mage, Mazzarin.

    Lyssa sighs, “He is going to steal all the credit for this, isn't he?”

    You and Thaïs answer together, the answer so obvious that even Berty and Finn join in, “Yes.”

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

    When you reach the center of camp it is Emrys that greets you, “Mistress Derryth, Mistress Thaïs, Mistress Lyssa,” he bows to each of you in turn.

    Biliku and Uttu wave at him, he waves back and smiles politely before instantly turning his attention back to you, “My Master, and Prince Reinhard, wish to see you in the command tent.”

    “Me as well, no doubt!” Seinsheim butts in as his grand chariot comes to a halt next to your own.

    Emrys shrugs, “I don't know who you are Sir.”

    The dwarf lord glares at the boy, “Lord Seinsheim, and you should be glad I am in a good mood or I would have you whipped!”

    Emrys shrugs, “No you wouldn't.”

    He turns away from the apoplectic lord and disappears into the command tent.

    The three of you, along with the girls, Berty and Finn enter the tent after Emrys.

    Seinsheim and his champions, not to be left out, crowd in behind.

    “Reinhard! Berg! You cowards!” Seinsheim bellows as he enters, “I'm alive, no thanks to you or your people!”

    “Oh,” the Prince replies, suitably disappointed.

    Berg bows low and continues in the empty tone of a dwarf that has had the exact same conversation every day of his life, “It is good to see you well, Lord Seinsheim.”

    “I'm sure you're thrilled, you disappointment of a dwarf!” Seinsheim seems like he could go on in this way for some time.

    Mazzarin puts an end to it, “Who is this?” he asks the Prince.

    “I am Lord Seinsheim!” the outraged Lord answers before his Prince can speak, “Of the Great House Seinsheim! Who are you?”

    “Mazzarin,” the Great Mage answers, bored, “Now shut up.”

    “Shut up?” the dwarf lord bristles, “Go fuck yourself you pompous, self-important-”

    Instinctively you, and everyone else in the room, take three quick steps away from the dwarf. Even Treva and Galena, without a word, follow your lead.

    Your actions make Seinsheim hesitate, not that it matters.

    Mazzarin releases the smallest portion of his power and punts Seinsheim through the side of the tent. He lands in the oasis and damn near drowns before three of his guards can fish him out.

    Mazzarin yawns, “I wish to rest,” he turns to the Prince, “You will provide me with your largest tent and finest bed.”

    Reinhard grins, his expression speaks of unparalleled contentment, “The largest tent and the finest bed in this entire expedition both belong to the esteemed Lord Seinsheim.”

    Mazzarin grins as well, every part the wolf as he does so, “Then I will take those. Do not bother me until we are ready to leave.”

    “Shouldn't we take part in the planning, Master,” Emrys chimes in.

    “Unnecessary,” the Great Mage answers, he gestures to you and Thaïs, “These are my agents, my-” he laughs, “My daughters, in all things treat them as you would my person. If you have any problems short of an army, any issues, any concerns, any tasks that require time, effort, and intuition, you can trust it all safely to them. I sent them to you in your hour of greatest need, all they have done is at my bidding and they will serve you faithfully so long as I wish it.”

    He smiles warmly at the two of you, “Now be good girls while I take a nap, I will have new orders for you when I awake, no doubt.”

    He struts past you, in every way a peacock, and out into the afternoon sun. You can hear him shouting at Seinsheim's people, ordering them to set up his new tent.

    You are not sure, but you think that lazy old bastard just stole credit for everything you have done over the last three months, everything you will do in the future, and managed to saddle you with all of his work short of fighting archmages.

    You should be angry but you just feel numb.

    Reinhard considers your group, but it is Berg that speaks, “It is a pleasure to meet the 'Heroes of the Kingdom'- Or rather, the 'Daughters of Mazzarin', I have heard a great deal about you already and it is a comfort to know that the Great Mage's hand has been behind all your actions. Now, if you would like we can begin to discuss my plans to lift the siege of Stoneheim, unless you are tired from your travels that is, in which case we can wait for your Lord to awake.”

    There is something about Berg that does not sit well with you, it may be best to feign exhaustion and retire for the evening, use the time to investigate the camp, or you might wish to attend this meeting and assert your position, whatever that is now.

    Berg grins at you, Reinhard carefully studies you, and you step forward to give your answer.


    1. The Hounds and their elephants: They wish to transfer over to Seinsheim's command, they are likely a little worried about the murderous looks Lyssa gives them and the elephants have been getting a little short tempered the more they are around her. How do you wish to respond?

    A) You let them go. If they are serving under Seinsheim they are no longer your problem.

    B) You talk to Seinsheim about it. You will try to convince him to refuse their service so that they have to stay with you. It might work or it might just antagonize both Seinsheim and the Hounds further.

    C) You kill the handlers and take direct control over the elephants. You will have to do it discretely but Lyssa might have a few ideas.

    D) You convince Reinhard to take control of them instead of giving them to Seinsheim.

    E) You convince Reinhard to formally take control of them instead of giving them to Seinsheim. Then, after transfer is complete, ask the Prince to assign them back to our taskforce.

    F) freeform


    2. The Seekers: The Seekers have had more than enough of your leadership and it seems they wish to transfer to Seinsheim's service. How do you wish to handle the situation.

    A) You let them go. If they are serving under Seinsheim they are no longer your problem.

    B) You talk to Seinsheim about it. You will try to convince him to refuse their service so that they have to stay with you. It might work or it might just antagonize both Seinsheim and the Seekers further.

    C) You challenge the Old Man for leadership:

    i. You will fight him in a one-on-one duel.

    ii. You will fight him and a second of his choice in a two-on-two duel.

    iii. You will challenge him to a duel and then active his collar, separating his head from his shoulders. It would technically count as a win though it would go against the spirit of such a duel.

    D) You use the command gem to force the Seekers to remain with you.

    E) You convince Reinhard to take control of them instead of giving them to Seinsheim.

    F) freeform


    3. Seinsheim: Setting the tone. You meeting with Seinsheim in his tent set the tone for your working relationship with him. How did you approach it?

    A) You took a diplomatic approach and agreed to follow his orders in the hopes of winning over the stubborn dwarf lord.

    B) You stood up for yourself and your asserted your autonomy. You serve the King, not Seinsheim and you told him as much, working from the idea that he would respect strength.

    C) Heal his wound with one of the rings. Then tell him that you are a servant no one, not even the King. Everything you do, you do because you want to do it, not because you follow someone's orders.

    D) freeform


    4. Your choice: How do you wish to answer Berg's question?

    A) You choose to excuse yourself from the meeting.

    i. You go to sleep. You could use a several hours of uninterrupted sleep and what are the odds you would miss something important anyway?

    ii. You wish to explore the camp and meet with the other leaders of the relief army. See where they stand and if they can be trusted.

    iii. You go to sleep with the intention of entering the Dreaming. Morpheus has been waiting patiently for your first meeting and you owe him stories. You would also like to take the chance to confer with him, his wife and his contacts.

    iv. You will excuse yourself from the meeting and will try to work with Reinhard instead on screening the dwarven army from cultist infiltrators with the help of Coin-Sith. You will try to gather as much information as you can before the meeting commences.

    v. You will excuse yourself and pursue Karwelas' plan

    vi. freeform

    B) You choose to take part in the meeting and help frame the strategy going forward. Reinhard and Berg are the most important commanders in camp with the exception of Seinsheim, the more time you spend with them the better.

    C) freeform


    5. The dogs are trying to entertain themselves at your expense. Are you going to do anything about it?

    A. Yes. Commence operation 'Trick or Treat'.

    B. No, you will just stand there and take it.

    C. freeform


    6. Now that you have destroyed a large gholish force and Mazzarin have joined forces with the dwarven army, the ghols don't stand much of a chance in the conflict. You could contact Nanshe next time you are due to the musical training and convince her to try and subjugate the now weakened clans, recalling their forces from the south - if there are any left.

    A - Yes, you will speak to her about it. She gets to expand her Empire at their expense, and we won't have to hunt their remnants across the Kingdom.

    B - No, you will not involve yourself in this.


    7. You have not moved too far from Myrgard yet. Do you want to send a report to Albrecht and your team about the situation in the South and maybe get a report back?

    A - Yes. Choose which topics you want to get the report on or what orders you want to convey to your forces.

    i) You request the update on the situation in Myrgard (the cult, Thyra, Rand, the not-Rand autopsy results, your various forces and their progress with the assigned tasks, maybe even the Weazels or other personnel).

    ii) You request the update on the situation in Blackrock (the Boys, Hesse, Welf and their champions).

    iii) You instruct Mayer to keep an eye on people who turned to our 'Fata Morgana' firm to place an order for a large quantity of Energon Cubes. (Those are used in the cloning rituals. Perhaps it might lead us to the cloning facilities or the cultist HQ.)

    iv) You instruct your Blackrock mice to spy on Hesse, Welf and their forces in the fort. They should report to Myora. You will attach one of the items Lyssa made to converse with the rodents to the letter. (We are certain there are enemy agents among them, and the fort is riddled with mice, so it is a natural course of action. Should have thought of that one earlier, but oh well.)

    v) You request a copy of the contract with the Hounds. (No, I don't need it, but this whole "you can't see a contract so you can't argue back" does not sit well with me)

    vi) freeform

    B - No, there is not much to report yet and you have no orders to give.


    8. Do you want to make the following adjustments to the character's sheet?

    A. Yes, you make changes (select as many as you want):

    i. - arm your third spell ring with Heal instead of Greater Energy Bolt and loan it to Lyssa (so that each of you had means of quick healing)

    ii. - arm your mice squad with sharp and pointy weapon and enchant them with Poison Oath to make them capable of taking down a person.

    iii. freeform

    B - No, no adjustments are necessary.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
    • Brofist Brofist x 6
    ^ Top  
  7. Fangshi Arcane

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

    Party Changes:


    Show Spoiler
    Nothing of note. You made some more progress on your skills but not enough to unlock anything.

    You also did not have to use up your own resources for the battle. Just the Seekers magic, some mortar shells and cocktails.


    Organizational Changes:

    Show Spoiler
    Some rep changes but other than that, not much.

    Increases:
    House Seinsheim +5
    House Berg +10
    The Royal Army +25
    The Royal Academy +5

    Decreases:
    The Hounds -15
    The Seekers -45
    The Spider Goddess' Realm -10
    The Dreaming -5

    And a few new factions:

    Fairy Courts:
    Cnoc Meadha (Finn's Court) +30
    The Merrows 0
    Enrico's Coin-Sìth +5


    Rolls:

    Show Spoiler
    There were a lot of rolls for this update. A few went your way but most of them tended toward average.

    The first set was for your interaction with Mazzarin and was accompanied by a second set for the girls' interaction with Emrys.

    For your part you rolled poorly for the first three rolls, then slowly got better from there and with Taide's help you managed to roll just high enough to pressure Mazzarin into doing the job. I will leave it to you to decide if this had any long term effect on how Mazzarin sees you. :lol:

    The girls rolled about what I expected them to, they talked with Emrys for a while, did not learn anything of real consequence though they did learn something about his background and family if you care to ask. They do not seem to have left much of an impression on the Boy though, at least from what you can tell.

    Following that there were a number of movement checks as you swung your forces into place and Mazzarin crept up on the cultist army. Those were all fairly standard.

    While this was playing out the forces were fighting and this was reasonably abstract. Each section of Reinhard's defenses rolled against the demonic attackers as they attempted to hold out. Seinsheim's army made a number or rolls to try and break free of the raiders. The results were what you got in the update, the demons managed to push over the walls a few times but were driven out, they also managed to get into the camp proper a couple times but it was not until they could bring something really terrible to the battle that they were able to make significant progress.

    Out of all the named characters in this section Reinhard and Seinsheim were the ones to really distinguish themselves. Reinhard proved quite capable in battle and Seinsheim did well to hold his forces together after suffering a rather serious wound.

    Once Mazzarin arrived it was simply a question of how badly the cultists would lose by. They did slightly below average and so managed to lose essentially their entire army. The real 'close calls' of that section were all on Emrys, to see if he would pass Mazzarin's 'pop quiz'. There was a significant chance he would have failed and MAzzarin would have sen him to you to serve out his punishment. :lol:

    As it is though he passed which means he will get a reward in his future. ;)

    Then we come to the rolls for your battle.

    Now the first sets of rolls had to do with communication and movement. Essentially answering the question of 'will Seinsheim trust you or not' and 'will he succeed in setting up the raiders for your 'suckerpunch''.

    He did quite well, a little above average and then you launched your attack.

    Now here you, or rather, your people rolled very well. Your mortars and the Seekers obliterated damn near everything they encountered and your grenadiers dealt with the rest. Between your people and Seinsheim's it was a slaughter as you managed to trap a group of what amounted to light infantry/skirmishers between heavy infantry and artillery.

    They lacked the protection to weather your strikes, the magic to hit back, and the cover to hide behind. Derry was even able to take a few first hand lessons from Berty, due to the lack of stress you were under.

    After that there were several rolls connected to Seinsheim and various groups meeting with him the results of which you either saw in the update or will have to guess at.

    Finally there were a handful of rolls when you reached the main camp.

    There was also the usual suite of rolls occurring in other locations, some in the Empire, some in Stoneheim and a few in the Dreaming, among other places.

    Quite a busy update really and I still could not include every little detail (for example the girls talking to Emrys).

    If you have any questions for any of the characters, as always, do not be afraid to ask. :salute:
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
    • Brofist Brofist x 3
    ^ Top  
  8. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Messages:
    8,175
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Codex 2012
    Too bad Emrys was not sent to us for a week, that would have been a boon for us I suspect. Emrys might even have enjoyed it as well, and I also think Mazzarin might have regretted it after.

    Ohwell, I hope his reward is good.

    Will vote later.
     
    ^ Top  
  9. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    11,060
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Awww. We love you too, dad. :oops:

    Sure, he can take all the glory. As long as he does what we need of him. And takes fighting archmages as well.

    :negative:

    Shameless pandering to Baltika detected. :rpgcodex:

    Damn it, I like the old bastard already. :oops:

    Reminds me of ourselves when we had CHA 2.

    1. The Hounds and their elephants: They wish to transfer over to Seinsheim's command, they are likely a little worried about the murderous looks Lyssa gives them and the elephants have been getting a little short tempered the more they are around her. How do you wish to respond?
    D - Freeform. You convince Reinhard to take control of them instead of giving them to Seinsheim. He is in command of the army, and it was the House of Albrecht who hired them, anyway.

    Edit: Switched to E) You convince Reinhard to formally take control of them instead of giving them to Seinsheim. Then, after transfer is complete, ask the Prince to assign them back to our taskforce.

    Always meant it that way, but I suppose the wording wasn't clear enough.

    2. The Seekers: The Seekers have had more than enough of your leadership and it seems they wish to transfer to Seinsheim's service. How do you wish to handle the situation.

    E - Freeform. You convince Reinhard to take control of them instead of giving them to Seinsheim. I think the prince would feel safer with them under his personal command, and if need arises, we can get 'assigned' as their commander again, should the prince so chooses.

    That way they would get a longer leash and be free of our direct involvement, but not completely out of our control, either, and no, Seinsheim does not get them for free. He wants them, he talks to us and does not go over our heads, that is how it works.

    Besides, the Prince might need their services for a freeform plan of mine.

    Hey! Not once we have used force on them, always trying to use reason instead. We play this game fairly.

    Not once have we overstepped our boundaries and demanded something that wasn't in the contract. Frankly, I myself am amazed at our patience with them.

    3. Seinsheim: Setting the tone. You meeting with Seinsheim in his tent set the tone for your working relationship with him. How did you approach it?
    C - Freeform. Heal his wound with one of the rings. Then tell him that we are a servant no one, not even the King. Everything we do we do because we want to do it, not because we follow someone's orders.

    Funny, we are not much different in that regard.

    He wants to establish a working relationship, he will have to bear this in mind.

    :troll:

    I have an idea about that. If Emrys can't be sent to us, why don't we get sent to Emrys? Will try to form a plan on Monday. For now, PoE calls. :salute:

    4. Your choice: How do you wish to answer Berg's question?
    Aiv - Freeform. You will excuse yourself from the meeting and will try to work with Reinhard instead on screening the dwarven army from cultist infiltrators with the help of Coin-Sith. You will try to gather as much information as you can before the meeting commences.

    First things first, arrange for a separate, private, meeting with Reinhard. You will talk about something related to the warfare, but the real conversation will take place through notes, because the topics are not of the kind that should be mentioned aloud. You will tell him that more of the army was compromised than we were expecting to, and that it might be prudent to try and get them checked without attracting too much attention.

    How do I propose to go about it. We will assign to Reinhard two fairy hounds - official reason being self-defence, or as a sign of the alliance between House of Albrecht and Finn's court, it does not much matter. They will just sit there and look pretty. The prince will summon the higher-ups of the army one by one under different pretexts - to give them orders or to receive reports - he is the commander, he'll think of something. One of the hounds will check for the influences of the Watcher, the other one will check for the Goddess. They will give signs to let us or Reinhard know if they find something about a particular individual.

    Simultaneously Reinhard should organize an inspection of the whole army. To gather reports from low-ranking commanders, or to check their morale, or something that does not need to be executed by a high-ranking officer. These inspections should be lead either by us (so it has an element of Aii in it), or by the people that are already known to be loyal. Maybe people from our mercenary force - or the Legion - would do? If we are asked to make those reports it would make sense for us to assign our mercenaries to the task since they are the only ones under our command.

    Each of the inspectors should be escorted by a Coin-Sith hound. As a sign of stature and great trust, or something. Just to explain their presence there.

    With 15 hounds (or more, if Finn lets the others join) we might be able to cover the entire army. At the very least we would cover the officers.

    Explain to Reinhard, though, that it is not a fool proof method, and that it only detects people affected through magical means. It won't protect you from an old-fashioned mundane treason.

    Discuss the details of the hounds' payment with Lyssa, Berty and Cropper (Lys because she understands animals, Berty because he knows fairies well, and Cropper because he is their handler). It might depend on how the resolution for the 5th choice will go. If everything else fails, try to reason with them that the sooner the Watcher is defeated, the sooner Finn could get back home and the sooner we will be out of the desert where there is not much to eat and definitely no pistachio gelato for miles around.

    Make the list of the forces screened and present it to Reinhard before the meeting. Just to let him know where everyone stands. Let him decide what to do with it.

    If he needs exposing the traitors - or a few chosen traitors, as the case might be - the Seekers may know just the right rituals. They will serve as a front for the 'investigation' and can claim all the credit for the exposure of subversive elements, too. We don't need to reveal that our doges are behind it.

    That might serve as a pretext for leaving the Seekers under his care.

    And try to get some sleep while this is over just not to become mad (that's why we arrange for several inspection teams, to get things done without overextending ourselves). We can alternate with Thais if we are afraid to miss something crucial.

    5. The doges are trying to entertain themselves at your expense. Are you going to do anything about it?
    A - Yes. Commence operation 'Trick or Treat'. :salute:
    B - No, you will just stand there and take it.

    Operation: Trick or Treat.
    Show Spoiler
    It is obvious that the dogs can understand us, but Enrico finds it amusing for some reason to pretend that they don't. Alrighty, then.

    Check with Cropper what is their most tasty treat out of the supplies we have available. An innocuous question of what kind of food they like or dislike, buried somewhere in the conversation.

    Then, discuss a plan between yourself, Thais, Lyssa, Berty and whomever you could trust not to give you away. Pass notes to each other to avoid speaking aloud, I suspect that Cropper is on it (it might amuse him greatly), and the guy has some really sharp hearing. Besides, the hounds might be listening.

    You will express the concern - within the earshot of the hounds, of course, - that the supplies of tasty treats are dwindling . They can't understand us anyway, right? So talk as if they aren't there.

    Perhaps the dwarven chef is cheating you and is stealing stuff for himself, the glutton. That might be a problem since if those run out, we might be out of negotiating chips and might actually be forced to start promising pistachio gelato to get things done. You will propose that the supplies should be controlled and guarded better, and you will discuss the measures you will take to protect it, as well as candidates for guards and guard shifts. In other words, all the information necessary for someone sneaky to break in and steal the stuff.

    Fairies steal. There is no way around it, they do. If they want it badly, they will try to take it. Even better if their mischief could be attributed to another and they can feign complete innocence of the deed. Besides, how would the dogs know about it if they 'non capisco'? Who would ever suspect them? I expect them to take the bait if we make the performance convincing enough.

    Then we spring the trap and confront them. Berty should do it, he is best when it comes to this kind of stuff, and he knows enough about fairies to make it possible. Would be funny if Enrico himself, a hound of ancient and noble lineage, gets caught red-handed trying to steal sausages from the royal kitchen. :lol:

    Then we make a proposal. We can forget we saw them and they can keep their haul (provided it isn't outrageous), but the hounds will have to drop the whole charade and work with us normally from now on.

    On one hand, there is not much use denying understanding when you are caught in the act specifically prepared to expose you as such. Who are you fooling? On the other hand, tasty treats. Yum. Either they continue the joke that has grown stale and try to cling to their 'tricks' (which is boring and no longer funny), or everyone gets what they want - they can have their 'treats' and we won't have to deal with their bullshit anymore.

    Let's try and establish ourselves as alphas here.

    More freeform goodness to come! :P
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
    ^ Top  
  10. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,264
    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    C
    Nevill's E> A>Ciii
    B
    B
     
    ^ Top  
  11. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    11,060
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    So let me get this straight.

    The boy, who is roughly 14, is accosted by two sisters about his age, a 9 and a 10 on the hotness scale. And instead of having a raging boner, he lodges his nose right back into his books?

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]

    Yeah, he's gay. A perfect match for his fabulous master.

    Goddamned nerds! :argh::argh::argh:
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
    ^ Top  
  12. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Messages:
    8,175
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Codex 2012
    Maybe he just knows that feigning lack of interest is a surefire way to keep the women interested?
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  13. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    "Mostly Harmless" planet
    Damn you Nevill! DAMN YOU! You always stole the show... eh. I'm forced to do it.
    *Mutters* Always steals fun, damn Nev...

    1)2)3)4)5) Nevill choice of votes.

    :lol:

    And about boy - Come on, he is only 14. He is also wiznerd. Probably shy. You except him to go into full romance with girls? (Soon in Dragon Age 4: We go to places)

    Or maybe Mazzarin somewhat make him more... profesional with magic. He would rather don't like anything that would take attention of his pupil.
     
    ^ Top  
  14. Jester Arbiter

    Jester
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Messages:
    1,493
    1. The Hounds and their elephants: They wish to transfer over to Seinsheim's command, they are likely a little worried about the murderous looks Lyssa gives them and the elephants have been getting a little short tempered the more they are around her. How do you wish to respond?
    C) You kill the handlers and take direct control over the elephants. You will have to do it discretely but Lyssa might have a few ideas.

    2. The Seekers: The Seekers have had more than enough of your leadership and it seems they wish to transfer to Seinsheim's service. How do you wish to handle the situation.
    A) You let them go. If they are serving under Seinsheim they are no longer your problem.


    3. Seinsheim: Setting the tone. You meeting with Seinsheim in his tent set the tone for your working relationship with him. How did you approach it?
    C) like B but more magic headache for dwarf

    4. Your choice: How do you wish to answer Berg's question?
    B) You choose to take part in the meeting and help frame the strategy going forward. Reinhard and Berg are the most important commanders in camp with the exception of Seinsheim, the more time you spend with them the better.
     
    ^ Top  
  15. archaen Arbiter Patron

    archaen
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2014
    Messages:
    621
    I am going to laugh like mad when Emrys turns out to be Faceless.
     
    ^ Top  
  16. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    11,060
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Nah. You'd think Mazzy would notice all the magical energy that goes into maintaining the disguise.

    Besides, Faceless would never choose to follow Mazzy around openly. He even left us because he was afraid how we were compromised by the mage.

    He is :troll:, but he is not Man Tiger Pig level :troll:.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
    ^ Top  
  17. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    11,060
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Well, don't keep us waiting. :)

    Who is the Boy, er, I mean, Emrys, and how did he end up with Mazzy?

    Why did the mage consider him to be worthy of apprenticeship?

    Hmmm... an abridged version, maybe? ;)

    What kind of person is he? I get the polite and dedicated part, but what else is there?

    What did the girls managed to tell him? Did he hear anything about us from his master?

    How do they train with Mazzarin? Does the mage give him lessons in magic personally (as opposed to, say, giving him books to read)? What's it like? Anything like what he did with us and our training in mental school?
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
    ^ Top  
  18. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    "Mostly Harmless" planet
    Changing my vote for 4)

    4) V. Your choice: How do you wish to answer Berg's question?

    iv. You will excuse yourself from the meeting and will try to work with Reinhard instead on screening the dwarven army from cultist infiltrators with the help of Coin-Sith. You will try to gather as much information as you can before the meeting commences.


    + Aii - meet the leaders around before 1. Just in case, like Nevill said. I like that change.

    + Some changes. So it will be (iv,5). Or just v.

    1. Derry will give orders to our command core and make sure they will be ready to do job on their own. (We have people for that, really. Can't do anything on our own. Even Mazzarin can't and this is why he need agents).
    2. After that, we will go to Dreaming. (Yep, one of my reasons are that -5 reputation but that may be only that our dear Prince is waiting ( :lol: ). See what is happening around here, give Morpheus some stories (Mazz, battle, Finn. Sea of Glass :lol: ) and see what is around. Maybe ask that he have some informations about Emrys. That boy must be interesting. Mazzarin rather want someone special in place of our Necrodruid.
    3. Wake up, maybe some sleep before that. Take reports and go to meeting. They was in siege a lot of time, they can wait a bit if we ask about it. See what more we can do. Maybe send mices to gather some reports about morale, thoughts of soldiers and what happend around without showing our interest.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
    ^ Top  
  19. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    11,060
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    So long as we do some research before the meeting and see who is with who, I am fine with the changes.

    I really think we need to know the general situation in the army before agreeing to any plans (otherwise what input can we provide, really?), and we need to know if the people supporting certain plans are compromised or not.

    If Reinhard is really devious, he could create a whole batallion out of traitors, mixing the Watcher's agents with the ones of the Goddess in equal measure and thus preventing the mass defection to either, then sending it on a suicide mission to get at least some value out of the 'spoiled' troops.

    And it goes without saying that the compromised officers should be stripped of any meaningful power to do harm. The last thing you want is to have a traitor oversee a crucial mission.

    I'd still approach it in a way Aii does. Meet the leaders personally (those are important enough to check with our own eyes), and leave the grunts and the bulk of the dwarven force for our mercenaries.

    That does not leave too much time for sleep, though.

    Our dear prince is probably worried about a prospect of us going to fairyland with Finn.

    The Demon Lord and the Fairy King have a bit of a pimping competition, it seems. :lol:

    Oh, that reminds me about another idea. Hold on, I'll write it up.

    They are willing to delay the meeting until Maz wakes up. That's the time we have.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
    ^ Top  
  20. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    "Mostly Harmless" planet
    You know Mazzarin. He is showman. He probably will wake up, make us wait couple of hours/days(?) and then walk in like great hero becouse 'Wizard-' Uh I mean 'Great Mazzarin, First of Avatara is never late. You make up meeting too soon!' :lol:

    But I'm fine with some research. I will edit the post a bit.
     
    ^ Top  
  21. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    11,060
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    6. Now that you have destroyed a large gholish force and Mazzarin have joined forces with the dwarven army, the ghols don't stand much of a chance in the conflict. You could contact Nanshe next time you are due to the musical training and convince her to try and subjugate the now weakened clans, recalling their forces from the south - if there are any left.
    A - Yes, you will speak to her about it. She gets to expand her Empire at their expense, and we won't have to hunt their remnants across the Kingdom.
    B - No, you will not involve yourself in this.

    Of course, there is a matter of dwarven slaves these clans have. I want Nanshe to secure Lilly as a result, if only as a bargaining chip for further negotiations.

    As for what's in it for her, well.
    - New territories and new subjects for the Empire.
    - If she does not recall the raiders, we will just wipe them out.
    - The ghols might want to put a bit of a distance between them and Mazzarin considering their role in the previous wars.

    How beneficial is this course of action largely depends on how dangerous you consider the growing ghol Empire to be and if you think Nanshe could keep it under her control.

    7. You have not moved too far from Myrgard yet. Do you want to send a report to Albrecht and your team about the situation in the South and maybe get a report back?
    A - Yes. Choose which topics you want to get the report on or what orders you want to convey to your forces.
    i) You request the update on the situation in Myrgard (the cult, Thyra, Rand, the not-Rand autopsy results, your various forces and their progress with the assigned tasks, maybe even the Weazels).
    ii) You request the update on the situation in Blackrock (the Boys, Hesse, Welf and their champions).
    iii) You instruct Mayer to keep an eye on people who turned to our 'Fata Morgana' firm to place an order for a large quantity of Energon Cubes. (Those are used in the cloning rituals. Perhaps it might lead us to the cloning facilities or the cultist HQ.)
    iv) You instruct your Blackrock mice to spy on Hesse, Welf and their forces in the fort. They should report to Myora. You will attach one of the items Lyssa made to converse with the rodents to the letter. (We are certain there are enemy agents among them, and the fort is riddled with mice, so it is a natural course of action. Should have thought of that one earlier, but oh well.)
    v) You request a copy of the contract with the Hounds. (No, I don't need it, but this whole "you can't see a contract so you can't argue back" when we can get it in two days tops does not sit well with me)
    vi) freeform
    B - No, there is not much to report yet and you have no orders to give.

    I think it might be useful to let Albrecht know ASAP that the Royal Guards may be untrustworthy, that we have now a semi-official alliance with the fairies, and that Mazzy has become the Governor of the Eastern Cath Bruig. The latter might be particularly interesting for Albrecht, as it lets him renew diplomatic relationships with Cath Bruig without losing face, and I suppose that he regrets his decision to alienate them by now.

    Now that the Goddess' military forces suffered a crushing defeat, I expect her to become active in other, more subtle ways. That's why I want Hesse and especially his champion and his champion's wife - who we know for a fact are prominent cultists - under surveilance.

    Plus, I am a control freak. I want to keep our hands on the pulse of all the major events in the Kingdom.

    Edit: I will modify my 1st vote.
    1D - Freeform. You convince Reinhard to formally take control of them instead of giving them to Seinsheim. Then, after transfer is complete, ask the Prince to assign them back to our taskforce.
    Because #nope. :troll:
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
    ^ Top  
  22. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    11,060
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Anyway. Now that we have a hook and a motive to do a bit of research on Thais' past (with a caravan full of exotic goods on the line), I thnk it would only be fair if we dig a bit into Derry's past as well and see if anything interesting comes up.

    Speaking of which...
    Why would you put quote marks around 'Imperial Soldiers'? Were they raiders and bandits or somesuch? I have trouble imagining regular military killing farmers because of an argument. Does it influence Derryth's opinion of the Empire?

    Are there any acquaintances of ours still around? You'd think that even as unfriendly as Derry was in the beginning of the CYOA, she would have to meet an awful lot of people during her travels with Henry.

    If anything, we know of her two passions/crushes she had in her youth, a farmboy and a blond archive worker. Were there others? Do we know what happened to them?

    Was she ever in a lasting relationship? It was mentioned that she tried to keep the contact with the farmer and cared enough to know that he enlisted and even was buried near Scales (which could only be a year or two back, so she expressed an interest in him ten years after their affair), but the way she mentioned it didn't sound like he was all that important to her.

    Any crazy ex-es out there? ;)

    What about Henry's friends? We know of Ian and Mabd in Muirthemne, but do we know if there are more of them in other parts of the world?

    How long did she know Henry, by the way?
     
    ^ Top  
  23. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    Who was he?

    A peasant.

    A hunter's son.

    But more importantly, he was someone with an unquenchable desire to learn, and not enough sense to realize that some information is dangerous when living in a rural backwater where people still cast out or burn 'witches'.

    He impressed Mazzarin, to hear the girls tell it, managed to kill a few novice necromancers and their undead servants. It involved explosions and Mazzarin does love explosions.

    Mazzarin took the Boy as soon as he had assessed him, probably for the best as his people were not likely to accept a 'vile witch' in their village after that.

    When they spoke to him he asked more questions than they did, about your activities, about what they had seen of you, about magic in general and your magic in particular, about anything and everything he could think of really, the common theme being DT&L and the Circle of the Lost. He was very polite and more than willing to answer their questions as long as they did not directly ask about Mazzarin.

    Emrys' final questions were about Biliku and Uttu and their experience with magic, when they told him they had none he became a bit more withdrawn (if you had to guess, he probably assumed they were your apprentices) and he excused himself shortly thereafter so that he could go catalog scorpions.

    The girls report that he is nice but very, very weird.

    They answered his questions but they left out things you had told them not to share.

    They told him that they had fought you, that you beat them, spared them, and then saved their lives and the lives of their people. They did not tell him that this all occurred while under Muirthemne, they also did not tell him that they were Spider Cultists as D&T have been quite insistent that they never tell strangers about any of that.

    They told him that you were brilliant and beautiful mages of incredible power and they recounted some of the spells they have seen you cast, not in technical terms of course, but with a lot of sound effects and excitement, he seemed to enjoy it and took a lot of notes.

    They told him that you were the leader of a whole Circle and that seemed to impress him. They did not tell him about the tower.

    They did not tell him about Nine.

    They did regale him with the tales of how you broke two undead armies, at the border fort and at Blackrock.

    He was told to stay away from your group. Mazzarin told him that talking to you would just be a distraction from his studies and that you, and yours, would bring nothing but misery to him.

    Trade secrets, the girls don't know because Emrys would not tell them.

    Added.

    Added.

    Added.

    Added.

    Derryth is not sure if they were actual soldiers or not. Soldiers are certainly capable of doing some horrible things given that this is medieval setting and there are no real rules to prevent the bad ones from doing whatever they want. They have power with little real oversight so it often comes down to the caliber of the specific man you are dealing with, some men can handle power and do good, some men abuse it mercilessly and most just go with the flow.

    It certainly could have been raiders or deserters or any number of other things but since Derryth was so young she has no way to know who or what they were. If you want to examine her memories of the incident in the Dreaming then you and the ladies might be able to pick up on any details young Derryth saw but did not fully understand at the time.

    See does remember that one of the 'soldiers' had a big, red scar on his left hand, but that is about it really.

    It did influence her opinion of the Empire and the army for a long time and for the worse. When she was a criminal on the streets her attitude did not improve at all either. However she had opportunities to meet a great many people while traveling with Henry and it quickly became clear to her that you can not really judge an entire group by one of its members. That is part of the reason why she is willing to entertain the idea that there can be 'good' necromancers (Lyssa) and 'good' ghôls (Nanshe), she tends to go on a case by case basis most of the time though she could have become a lot less tolerant if other choices were taken.

    Derry met the farmboy in her late teens while researching in a country archive (essentially a few hundred tax records and birth certificates in a room over the local town hall/brewery.

    She spent a couple of very enjoyable nights with him and tried to keep in touch but it was difficult and they slowly drifted apart. He wanted her to settle down and marry and that was not going to happen for obvious reasons (desire for power, dread of dying without 'accomplishing anything', etc). Then the war came and he enlisted as brave young men tend to, and that was that, more grist for the mill of war.

    He was important enough to her for her to check on him but it was just a fling, a passing fancy of youth, she was not holding a torch out for him or anything. She liked him a lot but did not love him, the same could be said for most of those she has been intimate with.

    The encounter with the librarian was in White Falls, seven years ago. She was still working at that archive the last that Derry heard.

    She had a better chance of surviving the war than most of Derry's friends in the Province since the Free Cities were hit last but Derry does not know if she survived or not.

    Derry does know that the archive where she worked was destroyed.

    There were five others that have not been mentioned:

    1. A streetrat/thief, a stringy young man, bit of a rake, gambler, drinker, that sort. She fell in with him for about three months, he was not a kind sort but he was kind to her, died hanging from the end of a noose.

    2. A blacksmith's apprentice, big, strong, dumb, but very sweet. She met him when she was traveling with Henry through the villages of the west coast. Spent a week with him, it was wonderful but it was clear that he could never be an adventurer and she would never settle for being a peasant's wife. They parted amicably and as far as she knows he is still alive and living in that village. He married the miller's daughter and they have four kids. Not bad considering he is barely thirty.

    3. The assistant professor, this one started off with Derryth trying to gain access to the rare books archive in Scales (sadly it was burnt to the ground with much of the city during Soulblighter's War). Derry tried talking her way in, that did not work (obviously), then she tried to bribe her way in (again, did not work), finally, she tried to befriend the librarian, this old, miserable bastard and that did not work either.

    Frustrated she was going to try and break in but one of the assistant professors had been watching her attempts and waved her over. The professor was young, maybe five years older than Derry, long red hair, deep blue eyes, she told Derry that she could get her into the rare book archive but that there was a price. Derry would have to have dinner with her.

    One thing led to another and the two of them became an item for about three weeks.

    It ended badly. The professor wanted Derry to stop working for Henry, she wanted Derry to give up magic, she said no good would ever come of it and that the two of them could be happy together living in Scales off the professor's salary (she was due for a raise and a full position that summer). Derryth resisted, the professor put her foot down, "Either you love me or you love magic! You can't have both!"

    Derry thought it would be a difficult choice, but at the end of it all it wasn't. When given the choice of pursuing magic, raiding dungeons, risking life, limb and sanity for adventure and true power OR settling down to a happy and quiet home life with a person she honestly loved, it was not even close.

    She made the choice she had to and answered magic. The professor threw her out into the street that very evening.

    She found Henry in a bar down the street and the two of them wandered out of town the next morning.

    Derry had always meant to contact the professor again, see what she was doing, maybe have a drink and a laugh about old times.

    It wasn't to be, the professor was in Scales when Shiver razed the city, as far as Derry can tell she was one of hundreds that took refugee in the academy there. It fell and all inside were burnt alive. It was a bit of a surreal moment for Derry, if she had chosen happiness, had chosen to stay she probably would have died that night, same as everyone else.

    4. The barkeep, she has known a great many bartenders and they are about her favourite sort of person since they would never hassle her as long as she had coin. Well, there was this one barkeep in Tyr, tall, thin, with this ridiculous black mustache in the fir'Bolg style, he was in his early forties, every time Derry would come in he would spare her a smile. Over the years they became quite good friends and he would often send her and Henry a free bottle.

    Henry was out on a job when she wandered into his tavern one evening. It was a slow, cool autumn evening, hardly anyone else in the bar. He broke out 'something to keep the cold out', dwarven spirits, and the two of them polished off the whole bottle while making small talk. She told him about some of her adventures and he related a few of the funnier episodes he had witnessed in his time as a barkeep.

    They open a second bottle, then a third, and things just sort of went from there. She woke up in his bed, a bit surprised but hardly complaining (except for the second worst hangover she had ever had in her life).

    She took to seeing him for a while after that but when Henry was done they moved on. She promised to look him up the next time she was in Tyr, that was two years ago.

    As far as she knows, he did not survive the war.

    5. The priestess, this one almost does not count but she was traveling with Henry maybe six years ago and they came across a small village in the southwest of the Province. The villagers were in the middle of some sort of fertility festival to bless the coming spring and all that.

    Seems they worshiped some sort of sex god, one that would sow the crops for them if they paid him due tribute.

    There were all these young men and women dancing around in the dew, bare chested with garlands hung round their necks and the like. Henry suggested that Derry join them but all Derry wanted was a warm bed and a good drink.

    She got the drink, sure enough, and then a few more.

    Later she got the bed, the bed of one of the priestesses to be exact, hazel eyes, hazel hair, full figured too. Derry could not really complain and Henry was kind enough to stay the week, likely because three of the farmer's daughters had taken a real liking to him, but nevermind that, so Derry returned to the priestess every night. She was always lively, full of energy, but she struck Derryth as a bit 'air headed', she did not seem to worry about very much.

    At the end of the week, the festival ended, the villagers returned to normal, as if awaking from a dream, and the priestess disappeared.

    The last time Derry saw her she asked for the priestess' name.

    The priestess said that her name was Robin, "least for the moment," then she winked and disappeared out the door into the morning.

    Derry rushed to the door and looked outside but could not spot Robin anywhere, she disappeared into thin air.

    :lol: If only...

    Derry's outlook and attitude do a fairly good job of avoiding the crazies or the high maintenance types for the most part. She is not really the sort of person that goes in for social drama and all that, at least not most of the time.

    There might be some, Henry knew quite a few people, but the war scattered the population of the Province and it has only been a year and a half. Derry is not sure about everyone who may have lived or died.

    If you want I can give you a list of contacts that Henry and Derry had before the war, but don't be surprised if 4/5ths turn out to be dead.

    Derry's parents were killed when she was quite young, nine or ten roughly, she fled to the cities and made her living on the streets all Oliver Twist style. She first met Henry shortly after coming to Madrigal, she tried to pick his pocket and he caught her. He used her for a few jobs, tailing people, a few break and enters, that sort of thing, as she grew up he became something of a father figure to her and eventually he offered to take her on as an apprentice. Naturally she jumped at the opportunity and never looked back.

    So she has known him for most of her life (about eighteen to twenty years or so), he really was the most important person in her entire life and his death was devastating for her but at least she found new friends and things have gone fairly well for her so far.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
    • Brofist Brofist x 3
    ^ Top  
  24. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    11,060
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Did Henry have any connections in the Magical Institute of Madrigal?
     
    ^ Top  

As an Amazon Associate, rpgcodex.net earns from qualifying purchases.