What is the key to empire?– The day has come. Years of toil in the Imperial Trade School on Taroanoke all for this one moment. You spotted the red navy sails in harbor this morning, heart already racing from the steep steps of your ascent up the school belltower. Five sets of sails. A cruiser escorted by four other ships including a torchship, the results of the civil service exam under heavy guard – the lifeblood of the imperial bureaucracy.What could your result be, you think as you stare back into your own brown eyes in the mirror of your dorm. You splash water on your faces and slap yourself on both cheeks. You’re still a bit flushed from your morning exercise. You think back to the events leading up to this day.You were nearly thirteen winters old the first day you ever saw the red sails of the Masquerade arrive in the bay. Empire, treaty, masks, were foreign words to you then. You knew the forge of your father and the bow and spear of your mother. You knew your tribe by the bay and the tribe on the inland plains. New words were the least and the greatest of what the Falcresti traders brought to Taroanoke. First you lost your mother to the pox. You saw less and less of your father after that, as he experimented with the new forms and materials brought by the red sails, working even more as he mourned the loss of his beloved. You did not take over your mother’s role however, after one day a delegate of the Masquerade came upon your home.School – a new word. You only knew the circle gatherings of the village elders as they taught the oral history of your people. Times of peace and conflict with the plainspeople. The time before people. Just stories now, after learning the natural and physical history of this world in the Trade School. Your father agreed of course. He knew that the delegates were choosing few children. You were among the oldest, the rest much younger, most no older than ten winters.A knock at your door.“Come,” you say in Falcresti. Your knuckles still bear the scars of the cane for speaking in Taroanoki in the school. You were stubborn, refusing to learn at first. You wanted to go back to the forge, to be with your father.“The headmaster requests your presence in his office at your leisure, senior.”
A junior student was sent to fetch you. His Falcresti is stuttered and accented. You look at the young student in the mirror and inspect his features. Must be 10 winters only. But he is pale. A child of the plains? Your mind wanders, trying to remember the state of the island since you last left the school. Distracted by memory, your hand slips and the razor in your hand slices into your chin. You haven’t shaved since the exam. But yes, you know this boy. And he should know you.“Tsk. Senior what? You forgot my name?” Your hand reaches for your cane but then goes back to your face as blood spills into the sink.“No, Senior… Karn.”The junior bolts and you are left alone.>Pursue the junior – what was his name?>Go to infirmary. You should attend to your cut.>Go straight to the headmaster office. You’re done shaving anyway.
>>3962450>Go to infirmary. You should attend to your cut.
>>3962450>Go to infirmary. You should attend to your cutIf it is at our laisure we can take care of this first
>>3962450>>Go to infirmary. You should attend to your cut.
The junior isn’t worth the effort, guilty pleasure or not in inflicting suffering upon junior students of the school. Besides, you may never see him again after tomorrow. You keep your fingers pressed to your wound, run the sink at full to wash down the blood, then proceed to leave your quarters. What a stupid mistake, letting yourself get distracted by memory on such a day as this. You grab your cane for good measure, to keep your status as school senior in plain sight. Unlike the other seniors, you forged your own cane in the school workshop unlike the rest who made theirs from the same wood that goes into the new navy ships in the docks.The sun shines through the open corridor as you make your way to the infirmary. Palm branches sway as the wind washes in from the bay. A pair of students spar with blunt sabres in the courtyard as an instructor watches on. Another student paints the scene from a nearby bench. Yearlings, most likely by the combat forms employed. The painter nods to you in deference. The instructor raises an eyebrow at the blood streaming down your chin, staining your white morning tunic. Instructor Philip, a Falcresti native, former marine, and now master of arms at the school. Thanks to your upbringing, you hardly ever met the end of his cane.You tap at the door of the infirmary with your cane. The door opens. The attending nurse quickly ushers you inside at the sight of blood on your shirt. Do you know her?“Cut yourself again Karn?” This isn’t the first time your mind has wandered while shaving. You hardly ever leave the school and memories of the island outside beyond its relevance to the Masquerade escape you. Your days are filled with books, lecture, and exercise.“Since when did the school have plainsmen students?”“Only this summer, Karn. Anyhow, you are expecting your result today, yes? You have been summoned by the headmaster?”“Yes.”“Congratulations. You are the first graduating batch of this school. I remember when I received my assignment. How exciting for me to be posted at a new province of the empire.”This nurse is being awfully familiar with you. Do you know her?>Yes>No>Intimately“Now where do you expect to be assigned?”>I move as the Emperor guides me.>I wish to stay here at home. Continue the work started.>I wish to see the capital. Center of culture and civilization in the known world.>Lorien would be exciting. It is cold there, away from the wretched tropical island.
>>3962535>Yes>I wish to see the capital. Center of culture and civilization in the known world.
>>3962535>>Yes>Lorien would be exciting. It is cold there, away from the wretched tropical island.
Rolled 2 (1d2)>>3962547 1>>3962551 2
>>3962535>intimatelyHot nurse action>Lorien would be exciting. It is cold there, away from the wretched tropical island.
Yes, you do know her. You jab your fingers under the edge of her red and white cloth nurse’s mask. Yes, you know this one. She gasps at your impropriety as your peek under her mask but says nothing. The two of you are familiar enough and there is no one else in the infirmary. Otherwise she would have slapped you for your breach of conduct in the removal of a professional mask.This one inspected you as a plebe entering the school. An expert on diagnostics and pathology. You’ve had long talks with her about disease strains that inevitably strike native populations assimilated by the Masquerade. With her in the school’s infirmary, you hardly saw the school doctor himself. By all merits, she should not be a nurse. Marian is her name. Miran and Falcresti hybrid. An interesting breed, the Mirans being the rival empire upon the sea against the Masquerade. She attends to your cut. You hardly make a noise as she dabs your face with antiseptic and applies gauze. You’re good to go. You thank her and leave the infirmary.Your cane taps on the tiles of the hallway as you think to yourself as to where you’ll be posted by the results of your civil service exam. Lorien, you think would be nice. Disease does not thrive in the far north of Lorien, unlike in the wretched heat and humidity of Toaranoke. The politics of Lorien most interested you in your cultural studies. The imperial bureaucrats, despite the ingrained hate of hereditary power, have left the feudal structures of the duchies of Lorien intact. The practice of knighthood and chivalry still continue to prosper in Lorien, providing auxiliary cavalry for the imperial legions.And most of all, you hate the heat.The headmaster said to visit him at your leisure. Perhaps you could delay and choose to share lunch with him. He does serve the finest of tea. What shall you do in the meantime?>Spar with sabres>Visit the library (And read about what?)>Do not delay. Head straight to the headmaster’s office>Write-in
>>3962643>>Do not delay. Head straight to the headmaster’s officeas much as a spar would be nice, we could potentially bother the good nurse with another injury
>>3962643>Spar with sabres
I'm trying to slowly introduce the setting, but is there anything confusing so far? Clarifications?
>>3962707as I undestand we use masks, and are some sort of educated specialists that the empire employs around is that correct?just what did we learn to do here besides physics andall thatand I can go with spar to untie too
>>3962714The masks are a badge of profession, an essential part of any uniform. I'll get into why they're used later.Think of the trade school as a liberal arts school, where you're taught the breadth of knowledge of society. You've been taught management, martial arts, medicine, history, natural sciences. etc.Writing.
Perhaps some more exercise will spice up your day. You head to the courtyard near the dormitories, junior students making way for you and bowing in deference to you as their senior. The yearlings have moved onto to a more advanced combat form, Instructor Philip still looking on. The painter continues her piece of the scene, her eyes scrunched in concentration as she works.As you approach, the yearlings cease their sparring.“Senior Karn, pleased to see you today.”“Did I tell you to stop?” Instructor Philip raps the knuckles of both yearlings with his cane. Formerly an enlisted marine, he has little regard for the proprieties of landbound Falcresti culture.“I wish to spar as well,” you tell the Instructor.“Oh? Be my guest, Karn. Who do you wish to spar?”>One of the yearlings>Both yearlings at once>Instructor Philip
>>3962752>Instructor PhilipMay be our last opportunity before we sail so...
Sorry, fell asleep. I live in a weird timezone. Writing.
Rolled 95, 29, 72, 27, 84 = 307 (5d100)You beckon to one of the yearlings and he hands you his practice sabre. The grip is snug for you hand given your size and a bit wet from the sweat of the younger student. You spin a few times in your hand. You bring the blade up to your face and salute the instructor.“I’m leaving soon, Instructor. This may be my last chance to learn something from you.”“Very well, Karn. En garde.” The other yearling hands Instructor Philip his practice sabre and holds his cane for him.The instructor raises his blade over his head, point directed at you in the form of the Naval System. His other hand is outstretched, palm open, ready to push away an opponent. You ready your blade in your left hand in a forward position, the form of a fencer. The two of you circle each other while the yearlings look on.“Your mother was a whore.”Eh?[Combat mechanics: Each round of combat lasts 5 back-to-back exchanges of contested rolls of 1d100, with the higher roll winning. You may choose a combination of the following three actions in any order: Strike, Parry, Feint. Strike gains +10 against Feint, Parry gains the same against Strike, and Feint with Parry. Your opponent’s actions will be randomly rolled. Whoever wins the majority of the exchanges will win the round. Will be implementing health at a later point since this is just sparring.][For example, you choose Strike, Parry, Strike, Feint, Strike and roll 44, 26, 71, 48, and 5. Your opponent Parries, Strikes, Feints, Parries, and Strikes and rolls 2, 44, 83, 88, and 52.][44-12, 26-44, 71-83, 48-98, 5-52. Instructor Philip wins 4 out of 5 exchanges for the round.]Choose a stance>Aggressive, +10 to Strikes>Defensive, +10 to Parries>Cunning, +10 to FeintsChoose your actions x5 (in order)>Strike>Parry>FeintRoll 5d100
>>3963698>CunningStrike, feint and parry.
>>39637335 actions, not 3, anon.
>>3963733Feint and strike.
Rolled 79, 94, 15, 81, 2 = 271 (5d100)>>3963698F S S P SAgressive
Rolled 85, 72, 27, 89, 48 = 321 (5d100)>>3964032same for me
Rolled 67, 12, 18, 20, 100 = 217 (5d100)>>3963698>Aggressive>S S P F SI'd like to think our character is mildly pissed off and confused, enough to be overly aggressive but not enough to forget his form.
>>3963698>>Defensive, +10 to ParriesFPSPP
Rolled 3 (1d3)Apologies for the massive delay, was out all day and night. Will just cook dinner then write.>Aggressive>Feint, Strike, Parry, Parry, Strike>Karn: 85, 104, 27, 89, CRIT>Philip: 95, 29, 72, 27, 84Second and fourth exchanges go to Karn due to the large difference in numbers.Last exchange also goes to Karn due to the critical success.Third exchange goes to Philip due to large difference.Rolling for Philip's opener to determine whether this is a 3-2 or a 4-1. Gain +10 Advantage to all actions in the next round if this round is won as a 4-1. Player wins if the first rolls become 95-95.
>>39655803-2, round goes to Karn.
>>3965580We'll forgive you OP ... if you describe how delicious your dinner was.
>>3965614I first sauted garlic, then browned pork belly in the resulting mixture of oil and garlic. Then for thirty minutes, the pork belly stewed in a onions sauce, water, and peppercorn mixture. To this I added vinegar, then carrots. Took an hour total to cook. Sadly, the pork belly wasn't tender since I didn't defrost it properly before dinner time and the carrots didn't cook long enough to get soft. But all in all it was pretty good tasting with steamed rice. My partner enjoyed it.
Rolled 55, 35, 95, 62, 60 = 307 (5d100)The arrival of the instructor and the founding of the school on the island occurred after the plague struck. Or it least they should have, according to Masquerade colonization doctrine. The founding of the school, you are sure of. Initial contact and trade occurred at first, bringing rats and disease with them on their ships. It wasn’t intentional but inevitable with how first contact worked. But the arrival of the instructor… that you were not sure of. Your mother left you and your father in the home often, such was the work of a huntress…No, the instructor was trying to distract you, throw you off. You won’t let him. You lunge as he does, pushing your blade forward into the first half of a downward slash. He doesn’t block immediately, allowing him to parry your strike as you twist your wrist into a sideward slash. He slashes you across the tummy in a riposte.Then you both lunge again. You sidestep his strike and slash across his training jacket. Dumbass – you’re not wearing one yourself.You back off, opening your arms to invite him to strike you. He does, and you’re too slow to prevent him from rapping you in the shoulder. You clench your teeth as the thin training blade whips onto your back.He goes for another strike but this time you block it and make a riposte to hit him back in the shoulder. He jumps back but you pursue him and lunge with a twist of your wrist to slash him again across the stomach.The two of you circle each other again, breathing quickly and shallowly from the fast exchange of blows. He goes back into the stance of the Naval System. You copy him this time."All Taroanoki women are whores. Dirty women for a dirty island."You've never seen this side of the instructor before.>Stance unlocked!>Naval System: place your off-hand forward, parrying strikes with a gauntlet, buckler, or off-hand weapon, but places your main-hand weapon a bit further from your opponent.> +20 to Parries, -10 to StrikesChoose a Stance>Aggressive>Defensive>Cunning>NavalChoose your actions (x5)>Strike>Parry>FeintPlayers each roll 5d100, the best roll in each getting chosenRolling for Instructor Philip.
Rolled 90, 83, 78, 97, 40 = 388 (5d100)>>3965747navalPSPPF
Rolled 24, 55, 57, 70, 42 = 248 (5d100)>>3965806+1
>>3965747Quip"Oh, the strong women of Taroanoki where too much for you and they broke your heart? That is quite bitter of you instructor., I'm sure they didn't intend to offend your masculinity"We can play this game too.
Two can play at this game. The instructor is trying to rile you up, throw off your game – so you attempt to do the same to him.“Was your heart broken, instructor? Were the strong women of Taroanoke island too much for you? Quite bitter of you. And how improper of you to show it. Was your great Falcresti masculinity wounded such for you to break composure?”The yearlings standing there watching turn bug-eyed. They’d never imagine speaking like that to a senior student, even more so an instructor of the trade school. How brash of you.Instructor Philip grits his teeth and lunges at you, breaking his Naval System form. He slashes and chops at you repeatedly, not letting up his attacks.>Instructor Philip breaks into a rage and only makes Strikes!>90(+20)(+10) vs 55: WIN>83(-10) vs 35: WIN>78(+20)(+10) vs 95: WIN>97(+20)(+10) vs 62: WIN>42 vs 60(+10): LOSS>4-1: KARNHe strikes at you and you parry, then make a quick riposte. You both strike simultaneously, blades clashing, but you turn aside his and land a blow. He slashes again. In the nick of time, you parry his heavy strike and riposte again. He doesn’t let up, but you parry and riposte for the third time. You try to feint him out but he ignores it and slaps your arm with his training blade.You grab him by the collar of his fencing jacket and snarl.“Was it multiple women, eh? How unhygienic. Shall I report you to the hygienists?”You push him backwards and he falls on his ass. You hand your training sabre back to the yearlings and leave the instructor sputtering on the ground. You’re done here.>Go to the library and do some reading (Any particular topics?)>Head to the headmaster’s office now>Seek out fellow students and socialize (Juniors? Fellow seniors?)>Stop being a hermit, leave the school and head to town>Write-in
>>3966079>Head to the headmaster’s office nowLet's head there before news of our little clash with the rude instructor reaches the headmaster.
>>3966079>Go to the library and do some readingHistory.
>>3966154I wasn this lore dumand then we continue with >>3966085
>>3966079>>Write-inHelp the instructor up and shake his hand.then>Head to the headmaster’s office now
>>3966079>>3966368Backing. Lmao just a spar bro no hard feelings.
Before you leave, you turn back to the sputtering instructor. Grabbing him by the hand, you pull him to his feet. You pat his face lightly, playfully. His face regains its usual steely composure.“Good spar, instructor. No hard feelings, eh? I will forever be grateful to those who taught me in this school. I’m sure I’ll be able to use your teachings wherever it is I am assigned. Thank you.”“You were admitted into the school at an older age then preferable, Karn, but you’ve always come out at the top of your class, including in the martial arts. Good luck.”You shake his hand firmly then go on your way. You briefly consider heading the library for some leisurely, mental activity, but the school having the sole purpose of preparing students for the civil service exam over the course of 12 years, you’ve already read the entire contents of the school’s library several times over.Books are a precious commodity in the school, and on Taroanoke in general. They don’t fare well with the climate, so little cargo space is given to them in trade ships bound for the island. Neither does Taroanoke produce paper or vellum on its on for bookbinding. Although, the island is plentiful in wood, mainly used now in the building of new ships in the burgeoning harbor town. You’ve heard Headmaster Snow complain that the foundation of the school was an afterthought by the colonization bureau, the main ventures of the Masquerade on Taroanoke being a shipyard and naval base. Not much yet is expected of Taroanoki gene stock in the production of imperial bureaucrats.That being said, you have one main goal to accomplish today. You’re shaking with excitement. Today has been 12 years in the making. You tap your cane on the floor tiles as you make your way to the headmaster’s office in the south wing of the school. Another senior with wooden cane in hand is about to knock on the door as you arrive. It’s your younger cousin, Pelas.“Have you been summoned as well, Karn? I wonder what it could be.”“The exam results shipped in this morning. I saw it from the belltower.”Pelas’s mouth turns into an “o” and she goes as pale as her dark islander skin allows her to. She withdraws her first from the above the door’s surface and just stands there.“Do you want to go ahead? I do not think I am ready to face my results.”All students were chosen by aptitude and preferable gene stock. Your cousin was daughter of the village’s storyteller and healer but was one of the more challenged students in the school.“Alright, I’ll go ahead.”You want this over with. You cannot wait to leave the island. You knock on the door.“Enter. Oh, Karn. Yes, our brightest student. I’m sure you know why you are here.”“Yes, headmaster. I spotted the ships on the horizon this morning.”
It’s been a while since you entered this office. Morning light shines in through a window from behind the headmaster, illuminating his pristine desk and the vase of pink roses on a separate table. Pink roses, huh. You never took the headmaster to be a royalist, being in the position he is to train and educate future imperial bureaucrats.Headmaster Snow retrieves a scroll from a shelf. Your results? No. The results are sealed with wax and to be opened first by the student. Your records then. He opens the scroll and scans over it.“You are our oldest but best student. Where do you expect to be assigned based on your competencies?”>I’m entirely unsure. I excel equally in all fields.>A diplomatic or parliamentary assignment. A position in the chancellery of a provincial Viceroy, perhaps. [+ Diplomacy, -Intrigue]>A military posting. Marines or civil guard. [+ Martial, -Learning]>An economic position. A planner in a provincial economic development board. [+ Stewardship, - Martial]>A judicial position. Investigator or maybe even junior prosecutor. [+ Intrigue, -Stewardship]>A research position. Something medical or scientific. [+ Learning, - Diplomacy]“And I heard you want to be deployed to cold Lorien, correct?”“Yes, that’s correct, headmaster.”
>>3967187>A judicial position. Investigator or maybe even junior prosecutor. [+ Intrigue, -Stewardship]
>>3967187>A military posting. Marines or civil guard. [+ Martial, -Learning]But>investigatorSounds cool too .
With your upbringing as the son of a blacksmith and a huntress, physicality comes to you easily. You excel in the martial arts. At the same time, you show an aptitude for strategy and other military matters, eating up lectures on past military campaigns and conflicts. Instructors often invite you to their quarters for board games – those focused around war and logistics are your favorite. You easily mastered regicide and moved on to more complicated games for generals. Other students looked to you for guidance and leadership. The only thing that the school lacks is a large enough population of students for military drills and live war games, but you knew those well enough in theory from lessons with Instructor Philip.On the flip side, the intricacies of politics and court intrigue pose you difficulty. You are still at the top of your class in such a matter, but the other students don’t know that you burn the midnight oil in the study of personal relations and propriety. You will never make the greatest of spies in the Imperial Bureau of Intelligence.You easily expect an assignment to the marines, civil guard, or perhaps even a posting under the Imperial Strategos.“There is a peculiarity to your exam results and assignment, Karn. They do not carry the usual wax seals. I am told that along with your results, a trunk arrived for you on the ships.”You raise an eyebrow as he opens a drawer in his desk and withdraws a thick roll of paper with three wax seals. Headmaster Snow hands it to you. You recognize all three seals: the Civil Service Commission, Parliament, and the Throne. How unusual. You were only expecting the first. You break open the seals and unfurl several pieces of paper.
>AN ACT OF PARLIAMENT CONFIRMING THE APPOINTMENT OF A CIVIL OFFICERLegalese, legalese, the usual invocation of the Almighty God and the will of the Falcresti people in the guidance and administration of the empire. Definition of terms of the bureaucracy and civil office. Justification for the appointment given the vacancy of an office. Justification for the appointment based on civil exam results. Dissenting opinions given the lack of experience and education of the appointee.>THEREFORE, by the power invested in this Parliament by the people of Falcrest and the Masked Emperor on the Shrouded Throne, WE CONFIRM THE APPOINTMENT OF KARN CORMORANT TO THE OFFICE OF PREFECT OF THE IMPERIAL CULT IN THE FEDERAL PROVINCE OF LORIEN.Prefect of the Imperial Cult? You were educated in a trade school, not a seminary in Treatymont. This is highly unusual, and you cannot think of any precedent in your studies.“What is it, Karn. Spit it out. And close your jaw, it’s improper.”“Imperial Prefect of Lorien.”“You must be joking. One of your youth, inexperience, upbringing, education, genetic stock… Must I go on? There is no way that it is proper for you to be appointed to a sub-viceroy position of an entire province. You’re not even a cleric.”“The seals are correct. The papers are in proper order. But how? Do we dare entertain that Parliament, the Throne, and the Commission are in conspiracy for some kind of sick joke?”“I will speak with the representatives that came with the shipment. You are dismissed.”You leave the office, taking the appointment papers with you. Your cousin greets you outside the door but you shake your head at her and go past her. The walk back to your quarters is long.How do you feel about this result?>I am ecstatic. My plans of reaching the true power behind the Throne are closer than ever expected.>I am saddened. I will not be able to serve the Throne and the people in my expected full capacity.>I am angry. I do not even believe in the foolish religion the Falcresti have imposed upon my people.
>>3967548Forgot to add that you can write-in your reaction. This a major turning point and how you react to this will shape the direction of the story.
>>3967548>I am ecstatic. But also confused.
>>3967548>I am confused. I do not even believe in the foolish religion the Falcresti have imposed upon my people.
>>3967577>>3967548yup, sounds about right
You sit on your bunk, head spinning. Provincial Prefect of the Imperial Cult? Why you? The headmaster was right. Your youth, your inexperience. Your education is not even that of a cleric. The Imperial Cult is not an oft touched subject in the trade school. Though ostensibly part of the imperial bureaucracy, positions are only handed out to graduates from specialized schools, seminaries, and hardly ever to naturalized citizens of the Masquerade – that is, non-native Falcresti.You do not even believe in the teachings of the Cult. You dare not speak this out loud, for fear of censure.You cross your legs to sit in lotus position, fold your hands into your lap and shunt yourself into a memory trance to recall all you’ve learned about the Imperial Cult. You slowly shut yourself out from your environment and enter the trance.The Imperial Cult, once known as the Cult of the Everyman, is one of the few holdovers from the former Kingdom of Falcrest. It teaches of a monodiety, simply referred to as the Almighty. that created the world but left it unfinished before leaving it to the hands of men. It is the labor of every man to understand how the world works through reason and logic, and to finish the Great Work through the application of science. To take advantage and manipulate the unfinished threads of the world is witchcraft and an affront to the Cult. The Cult also had strict teachings of hygiene and propriety, of interactions between people, especially those between men and women.The Cult of the Everyman was the official religion since the formation of the Kingdom and ascension of the first king to the Rose Throne. But it was also one of the prime backers when the Revolution came. It turned against the monarch and nobility when it was discovered they were delving into witchcraft and sorcery. Clerics martyred themselves in the storming of the royal residences. It was the Cardinals of the Cult who demanded the purge of the royal family and eventually the entire nobility. The streets of Treatymont flowed with blood then.Today, each federal province of the empire was administered to by a Prefect of the Cult. The Prefect answered to both the Viceroy of the province and to the Cardinals back in Treatymont. The duties of a Prefect are twofold: to spread and enforce the doctrines of the Cult. Regular clerics assist him in the first, often being the first agents of the Throne to make contact with natives. The second duty is carried out by agents not so oft spoken of. The inquisitors. Not even your education covered them. All you know is that while most masks of officers of the Throne are plain and simple, the masks of inquisitors are grotesque. You saw one in a book. There aren’t any yet on Taroanoke. As far as you know. You haven’t left the school in a while.
There’s a knock on your door. You barely hear it in your trance, but you snap back to your senses as the knocks repeat.“Senior Karn, a delivery for you.”Two juniors are behind the door when you open it. A very heavy looking trunk is set on the ground between them. They bring in the trunk and leave you in your quarters. The sun is beginning to sink low, indicated that you had spent more time in your trance than you intended. Perhaps by now, the headmaster has spoken with the representatives of the Civil Service Commission. You wonder if he’ll send for you again.>Open the trunk and inspect its contents>Go back to the headmaster’s office>Seek guidance from the school’s cleric>Check with your fellow seniors if they’ve received their results>Go to town and seek out the representatives yourself
>>3967681>>Open the trunk and inspect its contentsshit, I think we got fucked, this cult sounds like major bad news
>>3967681>Open the trunk and inspect its contentsThe thing is right here, might as well open it.
>>3967681>Seek guidance from the school’s cleric
Is this the trunk that the headmaster had mentioned? You wonder its connection to the unusualness of your appointment as Prefect. This too, is sealed with wax. The seal this time is unfamiliar. A watch clasped in a hand. You guess that this is the seal of the Imperial Cult. Would it be prudent to open it now? Perhaps there truly is some kind of huge bureaucratic mix-up and you aren’t really being appointed as Prefect of Lorien.But your curiosity gets the better of you. It’s here in front of you now, and you might as well. You break the seal on the trunk and lift the heavy lid. The first thing that stares back at you is the mask of an Imperial Cult inquisitor.You shut the lid. And open it again. Then shut it. Do your eyes deceive you? Did your trance go wrong and start projecting on the real world? No, it couldn’t have.The mask is just as it is drawn in the book you read on the Imperial Cult. It is heavy in your hand. The form is more of a helmet than a mask, really. Unlike the smooth faced masks of marines, this mask is shaped into the scowling face of a man, with the symbol of the Imperial Cult etched into the forehead.Underneath the mask in the trunk is a heavy black jacket. It is lined with fur, has a standing collar in the style of the clergy, and has gold trimmings. Several other jackets in similar styles are beneath the first one. A pair of high leather boots. Another mask – this time only covering half of your face. More formal, you surmise, for use in the court of the provincial Viceroy. A large, golden pocket watch – your symbol of office. It seems the Cult has sent you your uniforms for the job.Beneath the uniforms, a harness for a sword and pistol. Beneath it, an ornate sabre. Functional but dressed up at the same time. You swing it around several times. A bit too light for your tastes but the edge has already been sharpened to a razor. In two wooden boxes, you find two pairs of pistols. The first pair are ornate, furnished in polished wood and gilded with gold. For show or dueling at the very most. The second pair, furnished in metal, sport revolving chambers for repeated firing without reloading.The rest of the trunk is filled with books, a note on top of them. It reads:>We have been watching you. Your posting may seem unusual but will teach and test you in the ways of control and power. A lot has been invested in you. Do not disappoint me. I have a lot riding on you. These books will help you, but keep them safe and close by, lest you be burned by them.>ItinerantHuh.You scan the titles of the books. There are a dozen or so of them, the majority of them being about the Imperial Cult. A few are about the province of Lorien. Two books stick out.>The True History of the Tiger Moon RevolutionThe other is bound in black leather with no title on the cover or the spine.
What now?>Risk another trance and read a book (Which one[s]?)>Go back to the headmaster’s office>Seek guidance from the school’s cleric>Check with your fellow seniors if they’ve received their results>Go to town and seek out the representatives yourselfOptional:>Don one of your Prefect uniforms
>>3967889>>Go back to the headmaster’s officelet's see if its the right positiondamn, we will hunt people for magic? poor fellas, this seems like will be tough
>>3967889>Risk another trance and read a book (Which one[s]?)Read both, start with the history one to give context and then the otherWhen the headmaster has an answer he will send some junior for us.
>>3967889>Risk another trance and read a book
If the headmaster has an answer, surely he’d send for you already. For now, there’s the matter of the books provided by this mysterious “Itinerant”. You’ve always been hungry for knowledge. It’s what placed you at the top of your class and possibly what got you the attention of this mysterious benefactor. That this knowledge may burn you makes it so much more enticing.You assume the lotus position once more, this time propping “The True History of the Tiger Moon Revolution” on your legs and opening the book to the first chapter. You shunt yourself once more into a trance and shut out the world around you, focusing in on the book.The beginning of the book simply reiterates basic history of the Tiger Moon Revolution. Peasants, in increasing numbers, disappearing off the streets of Treatymont. Mutants and monsters beginning to prowl the nights of the capital city. Nobles no longer leaving their estates. Strange robed foreigners entering and leaving the royal residences on the Mount. Citizens fearing for their safety and clamoring for protection to the ever-absent monarchy and nobility.Then the book begins going into detail of what is usually skated over in the textbooks. The peasants who disappeared of the streets were subject to rituals and experiments, becoming that which haunted the streets of Treatymont. The book describes the mutations and cancers that sprouted from nobles’ bodies, forcing them into seclusion in their estates. Detailed backgrounds on the foreign sorcerers who curried favor with the king.The book includes firsthand accounts of that fateful night, the storming of the royal residences under the tiger moon. Of the horrors found in those chambers. It mentions a group of people called powder mages who wiped out the royal cabal of sorcerers in their sleep. That night was not a spontaneous uprising of the people. It was a planned coup. Then a betrayal. The clerics and laymen turned upon the powder mages, stabbing each in the back after the sorcerers were gone.The most peculiar detail was how upon the simultaneous execution of the royal family, the executioners each dropped dead as if afflicted by stroke. The book includes several essays detailing the theories behind this. One is that the royal cabal placed a curse on blood of the royal family, striking down any who spilled it. Another, written by an excommunicated cleric of the Imperial Cult, surmised that the divine right claimed by the royals was real, and that it was the divine that struck down the executioners.You find that an entire chapter has been ripped out of the book, but previous chapters reference its content being about the establishment of the Masked Emperor, the Shrouded Throne, and a…cryptarchy.You exit the trance and pick up the second book, the one without a title and bound in black leather. You open to the first page.
>Combustible Substances and their Myriad UsesThe book mostly goes over basic chemistry and alchemy that you learned in the trade school. A chapter about the production of acid and its uses, especially in Falcresti hygiene. The manufacture of gunpowder and its use in projectile weapons. A chapter dedicated to the secrets of the unquenchable fire utilized in the Masquerade’s torchships. Then the final chapter. Interesting.>Powder Magick>In individuals of certain gene stock, the oral or nasal ingestion of gunpowder-Your trance is interrupted by repeated knocking on the door of your quarters.“Senior Karn? Senior Karn.”It is dark inside your room. Looking outside your window, you notice night has set. You open your door for the junior outside.“Senior Ka- Senior Karn, your nose is bleeding. Have you been in a study trance? Do you have additional exams?”It’s the same junior from this morning. The insolent one.“Anyway, my dear senior, the headmaster summons you to his office.”>Punish the junior for interrupting and return to your reading.>Answer the summons by the headmaster>Dispose of the books. They're too dangerous.>Tell the junior that you will call upon the headmaster tomorrow. You are tired and will retire for the night.>Write-in
>>3968026>Tell the junior that you will call upon the headmaster tomorrow. You are tired and will retire for the night.
>>3968026>Answer the summons by the headmaster
>>3968026>>Answer the summons by the headmaster
pretty cool quest
Might as well get this over with. You’ll return to your reading later, especially that one bit about ingestion of gunpowder…“After speaking at length with the Commission representatives, they insist that there is no mistake with your appointment papers, having been present at the signing and sealing in Parliament itself. Additionally, if you are to read your papers, your appointment is effective immediately. That being said, you are now the ranking Imperial officer on the island.”You sit in the headmaster’s office in silence, contemplating. Most appointments are effective upon arrival at the location of the posting. In case of high-ranking appointments, this ensures that two officials of the same position do not conflict in authority. But in your case, there is no Prefect of Taroanoke. Yet. As far as you know. There’s been no news of federalization of the island.“The flotilla in harbor is at your disposal and will bring you directly up-wind to Lorien once you give word to depart. In the meantime, the resources of the Imperial Republic on Taroanoke are yours to command.”You still say nothing. So it is real. The trunk was meant for you, indeed. You venture a question.“Headmaster, would you know anyone who goes by the name Itinerant?”Snow doesn’t answer at first. A bead of sweat runs down his forehead. He clenches his teeth once, twice.“No, I don’t.”He pauses.“Karn, that is, Prefect Karn. I suggest you start building your entourage. People you grew up with may now be the only people you can trust.>Question him further about Itinerant. He’s hiding something. >Question him about Imperial resources on the island>Write-in/Ask him about anything else>Leave him and retire for the night>Seek out your fellow seniors, they are probably celebrating>Seek someone else out (Who?)>Continue reading “Combustible Substances and their Myriad Uses”>Write-in
>>3968761>Seek out your fellow seniors, they are probably celebratingParty time.
>>3968761>Question him further about Itinerant. He’s hiding something. >Continue reading “Combustible Substances and their Myriad Uses”
1.) Question him further about Itinerant. 2.) Most probably if the headmaster won't say anything he will give a fair warning.3.) Seek someone else out. A teacher from one of your classes. Most trusted who you can consult with regarding the matter.
>>3968761>>Question him further about Itinerant. He’s hiding something.the ones we trust? our cousin maybe?
“Don’t change the subject, headmaster. Who exactly is Itinerant?”“Tread lightly, Karn. The Agents of the Throne do not leave traces of themselves without intent.”“Agents of the Throne? We are all agents of the Throne, headmaster. Such is the Hierarchic Qualm.”“There are many things for you to learn outside of this school, Karn. Like the difference between being an agent and having agency.”“You play word games with me, headmaster.”“You’ll learn in time. Play your cards close to your chest and do not use the name Itinerant so lightly.”
With that, you lose your patience and stand up. It is late and your head is throbbing from entering a trance thrice today. You leave the headmaster’s office and retire to your quarters. And you dream.You dream of puppets. You dream of both being on strings and being the one pulling them. You dream of a regicide board of which you cannot see your opponent. All the pieces of your side of the board are pawns. You can only move forward and your opponent dances around you, taking your pieces one by one. Then you look around you and you are surrounded by giant regicide pieces, moved by a giant shadowed hand.You awaken. There are no strings attached to your arms or legs, no regicide board. Daylight shines into your room. The room is bare except for your cane by the door and the trunk under the window.You think about the advice given by the headmaster to start assembling your entourage. About playing cards close to the chest and being careful with who to trust. You grew up with most of the students in this school, the few remaining who did not flunk out and were not found wanting of more hygienic lifestyles. You think of the people whom you trust on this island.There’s Instructor Philip. He’s rough around the edges and isn’t formally educated but is someone you can trust to watch your back both in and out of combat.There’s your cousin Pelas. She’s shrewd but shy and not very physical. If she was as stellar as you and found herself at a high station, you’d imagine she’d be Imperial Accountant of a province. There’s the nurse Marian. Incredibly book smart but not so good with people. Her manners could use work and she’s often improper, but her medical skills will no doubt come in handy.The school’s cleric and social science lecturer, Father Erik. He could advise you on religious and political matters.You haven’t visited your father in a long while. A blacksmith by profession, he’s also well known within the village as a mediator of conflict. He brokered peace once with the plainsmen, but he and your mother would argue when she would say one thing and mean another.Choose one>Visit Instructor Philip>Seek out your cousin and the other seniors, though you imagine they’re all still asleep>Go to the village and visit your father>Go the infirmary>Enter the faculty dormitories and find Father Erik>Don’t bother with recruiting and finish reading the chapter of Powder Magick
>>3968967>Seek out your cousin and the other seniors, though you imagine they’re all still asleep
>>3968967>Visit Instructor Philip>Seek out your cousin and the other seniors, though you imagine they’re all still asleep
You trust your cousin the most out of all the students – you grew up playing together and now, only she could beat you in games of economics and trade. She came only second to you in your graduating class.By now, you imagine Pelas and the rest of the graduating seniors have received their exam results and appointments by now. Knowing them, they’d have celebrated once all of the faculty had fallen asleep. You head straight to the seniors’ common room.Upon entering the room, you’re greeted by the sweet stench of mead and is that…cannabis? Your peers are all passed out on the plush furniture given only to the seniors of the school, several of them groaning in the intoxicated slumber. But Pelas isn’t here.You find yourself outside Pelas’s quarters and knock on the door. Your appointment papers are in hand, ready to show to your dear cousin. Over the years, you both talked about your ambitions of someday serving in high office. Your appointment is unusual and unexpected but a high station just the same. You can’t wait to share it with your cousin.A groan answers your knocking, so you twist the doorhandle and enter her quarters. You avert your eyes when you discover that your cousin not only has no clothes on, but is in the naked embrace of another of your peers. Another female, at that. >You’ve known about this for years and helped Pelas hide it from the imperial hygienist in the school. Shrug it off.>This is a first for you. But she’s still your cousin. Let her get dressed and help the other student sneak out.>This is an affront to all we’ve been taught and to your new station. Threaten Pelas.
>>3969059>You’ve known about this for years and helped Pelas hide it from the imperial hygienist in the school. Shrug it off.That was careless Pelas.Good morning anyway.
>>3969059>>You’ve known about this for years and helped Pelas hide it from the imperial hygienist in the school. Shrug it off.how's the scoreboard? are we still ahead of her on the conquest department? gotta be the first everywhere
>>3969059>This is an affront to all we’ve been taught and to your new station. Threaten Pelas.
>>3969072Karn is 25 and a virgin, essentially a Christmas cake
>>3969072>>3969292If it's not apparent yet, Karn is an idiot savant who hasn't left the school since he entered it
Your dumb, careless cousin, little Pelas. Had her tendencies to unhygienic sexual behaviors become discovered, she would have been ejected from the school like many others. But you’d helped her hide her indiscretions over the years, leaving the imperial hygienist none the wiser that your cousin was a tribadist.You grab your cousin’s unconscious jaw. She groans as you pry her mouth open and smell it. Yes, she definitely was intoxicated last night, reeking of sweet honey mead. You peel back her eyelid and inspect her eyeball. It’s red, indicating she took part in the cannabis. While not strictly unhygienic, the students, neither junior nor senior, were supposed to be partaking of narcotics.The student wrapping herself around your cousin is Lind. You hadn’t known that she was a tribadist like your cousin. Daughter of two fishermen and a huntress. A completely average student who managed to be retained by the school somehow. She’d probably end up an unspecialized clerk in some bureau or another. You can’t say whether or not she is pretty, but your cousin apparently showed interest. The conventions of attraction escape you.“Pelas, Lind, wake up. Wake up!”“Huuuuuuuuh? Kaaaaaarn? Oh shit.” Pelas wakes up first. “Is this Lind? Yes, it is.”“I need not remind you the dangers of getting caught like this. Good thing it was me and not someone else. You know the juniors are informing upon us to the hygienist.”“Where were you last night, Karn, and why didn’t you join us? We were looking for you but you didn’t answer your door. You know there are no more exams to study for, right?”You tell her about your appointment to the office of Prefect. She meets it with confusion and disbelief, just like the headmaster when you opened your papers in his office. Pelas stares at the Act of Parliament when you hand it to her then flips through the attached exam evaluation. Through it all, Lind still hasn’t awoken. You decide to wake her up before you say anything sensitive to your cousin.“Eep! Oh gods. I’m not a tribadist, I swear,” Lind says. She hurriedly dresses and prepares to leave the room. “I’ll- I’ll tell people you took advantage of me!”“We won’t say anything if you don’t, sweetie,” says Pelas. “Sure, you aren’t a tribadist.”Lind leaves the room and slams the door. “Oh gods!”“So where did you get assigned, cousin?”“I was not happy last night, Karn, perhaps that’s why I was indiscrete again. I’ve been assigned to the Imperial Trade Company on Taroanoke. I’m not leaving the island.”You frown. You always thought your cousin, being second to you in the school, would get assigned somewhere important.
>Ask her to accompany you to Lorien as your attache. You’ll get her reassigned, somehow>On second thought, you need an informant on Taroanoke to keep an eye on things>Tell/ask her about Itinerant and the agents of the Throne>Tell her about what you read in “The True History of the Tiger Moon Revolution”>Ask her if she’s ever snorted gunpowder>Write-in
>>3969335>Write-inask her if she would prefer to work with us in Lorien?we could use someone we can trus, but if she prefer to stay that is fine too, she can keep an eye on things around here
Best to keep the cousin in Taroanoke to keep an eye on things. Who knows, it could be beneficial if there will be unforeseen problems as the story progresses.You can ask about the snorted gunpowder at the end before you exit her quarters.
>>3969335Tell her that with time after we get settled there we could arrange her transfer, but this is very strange and we sence that it will be dangerous, would she be up for it?
“Seeing as I’ve been appointed to such a high office, I could arrange for your transfer to Lorien under me. Would you like that? But I sense that my station will be unusual and dangerous, would you be up for that kind of risk?”“Could you really do that? Immediately? You know most of us ache to explore the world. Taroanoke is so small.”“No, not immediately. I’ll probably have to get settled into my office in Lorien before I could file your transfer. I could get it done next trade season or the one after. If I can’t get it done, I’d like you stay in touch with me and keep me informed of the happenings here on the island.”“You mentioned risk, what kind?”>Tell her about Itinerant and the note that you found in the trunk>Tell her about the inquisitorial gear that was sent to you>Lie to her and just say it’s a hunchAfter speaking with Pelas, where to next?>Find out whether anyone else has been assigned to Lorien>Finish your reading on Powder Magick>Seek someone else out>Pack up your things and head to the harbor>Write-in
>>3969422>Tell her about Itinerant and the note that you found in the trunk>Tell her about the inquisitorial gear that was sent to youSee what she knows or thinks as I understand she is the one we trust most here right?>Find out whether anyone else has been assigned to LorienTry to do it discreetly, if its people we don't get along and could spy on us there we may have to act to get them transfered
>>3969422>>Tell her about the inquisitorial gear that was sent to you>Find out whether anyone else has been assigned to Lorien
“I received a trunk along with my papers. It contained badges of office for my new station. It seems that I am to be head of the cult inquisitors in Lorien, not merely head cleric of the province. They even shipped me a sword and pistols.”“So you’ll be a witch hunter, eh? Enforcer of cult doctrine and hygiene? Isn’t here a conflict of interest for me to be working with you?”“You know I don’t believe in any of that, Pelas. But I can’t imagine how I could refuse an act of Parliament appointing me to this position. It puts me closer to the Throne than I ever imagined. But I’ll keep you safe, I promise.”You leave Pelas to rest, as you imagine she got very little last night.Lorien is one of the Masquerade’s largest provinces, you can’t imagine that you’re the only graduate of the trade school to be assigned there. But you must be discreet about investigating this matter. You remember that there were exam results strewn throughout the mess of the common room, papers forgotten as your peers celebrated last night. Perhaps you can check those before anyone wakes up. You proceed there.Quietly reading through the appointment papers so carelessly strewn about the common room, you find out that three of your peers have been assigned to Lorien province. >Siona, 18 winters old, distant cousin. Assigned to be midshipman aboard the flagship of the provincial fleet. The two of you don’t get along.>Rangi, 20 winters old. No relation to you. Granted the office of secretary under the Viceroy. You two get along nicely.>Lind. 16 winters old. The girl you caught sleeping with Pelas. Clerk of court under the Imperial Jurispotence.What do you do now?>Finish your reading on Powder Magick>Since Pelas is not joining you immediately, recruit someone else to your entourage. (Who?)>Go to the harbor and inspect the flotilla>Say goodbye to your father>Write-in
>>3969623>Say goodbye to your fatherWe can read on the ship
>>3969623> recruit the nurse, we will need someone we trust to patch us upThen we can go to our father
>>3969623>Rangi, 20 winters old. No relation to you. Granted the office of secretary under the Viceroy. You two get along nicely.Go to the harbor and inspect the flotilla
>>3969623>>Finish your reading on Powder Magick
Looks like Karn is recruiting the nurse then saying goodbye to his father.Good morning! I fell asleep.
Given the line of work that you are to enter, you need someone you trust to patch up your wounds and to attend to other medical needs. You have just the right person in mind. But when you head to the infirmary, it’s empty. You pull back curtains on beds and check all around the room, but she’s nowhere to be found. Then you pass by the supply closet and hear snoring. You open the door to the closet and find the nurse curled up on the floor.“Marian. Marian.”“Uhhhhhhhh. Wha-?”“Were you sleeping on your shift? Where are the other nurses?”“Oh, uhm. Yes, it’s my shift. But as you can see, the infirmary is empty, so I thought it’d be okay.”“Anyways, how would you like to accompany me to Lorien? I need someone with your expertise. I’ll arrange for your transfer.”“You can do that now?”“Yes, I’m the ranking Imperial factor on Taroanoke. Pack your bags, I’ll see you at the harbor.”“Oooohkay. But then you’d be taking me away from all the wonderful strains of disease here.”“I can probably show you better in my new line of work.”“Which is?”“Prefect of the Imperial Cult.”“I’ll see you then.”
Perhaps now would be a good time to don the vestments of your new office. You’ll be making one last visit before heading to the harbor and preparing to leave Taroanoke. Wouldn’t want to show up in front of fellow servants of the Throne still dressed as a student. You choose one of the lighter jackets, leaving the fur-lined one for when you arrive in Lorien. It will be several weeks before you set foot in the frigid north. You choose a pair of trousers with a blood-stripe on the leg, then buckle on the leather high boots.You exit the school, the taps of your cane and boots on the tiles of hallways ending as you pass the threshold of the campus. The village has grown into a town since the arrival of the Masquerade. This, despite the ravages of the plague that took your mother. Over the years, the wooden shanties of your people have been replaced by Falcresti architecture.You think you can remember the way to the smithy. Sure enough, the sound of a hammer on metal rings through the air as you make your way back to your old home. You make your way into the heat of the forge, sparks flying through the air as your father hammers away at what looks like a sword blade. Last you remember, he was still making spears and shields in the native styles.“Da?” you shout into the din. You repeat yourself first in Falcresti, then your native tongue when he doesn’t seem to notice you. He stops his hammering when you speak in Taroanoki and turns to face you. He’s grown old. His hair is now entirely gray and his face has begun to wrinkle. It’s been too long since you last visited him.“Child? Is that you, Karn?”“Yes, it’s me, father.”Tears spring to his eyes as he embraces you, soot-covered and all. Good thing the jacket you chose is black.“Are you still ours? You wear their clothes, speak their tongue, learn their science now, but are you still ours?”“What do you mean, father?”“Do you still belong to Taroanoke? Do you still belong me and your mother?”>I serve the Throne now, father, as we all should>I’m so much closer to the Throne now, and to the freedom of Taroanoke from imperial rule>Everything I do is for the betterment of Taroanoke and its elevation within the Imperial Republic>Write-in
>>3971341>>Write-inno need to get philosofical with dad"I'll be always yours and mother's dad"
>>3971341>Write-in"I still hold our people's faith and ways in my heart, that has never changed."
>>3971363Sure, can't break the poor man's heart before departing. Without mother he will be alone here.And the town does look better now tho
“I’ll always be yours and mother’s, da. Though I am made to serve their ways, I still hold our people’s faith and ways in my heart. That has never changed.”He releases his embrace of you and clasps your face in his hands, tears running down his face.“Then take this with you, child. I saw the ships on the horizon and knew that your time to leave has come.”He disappears into the depths of the smithy, then comes back and hands you something wrapped in cloth. You unwrap it and find your mother’s spearhead inside, etched with the triangular runes of your people’s script. Her original spearshaft burned with her when she passed.>RELIC OBTAINED: Mother Pinion’s runic spearhead“When you need it most, your mother’s spirit will guide it and it will strike true.”You embrace your father one last time before you turn to leave."Sky's blessing and grace be upon you, my child. Serve well but do not let them turn you."
You make your way to the harbor, your clothes drawing whispers and glances from the townspeople. That’s right, they’ve never seen a Prefect before. You’re out of mask, as well. That’s Salm’s child, you hear some of them say. What ornate clothes, they whisper. By now, all know of the presence of the Commission ship at anchor and its significance to the students of the school. Word still travels fast among the natives.You board the Commission ship and ask to speak to the captain. Her name is Aminata, an Oriati native. How curious. While the Oriati Federations were ostensibly at peace with the Masquerade, you know not of anyone of their genestock living and serving among the Falcresti. Aminata offers her congratulations on your appointment. She tells you that her cabin is being made ready for your occupancy for the duration of the voyage to Lorien. The flotilla will be ready to depart once the Commission representatives have returned from town.You make arrangements for your fellow appointees to be summoned from the school and onto the ship. It’s now noontime, they should be awake despite their debauchery of the previous night. They’ll bring back to the ship your trunk of books and clothes.Before long, the representatives and your peers report to the ship and preparations are made to leave harbor. You settle yourself in the captain’s cabin. This will be a long voyage.>Finish reading the book on Powder Magick>Summon the nurse to your cabin>Summon one of your peers to the cabin>Go up on deck and talk to the captain>Seek out the Commission representatives regarding your appointment>Ask around if someone could fashion a shaft for your spear>Write-in
>>3971391>Seek out the Commission representatives regarding your appointment
>>3971391>>Go up on deck and talk to the captain
>>3971391>Talk to captainAsk him if there are any interesting characters on this ship.
Looks like Karn will be chatting with the captain.Writing.
Having made it that your cabin is arranged to your liking, you head back onto the deck. To be fair, there wasn’t much to arrange. You never had personal belongings in the school. What you have now are the trunk of books, clothes, and weapons that you received, as well as your mother’s relic spearhead. Everything else in the cabin belonged to Captain Aminata.The salty ocean breeze assaults your nostrils when you open the door of your cabin. Sailors rush about the deck, ascending and descending the ropes to get the ship out of the harbor. Marines stand guard amidst all the ruckus. You ascend the stairs to the bridge deck and find Captain Aminata at the helm. She makes for a striking figure, red naval coat flapping in the breeze, long braids trailing out of her tricorne… You should get her out of that heavy coat sometime… and spar. You doubt that a woman rises to the rank of captain without slights made to her honor.“So, captain.”“Yes, Excellency?” She doesn’t look at you, her eyes focused on the movements of the sailors on deck. She barks at one of the sailors for moving too slow. She makes slight adjustments to the course of the ship, guiding it out of the bay.“Any interesting characters on this ship?”“Besides you?”You stare at her.“Imagine that, a boy of only 25 years being appointed to a sub-Viceroy position of one of the most important provinces in the Masquerade. Tell me, what did they see in your exam results?”You actually haven’t fully read through them.“But besides you and the unusual number of Civil Service Commission representatives, there is only one. The fat merchant, Cairdine Farrier. Auditor for the Imperial Trade Factor, if I understood him correctly.”“What about him is interesting, captain?”“He insisted he ride on this ship to Taroanoke from Falcrest and to accompany us to Lorien. The Lapertiare isn’t a trade ship. And he doesn’t seem to be doing any auditing.”>Ask the Captain what an Oriati is doing captaining a ship>Seek out this fat merchant, Cairdine Farrier>Invite the captain for a spar once the deck clears>Go back to your cabin and read a book>Summon someone to your cabin (Who?)>Visit the Commission representatives in their cabin>Get a shaft fashioned for your spearhead>Write-in
>>3971523>Invite the captain for a spar once the deck clears
>>3971523>>Ask the Captain what an Oriati is doing captaining a shipand>Invite the captain for a spar once the deck clearsit is unusual for us to be in the position as much as it is unusual for her as an oriati, I guess that meks us both interesting character in this ship
Rolled 83, 40, 2, 46, 39 = 210 (5d100)“You forgot another interesting person on this ship, Captain.”“Oh, I did?”“Yourself. Just as it unusual for someone of my background to be in my position, so are you to be in yours. An Oriati captaining a Falcresti ship. Fascinating. How exactly did you end up where you are?”“The Imperial Republic does not discriminate by race those who are willing and capable to serve, Excellency.”You laugh.“Captain, you know as well as I do that what you just said is a lie. The Civil Service Exam, and I’m fairly sure, the Naval Board Exam, consider heredity just as much as your pencil marks for measuring potential.”“You have me there, Excellency.”She stands there at the helm in silence for a short while, perhaps musing over her history.“I was orphaned as a small child in the siege of Mbo in the last armada war. The Masquerade swept me up and I tested well. I hardly knew allegiance to the Federations.”“Must have been hard convincing the Admiralty of your loyalty either way.”“That it was.”The two of you gaze in silence at the horizon for a while and before long you enter open sea. The deck clears and you spot your opportunity. Captain Aminata won’t be needing to be making course corrections for a while.“I neglected my daily exercises today, Captain. How would you like to join me for a spar? You seem no stranger to the sabre.”“I’d be delighted to, Excellency.”She calls a junior officer over to her and begins removing her jacket. Buttons and ties come undone to reveal a vest over a sleeveless shirt. You try not to stare at her toned arms and the little peek of stomach when she raises her arms. Another junior officer approaches with two training sabres. The captain sparring on the main deck seems to not be an uncommon occurrence, you note.The two of you descend to the main deck, training sabres in hand. You strip your own jacket just as Captain Aminata did and the same junior officer who collected hers comes over to carry yours. The two of you circle each other.“En garde, Excellency.”Choose a Stance>Aggressive (+10 to Strikes)>Defensive (+10 to Parries)>Cunning (+10 to Feints)>Naval (+20 to Parries, -10 to Strikes)Choose your actions (x5)>Strike>Parry>FeintPlayers each roll 5d100, the best roll in each getting chosenRolling for Captain Aminata
Rolled 84, 41, 24, 60, 37 = 246 (5d100)>>3971721>Naval (+20 to Parries, -10 to Strikes)the proper stance for a ship combat I thinkstart withPFSPF
Rolled 15, 71, 83, 26, 67 = 262 (5d100)>>3971750Same moves
Rolled 59, 6, 10, 94, 95 = 264 (5d100)>>3971721
Just remembered that I have to meet someone in the morning. Gonna head to sleep. Next update should be posted around 0400 UTC.
>>3971883Thanks for running
Rolled 5, 100, 22, 33, 60 = 220 (5d100)>>3971721>>3971904Ah duck I forgot to roll
>>3971721>>Naval (+20 to Parries, -10 to Strikes)PPFPP
Rolled 1, 2, 2, 2, 1 = 8 (5d3)Rolling for Aminata's actions
>Parry vs Strike>84(+20)(+10) vs 83>Win>Feint vs Parry>100: CRITICAL SUCCESS>Win>Strike vs Feint>83(-10)(+10) vs 2>Win>Parry vs Feint>94(+20) vs 46(+10)>Win>Feint vs Strike>95 vs 39(+10)>Win>5 vs 0>Special scene unlockedPlease wait warmly.
>>3972984That was quite tge rolls
Guess I was busier for longer than expected. I'll try to churn out two more updates in the next twenty four hours but I'll be busy today too. Sorry anons for keeping you all waiting warmly.
>>3973754I'll just pick up some more firewood then
>>3973754Don't worry, take your time.
>>3973754>"I'll try to churn out two more updates in the next twenty four hours">One day and 9 hours agoGodammit, this was looking so promising!
>>3976480Not to worry anon, I am writing as I post this reply to you!
>Thank you for waiting warmly! It was my birthday yesterday and I got tied up in the preparations and eventual celebration.You both assume the stance of the Naval System, sabres raised above your heads, parallel to the ground and point directed at the opponent, and hands outstretched in front of you. The two of you slowly circle around the deck, waiting for the other to twitch and make a move.Captain Aminata strikes first but you’re ready with a parry and riposte in quick succession. Your training blade slaps across her upper arm and she hisses at you as it does. She plays defensive on the next exchange as you move back and forth and around the deck. A small crowd of idle sailors begins to form around the two of you. The marines stay at their posts, faces inscrutable behind their featureless steel masks. You feint into her guard and she immediately goes for a parry but you twist your wrist and lung at her opposite side, whipping her in the arm again with your blade. She then puts pressure on you to move backward, moving the crowd with you. She lunges at you with a feint but you move to the side and strike at her ribs. The vest and shirt absorb most of the hit.Aminata pressure you further, moving you closer to the bow. She lunges into another feint of the wrist but you see her twist and you parry her blade just in time. She’s getting desperate to land a hit on you. That’s four exchanges out of four with you landing a hit on her. She lunges again at you and you lunge as well, catching her blade in your guard. You twist your wrist and the captain’s blade is pulled out of her hand, clattering to the deck. There’s a muted gasp from the sailors. The captain bends down and picks up her blade from the floor.“Excellency, my- your cabin now please.”You raise your eyebrow at that. The captain retrieves her jacket from the junior officers and marches across the deck towards the cabin that she gave up to you. You follow her, confused. You haven’t finished your spar!Captain Aminata slams the door shut, throws her sabre into a basket and hangs up her jacket on a coat rack.“I hope you realized you just disarmed one of the best fencers in the Navy.”Oh. So you did.“How would you prefer this, Excellency? Shall I take the lead?”>This is my first time, Captain. Please be gentle.>I don’t understand.>No, Captain. I’m saving myself for marriage.
>>3976560>I don’t understand.What kind of cake did you get?
>>3976560>I don’t understand.
>>3976560>>This is my first time, Captain. Please be gentle.
>>3976560>I don’t understand.(But still go with it)Did we stumble into a sexy cultural misunderstanding?>>3976623I don't know about the qm but the captain is about to have cake, a christmas cake
>>3976560>This is my first time, Captain. Please be gentle. One of the best fencers in the Navy? Either the Navy is really small, or we're rarely going to have a difficult bout.
>>3976560>>I don’t understand.
>>3976560>This is my first time, Captain. Please be gentle.
>>3976560Happy birthday OP>My Captain, I didn't know that officers in the Navy were this ... bold.If write-ins aren't allowed>I don't understand
“I don’t quite understand what you’re getting at captain. Shouldn’t we return to our spar? I only disarmed you.”“By all means, our spar is finished, Excellency. You disarmed me. I am at your mercy and you may do as you please.” She removes her vest, leaving her shirt, and begins unbuckling her boots.“I still don’t understand why you called me to the cabin. Why are you removing your clothes, captain?”“Don’t play naïve, Excellency. With the unhygienic sexual practices of your island, surely you know what I’m getting at.” She begins unbuttoning her shirt. You grab her by the shoulders to stop her. “I just wanted a spar, Captain. Why are you now suggesting that we engage in sexual union?”“How do you think we naval officers relieve ourselves? We’re usually unmarried due to the nature of our jobs and fraternizing with regular sailors or marines is illegal. Sparring is how we decide who gets to direct who does what in the bedroom.”“And you think that you’d think that a Prefect was propositioning you for premarital union? Just because you think I’m an unhygienic, uncivilized islander? Who do you think you’re dealing with? And you tell me all naval officers are engaged in such practices?”Her olive skin blanches.“You got me there, Prefect. I was excited by someone finally disarming me. But surely you don’t believe in the doctrines of the Cult? I know you’re no cleric and surely you entered your schooling to really believe in what’s taught about hygiene.”>You’re just joking with her. Let her continue stripping her clothes.>Let her continue, but blackmail her afterwards. A naval captain will be a great asset.>Threaten her and all her officers with censure right here and now.>Write-in
>>3978875>Let her continue, but blackmail her afterwards. A naval captain will be a great asset.>Threaten her and all her officers with censure right here and nowwe take the Cult seriously but we also take power seriously.
>>3978875>You’re just joking with her. Let her continue stripping her clothes.Will she keep stationed around? I'd like to have an ally.
>>3978875>You’re just joking with her. Let her continue stripping her clothes.
>>3978892If you threaten her now, anon, she won't sleep with you.>>3978900You don't know whether the Lapertiare will stay in port at Lorien's capital, Flend, but you could pull some strings for the captain herself to stay.
>>3978902We can evaluate that after we see our new place I imagine, but having this knowledge and a captain warm to us would be good.
>>3978875*sure you entered your schooling *TOO LATE* to really belive in what's taught about hygiene."
>>3978938I mean, our best friend there was a tribadist I would not say we are the prime exemple of hygine enforcement
“I’m just joking with you, captain. You’re right, I don’t believe in every tenet of hygiene taught to me in school.” You start helping her unbutton her shirt.“That’s a relief. You almost had me there for a second, Excellency. Or may I call you Karn?”“You may.” You start removing your own clothes, your heavy inquisitor’s jacket coming off first.“Well, Karn, you look to have an interesting career ahead of you. A young islander of little faith and hygiene as prefect of Lorien province, one can only imagine as to why they appointed you.”Interesting that she brings that up. You’ve read through your appointment papers, but you still haven’t gone through your exam results. What exactly did the exam tell them of you?The two of you now fully naked, Aminata pushes you to sit upon the single large bed in the cabin, and pulls you into a deep, full kiss.“Be gentle with me, Captain Aminata. This is my first time.”“Sorry, but we naval officers aren’t gentle lovers.” –You awake up hours later. Aminata is no longer in the bed with you and her jacket is absent from the coat rack. There’s a knock at the cabin door. You quickly get dressed but neglect your jacket for the moment. You tell whoever it is to enter. It’s Marian, the nurse.“Well I hope you enjoyed your first time, Karn.”“How’d you know?”“The sailors are abuzz about how a young Taroanoki disarmed the famous Captain Aminata. And I’m familiar with the practices of naval officers. But don’t worry, I won’t say a word, and neither will the sailors. They’re fiercely loyal to their own.”“And you’re loyal to me, Marian?”“Perhaps. Perhaps not. We’ll see. I won’t look good on my record if you’ve filed for my transfer then I immediately turn on you. What benefactors will trust me then?”“Zealous priests maybe.”“I don’t like priests. They poke their nose into medical research too often. I only agreed to work under one because it’s you. You’re interesting.”You guess it’s good to hear that your trust in her isn’t misplaced. You’re in the clear for now.“Now, Karn, put on your jacket. I can see scratch marks at the base of your neck. That Captain Aminata seems to have gone rough on you. And let’s hope she wasn’t carrying any infections down there. Remind me to check you in several days.”The sun is now past its zenith, getting into the latter part of the day.>Talk further with Marian. Ask her what it’s like to have parents from conflicting empires. Why did she choose to serve the Masquerade?>Study your books on Lorien>Finish reading about Powder Magick>Seek out the fat merchant, Cairdine Farrier>Visit the Commission representatives in their cabin>Go to the ship’s armorer
>>3978964A little chat while she treats the scratches and we get dressed would not be bad>Talk further with Marian. Ask her what it’s like to have parents from conflicting empires. Why did she choose to serve the Masquerade?But ask no further questions and head to>Visit the Commission representatives in their cabinWe had some fun, I think its about time we visit the representative
>>3978964Forgive me if I'm missing the obvious, but wouldn't the travel time be a good opportunity to read the exam results in detail? After all, they might provide clues on the assignment. Otherwise, I'll vote for:>Finish reading about Powder Magick
>>3978978Yeah, the travel time would be a good opportunity for that. Unless you choose to trance, reading your books will eat up a big chunk of the travel time.
Looks like the next update will be the last one I write before going to bed. Whenever it's a new day and I update, you can get notified in the following ways besides bookmarking the thread or keeping it open:Follow me on Twitter @ValeLachryma (https://twitter.com/ValeLachryma)Hit the notification bell to get notified when I tweet, I'll keep my non-quest tweets to a bare minimum.I also post in the #updates channel of the Quest General Discord server (https://discord.gg/QBfMms2)I was wondering if y'all would like for me to create a Discord server dedicated to this quest..
>>3979157Neat, I'll keep an eye on them
“Can you look at the scratches for just a moment, Marian? And check me for anything else. Captain Aminata was quite rough indeed.”“Alright, clothes off.”Marian begins to inspect your torso once you strip off your shirt. You hiss when she prods at what turns out to be a cut. She exits your cabin and returns with a bag of medical supplies, then begins to apply a balm to multiple cuts on your back. The captain has long nails. Marian then dabs makeup onto a lesion on your neck left by a bite from Aminata.“Lower your trousers, Karn.”You follow her orders, Marian being no stranger to your body. She checks your frontside and backside, cock and bum. She hums with approval, finding nothing out of sorts.“You’re clean, but I’ll check you again in several days.”While you dress back up, you say, “I never got to ask you back in the school, what’s it like to have parents from competing empires?”“I hardly knew my father. My dad was a trader from the Hegemony and my mother was a clerk in Treatymont. They weren’t married. He’d visit from time to time, and he’d send money to my mother, but we never became close. He offered to take me back with him to the Miran city he was based in several times.”“Why’d you refuse?”“I couldn’t leave my mother like that. I was an only child, though she eventually did get married to a fellow clerk. The last time I saw my father was when I became of age. He made his last offer for me to come with him, but I’d just received my civil service exam results and was off to nurse school for my specialist training.”“Wouldn’t that have been exciting, to live the life of a trader?”“Perhaps, but the Mirans are so backwards. You know they still keep slaves? I think my father dabbled in the slave trade – he never was quite clear with what his primary wares were.” Marian shivers at the thought of living a life of servitude. She seals the clasp of her medicine bag.“So you are dedicated to serving the Masquerade.”“Just as much as you are. But sometimes, don’t you think the Imperial Republic hasn’t changed anything? We still have a sovereign, a monarch, who rules for life and members of Parliament live like nobles anyway. Perhaps another revolution ought to come.”You hum in thought. Such words before anyone else would see Marian in front of a judge. But you yourself only wish to rise in power to see your own people freed.Now fully dressed, coat and harness and all, you move to leave the cabin, holding open the door for Marian. You wonder where she’s sleeping on the ship. Among the sailors? You hope she isn’t getting harassed. Sailors are all men, with women only serving in the corps of officers. Perhaps you can arrange for her to sleep in your cabin.
You go up to a marine, asking where the representatives from the Civil Service Commission are billeted. He points you to their cabin. You go and knock on the door. A voice tells you to enter.“Ah, Your Excellency, Prefect Karn. Come in, come in. How may we help you? I am Gordon Banks, representative of the Civil Service Commission, though I’m sure you knew that coming here. These are my colleagues, Kyle Morgan and Emmanuel Cooke.”“I am told that you were present at the signing and sealing of my appointment papers.”“Yes, yes, we were. It was astounding, Parliament was in perfect attendance, though there was some dissent in your particular case. Several other high-ranking appointments were made that day, but yours was the most curious.”Do you have further questions?>Is Parliament rarely ever in perfect attendance?>Do you know why my office was vacated in the first place?>Did a man or woman named Itinerant have any hand in my appointment?>Was there anything unusual about my exam results?>Do you know anything about the merchant Cairdine Farrier?>Write-inPlease don’t pick all of them
>>3979227>Was there anything unusual about my exam results?
>>3979227>>Was there anything unusual about my exam results?>Do you know why my office was vacated in the first place?
>>3979227>Do you know why my office was vacated in the first place?
>>3979227>Is Parliament rarely ever in perfect attendance?>Do you know why my office was vacated in the first place?>Was there anything unusual about my exam results?
“Was there anything unusual about my exam results? Anything out of the ordinary for me to be placed immediately in such a high office?”Representative Banks tilts his head in thought then smiles at you. He answers, seemingly the most senior among the three.“On the contrary, excellency, your exam results were quite extraordinary, but not unusual. You ranked in the top 99th percentile of all exam takers this calendar year, of which there were quite a lot. You easily beat many students from Treatymont itself. Parliament was particularly impressed with your essay on the management of a late colonial administration of a hypothetical province in stagnation. It was read aloud for the whole chamber.”The exam covered all sorts of topics from history to natural sciences to math and reasoning problems, but at the very end there were a handful of essay prompts to choose from.“What about my genealogical study?”“Well given that Taroanoke is in its first generation of colonization, genealogical records of your people only cover those that are currently alive on the island. Your exam results are only unusual in that they are unexpected for the son of a blacksmith and a huntress. But given your physical background, your medical records are spotless. If not for your brains, you’d be the perfect laborer.”Most of the students forced out of the Trade School on the island ended up working in the docks. You’re thankful you didn’t end up like them. “This is noted. And what about my predecessor, why did he vacate the office? Did he retire?”“Retire? He was old, but no. He was forced out of office.” Representative Banks chuckles at his own joke. “Your predecessor was assassinated. Thrown out of the window of his tower in Flend Keep. Quite messy, but acid cleans up that kind of thing quickly.”This is a cause for concern. Your office looks to make you enemies in its execution. You ask about the man before your immediate predecessor.“The man who held your office before your immediate predecessor was found wanting by the Imperial Jurispotence of Lorien. Checks and balances, you see. He was engaging in many unhygienic practices. He was old as well. But you are young and fresh from schooling, yes? We shouldn’t have to worry about you straying from doctrine.”“Yes, of course, representatives,” you lie. “Thank you for your time. I will have to study the functions and expectations of my office further.”“Of course, Excellency. May you serve the Throne and people well.”You bow to each of them, and they stand up and bow in return, though not as deeply. Then you exit their quarters and return to the deck outside. The red navy sails have caught the wind and are fully taught on the masts above you. Having gotten the ship ready for sea and fully underway, sailors idle about the deck. Some have set up a table on one side, playing with cards. Fiat notes change hands.Captain Aminata is at the helm once more and smiles devilishly down at you from her post.
>Return to your quarters and seclude yourself in study for the rest of the journey>Find out where the merchant Cairdine Farrier is>Visit the ship’s armorer>Write-in
>>3980482>Find out where the merchant Cairdine Farrier is
>>3980482>>Return to your quarters and seclude yourself in study for the rest of the journeymake sure to move the nurse away from the sailors if we can too
>>3980482>Return to your quarters and seclude yourself in study for the rest of the journey
>>3980482>>Find out where the merchant Cairdine Farrier is
Rolled 2 (1d2)Gonna start writing.1>>3980502>>39805112>>3980506>>3980508
>>3980515>>3980516Oh well there's the tiebreaker. Gonna write after cooking.
There’s nothing much for you to do abovedecks, you not being a sailor and all. There isn’t much to see either. Captain Aminata and her navigator had charted a direct course across the Ashen Sea from Taroanoke to Lorien. For the remainder of the journey, you decide to seclude yourself in study of the books provided to you by the mysterious Itinerant.The nurse Marian is in and out of your cabin. She brings you food, especially citrus fruits to combat scurvy. In short order, you had her transferred from quarters among the common sailors to sleep in the same cabin as you. You insist that she shares the large executive bed with you, but she refuses to do so in the name of propriety. Her company is enjoyable. It breaks the monotony of reading all day. Sometimes you’re forced to take a break when the swaying of the ship makes you too dizzy to stare at a book.With the length of the trip ahead of you, you opt not to read the books in a trance. Most of them are on Imperial Cult doctrine and dogma, some on Imperial Cult history, one on the duties of Cult clerics. You put particular focus on reading about the Lorienian people and culture, particularly their old religion – now outlawed. Reading normally means learning at a normal pace. Marian quizzes you every night on what you’ve read.“Idle hands?”“Are the workshop of devils and demons.”“Idle lips?”“Are their mouthpiece.”“In 499, the Cardinal Prichter said?”“We must respect the interior laws of creation, of the earth, to learn these laws and obey them if we want to survive.”“What is the central dogma of the old Lorienian faith?”“Before kingdoms and empires, twelve men and women of Lorien transcended themselves to embody twelve virtues: courage, temperance, liberality, magnificence, pride, honor, good temper, friendliness, truthfulness, wit, friendship, and justice. These are the core virtues of Lorienian culture and society.”“Their names?”“Yong, Jiez, Ziyou, Zuang, Zihao, Rongyu, Hao, Yoush, Shenshi, Jeshi, Youyi, and Shenyi, respectively.”“What are the telltale signs of Lorienian witchcraft – or ithkari – at work?”“Glowing tattoos and burning incense.”“What are the primary duties of a cleric on mission?”“A cleric on mission is to educate and enlighten the natives. In worst case, he is to serve as inquisitor and enforcer.”
You don’t let Marian touch the two more controversial books in your possession. You read those by the light of an oil lamp while she sleeps in her hammock. Tonight, you finally get around to reading the final chapter of “Combustible Substances and their Myriad Uses.”“Powder Magick”“In individuals of certain gene stock, the oral and nasal ingestion of gunpowder is known to induce an enhanced state of consciousness, with all senses heightened as well as a marked increase to physical strength and speed.”“Test subjects in the Metademe having previously ingested gunpowder were able to sniff out gunpowder as it was being brought to the subjects.”“Test subjects have shown the ability to remotely detonate gunpowder in small amounts and redirect the resulting kinetic energies where they please. Further testing is required for increased amounts of gunpowder.”“Large or prolonged doses of gunpowder has been shown to send test subjects into comas or even cause death.”“In the Falcresti population, abilities related to gunpowder are found in less than 1% of the population. Initial surveys of foreign stock suggests numbers of up to 10% in certain populations.”“Further testing has been halted by order of the Imperial Cult.”You close the book and prepare to go to bed when you hear an unfamiliar THUMP from the deck outside. You rush to the door. The crew are firing rockets at something on the horizon, illuminated by a flare in the sky. You look around for the captain. She rushes out of another cabin, jacket barely on.“What’s going on, captain?”“Pirates it seems. We’re only a few days out from Flend. They must belong to the pirate duke, Unexekome.”Unexekome. Lord of one of the five coastal duchies of Lorien. Openly engaging in piracy against Falcrest? Why hasn’t the Navy stomped this out yet? You express so to the captain.“The pirates never rat him out, but we strongly suspect that he supplies them and gives them safe harbor.”The sailors fire several more rockets and you cough on the resulting smoke.The captain speaks again. “It’s only two ships, my junior officers tell me. We could easily sink them with rockets at this distance. Or we could board them and take prisoners in hope of linking them to the traitorous duke.”Out of the edge of your eye, you see a towering but fat man exit a cabin and watch in wonder as the rockets arc through the air towards the enemy.The flotilla has the cruiser you're on, three frigates, and a torchship.>Bombard them from afar and let’s be on our way to Flend>Attempt to board them and take prisoners as well as any potential booty>Send in the torchship to burn them in the water>It’s just pirates. There’s nothing much to be gained from engaging them, so let’s outrun them instead>Write-in
>>3980568>>Bombard them from afar and let’s be on our way to Flend
>>3980568>>Attempt to board them and take prisoners as well as any potential booty
>>3980568>Bombard them from afar and let’s be on our way to FlendIts just me or our cult is kind of not cool? Lol
>>3980576WaaaaaitI change to sink one and board the other, whatever seems better of the two.More than info and booty, I want the ship so we can have an independent vessel under our command
>>3980569>>3980695But guys! We have booty to plunder!
>>3980579Any ship you capture will be crewed by the Imperial Navy and thus won't be an independent vessel unless you find a way to crew the ship out of your own pocket.
Invade the ship. We may not know who is held hostage. Could be essential in this quest
>>3980705Crewed until we make port, then we can hire a personal crew there
You’re several days out from port in Flend. There are few better ways to arrive than with two pirate crews defeated and their captured ships and cargo in tow. For the moment, you and Captain Aminata forget all familiarity – and the fact that you’ve been sleeping together for a few weeks now – to address the conflict at hand.“Captain, prepare your crews for a boarding action. We’re going to take these ships.”She raises an eyebrow as if sensing your ambition.“Yes, Excellency. By your will and the will of the Throne.”Aminata shouts at one of her officers to signal the other ships to close in on the pirates for boarding. Several sailors use shuttered signal lanterns to convey your orders to the other ships. The torchship is the fastest of the four escort vessels and closes quickly with the enemy. The three frigates follow suit while your cruiser lags behind, the four still continuing to bombard the decks of the pirates. In the flare-illuminated night, you watch as stream of fire erupts from the torchship’s bow. The alchemical fuel of the flamethrower burns even on the surface of the sea and sets the pirate ship’s deck aflame. What a sight to behold. You can hear the pirates’ screams as some of them burn alive. The enemy ships attempt to fire back with a broadside of cannon but several well-placed rockets take out their guns.Such is the might of the Imperial Navy.Two of the frigates pull up abreast of one of the pirate ships. Grappling hooks shoot out from the decks of the frigates and find purchase upon the enemy’s hull. The other frigate waits for your cruiser to close in before both ships fire grappling hooks of their own to snare the second pirate. The torchship hangs back, having already cleared the decks of the enemy with bursts of the flamethrower.The nurse Marian appears from behind you, holding your weapons harness, sabre and revolver in their holsters. She hands you your inquisitor’s mask as well. You thank her and don your gear.The pirates who haven’t burned to death stare into the blank steel masks of the Lapertiare’s marines, sabres and spears at the ready.>Leap across the gap, leading the marines into the melee>Wait for the gangplanks to be deployed and go in with the first wave of marines>Hang back and go in with the supplementary waves with the other officers>Write-in
>>3980799>Leap across the gap, leading the marines into the meleeIts what we are best in, lets put it to good use.Let's hope dear captain can keep her pants on at least until the end of the fight after seeing us do it too lol.
>>3980799>>Leap across the gap, leading the marines into the melee
>>3980799>Leap across the gap, leading the marines into the melee
Here's a link to the newly created Discord server for this quest: https://discord.gg/YVntwTqCome hang out!
Gimme a 1d100 to see how Karn fares in the melee. Since it's not a duel, I'm simplifying the roll. I'll take the best of the first three rolls. Since you're charging in with the first wave, DC is 75 to not get injured. Every increment of 10 below 75 is additional severity of injury.
Also, I realized I should have put the DCs for each action in the options. That's my bad. Won't repeat this mistake. My apologies, anons.
Rolled 12 (1d100)>>3981021
Rolled 77 (1d100)>>3981021
Rolled 100 (1d100)>>3981021
Donning your gruesome inquisitor’s mask, you don’t even wait for the gangplanks to be deployed between the two ships. You leap the gap. You land both feet squarely on the deck of the pirate ship, cackling like a madman. The pirates aren’t quite sure what to make of you. They just stand there, stunned. Their reverie is only broken when you draw your revolver, empty it and gun four of them down.The pirates charge you and you draw your sabre. You’re ready to take them all on but their charge is broken by the Lapertiare’s marines as they sally forth across several gangplanks thrown down between the ships. A marine sergeant tosses a grenade into the fray, releasing a gas that has the pirates coughing and retching. Thankfully, your mask protects you from the gas. Teams of marines pressure the pirates back with their spears, at the same time they douse the fires set by the torchship with jars of urine. You look across the sea to a similar scene occurring on the other ship. The marines are deadly efficient, pushing the pirates back up against walls and the railings of the deck.No fun. You wished to engage in a melee. Your revolver spent, you holster it and ascend to the bridge deck of the pirate ship, where four more enemy combatants are waiting for you, cutlasses drawn. Now this is more like it. The pirates make swings at you, but you deftly dodge and parry. One steps too close in his lunge and you run him through with your sabre. One down.The remaining three circle around you, making the occasional stab to test your guard. You parry lazily. One suddenly finds a sword through his fast and collapses as the blade is withdrawn. It’s Captain Aminata, a wide grin on her face. She licks her lips at the sight of you with a blade covered in blood.“That was my opponent, Aminata.” You’re both on a first name basis now, despite her being more than a decade your senior.“Don’t be so stiff, this is a free for all.”The two remaining pirates take your chatter as an opportunity to strike, but you sidestep both of them, and slice open the guts of one. Captain Aminata makes short work of the other. You both look up when you hear a scream come from above. A shape descends by rope from the mast, swinging down at you with a cutlass in each hand. It lands on the deck next to you. A tricorne makes this enemy out to be an officer on this ship.“All yours,” Aminata says and descends back to the main deck to direct her marines.You and your opponent circle, sizing each other up. He’s about as old as Aminata, with braids in his dirty blonde hair and beard. Perhaps he’d be useful to take captive. You have to defeat him first. Choose a stance>Aggressive (+10 to Strikes)>Defensive (+10 to Parries)>Cunning (+10 to Feints)>Naval System (+20 to Parries, -10 to Strikes)Choose a series of 5 actions from the following>Strike>Parry>Feint
>>3981222>Naval System (+20 to Parries, -10 to Strikes)PFSPF
Rolled 17, 97, 12, 14, 61 = 201 (5d100)>>3981222>Naval System (+20 to Parries, -10 to Strikes)Ship battles mean naval stance! And he seems like the agressive type to use a lot os strikesI say wePSPPF
>>3981222>>Naval System (+20 to Parries, -10 to Strikes)PPFPP
>>3981271And sorry about rolling I didn't see we were not suposed to roll yet
>>3981237I'll back this.
Rolled 49, 9, 57, 38, 23 = 176 (5d100)>>3981237>>3981276nah I think you are right we roll with vote
Rolled 35, 94, 21, 85, 16 = 251 (5d100)>>3981275>>3981397In that case, I will roll as well.
Rolled 40, 9, 24, 16, 13 = 102 (5d100)>>3981222
Rolled 14, 70, 4, 73, 76 = 237 (5d100)>>3981222
Rolled 32, 17, 26, 10, 44 = 129 (5d100)>>3981222>Naval System>S P F S S
Rolled 44, 73, 61, 25, 32 = 235 (5d100)Rolling for the pirate officer.
Rolled 1, 3, 1, 2, 2 = 9 (5d3)Rolling for the pirate officer's actions
>From now on, I’ll only be taking the best rolls from the first three players to roll. This is to ensure that not every encounter is steamrolled by a large number of rolls.>The duel mechanics are still experimental and subject to change. I’m open to feedback on how it can be improved or streamlined.>Changes I’m considering: >Scrapping stances and actions entirely and gaining a flat bonus based on your Martial stat>Making encounters best of three contested rolls instead of five>Let me know what you thinkWriting!
>>3982393Yeah that would simplify things Im ok with this.
>49(+20)(+10) vs 44: Win>97 vs 73: Win>57 vs 61: Loss>85(+20) vs 25: Win>61(+10) vs 32: Win[Karn gains 4 successes][Pirate officer gains 1 success]The officer tests your guard with a few pokes from both of his cutlasses. You block each one easily. You lower your guard, opening your arms and backing away from him, in a taunt. He takes the bait, lunging at you with one of his swords. You parry his strike and land a cut on his arm. The pirate backs off before you can land a heavier blow. You both lunge, both feinting a strike from one direction but meaning to turn their blades the other way. You sidestep his twisting blade and slash him across the side, leaving a cut on his ribs. You attempt to make a second strike at him once your turn around, but the officer is just barely quicker than you are this time and slices open the arm of your jacket, nicking the skin underneath. That’s going to be annoying to have fixed.He’s overextended in his lunge and you sense an opportunity to press him back. You put pressure on him, and he backs up, playing defensively this time. You twitch your blade in your guard, and he seems to think you’re about to strike, going wide for a parry. You take the opening and slash at his legs. He tries to parry your next blow, but you twist your wrist to send your strike in the opposite direction of his guard. Your blade is at his neck.He sputters something in a language you don’t understand. Probably the Lorienian vernacular. You assume he’s asking for quarter. It doesn’t sound like he’s taunting you to kill him, anyway. You wait for marines to ascend to the bridge deck before you lower your blade.
“All pirates killed or subdued, Excellency,” Aminata reports. Her dark eyes sparkle at you in the flare-illuminated night. “We’re checking their holds now.”The pirate ships are no longer on fire, thanks to the efforts of the marines. After a thorough inspection, the marines report back to Aminata regarding the cargo holds of the pirates. They contain mostly trade goods: spices, cloth, tobacco, and the like. What the marines bring out next is more surprising: bars of gold stamped with the imprint of the Imperial Fiat Bank. The trade goods, you understand. They could easily sell it on the market without anyone batting an eye. Imperial gold was another matter. It raises eyebrows.“Do you have a Lorienian translator on board, Captain?” you ask Aminata.“One of my junior officers is a native. Shall I send for him?” she asks. You nod affirmatively.“Where did you get this gold?” you ask, speaking through the translator. He repeats what you say to the pirate officer.“We discovered the shipping routes of your banking vessels. They were easily mined and sunk.” The pirate sneers with pride.“Who do you serve?”“The pirates know no lord or master. We serve our own.”You question him further about where the harbor their ships. Where they sell their goods. The pirate just smiles at you, no longer answering you. Aminata taps your shoulder to catch your attention.“Excellency, the prize crews are assembled and ready to crew the captured ships. What shall we do with the prisoners?”If you let them live, they will face trial for piracy in Flend, for which the punishment is death or hard labor. You could grant them the mercy of death now.>Throw them all in the cargo hold and let them await trial and questioning at the hands of the Imperial Jurispotence in Flend. Perhaps they can get answers out of them.>Give the pirate sailors quarter for now and have them help crew the ships. Execute the officers.>Execute the remaining sailors but keep the officers alive for questioning.>Write-in
>>3982743>>Throw them all in the cargo hold and let them await trial and questioning at the hands of the Imperial Jurispotence in Flend. Perhaps they can get answers out of them.
>>3982743>Throw them all in the cargo hold and let them await trial and questioning at the hands of the Imperial Jurispotence in Flend. Perhaps they can get answers out of them.And see if some of the pirate sailors would help man the ships too, the start of a crew of our own
>>3982743>Throw them all in the cargo hold and let them await trial and questioning at the hands of the Imperial Jurispotence in Flend. Perhaps they can get answers out of them.
>>3982743>>Execute the remaining sailors but keep the officers alive for questioning.
“Throw the prisoners belowdecks. Make sure they’re well fed and don’t go thirsty” you tell Aminata. “Offer amnesty to anyone willing to serve the Imperial Republic under my office. Otherwise they await trial before the Imperial Jurispotence. Perhaps His Excellency will be able to better extract information out of them.”Aminata salutes you, then relays your orders down the chain of command. When her officers are gone, she creeps up uncomfortably close to you and breathes into your ear. You skin prickles at the sudden warmth.“You were amazing out there. The way you led the marines by jumping across the gap between ships… Mhmm.”You push her away from you. You don’t like it when she’s overly familiar and touchy in public, despite her dismissing her officers already. It’s not becoming of someone of her rank. Nor is it proper for her as she is ostensibly your subordinate. If any officials outside of the Navy caught onto this, they’d surely blackmail you, if not outright see you removed from office. You know the sailors won’t rat you out, because that would implicate their captain in the process. The Commission representatives hardly ever leave their cabin. They’re probably organizing the results of civil service exam takers from Lorien. The merchant, Cairdine Farrier, however… It was probably he who stepped out a cabin to watch the rockets of the Lapertiare fire into the sky. You must talk to him soon. But back to Aminata…She’s frowning, her olive skin wrinkling on her forehead, as if she senses all the thoughts going through your head.“You shouldn’t be so stiff, Karn.” That’s the second time she’s said that in the past hour.“Now isn’t a great time, Captain.” You not calling her by her first name causes her frown to deepen.The rush of the fight is gone. It hits you. You’ve just gunned down four men without batting an eye. Your first kills. You are old enough to remember conflict between your tribe by the bay and the tribe on the plains. You were never old enough to go along with the war party, but your mother went. You know she had killed, her spear still bloodied when she arrived home with the party. It never seemed to weigh down on her. You think back to her deathbed.Your mother looked like death, her normally dark complexion pale, her skin covered in pustules. When she’d first contracted the pox, you and your father were afraid to get close to her, but it turned out you were immune, along with about half of the tribespeople. She motioned for you to get close, her voice weak, her breathing haggard.“You must stay strong my boy. For your father. You’re stronger than I am, you know? One day you will lead the tribe to war as I have."
With that, she breathed her last. Your father wasn’t even in the room, he was working the forge. Your mother would have never imagined that you’d leave home to serve the Masquerade in a faraway province. A tear runs down your face. You wipe it away with a dark-skinned hand, hoping Aminata hasn’t seen it. You think back to your studies in the school. Back to the Hierarchic Qualm. It was taught to you for this exact situation. You can hear Instructor Philips say it now. You recite it to yourself in a whisper.“The sword kills. But the arm moves the sword. Is the arm to blame for murder? No. The mind moves the arm. Is the mind to blame? No.”“The mind has sworn an oath to duty, and that duty moves the mind, as written by the Throne. So it is that a servant of the Throne is blameless.” Aminata finishes the axiom for you. “Those were your first kills weren’t they?”“Yes, they were.” You don’t believe service to the Throne wipes away your sins. You don’t believe that any service to the Throne is virtuous by rights. But the Qualm has its purpose and a general meaning. You’ll kill if it means serving and rising in power in the Imperial Republic. This is how you’ll free your people, by blood and by ink.“Come, Karn, the sailors found several casks of fine Falcresti wine in the pirates’ holds. I’m sure the port authorities won’t mind if we partake of a little. It’s not like they’ll know.”“But don’t you have to take a manifest of the reclaimed cargo?”“Like I said, stop being so stiff. You’re young. Live a little.” Aminata smiles at you, the wrinkles disappearing and her narrow, aquiline nose flaring. She throws her arm around you. You try to shrug it off, but she’s got a good grip. Her hands are rough from almost two decades as a sailor. She leads you across the gangplank back to the Lapertiare, where sailors and marines are putting spigots into the casks of wine, propped onto the tables where they usually play cards. The other marines are below decks, tending to wounds and cleaning their equipment. These ones are unscathed and the marines assisting them are off-duty, you think.Should you really be celebrating? You have prisoners belowdecks on the captured ships and are close now to Flend. Aminata doesn’t seem to have this on her mind as she fills a cup from the spigot and offers it to you. You don’t get it from her immediately, so she shrugs and chugs it down herself. The sailors cheer at the sight of their captain downing the captured grog. In the corner of your eye, you can see a tall figure poke a head out of a cabin.
>Grab a cup and drink alone in your cabin. With the nurse, maybe. Spend the rest of the night studying or at least try to.>Drink a little with the crewmen and Aminata, but stay sober. You’ve got someone to talk to, namely Cairdine Farrier, who just poked his head out of his cabin.>Drink enough to get a buzz. You’ve earned this and don’t want to seem like a killjoy.>Drink as much as you can. Like Aminata said, you’re young and you should live a little. The nurse can whip you something up if you get too intoxicated, anyway.
>>3984806>Drink a little with the crewmen and Aminata, but stay sober. You’ve got someone to talk to, namely Cairdine Farrier, who just poked his head out of his cabin.
>>3984806>>Drink a little with the crewmen and Aminata, but stay sober. You’ve got someone to talk to, namely Cairdine Farrier, who just poked his head out of his cabin.
>>3984806>Drink a little with the crewmen and Aminata, but stay sober. You’ve got someone to talk to, namely Cairdine Farrier, who just poked his head out of his cabin.I assume we talk first
Aminata offers you a cup of wine again and this time you accept. She bumps a new cup into yours and downs the entire contents while you merely take a sip. She frowns for a second when she sees that you didn’t empty your cup but shrugs and goes for another refill. The sailors and marines on the deck of the Lapertiare are now passing cups of wine around for everyone to partake of the wine from the three large casks that they’ve tapped. The wine is nothing like the native mead you rarely partook of on Taroanoke nor is it similar to the rum that the Falcresti learned to make from the sugar cane that flourishes on the island. Unlike the mead, the wine is dry, not sweet, and heavy in the mouth. You can taste the oaky flavors from having been stored in the casks for so long.Soon, the revelry is in full swing. A sailor brings out a fiddle and the crewmen being dancing around the deck. Captain Aminata, having given up on you for now, joins her men, locking elbows with them and shouting the lyrics to a sea shanty. You find it charming how the sailors, mostly Falcresti men with round eyes and pale skin, have readily accepted a commanding officer who looks nothing like them. Even moreso a commanding officer who ostensibly hails from a nation several times known as an enemy in the past. You had moments of connection with the Falcresti faculty of the trade school on Taroanoke but they were few and you otherwise always felt like an other, not someone they had something in common with. Invitations to their quarters for games of strategy still felt like part of your schooling.It hasn’t escaped you that the merchant Cairdine Farrier has decided to show his face again after the clash between the Imperial and pirate crews. He must have disappeared again into his cabin after the barrage of rockets finished. You look around for his large figure, which shouldn’t be hard to miss. You spot the fat man alone at the bow of the ship, sipping from a cup of wine of his own. In his other hand you notice a long loaf of bread which he occasionally dips into his cup. He’s draped in shadow, his figure blocking the light from a lantern hanging from the bowsprit, the night no longer illuminated by a flare in the sky. You approach him from behind, purposefully clacking your boots on the deck so not to alarm him when you greet him.“Mr. Farrier, I presume?”He turns around quickly and almost drops his bread, surprised despite your efforts at announcing your presence. Farrier looks you up and down, taking in your clerical garments, the gold watch at your waist and the inquisitorial mask hanging from your belt. The man himself wears a white shirt, an open vest, and poofy harem pants. Very merchantile and un-Falcresti, despite his classic Falcresti features.“Ah, Your Excellency. The new Imperial Prefect of Lorien. Karn Cormorant, was it? Pleased to make your acquaintance. I would introduce myself, but you seem to know who I am. You surprised me, by the way.”
“I did my very best to announce my presence, sir, by my walking, but you seem to not have noticed it anyway.”“Is that so? Well. How may I be of service to the new Imperial Prefect?”You’re taken a bit aback by the forwardness of Farrier. He assumes immediately that you want something from him. Or is he just being polite by offering his services? It’s hard to tell how people react to you in your new position.“Just seeking company, Mr. Farrier.” You’re not sure what title to use with him but calling him mister hasn’t seemed to draw any offense.“Yes, the crew are being rather rowdy. Especially that Captain Aminata. She’s awfully friendly with the enlisted men, don’t you think?”You do not comment of the captain’s friendliness, sipping from your cup of wine instead of saying a word. You change the subject instead, inquiring about Farrier himself.“The captain mentioned you as an interesting character on this ship, sir. I understand that you are an auditor for the Imperial Trade Factor, correct? Isn’t it odd for you to be on a non-mercantile ship?”“I was conducting an audit of the Taroanoke Trade Company. I had just finished and was authorized to board the next ship to Lorien. I am to conduct an audit there as well. How charmed I was to find out that I’d be sharing a ship with you. Of course, I had not seen you about the ship until today.”“I’ve been secluding myself in study. Preparing myself for my new position, something that the trade school on Taroanoke didn’t exactly prepare me for.”“I see, hitting the books. Good luck to you, young man. You are the first Taroanoki native to reach a position as high as yours. You are pioneer for your people! I shall watch your career closely. What you do may very well shape the future of your kin in service to the Masquerade. Your stock is untested as of yet, you see.”“So I will. So we are,” you say. You chuckle at that, the thought of you shaping the future of the Taroanoki people in the Imperial Republic. That you very much will.“Now you must excuse me, Excellency, it is getting late and this wine is quite strong. I shall retire, if you would allow me.”“Of course, sir. I shall retire as well.”Captain Aminata is still dancing around on the deck below, while the sailors with her have dwindled down. The wine is strong indeed – you note that some sailors are passed out. Aminata seems to be going strong, however. The fiddler has disappeared, but she continues to belt out a shanty with all her might. She notices you as you descend from the bow to the main deck. You’re suddenly wrapped in an embrace as Aminata pounces on you.“Heyyy why haven’t you been drinking with me? You aren’t being funnnn, Karnnnn!”Her breath stinks of the acidic, sour wine and she definitely sounds drunk. You wonder how many cups she’s chugged for her to get intoxicated this quickly.“Aminata,” you whisper. “Not in front of the crew!”“If you wanna keep it private, we can go to your rooooooooom.”
You trudge along the deck to your cabin. Aminata trails along, her feet dragging and her embrace around you not breaking. The sailors still awake nurse their drinks and glance over at the two of you but look away when they recognize the two of you. You open your cabin door. The sight of the nurse, in her bedclothes and about to go to sleep, greets you. Marian runs over when she notices your slashed jacket and the cut underneath.“Is she gonna join us? Hic-hic,” Aminata hiccups then giggles like she’s two decades younger than she really is.“Help me get her in the bed.” Without a word, Marian goes to other side of Captain Aminata and pries one of her arms from around you. She helps you carry the captain all the way to the bed, where Aminata falls face first on the mattress. The two of you help her out of her officer’s jacket and pull her boots off her feet. You wrestle the sheets out from under Aminata then tuck her into bed.“Hehe thank you,” Aminata whispers before falling asleep.“Now let me look at that cut,” Marian says to you. She makes you sit down on the edge of the bed. You strip off your jacket and harness, and Marian hangs them both on the coat rack. “I’ll fix that some other time.”You hiss as Marian washes your wound with antiseptic. The cut is clean and hasn’t bled much. Marian produces dressings from her supplies and wraps it around your wound. She clicks her tongue when she’s finished.“You know, Karn, there are marines for a reason. You’re too valuable to be rushing into fights head on. You should let the grunts go first.”“It’s inspiring for the regulars to see one of their superiors lead them from the front. Morale is what makes or breaks men in battle.”“But these aren’t your men, are they? This isn’t your ship either. You should have let the captain do that.”You don’t want to argue any further, so you just grunt in response. Marian is just showing that she cares for your wellbeing as your staff nurse. She’d have to seek another posting if you somehow died in the line of duty, and she has very few connections in Lorien.“Furthermore, you should stop being so friendly with the captain. I know her men won’t rat you out, but if anyone else does, it could harm your prospects for marriage. You’re young, don’t throw that away. The captain, meanwhile, her clock is ticking.”You reply with another grunt.“Good night, Karn.” She blows out the lamp she was using to inspect your wound then goes to her hammock. You get under the covers next to Aminata, keeping some space between the two of you, and likewise blow out the lamp at your bedside.
Several days pass before a sailor in the crow’s nest cries out that he’s sighted land. You’ve continued your seclusion in your cabin, studying the Imperial Cult and the province of Lorien. Your books are a great addition to your knowledge, but you strongly consider hiring a native as your secretary once you’re settled in your office in Flend. They will provide insights into the land and its people that your books can’t. Perhaps a cleric as an advisor as well.No one’s spoken of the captain’s drunkenness during that night of revelry. You’ve kept it professional with her for the past few days and she hasn’t invited you for any spars lately. To keep active, you’ve instead done body weight exercises in your cabin, sometimes using the heavy books as weights. Sometimes Marian sits on your back, reviewing pathology, while you do pushups.The few times you do leave your cabin, it is to have dinner with the captain and to fetch water for your bath. The sailors bathe on deck using saltwater, as comfortable with each other’s nakedness as children are. You’re exempt from inspection from the ship’s doctor because you have Marian by your side. She reports her findings to him.The jacket you used in the boarding action is now fixed, Marian being as good at using a thread and needle on cloth as she is with people. You ponder whether you should get a few jackets lined with armor. It may or may not stop a bullet, but firearms are rare as it is in Lorien and among the enemies of the Masquerade.Captain Aminata advises you that you near the harbor of Flend and invites you out to deck to take in the city on approach.“You should wear your formal mask now, Karn, not the inquisitor’s mask. The Viceroy and his officers will be waiting for us as we go ashore.”Two burned out towers guard the bay of Flend, bombed out by the Masquerade when they first took the city. Two torchships are anchored between the two towers, and they signal the Lapertiare and her flotilla with flashes of light. You cannot make out the message of the torchships, the long and short flashes of lamplight coming out as gibberish when you write them out on paper. Must be a code exchanged between captains and admirals. Riots ashore – or all is well. Something along those lines.The deck is abuzz with activity once more as sailors adjust the sails as the ship moves further into the bay of the city. The sailors have now donned jackets to warm them as the cold breeze sweeps in. Captain Aminata still wears hers slightly open in defiance of the climate.
You take in the city as the Lapertiare gets closer and closer. The city is cut into the side of a mountain in the center. It now wraps the bay from edge to edge after centuries of growth. The buildings of the city are mostly hewn from stone, in a mishmash of old Maia, native Lorienian, and contemporary Falcresti architecture. You can spot the Viceroy’s palace on its little peninsula from where you stand on the ship, towering over the low-rise buildings at the bayside.The Lapertiare sets anchor for the moment in the middle of the bay. You look around quizzically at the captain.“It’s closer from here if you take a skiff to the palace. The naval docks are on the far side of the city, so we’ll send you off first.”It takes you a bit to set your affairs in order on the ship. You pack up your trunk and make sure everything in the captain’s cabin is left the way you found it. Marian packs up her things as well.How do you plan to arrive in Flend, the capital of Lorien?>Wear your most understated jacket, your harness with sabre and revolver, and your inquisitor’s mask. Leap from the skiff onto the dock and announce your own arrival. Show them you mean business.>Don your most ceremonial jacket – the one trimmed in gold and line with fur. Wear your harness with sabre and dueling pistol, and your formal mask. Have someone announce your arrival. You’re hear to serve and not to break the status quo.>You have other plans. Dress in civilian clothes, tuck a dagger in your boot and pistol into your belt. Order the skiff to drop you in the middle of the city and tour around unmasked before heading to the palace.
>>3988017>You have other plans. Dress in civilian clothes, tuck a dagger in your boot and pistol into your belt. Order the skiff to drop you in the middle of the city and tour around unmasked before heading to the palace.Get an unbiased look at the city
>>3988017>>Don your most ceremonial jacket – the one trimmed in gold and line with fur. Wear your harness with sabre and dueling pistol, and your formal mask. Have someone announce your arrival. You’re hear to serve and not to break the status quo.
>>3988017>Don your most ceremonial jacket – the one trimmed in gold and line with fur. Wear your harness with sabre and dueling pistol, and your formal mask. Have someone announce your arrival. You’re hear to serve and not to break the status quo.
You decide to play it safe and follow Captain Aminata’s advice. Marian helps you get your arms into your heavy, gold-trimmed, fur-lined black formal jacket, then goes around to your front to help you with the ties that keep the jacket closed. You set aside your full-faced inquisitor’s mask for now. The formal mask covers only the top half of your face and is gold – most likely plated – to match the trimmings of your formal jacket. Finally, you replace your revolver in your harness with one of your dueling pistols and holster it opposite your dress saber. You affix your badge of office, the pocket watch of the Cult, to a gold chain and let it hang from your waist. Marian doesn’t know how to shine your boots, but you bet one of the junior officers of the ship does. You call one to your cabin and he dutifully shines without a word. With your uniform complete, you’re ready to leave the ship.You open the door of you cabin, Marian following close behind you. She’s in her nurse’s uniform, red and white cloth mask covering the bottom of her face. You exit to see a sea of red and silver, the ship’s marine detachment masked and out in full force to see you off. Captain Aminata descends from the bridge deck. Her jacket is closed in propriety – finally – and her face is covered by a mask similar to yours but in bare steel.“Excellency, you look resplendent. The black and gold suit you.”“Thank you, Captain.” You wave her over to you so you can whisper in her ear. “Would you mind having one of your marines announce my arrival?”“I already gave instructions to the sergeant accompanying you on the skiff.”Two marines emerge from your cabin, your trunk carried between the two of them. You never had many personal belongings on Taroanoke, so your clothes and your mother’s spearhead fit into the trunk without a problem. That trunk carries everything you own in this world.You’re about to climb down the ladder to the skiff when Captain Aminata shouts an order to her crew and the marines.“Preseeeeent arms!”The assembled crewmen, officers, and marines salute you with their weapons. You would attempt to draw your saber, but it’s sheathed on the off-hand side of your harness. So you salute instead with a gloved hand, then descend to the skiff. You avert your eyes when Marian descends after you so not to stare up her uniform skirt. After the two of you, your trunk and a trunk of Marian’s belongings are lowered down on ropes. Four marines are with you on the skiff and they get the trunks settled onto the skiff. Four sailors push you off from the Lapertiare and man the oars.One of the marines – the sergeant, you guess based on the chevron embossed on his steel full-mask and on the arms of his jacket – hands you a rolled up note.It reads “The Lapertiare and her flotilla isn’t expected to stay in port for too long, but if you need me or my marines, don’t hesitate to send for us. – Aminata”
You make a mental note. In Lorien, the Imperial Commander has jurisdiction over land-based forces of the Masquerade – the civil guard and the military garrison. You expect you’ll have a small inquisitorial body under your command as Prefect and the Jurispotence should have a small force of court guards, but nothing will match the Imperial Commander. Having five ship’s worth of marines at your disposal, however.The skiff lurches forward in a rhythmic pattern. Marian interrupts your train of thought with a question.“Do you think you’re ready to assume your duties? Everyone’s been calling you Excellency and you’ve been calling the shots around the ship, but today begins the real deal.”You hadn’t really put much thought to it. The Masquerade expects a Taroanoki islander of your age and education to head one of the most important offices in their crown jewel province in the north. Lorien is Falcrest’s gateway to the north and the west, keeping out the Mirans to the southwest and the Stakhi to the north. At the same time, it provides the most mineral resources out of any province in the entire Imperial Republic, beating production of the Falcresti heartland itself. They’re entrusting you, a young man with no clerical training at all, with the spiritual health of the Lorienian people. Even with the reading you’ve done over the past weeks, and the twelves years of education in the Imperial Trade School on Taroanoke, you’re still iffy on how to feel about the Imperial Cult. You still cling to the animist practices of your people. It is an uncomplicated faith. Pay respect to the earth and nature, and you shall prosper. Your people burn offerings to the spirits as part of every meal, thanking them for the bounty of the earth and sea in feeding you. You pray every night to your ancestors who have joined the world of spirits to watch over you. Your faith doesn’t conflict much with Imperial Cult dogma. Folk tales on Taroanoke speak little of creation myth. The Masquarade outlawed it anyway.In contrast, the religion of the Imperial Cult is grounded in numerous earthly practices. To be spiritually healthy, they teach, one must also be healthy in body and mind. To keep the body healthy, the Cult teaches of cleanliness, not only of oneself but in their relations with others. Being unclean with others – unnecessary and public showing and contact of skin as well as “unhygienic” sexual practices between people of the same sex – are abhorred. The hot knife for the tribadist, they warn, and the hot iron for the sodomite. To keep the mind healthy, one must learn how the world works through science and stay away from the forbidden knowledge of magic and witchcraft. Dumb labor for the uneducated. Death to the mage and the witch. The former, you abide by. The science of the Masquerade has brought much improvement to life on Taroanoke. The latter you cannot speak much of. Your people know very little of magic.
You may not believe in everything you’ll be preaching to the people of Lorien, but the position of Prefect brings you much power in the Masquerade’s bureaucracy and in the province. Power to sway people’s beliefs. Power that will only increase as you rise through the ranks. Power that will help you topple the Masquerade from the inside and free Taroanoke. Your original plans didn’t account for this path to power, a path through religion and the Cult, but it’ll have to do. You’ll adjust.Marian looks at you expectantly. You don’t answer her, but she knows you well enough to tell when you’re deep in thought. You have the habit of clenching and unclenching your jaw when you think.The skiff hits the pile of a dock. You’ve arrived at the Viceroy’s palace. The water is smooth here, especially close to the shore, so the sailors easily tie down the skiff to the dock. A party of approach the skiff from the end of the dock, all of them masked. They’re accompanied by soldiers fully masked in steel and wearing jackets in garrison blue – in contrast the red of the navy and the marines. You leap from the skiff onto the dock, your saber and badge of office swinging as you jump.“Ladies and gentlemen, His Excellency the Imperial Prefect of Lorien, Karn Cormorant,” announces the marine sergeant, lifting the bottom of his mask slightly so that his voice isn’t muffled.The first man to approach you wears a half-mask in bone white. The Viceroy you presume. Like his mask, his garb is all white and trimmed in black – with the exception of his trousers, which echo with a reversed color scheme. Similar to the supposed white garb and full-mask of the Masked Emperor.“Excellency. You are full of the vigor and strength of a young man. How delightful to meet you. I am Viceroy Petrarch.” The Viceroy, clearly a native of the Falcrest heartland with his fair skin and hair, smiles at you pleasantly, wrinkles forming around his mouth as he does. He must be older than your father. He shakes your hand vigorously with hands gloved in soft white cloth and speaks further.“These are your colleagues, the Accountant, the Jurispotence, and the Commander.” The Viceroy points each one out in turn. You read about each of them on your way here.
The Imperial Accountant, masked in white porcelain, is a youngish woman six years older than you are, her skin tan from growing up in the southern Falcresti heartland, near the border with the Oriati Federations. She goes to shake your hand. Her name is Baru Cattlson. Contrary to Falcresti fashion, Cattlson wears trousers and has a sword sheathed at her side. How masculine. She’s been in her position for five years roughly after showing great promise in an apprenticeship in the capital city of Treatymont. A savant with numbers, by all accounts. She’s managed the province’s economy well, ensuring a steady outflow of taxes and resources to Falcrest.The Imperial Jurispotence, Pulin Quanly, is a graying woman, but a bit younger than the Viceroy. She is the only Lorienian native on the Viceroy’s board of officers, with a small nose, flat face, wide cheekbones, and shallowly set eyes. Unlike Accountant Cattlson, she wears a full gown, crafted from a purple, silky fabric, cinched tightly at the waist, and her bosom straining against the corset. Her half-mask is porcelain white like the Accountant’s. You know little about her career, except for the fact that she runs a tight outfit in her courts and maintains a good working relationship with the Commander.Like the Viceroy, the Imperial Commander Gordon Olake is a native of Falcrest. He’s been in office for a decade now, with little to say of his career since then, which is good when his job is to keep the peace and suppress rebellion. Olake wears a jacket in garrison blue, trimmed with silver and wears a silver half-mask.The Viceroy’s officers introduce you in turn to their respective subordinates, but their names don’t stick in your mind. Accountant Cattlson introduces her chief banker and several of her economic advisers. The Jurispotence, two of her top judges. The Commander does not have anyone to introduce, not having delegated any of his powers to subordinates.“Come, my Prefect,” Viceroy Petrarch says to you. “We have prepared food and drink in the main ballroom of the palace. I’m sure you’re tired of seafood and rum. Later, we will hold a ball in honor of your arrival. I have invited all the dukes of Lorien and their courtiers for you to meet. I will introduce you to each of them. Perhaps you will meet someone suitable for marriage. You have your marriage rights, already, yes?”You do, they came with your naturalization papers. You’ll be able to have children once you have a comprehensive genealogical review.“You’ll do oathtaking in front of all the nobles and officers of Lorien. Are you excited, son?”You hum in response. You’ve read over the oaths you’ll be swearing. There are many references to the Falcresti Almighty god in them. Petrarch doesn't seem to notice your lack of verbal answer.
>Go with Petrarch and your colleagues to partake of food and drink in the ballroom while waiting for the guests to arrive>If it pleases the Viceroy, you’d like to get to work immediately and go to your office in the palace. You’ll need to meet your clerics and do some recruiting of auxiliary staff. You’ll follow to the ball and oathtaking.>Ask the Viceroy if you could tour the city by carriage. You’d like the get a view of the people – your flock – that you’ll be attending to.>Write-in
>>3989873>>Ask the Viceroy if you could tour the city by carriage. You’d like the get a view of the people – your flock – that you’ll be attending to.
>>3989873>Write-inAsk to see our room and where we will be located, let's have a look at that and get settled, see the closer servants too, we will be hiding many things from them so we will need to surround ourselves with trustworthy people or keep them away >Contrary to Falcresti fashion, Cattlson wears trousers and has a sword sheathed at her side. How masculine.I see our cousin may make a new friend here, and she works with numbers too.
>>3989873>>Ask the Viceroy if you could tour the city by carriage. You’d like the get a view of the people – your flock – that you’ll be attending to.These nerds are boring, let's go on a tour
>>3989873>>Go with Petrarch and your colleagues to partake of food and drink in the ballroom while waiting for the guests to arrive
>>3989873>Ask the Viceroy if you could tour the city by carriage. You’d like the get a view of the people – your flock – that you’ll be attending to.
The Viceroy starts to walk towards the palace, the party of Masquerade officials parting in the middle for him pass. Before he can get far, you call out to him.“Viceroy Petrarch.”“Yes, son?” He turns back to face you, his dark blue eyes stark in contrast to his pale skin and the bone white of his mask. The eyes of the rest of the party are on you as well. You’re not used to such attention directed to your person and you almost falter in your speech.“If it pleases your Excellencies, I will forego the food and drink for now. I would like to go on a tour of the city, to see the people and how they live. I wish to see the flock which I will be attending to,” you say. You spread your arms to gesture towards the breadth of the city. Flend is breathtaking to you. The city stretches from one tip of the bay to the other, surrounding it on all sides. You had read all about the cities of the world outside of Taroanoke, but to see it in person is surreal. It’s larger than anything you could have imagined; the harbor town of Taroanoke is tiny compared to this.“I will allow it, Excellency,” says Viceroy Petrarch. Though you share the same honorific, the Viceroy is without a doubt your superior.The Imperial Commander, Gordon Olake, walks up to Viceroy to say something in a whisper. Petrarch replies for everyone to hear.“Ensure his safety then,” Viceroy Petrarch tells Olake. Olake nods and goes to speak with one of his soldiers. The soldier hurries off to the palace.“Commander Olake is arranging a carriage for you, with accompanying mounted guards. You may send the marines back to their ship,” Petrarch tells you. With your and Marian’s belongings offloaded from the skiff, the marines descend back into the small boat and push off from the dock. The sergeant salutes you and you remember the help that Aminata promised you via the slipped note. You think to the fate of your predecessor in the office of Imperial Prefect. You may need to call upon that help sooner or later.“While we wait for you carriage, Excellency, we have some things to discuss. Walk with me,” Viceroy Petrarch says. He gestures to the rest of the party to go ahead and leave the two of you alone. Once the two of you are out of earshot of the others – except for two garrison soldiers who trail behind – he addresses you again. Marian walks alone, at a respectful distance from you and the Viceroy.“Son, you are aware of the fate of your predecessor?” The Viceroy places his gloved hand on your shoulder.“I am, Viceroy. I was able to speak to the Commission representatives on the Lapertiare,” you reply. “They seemed to get a laugh out of it when I asked if he was removed from office.”
“After the…shortcomings of his own predecessor, we’d thought to move the quarters and offices of the Prefect to a tower in the palace. To keep a closer watch on whoever came next, you see. And it should have been safer too.” The Viceroy frowns at that. One of his own officers had been killed in the palace. With the garrison so close by and the number of guards around, it should be one of the safest places in the city.“We found Prefect Xate there coming morning,” the Viceroy says, pointing at the base of a tower on the south side of the palace, facing the bay. “Attached to his body, if you can still call it that, was a note that said ‘Lorien cannot be ruled.’”Lorien cannot be ruled, you think. It’s an old saying repeated throughout the province’s history, even before the Masquerade conquered it. The Stakhi to the north and even the old Imperial Maia had once tried to rule Lorien, but the locals always rebelled, crying out that Lorien cannot be ruled. It has held true even for the natives, for Lorien has never known a native king or queen. Throughout the independent periods of Lorienian history, dukes and duchesses have tried to declare themselves monarch above the others, but alliances of the other duchies always formed to strike them down. Lorien cannot be ruled, yet the Masquerade has ruled it for the past century.“Another brewing rebellion, Viceroy?” you ask. The Viceroy snaps his head to look at you in the eyes. You bite your tongue. Perhaps you were too quick to speak.“Watch who you say that around, my son. There are personas who would be offended by the mere suggestion of that, even from a newcomer.” The Viceroy makes a quick gesture to party of people walking in front of you. “Especially his Excellency the Commander.”“Almost all of the prefectural staff requested immediate transfers upon the death of Prefect Xate,” Petrarch continues. “I’ll be assigning a trusted staffer as your secretary. He’s a native, and well versed in local politics. I can make more recommendations if you need, but feel free to choose the rest of your staff on your own.”The two of you have been walking as you talk; you come up to the driveway of the palace. A carriage has pulled up in front of the main doors of the palace, accompanied by two mounted guards. The closed chassis of the carriage is plain, the wood making up its structure painted in a black lacquer. The sides of the carriage have windows set into them, suitably large enough for you to view the outside from within. The rest of the greeting party waits on the steps leading up to the palace doors, smiling pleasantly as you and the Viceroy finally catch up to them.“Your carriage, Excellency,” says Commander Olake, one of his soldiers opening the door to the carriage’s interior. He attempts to smile at you but quickly returns his face to a blank state.
You make a quick bow to the Viceroy, taking your leave, then whisper a quick thanks to the soldier holding the door as you step up into the carriage. Marian boards the carriage as well and is about to say something to you when someone else follows the two of you in.“Madam,” the man says, attempting to bow in the low ceiling of the carriage. “Your Excellency. I am Muire Lo, your new secretary as assigned by His Excellency the Viceroy. I will be pleased to be of service.”Muire Lo unsurely takes a seat across from you and next to Marian. He’s unmasked, his face bare for all to see, full of native Lorienian features like Her Excellency the Jurispotence Pulin Qunaly. You make him out to be older than even Marian is, into his mid-thirties. He smiles weakly under your gaze then coughs into a handkefchief.“Are you sick, Mister Lo?” you ask of him.“Please, Excellency, call me Muire,” he says. “And yes, a hereditary illness. Nothing infectious, the hygienist said. It will not impede me in my duties to you.”“Very well, Muire,” you say. “Are you from Flend, Muire? Shall you show us around the city?”“That I am, Excellency, though I was educated in Falcrest,” Muire says. He pulls back a slot in the carriage’s wall between him and Marian. The face of a garrison regular, the carriage’s driver, appears on the other side. Muire exchanges a few words with the driver and the carriage starts moving.Falcrest-educated, he says. You feel a pang of jealousy, your own secretary having been to the heartland of the Imperial Republic before you have. That is where all the power lies. Falcrest and Treatymont, her capital – your final goal. The city in which the Masked Emperor sits upon the Shrouded Throne.The carriage reaches a respectable speed, you notice, peering out the windows, and exits the palace gates. There’s a short distance between the palace gates and the city proper, as the Viceroy’s palace sits on a little peninsula, somewhat detached from the rest of Flend.“We’ll first show you the Sky District, Excellency,” Muire says, “where the city’s moneyed denizens live.”“I don’t wish to see how the highborn live, Muire,” you tell him. “Though it will offer a comparison in how stratified your society is. I wish to see how the lowest of the low live. They are the ones I will tend to.”Though you care little for Imperial Cult doctrine, you wish not for the lives of the lowest of the low to be trampled in your rise to power. It would only make you as bad as them.“Of course, Excellency,” says Muire. He pulls back on the slot again to speak with the driver. They have a heated exchange that you can’t quite make out.“Then avoid the square,” is the only thing you can hear Muire say. He shuts the slot.
The carriage moves slowly through what you assume is the Sky District. The buildings here are made of stone, built in a mix of the smaller, multi-storied Falcresti style and the wide, temple-like architecture of the old Imperial Maia. The streets here are clean. Here and there, servants scrub the cobblestones with brushes, throwing down acid to dissolve the harder to clean dirt from the stones. Besides the servants, the streets are devoid of life, only the occasional carriage passing you by and none of the wealthy residents walking along the street. No children playing about. You spy a richly dressed woman in furs exit a house, accompanied by servants – dressed better than Muire Lo is – as she mounts a carriage.“Do any important players actually live here in the Sky District?”, you ask Muire Lo.“Many of the province’s dukes maintain residences in the Sky District, Excellency,” Muire Lo says. “The provincial government also owns several houses here, but the Viceroy insists that you all stay in his palace – for security.”You don’t wish to remain cooped up in the Viceroy’s Palace, you think. Your purview is not the country’s economy, its military, or its laws. Your office benefits from being close to the people. The more you isolate yourself from the people, the further away you are from their pulse. Through your office, you are to attend to the people’s needs – but it spiritual, educational, or medical. On the other hand, Flend is only a small portion of Lorien – you may have to tour the entire province itself.“What was that about the square?” you ask Muire. “You seemed to be arguing with the driver. And there’s the horse guards. Is there a security issue?”“Well, yes, Excellency,” Muire replies. He uses his handkerchief to wipe away sweat from his forehead. It’s cold outside. “There’s a protest in the city square.”“Take us there,” you say.“Excellency? But your safety,” Muire says.“You heard me, Muire,” you tell him. “Tell the driver. Take us to the city square.”If the people are letting their displeasure with the government be known, you want to hear it.“Y-yes, your Excellency. It shall be done.”Muire Lo opens up the slot to the driver’s seat once more, informing the soldier-driver of your orders. They have another heated exchange until the driver finally gives in with a grunt. The driver is the one who closes the slot this time. The carriage picks up pace, as you were gliding slowly through the Sky District, and you assume you’re headed towards the city square. The houses abruptly become less clean and organized as you exit the Sky District. The streets become more populated with people, making their way through the city on foot. The way is wide enough for a carriage to pass in each direction, with extra room on the side for people. A main road? You wouldn’t know. You ask Muire.
“Yes, Excellency, this is one of the main thoroughfares going to the city square. We’re passing through the Artisan’s Quarter now.”True to what he says, your ears perk up when you when you hear the ringing of a hammer striking steel on an anvil. The Artisan’s Quarter indeed. You’re reminded of home, of assisting your father in his forge, making spear- and arrowheads for the village’s warriors. You never reached the age where he let you do all the work on your own. For one of your namedays, he forged you a dagger that you always keep by your side, whether tucked into your belt or into a boot.The workshops and forges increase in number as you move down the road in your carriage, some of them displaying wares by the roadside. Some of the city folk stop to inspect a sword here, a dagger there. Here in Lorien, it seems that long and straight blades prevail over the shorter, curved forms of imperial sabers. In one roadside display, you can see full suits of armor for sale. Some of the artisans have adapted to Falcresti styles, but most are still crafting in the way of Lorien’s heritage. Who are buying these things? Mercenaries? You ask Muire Lo.“Ah, smiths here hardly ever make tools of war, but they are a great way to show off one’s handiwork and skill, Excellency,” Muire tells you. “Perhaps you would like to own a Lorienian longsword? I know of a smith who caters exclusively to officials and nobles. He’s not along this main road.”This district still isn’t representative of the common people of Flend. The folk walking along the streets are dressed well enough. The streets are relatively clean. The common folk would only work here at best, not live here. The carriage moves on past the workshops.You can tell you near the city square by the clamor ringing through the air. People are shouting something in the native tongue of Lorien, but you can also hear them yell in heavily accented Falcresti. Some of them are singing. Streams of people are flowing past the carriage, in the direction of what you assume is the city square. If the number of people on the street increase, the carriage won’t be able to move any further.You’re going to leave the carriage, you decide. You unfasten your weapon harness and remove your half-mask. When you ask Marian to help you with your jacket, she looks at you quizzically but goes over to sit next to you inside the carriage and starts to undo the ties of your jacket. Muire Lo looks on, mouth opening and closing as you remove clothes from your upper body. With your jacket off, you untuck your undershirt, then pull your pistol out its holster and stuff it into the waistband of your trousers. You’ll have to leave your saber here, it’s too bulky. You’ve got a dagger in your boot, anyway. You shove your half-mask into your pocket just in case.“Excellency, where do you think you’re going?”, Muire Lo asks, confused by what’s going on.
“I’m going to join the crowd,” you say. “Come with me if you wish. I’m not staying in this carriage.”You open the door of the carriage and leap out onto the pavement. You look back at Marian, but she shakes her head. She’d stick out too much in her stark white nurse’s uniform, so she elects to stay in the carriage. Muire Lo continues to open and close his mouth like a fish on land. With your jacket and mask off and the streams of people around the carriage, the horse guards pay you no notice as you slip into the crowd.The people are headed to the city square, that’s for sure. You can see a statue of a Masquerade marine, anonymous in his steel mask, rising out of the center of the square. At the end of the road, where the street opens into the square, there’s a line of Masquerade garrison soldiers barring the way. They form a wall with shields and spears, only allowing the city folk to pass through them via an opening in the middle of the wall of bodies.The crowd gets thicker as they’re forced through the bottleneck between the soldiers. You push your way through the opening and once you’re through, the crowd disperses, though everyone is still moving towards the center of the square, towards the statue. Someone’s climbed up onto the plinth. Their face is obscured by a hood. Protesting the Masquerade and wearing a mask to hide one’s face while doing it would be disingenuous. The figure cries out a sentence in the native tongue. A woman.“Lorien cannot be ruled, she said,” says someone behind you. Muire Lo has followed you into the crowd. Good, you wouldn’t be able to understand otherwise. Muire wipes sweat from his forehead again. The crowd repeats after the woman.“Lorien cannot be ruled!”, they shout in a mix of Falcresti and Lorienian.“From years of Masquerade rule, not everyone speaks the native tongue fluently,” Muire Lo whispers in your ear. The two of you are beginning to be forced together by the density of the crowd. “Especially the younger generations forced to grow up speaking Falcresti.”The woman now begins to cry out in Falcresti for all to hear.“Hear me and hear me well brethren! These are the words you are not meant to hear! The thoughts you can't think, and the fire snuffed by the Masquerade! To those that can hear, do you understand the tongue of our forebears? Have you ever known their faith? Have you ever, brothers? I know you have not, I know you and your children after you have been ripped from your families embrace, starved of everything that makes our people! Your children turned against you, taught to betray their very own kin, their very own blood! Lorien will not be forgotten, Lorien cannot be ruled!”“Lorien cannot be ruled!”, the crowd echoes, turning back to face the Masquerade garrison and yelling the old saying at them. The number of people in the city square has increased, the pressing bodies of the crowd pushing you and Muire Lo together.
“We will not go silently into the night to be butchered! We will not let our land die bloodless! Lorien cannot be ruled!”The crowd echoes the old saying once more and surges against the wall of the garrison soldiers blocking the street from where you came. Soldiers from the other streets leading into the square start marching towards the crowd. A sour scent starts wafting over the crowd, blowing in with the wind.“Riot acid,” whispers Muire Lo. “We have to get out of here.”You recognize the scent as well. In your book on chemistry and alchemy, you read about this. You’ve never seen it used in practice. There aren’t enough people on Taroanoke for a protest of this size. The garrison will soon deploy barrels of a weak acid onto the crowd, as well as bombs to deploy the acid in vapor form, to disperse it. Anyone found after the protest with acid rashes will be arrested and taken to the Jurispotence.>Push through the crowd towards the statue. You must find out who this woman is.>Stay where you are and count on the other bodies of the crowd to protect you.>Push through the crowd towards the carriage, donning your mask for the garrison to let you through. Let the crowd burn.>Push through the crowd towards the carriage, don your mask, and order the garrison not to deploy the acid. These are your flock whether they like it or not.
>>3997164>>Push through the crowd towards the statue. You must find out who this woman is.
>>3997164>Push through the crowd towards the statue. You must find out who this woman is.
>>3997164>>Push through the crowd towards the carriage, donning your mask for the garrison to let you through. Let the crowd burn.
>>3997164>>Push through the crowd towards the statue. You must find out who this woman is.And dont let the gas out
>>3997164>Push through the crowd towards the statue. Do not hinder acid deployment.