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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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Greetings! This is our ninth episode, and as such, it's time for a recap!

For old threads, look here! http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Dead%20Gods%20Quest

For updates, check twitter! @Someone_else___

Elsa's Character Sheet! http://pastebin.com/ezsJzAWG

Resident artist: Eversor_

Before we get underway, I've written a bit of a text recap of the bizarre events of the last two threads, which will hopefully help readers catch up to speed.
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You have killed three conspirators and captured another, recruited both the Brotherhood and Firesouls (to the extent that such people can be recruited), and brought the heads of the Army and local government, and the King, into your confidence. You were, mere hours before, shown an image of heaven, which no longer exists, completely by accident, and Haret, another demigod, came within a hairsbreadth of killing the whole city with a tornado as punishment.

You convinced him to stand down. We pick up a few hours later.
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Your name is Elsa Ledren, and your life is really bloody weird.

At that moment, you, your husband, and the demigoddess Asa (or at least her Avatar) are sitting in your brother-in-law’s guest bedroom, having what could be called a ‘brisk’ discussion about how the entire city is going up in flames. “The King, of course, absolutely lost his mind,” Asa is saying wearily. She digs her fingers into the sides of her cheeks and sighs as she says it. “I don’t blame him. Who could? Haret came within a hairsbreadth of vaporizing the city.”

“All because I saw heaven?” you murmur, amazed.

“Well…truth be told, he was itching to demonstrate the consequences of activating Collapse-era weapons, anyway,” Asa concedes. “Still, yes. I broke a very important law.” Her voice is downright sheepish, which is quite a feat, given how distracted she must be.

Your husband clenches his fists on his knees. “But what law?” Jerome angrily demands. “What’s so wrong about it? There used to be entire plays and books about heaven, and what it’s like there.”

“I assure you, it’s not like being there,” you whisper. You close your eyes and revisit that second and a half of infinite bliss. “It’s…” Words fail you. “It’s unimaginable. So beautiful…”

Asa groans aloud. “Elsa, no, please. No solipsism. This is why I’m so embarrassed. This is why it’s forbidden.”

You force yourself back to the present. “Why show me, then?” you ask. You try to keep your voice level as you ask, and it’s surprisingly easy. Asa doesn’t scare you any more.

She sighs again. “It was an accident. I was trying to show you images of me in my younger days, back when Ghalad and Mai’te were around to help. I wanted you to see the way I was supposed to be.”

“I didn’t see you in those memories at all,” you remember. “Just Ghalad, and Mai’te’s voice.”
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“Yeah, I…” she pauses to rub her eyes again. “Ugh…I really, really screwed up. I meant to only show you one other thing, and I lost control…”

“How did Haret know?” you ask. “He can’t read minds.”

“No, he can’t, but…those memories are powerful enough that he sort of ‘saw’ me share them,” Asa explains. “I’m very sorry, Elsa. My Avatar is with Haret’s and Vier’s, talking to Ekrine and Maas right now. What a mess this is.”

Jerome rises to his feet, hands shoved in his pockets. “It’s insane. The riots in the streets are getting worse,” he grumbles, jerking his head at the window. Sure enough, there are visible flickers of light from torches below. “The King better send in the Guard soon, or we’re all screwed.”

“Do you think the conspirators will make a break for it in the chaos?” you ask.

“I sincerely doubt it,” Asa says after a moment. “They’re only safe where they can hide, and all the roads in and out of the city are locked down right now. If they use the Orb to escape, I’ll know. I know their faces. If they kill anyone, I’ll see it.”

“But they are on to us?” you press.

She tilts her head back and thinks that over. The dim light of the room doesn’t do her shimmering, illusory skin any justice, but it does help conceal the lines of anger in her face. The Avatars may just be projections, but they reflect the real thing. Asa looks more overworked than anything.

“I suspect that they know that we know about their having the Orb, but they have to suspect we don’t know who has it,” Asa finally replies. “They may even have more than one.”

“What?!” you shout, rising to your feet. “There’s more than one?”
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Asa awkwardly shrugs. “There may be. The Orb is just a channel for a distant power source, you’ll recall. They’re not really hard to make, if you know what you’re doing. I couldn’t enchant myself one, but I bet a Firesoul enchanter could.”

You slap your hands down on your thighs and fume. “Great! Just bloody great!” You shove your fists into your pockets and think about this entire affair. “Why don’t you just manifest an Avatar in the Aerie and blow up the demon powering all this?”

Asa’s face darkens with annoyance. The shy outside dims a shade as a cloud suddenly passes under the sun. “Don’t you think I would if I could?” she asks coldly. “I’ve known about this for over three thousand years. Avatars can materialize in the city, but the corpse is shielded by some arcana it would kill me to breach. Mai’te could have done it, maybe, though it would have wounded her. If I try to collapse the city instead, the crash would destroy the entire mountain range, and kill tens of thousands of people in the abandoned Dwarf and Pukel cities. Miners and excavators and explorers. Even if I wanted to, I’m not sure I could spare the power.” She points up at the sky through the ceiling. “Even if we can spin up a storm or close a rift, that’s a far cry from turning off Harpy magic engines. Those things are specifically hardened against Divine power, exactly so that we couldn’t destroy them in the war before the Collapse. Believe this: I actually did try it during the war, and it was a complete waste of time.”

“Then why did you let me contact Master Sun and ask him to try?” you snarl.

“Elsa, sweetheart, calm down,” Jerome says.

“Yeah. Sorry,” you mutter.
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Asa ignores your tone. “Because Master Sun isn’t divine. He’s a man, human, with magic I don’t have, and he can do things I can’t,” she replies.

“So…what now?” you ask.

“Now, stay quiet and don’t make waves, and the three of us will calm the King,” Asa says. “We may have to pay some favors, though. Haret was…very close to killing the city.”

“All over a memory and some weapon,” you growl.

“Potentially many weapons,” Asa retorts. “We have no idea what else was in that Explorer’s crate. The Orb may have been the sampler…and we know he’s in the city somewhere.”

You just stare at her. “Thanks, my Lady.”

“Like I said, my daughter. I want you to go in prepared.” She rises to her feet and crosses her hands at her slender waist. “Elsa. Please, forgive me for letting you see that. Understand,” she says, her voice quieting to a whisper, “if I could take you there…I would. It was home for us all. Life used to be little more than the mold in which you were all poured, before an era of discovery and wonder after death. Now it’s what you have, and I try so very much to make it worthwhile for you all.”

Your anger fades at the raw, aching pain in her voice. She means it. “I…I understand,” you finally say.

Asa vanishes briefly as Jerome moves between you. “Lady Asa, if there’s a way to resolve this quickly…” he says awkwardly. “I mean, is there? How can we end this?”
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“There isn’t an easy way that won’t get Elsa killed, there isn’t a fast way that won’t get the city killed,” Asa says flatly. “I’m sorry.” She rises and grips her hands in front of her, looking for all the world like she’s trying to burn off frustration. “Jerome, I know that this is overwhelming, for you and for Elsa. For what it’s worth, I’m sorry. It was this, or Elsa dying. That said, there is a reward in store for you both. After this is all over, I’m going to let Elsa keep her abilities, and grant her access to a small shrine that used to stand outside the city. Back when prayer meant something, you know,” she says distantly. “It’s large enough for a small family to live comfortably, and isolated enough to be private. It’s the least I can do.”

You and Jerome exchange a shocked glance. That’s the first you’ve heard of it.

>wat say
(ask away, I will return to answer after dinner)
I ain't got an answer. I don't think Elsa would have one either. It's a nice gesture, but there are more pressing things to think about then where to live after this is all over and whether or not she gets to keep fancy powers.
>"Um, I knew about keeping the abilities, but she hasn't mentioned the shrine until now. Maybe she feels guilty for showing me heaven."
Notice, by the way: I'm not just going to post Writing! like I came up with the idea that very day. I counted in the last thread: I hit an inexcusable 27 posts of just me going Writing! So no more of that unless it's at the end of another post.

Assume that once i get at least two replies, I've begun writing. I do write quickly, though, so if you want to weigh in, please do so. I may add your idea to the end of a subsequent post if I can.
“I…don’t know what to say, my Lady,” Jerome finally replies. “Where is this place?”

“About an hour ocean-wards by horse,” Asa says. “It’s preserved with an old warding spell, so it’s intact. And speaking of religion, I think now would be an excellent time to put your idea with the Circle into play,” she adds, turning to face you. “The Circle will be busy as a beehive with all this divine intervention, and with the conspirators almost certainly going to ground, you should be able to move about with some freedom.”

You mull that idea over in your head. “Well…they are meeting at the library at Four tomorrow. I think I’ll tag along and see what’s up. Then, I should head to the King and see what his spy reported about the conspirator, Hooks.”

“Then you have a plan,” she says with a nod of approval. “I shall take my leave. I have an Avatar at the castle now, trying to appease Maas.”

“How’s that going?” Jerome asks.

Asa scoffs. “About as well as you’d think. He’s livid. We may as well have waved a flag over the city that said ‘secrets here, come and get it!’” she says, waving a finger in the air.

>”Surely he doesn’t actually mean to do anything about it.”
>”What have you told him beyond what I already have?”
As ever, bonuses are applied for Writeins
Also, since you ended a chapter mid-thread last time, here’s your score.


Progress: B
Combat: C
Improvisation: C-

You made some headway against the group, and at a fair pace, so good marks there. The rate of recruitment is still fast, since we’re at the beginning.

Combat, nothing special here. You fought once, with backup, and won.

Improv, nothing too god to see in 3. You had some good writeins, but not enough to earn a bonus. This chapter already has some great ones I can see.
I have no idea how to phrase it. But the Circle still seems sketchy to me. More observation is still necessary before trying to turn them into a spy network or something.
>"I'd think he'd be more concerned about Haret almost leveling the city and killing everyone inside than with the attention almost doing so will bring."
You can’t help but feel a little incredulous. “My Lady, all due respect, but I think what he’s mad about is the fact that the Pantheon was willing to kill the capital of the world economy over one little memory. Haret’s All-Or-Nothing approach is the problem here.”

“I don’t agree,” Asa says evenly. “I have the same approach. I just think the trigger should be a bit more reasonable.”

You can sense some tension there, and work to head it off, but she keeps talking. “Regardless. Do you intend to assume command of the Circle, or simply subvert it?”

“Reconnoiter, for now,” you say. “I can’t trust them yet.”

“Fair enough.” She claps her hands together and thinks for a moment, then turns to the window. Beyond it, you can still see people running about madly. “I’d check on your comrades at the garrison, if I were you. They may need you.”

>”I have other priorities (what are they?).”
>”Good call.”
>Good call
Also if other voter is still around, how do you feel about finding the head cultist, revealing ourselves to her, and directing the group through her? That way we have minimal exposure and still get control of the cultists. If she's the head of the group, she's probably strong enough of a believer to keep our secret.
She's entirely the reason I don't trust them. Cult are led by egomaniacs who usually don't react well if someone challenges their power. Like say someone with a direct line to the god they worship.

Maybe she has some magic or something and could be a direct threat. Or she might go along with it and subvert anything we try to do with the Circle. I also agree with the King that it's dangerous forming an authority higher than the government and Asa is being naive if she thinks a few words is going to shut them down in the future. People do all sorts of mental gymnastics for their religious beliefs and I don't think even the presence of gods themselves will change that.
I was gonna say Asa recommended them, but recent events have shown her to be not infallible.
Surveying them before contact is certainly possible.

I will wait for one or two more >votes
then write.
>>”Good call.”
Forgot to actually vote.

Yeah. Honestly, they're beginning to seem like a liability. Who the hell reacts with city destroying level of power? Even accepting that a memory of heaven is that dangerous, wouldn't a more proportioned response be to just strike Elsa dead and not the entire city?

I don't think any of them are quite sane.
Haret already thinks a weapon that could kill him (and potentially a crate with several more) is reason enough to kill a city. It's been done several times already, in less important cities. Vier, Asa, all three have killed settlements that had Collapse-era superweapons in them. If Avis hadn't sacrificed himself to prevent it in my previous story in the setting, thus demonstrating that it isn't uniformly necessary, they may have done it here.

Secondly, Asa is gravely understating the power of the memory she gave Elsa. In the Dead Gods setting, life is just the phase of existence in which you gain knowledge and experiences, to be used in death. Someone who lived sixty years may be dead for eight hundred, before their soul was inevitably recycled from heaven or hell. The sheer power of knowing that - combined with a Herald's ability to pass along ANY message - could start a holy war.

And thank you for noticing in the last thread that yes, they are all out of their depths to an extent. Three thousand years of practice is all well and good, but the fact is that the demigods were supposed to be more like siblings than overlords. Sane? Yes. Rattled? Very.
>The sheer power of knowing that - combined with a Herald's ability to pass along ANY message - could start a holy war.
I'm not quite understanding how so.
Heralds can pass along any message to any crowd of any number of people in any state of mind. Elsa had a flashback of a memory in which a previous Herald did just that, literally speaking in one of the original Creator gods' voices, to mobilize an entire army.

Combine that with an entire planets' entirely rational fear of the horror of afterlife-less death (when there used to be an afterlife that was really cool), combine that with the conspiracy using Collapse-era superweapons in the city, combine that with Cender being spared the fate of a city-kill when everybody knows there's been several in the past, and BAM. A Cender hero, having convinced the demigods NOT to kill a Cender city, AND having memories of heaven? It would take one major border skirmish for the rest of the planet gearing up to attack, and then Elsa gets conscripted to defend herself, defending herself becomes defending Cender, and then it's Tarsh Crusades 2: attack of the resentful foreigners.

Death is HORRIFYING in this setting. Even the MEMORY of escaping it could be cataclysmic if she shared it (admittedly she doesn't know how yet).
Ah, fuck, the garrison! Ekrine probably ordered Dietrich to scramble the entire garrison! “Shit, I have to go,” you say. “Jerome, I’m sorry, but…”

“It’s okay, go,” he says, all concern, but still the faithful husband. “Go, we’ll be all right. My Lady, can you help stop the riot somehow?” he asks urgently.

“Not without scaring the shit out of everybody,” she says darkly. “Besides, what would I say? ‘We decided to kill you and changed our minds?’ How would that go over in all those countries where we actually HAVE killed cities?” She throws up her hands in mock consternation. “ ‘Those Cender bastards have a line on the Pantheon! They’re favored!’ And want to know how fast that would go to the heads of the Cender populace?”

You step back a pace, shocked at her naked disgust. Jerome flushes in a mixture of anger and embarrassment you’ve seen before, and which always presages trouble. “Lady, I didn’t mean-”

She interrupts him by reaching over and squeezing his hand. “Forgive me, I’m just very distracted,” she says. Her voice has lost all its venom. “Some people have already died in the riots, and they blame us. It’s disheartening. I didn’t mean to insult you.”

He frowns, but the fuse is extinguished. “I understand.”

Asa turns back to you after one last squeeze of your husband’s hand. “All right. Any other questions before you head out, Elsa? I can pass along a short message to the King or to my human counterparts, if you wish.”

>wat say
Acting under the assumption that the other countries aren't stupid they're going to receive word that Cender was almost exploded, but then it wasn't. They're going to wonder why, won't they? And people in this setting get to ask avatars direct questions, yes? Won't they simply ask them what was up with that? Assuming the proposed holy war scenario of angry foreigners is pretty likely and not that they won't be scared shitless of attacking a country with god allies, isn't it already bound to happen?
Have her tell the other demigods you're aware of the chaos that would be caused by sharing your new knowledge, and you definitely have no intention of further disturbing your life by doing so.
“Can you reassure people through your Avatars?” you ask. “In other countries, as well as this one.”

Asa nods. “Oh, I am, right now. We have about eight thousand fielded right now, across the whole planet.”

Eight THOUSAND? There aren’t more than eighty cities more than half the size of Clen worldwide. “Wow. Is that a strain?” you ask.

She closes her eyes. “A fearful one.”

“…Thanks,” Jerome says quietly. “That you would manifest one here, just for us…when you could just talk to Elsa in her mind…”

Asa manages a smile. “Like I said, my gentle son. I like you both. I want you to be all right. You’re suffering because of me, both of you.”

Well. On that note, your time is up. You manage a hug and kiss for both, then sprint into the bedroom, pulling on your best gear and armor. You’ve managed to accumulate all your stuff here, so you get some choices.

>Quickly! Do you go in full wargear, or try to pass yourself off as a Logistical Officer, or pretend to be a civilian to get through the throngs of people if it turns bad?
>Full wargear
>Full wargear
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I have an idea. It may be terrible or it could provide us a lot of opportunity.
Right now the city is rioting. We've avoided declaring ourselves to the world as a Herland for the opportunity that being covert gives us. A logistics officer or plain soldier can go around and do a lot things a Herald of the gods can't. But what if we could have both by going a bit against tradition? We take the Herald uniform Asa has been designing and...we add a mask. Instead of Herald Elsa Ledren, we go with "The Herald."

The Herald can make an announcement claming the people, The Herald can call on powerful groups for assistance, The Herald can do all these things while Elsa remains a lowly logistics officer who can move about and do things discreetly. The Conspirators already know the gods are on to them, that bit of surprise is already gone thanks to Heret. This even gives us a persona to make announcements from and perhaps appeal to someone in the Conspiracy, who isn't too keen on being killed in a city vaporizing explosion that was just demoed, to break ranks.

Yes, this would also make us kind of a superhero. I think that's the best part.
I thought about it, but I don't think appearing as an agent of the gods is too smart right now, considering the gods almost killed everyone.

By gods I mean demigods.
And I think we need to do something to counteract that sentiment as soon as possible. Beyond letting resentment of the gods who are apparently willing to kill everybody at the drop of a hat. Can you think of the economic ramifications even if the city isn't destroyed? Unless everybody is calmed the fuck down right away people are going to try leaving the city en masse. Everybody who was on route to Cender to sell goods is going to turn the fuck around. If this was the real world and it was NYC the stock market would be plummeting.
>Beyond letting resentment of the gods who are apparently willing to kill everybody at the drop of a hat.
resentment of the gods fester
I want a way that doesn't involve us getting mobbed and torn apart in the streets though.
I'm not saying we throw on the costume and walk out the door. Go to the king, get some guards and start shouting it from the ramparts. Mention it to Asa and she might jump start that SPEAK TO EVERYONE power.
Staying covert isn’t an option here. With so many troops fielded in the south, or dead, all hands are needed. You strip out of your clothes and throw on your combat uniform, including your bandana and gloves. On goes the tunic, the pants, the spaulders. On go the greaves and the gauntlets. On go the accoutrements, including the dagger on the back of the shield, with its reassuring glimmer of enchantment.

Finally, the shield goes over your arm, and the spear across your back. You’re ready for the streets.

As you finish, Darril pokes his head in. “Elsa, are you going out there?”

You grip your sling and clip it around your waist. “I have to, Darril. The people are terrified. They think the end is here.”

“I know! What’s going on out there?” your brother-in-law demands.

“Divine stupidity,” you snap. “Look, I don’t presume to know Haret’s will. I just need to get to the streets and help calm people down.”

“How?” he asks. “They’re burning wagons and smashing windows out there.”

“Brute force is a last resort. I’ll start with talking,” you say. “If that fails…I have those,” you add, pointing at your alchemic grenade pouch. “I have stun weapons I can use, I just don’t want to.”

“Mai’te’s tears,” Darril breathes. “Not what you signed up for, eh?”

“Nope,” you grunt. “Now. When I go, lock the door. I have a key.”

“Thanks.” He hesitates, then gives you a quick hug. “Go. Be safe.”

Outside…pandemonium. There are people running everywhere, shouting, waving torches and glow-stones. Little portable ones, streetlights they’ve ripped out, everything in between.


You grip your shield in one hand and take off at a dead sprint for the street corner, where this little side road branches off the main arterial boulevard. There’s several Guards there, standing on top of boxes and shouting orders. “People! Return to your homes! Heralds and Criers will be about to explain what’s happening soon!” one hollers.

A mage runs past you, his arms aglow with healing energies. He skids to a halt next to a woman who’s tripped and fallen on the roadside, bleeding badly. “Auxilia!” he shouts, looking at you. “Get over here! Help me with this!”

>wat do
There is no way she'll jump start that so soon after showing us heaven. Not with the problems the combination can cause.
Then scream it the old fashioned way. Or do the non-godly heralds and criers have a magical PA system we could hijack? Can the demigods provide a non-memory transferring method of letting us talk to a bunch of people?
>>wat do
Go help. What we came out here to do anyway.
supporting >>32469795
You rush up next to the mage, looking the pedestrian over with your limited triage training. “How is she, healer?”

“Healer? I’m a bloody Utility mage! I make the toilets flush!” he says. “But I’ve got her, now, she’ll live. That’ll never fade, though,” he mutters, indicating her gash. It’s crossed her entire arm. “Poor thing. How are things in the middle of town?” he asks.

“I just got here, I have no idea. Have you seen soldiers anywhere? I mean Auxilia and Army, not Guard.”

“By the castle, keeping the roads clear for the criers,” the mage says. “Don’t just sit there, lift her legs.”

You raise the woman’s legs over onto the curb before she can go into shock. “Sorry.” You try not to think about training accidents where this knowledge was needed. “All right. When I’m done here, I’m heading for the garrison.”

“Sure.” The mage starts healing the unconscious woman’s shoulder; the flesh knits back together before your eyes. “All right, she’ll be fine. Go.”

You straighten up and grip your spear with white knuckles. The tornado dissipated nearly four hours ago, and it’s still anarchy out here.

>Go by the main streets, forget danger
>Go by back roads
>>Go by back roads
>Back roads
The back alleys will be calmer, at least by now. You leave the mage and his patient behind and dash onto a side road that parallels the main street, where the noise and panic are at least manageable. That doesn’t mean empty. Here and there, you see a Guard looming over a rioter, baton in hand, or a healer working on some bloodied sap. More than once, you have to duck around a clump of drunken idiots, milling around looking for something to do.

It’s hard to watch the city like this. You grip your sling pouch to your side so it doesn’t bounce the glass and shatter the grenades, and it’s a worthy distraction, but it can’t erase the facts. The city you love, the city of art and trade, is on the brink. And after all that money was spent making it look better, too.

After nearly half an hour of running, you emerge from the warren of side streets and alleyways to see the huge highway that runs through the middle of the military district before breaking up into the roads of the city. The barracks looks almost empty. Clearly, most of the troops inside have broken off into the streets, or into the castle.

Actually, maybe not. The castle itself is looking pretty barren, too. You can see the whole, gargantuan structure from the road, and its Shadows and elite Guards are roaming around in packs in the parade ground, obviously getting ready to head out.

>Go and join a random formation
>Look for (a person)
>Ask for advice
>Try and find the general
If he hasn't already heard the details on what happened from the king, we can tell him. He can then decide where he wants us.
>>Look for the King
Not really sure how we could go do this with Shadows everywhere though. Head to the house and take the secret tunnel?
Construction won't be done until tomorrow morning.
You don’t really have a choice, do you? The only thing to do is offer your service to someone who knows what it is. You can’t just hope that whichever platoon you glom onto will be heading in the right direction, whatever that may be.

The shadows behind you light up as someone throws a torch at you from the street. In an instant, three Guards descend on the idiot, truncheons swinging, and you make your move. You dash across the road into the parade ground, your home-away-from-home, and walk briskly from there to the gates of the castle.

You had an idea of what you’d have to do to get inside, but the first thing you see is a familiar face.


You turn – “Corporal!” You gape at Corporal Dervich, of all people, who’s loping across the parade ground towards you…covered in blood! “What happened to you?”

“I took a hit, what does it look like?” he says curtly, barely concealing a grimace of agony. “Bastard rioters are storming the Strevaini Embassy!”

“What? What the hell for? Don’t they have guards?” you ask, taking his arm.

He’s in so much pain that he doesn’t even get mad as you help him limp to the gate. “Yeah, but…they survived a Haret temper tantrum a while ago, too, so…I dunno, people don’t think when they’re angry.”

You think back to how uncompassionate you were to him when you got back. “Yeah. I know what you mean,” you mutter.
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Sorry, folks, but I have to get up stupid early tomorrow to attend a dentists' appointment at the crack of dawn. If the thread lives still in the morning, I'll post when I can.
Thanks for running! Hopefully mystery lurkers will keep it alive.
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And I'm off. See you all tomorrow. Please keep this afloat!
Alright then.
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I will be back to post at as close to 1130 Eastern as I can contrive.
The infirmary of the castle is probably the only part that’s fully staffed. Nearly every bed is full, and the medical crew…well, they’re overworked.

“Sons of bitches can’t calm down long enough to listen to the criers,” Dervich grouses as he picks glass out of his arm. The medic slaps his hand away and goes back to digging.

You snort. “Can you blame them? Haret damn near killed us for no reason.”

“No reason, huh?” Dervich snaps. “Think so? I think whatever killed our guys in the woods is here, in the city.”

>”And not being used?”
"And not being used?"
>"How horrifying."
You let that hang there for a second before pointing out the obvious. “They don’t seem to be using it.”

“Yeah, not where we can see it,” Dervich grumbles. “But they can use it against just one person, remember?”

“Shit. Yeah, I do remember,” you say. “That’s pretty horrifying.”

He gasps as the medic extracts the last chunk of glass from his arm. “Ffffuck…all right, we done?”

The medic pushes him bodily back into the bed. “Sit the hell down, Corporal. The amount of blood you lost? You’re immobile. Sit here and drink this,” he adds, thrusting a little purple bottle at him.

“This stuff tastes like hell,” the Corporal complains. “What does it even do?”

The medic pulls his gloves off and runs them under the sink next to the bed before answering. “It makes you not die of anemia, soldier boy, so quit your bitching. I’ve got other patients.”

Dervich waits until the medic is out of earshot. “Nothing like military bedside manner,” he groans as he settles into the bed again.

The wounds on his arms are really ugly. “What happened to you, anyway?” you ask, eyeing the trauma. It’s fairly extensive, and crosses both of his arms and shoulders. His armor blocked torso damage, but the rank pauldron on his shield arm is simply gone.

“Took a hit from a falling wine rack,” Dervich says wearily.

“A what now?”

“Someone threw a wine rack out of the top floor of a hotel. I didn’t make it out of the way in time,” he groans. “At least it smelled good.”

You roll your eyes at his familiar sense of humor. “You’re never gonna change, huh?”

“Why would I?” he asks wearily.

>At least ATTEMPT a reconciliation
>Just leave
>At least ATTEMPT a reconciliation

Let's be adults about this. It's the end of the world.
>Apologize for being insensitive earlier. Even if he was just as insensitive.
The silence – between the two of you, anyway, the room is too full of screaming to be called silent – is pretty heavy. You snapped at him, he snapped at you, and given all the shit you lived through, who’s surprised?

That doesn’t make it right, though, does it? Who knows what his run back to the city was like? You had a demigoddess to protect you, to literally watch over you from the trees while you slept. All he had was Vaughn, who is insane, and his own guilt.

Maybe not being a dick to your own Corporal is a good idea in this context. You purse your lips and try to think of the right words.

“So, Corporal-” “Sergeant-”

You stare at each other as the babble of voices dies away. “Uh, I guess…look, I didn’t mean to imply you ran away,” you say awkwardly.

“Of course you did, and so did I, Sergeant,” he says. He sounds more tired than anything. You wonder how he’s sleeping. “We did run. We ran for our lives. It’s hard not to want to blame someone for that.”

“To say the least,” you mutter. “I had someone to help. Have you talked to anyone?”

“Haret. He’s not listening,” he grumbles. “Look outside, I guess I pissed him off.”

“You spoke to his Avatar?”

Dervich sighs. “No, I mean I tried prayer. Even though it doesn’t work.”

“Oh.” The silence comes back, loud as ever. “Well. Get better, Corporal. I’ll need you out there.”

He squints at you. ‘Thought you got reassigned.”

“I did, but it’s not permanent.”

“Mm.” He grunts and downs the potion. “Ugh, that’s toxic.” He closes his eyes and sinks back into the bed as the stuff starts to work.

>Go see (Ekrine? Dietrich? Maas?)
>Report to Dietrich
>Report to Dietrich
I'll throw behind this, though I'm gonna crash out. Waaaaayyyy too tired. Good luck OP!
Cool! I will break for lunch now and be back when I'm done.
The halls of the castle are almost empty now. The sheer number of troops Maas has deployed in the city is actually quite disquieting – surely the riot didn’t get THAT bad?

The Guard elite outside Dietrich’s door are still there, and still quite hostile, but all you have to do is say your name and they let you right through. Apparently, Dietrich put you on the hotlist.

The Captain-General is pouring over a city map when he hears you walk in. He straightens up, fists planted on the table. “Sergeant. What happened?” he says coldly.

You take the time to salute. “Sir! The Pantheon…” you wait while the door closes. “The Pantheon discovered that the presence of active Collapse-era superweapons was not the only problem with the city, sir!”

“At ease, your Eminence, just spit it out,” Dietrich says after returning the salute.

You nod and sit. “Sir, the Lord Haret decided that the problems with the conspiracy are bad enough. The fact that a single use of that weapon against an Avatar could end the world is weighing heavily.”

“So why did he snap now?” Dietrich asks reasonably. You note his tone with interest. He’s not brooding now, he’s focused. He can switch gears easily. Good.

>”Sir, my patroness shared some sensitive information with me, and he disapproved.”
>actually tell him what Asa told you

>”Sir, my patroness shared some sensitive information with me, and he disapproved.”
"If I tell you he might finish the job."
Seeing as you’ve already withheld information from Dietrich once, doing it again probably wouldn’t be wise, but given how mad Haret was before...

Though, now that you think of it, it’s not like Haret could KNOW you told Dietrich. He can’t know you told Jerome, for instance. Still, prudence first. “General, sir, my patroness shared some sensitive information with me, and Haret disapproved.”

“And what might that have been, your Eminence?” Dietrich asks.

Your reply is pure caution. “It’s not germane, sir. Please trust me.”

“No, I don’t think I will trust a speaker for the demigods, given what they very nearly just did,” Dietrich says flatly. “If you have a message for me, deliver it. If not, I need to clean up the mess.”

>Decision time! What do you say?
>"Haret nearly razed the city out of fear that I would share what I learned. Telling you would only convince him that he should not have stopped."

I wouldn't mind using Voice of the Divine here.
"That info getting out is what he disapproved of. If I tell you he might kill us both or he might destroy the whole city. He's an asshole, sir. But I came to see what I could do to help."

Still think the Masked Herald route is the best option for calming the city.
If you wish to use your Voice of the Divine here, then you need merely say so, if you wish to attempt a Persuade, then please roll 1d20+5!
Let's use the voice, I don't think we use our abilities enough.

Also, don't we normally roll 1d100?
(Not necessarily. I reduce the dice needed to roll to succeed if the DC doesn't call for that level of refinement.

For consistency, though, I suppose I should. Just go with the 20 for this roll.)
Should I roll even if using the voice? >>32483227 made it seem like it was an either/or thing.
No, Voice of the Divine is autosuccess.
I mean...
It won't HELP you here, but it automatically works. All it does is break through all possible barriers. Asa's Speech is the one that instantly passes a speech check.

It doesn't matter, though; there's been enough confusion that I'll just move on.
I've made a horrible mistake. Asa's speech then.
Nah, I'll just give you the DC since there was confusion. This time.
Rolled 20 + 5

Ok? Sorry, I read the pastebin on her abilities and it looked like Asa's speech could only be used to answer a question, and I didn't think the general asking for a report qualified.
You rise from the chair and look the General in the eye. “Sir, the only reason Haret stopped his attack was because I told him to. Haret nearly razed the city out of fear that I would share what I learned. Telling you would only convince him that he should not have stopped." You spread your arms to indicate the whole city. “Give me an order. Tell me where to go.”

He stares right back. “All right. You want to play hard-to-get, I’ll tolerate it. For now.” He points at the map with one finger. He’s even armored already. “I’m mobilizing everybody I can spare to the city square, where the Governor has sent all the criers. They’re going to spread a message to the people and try to calm them down.”

You peer at the map. The square isn’t in the physical center of the city – it’s actually fairly close to the Utility tower at the north wall. “And what message is that, sir?”

“That the Pantheon was acting to punish the person responsible for the attack in the woods, and that they were convinced to let our law enforcement handle it instead!” Dietrich declares.

>”Uh, that will make actually finding them impossible.”
>”Good idea.”
>”Want me to go provide discreet security from a nearby rooftop?”
ugh, I don't like that message, but the people do need to be placated.

>”Want me to go provide discreet security from a nearby rooftop?”
The conspirators may as well be told to their faces that somebody knows they’re in the city, but placating the civilians is important. Panic would make it easier to let the conspirators escape, sadly.

You rub the bridge of your nose with two gloved fingers, trying to think this over. The square is huge, large enough to allow for a full company of soldiers to stand at ease in side with room to spare for some horses. The rooftops around it are flat enough that you could stand on them comfortably, though…

“I’d volunteer to help, then, sir,” you say. “I’m a skirmisher. I can fight from elevation. Put me on a rooftop somewhere and help me cover the criers.”

“With your skillset?” Dietrich derisively says. “Ah, no, your Eminence, that won’t happen.”

“I can fight,” you protest.

“Of course, and so can the several thousand other people I’m sending,” Dietrich shoots back. “If you really want to help, shadow the King’s bodyguards. This conspiracy of yours is trapped in the city right now, with all the nation on high alert, looking for anything out of the ordinary to explain the battle in the woods. If they take a shot at the King, right after the people hear that he talked the Pantheon into stepping down from killing us all, that’s it. The city is lost. Anarchy. The conspirators will melt away, and Cender is ruined until the King’s daughter can claim the throne in seven years.”

You feel a chill run down your spine at that recitation. He’s not wrong, even though he’s making it sound like killing the King would be easy. “Then I guess that’s what I’ll do,” you say.

Dietrich taps the map with one hand. “Good luck, your Eminence. We’ll all need it.”

>Talk to Maas first
>Go ahead and recce the square
>Ask Asa for advice
>Ask Asa for advice
Does she think they'll actually try to kill the king? That's going a bit far just to escape.

After that make sure the king and his bodyguards know you'll be shadowing them.
>>Talk to Maas first

Wouldn't surprise me if Asa's avatar is still with him anyway.
As soon as you leave the office, and the sight of prying eyes, you page Asa with the obvious question. {My Lady, the General thinks that someone may be trying to kill the King to allow the rest of the conspiracy to escape.}

[Indeed? I suspect not, but…I suppose we don’t ultimately know what the conspiracy is actually trying to do,] Asa admits. She sounds even wearier than before, somehow. [I don’t advise you follow the King if you get the chance to say no. If anything, I would be watching the Circle.]

{The Circle?}

[Think about it. They were just nearly killed by the Pantheon. Can you imagine what’s going through their heads right now?]

You wince. {Chaos, betrayal…it won’t be pretty.}

Suddenly, the gem goes cold under your finger. {Lady Asa? Are you there?} you ask.

“I’m here,” she says, from somewhere behind you.

You spin around to see her Avatar – and Vier’s, and Haret’s – walking by, with a coterie of Guard troopers following behind. “Sergeant, good to see you,” she says placidly, as if you were distant acquaintances. But then, the Guard troops don’t know who you are.

“Uh, your Ladyship,” you say, bowing. “Where are you going?”

“To accompany the King into the speech, of course,” Vier says smoothly. “We feel it appropriate.”

You can’t resist peeking over at Haret, who’s looking quite annoyed, but less homicidal at least. “Good, good,” you say. “Well. Good luck, your Ladyship.”

“Thank you.”

The sound of many, many armored footsteps from a side hall rises behind Vier’s next words. “Do you wish to accompany us, Sergeant? Perhaps protect the city while we reinforce the King’s message?” You could swear she gives the smallest of head shakes when she says it.

“No, thank you, your Ladyship, I’m sure the Shadows will have things covered,” you say, just as the King and Dietrich round the corner, escorted by several platoons of shimmering Shadows.

“Ah, there you are, Divine ones,” Maas says politely. You stare, despite everything. He’s a fucking wreck. His eyes are bloodshot, and though his clothes are immaculate, you can see the smallest spots of blood on the palms of his gloves. He must have squeezed his fingers until they broke the skin at the nails. As soon as he sees you, his already strained smile vanishes entirely. “Sergeant.”

“Your Majesty,” you say, bowing again. How to get him away from the others…

Abruptly, Haret clears his throat. “Perhaps we will meet you there, King Maas?”

Oh, sure, NOW he’s useful. “Very well,” Maas says curtly, jerking his head up and down in a strained imitation of a nod.

As the Avatars vanish, Maas waves one hand, and the Guards and Shadows troop out, though several stop and stare at the Sergeant that apparently has the temerity to not obey that visual order. As soon as it’s just you, Dietrich, and Maas, Maas turns to you and steps closer. Molten rage drips from his voice as he speaks.

“So help me, Herald, if you knew Haret was going to do that…”

“I didn’t!” you protest, and the anger in YOUR voice shocks him back a step. “If I had, I would have warned you!”

“Do not adopt that tone with me, Herald,” Maas warns.

“Haret nearly killed us all, your Highness,” you remind him forcefully, slapping your hand into your palm for emphasis. “And you know what? It would have solved two problems.”

He glares. “Explain.”

“I was…accidentally shown some very, very sensitive information that could start problems if it gets out, and Haret is already paranoid about the Orb.” You tick off on your fingers as you count. “I was shown a mortal memory, which is a crime itself in this context, the Orb is here and we have no idea who has it or how many there are…”

“It’s MY CITY, Herald!” Maas suddenly shouts. Before either you or Dietrich can say anything, he clamps his mouth shut and rubs his gloves together, as if just noticing the bloodstains. “Give me your gloves. Mine are stained,” he mutters.

You mutely pull yours off and hand them over, while he drops his into a pocket. “All right. You want to help? Get your Circle minions under control before they set fire to something,” he grunts, then he and Dietrich take off. “You and I, we’re speaking frankly tonight, no discussion,” he adds as the door to the antechamber closes behind him.”

Well, shit.

>Wat do
(I will return late tonight. If the thread dies, that’s fine, we’ll just run next week. If not, we do the speech and riot scenes tonight.)
He just gave us a perfect out to do as Asa bid us and find the circle. Maybe we can implement other anon's masked herald idea, though I'd still rather find the leader and control them through her.

I second this.
I'll just leave this bump here then, for late tonight.
Just in time! Thanks, guys!
The King’s instructions are clear. The Circle is probably in full form tonight. You’ll need to get moving.

Tonight? It’s not even dinnertime. Hard to believe you only became a Herald on Monday, and here you are on Thursday. Life is weird.

You follow the King and his reformed entourage as best you can into the parade ground, then branch off discreetly to head for the library where you encountered the Circle before. The book meeting is tomorrow, but maybe they’ll be here if they really do recruit from the regular library patrons as heavily as Asa indicated.

As you rush through the streets, you notice the criers going to their posts, some hounded by rioters, some protected by civilians. Of course the damn rioters ARE civilians, which doesn’t help.

Still, there’s evidence that at least some of the fighting in the streets is ending. The criers go to work as you emerge in the heart of the noble district and haul ass to the library.

“Good people of Clen, hear me!” one cries as you run into the building. “His Royal Majesty, King Maas…”

The sound fades as you slow down, panting under the weight of your armor. The place is unlocked, astonishingly, but there are a few guards around, and even a patron or two huddled in the stacks.

As for the Circle…they don’t seem to be here. Or at least, not inside. The garden out back is full of people.

You sidle up to the doors, but apparently too late. As soon as you arrive, the dozens of people start dispersing, walking briskly for the exit beside which you’re hiding.

Wat do

>Confront them
>Wait for them to pass and follow
>>Wait for them to pass and follow
Do the sneaky thing.
There’s got to be fifty people out there. Taking them on, even politely, isn’t feasible. You hide behind a stack of books and wait for them to pass by you before peering into the yard where they were standing. One or two stragglers are debating something with great passion and walk right by you without seeing.

As soon as you’re clear, you slip behind them, as unobtrusively as someone in armor can be. The Circle members – if that’s who you’re following – spread out into the streets as soon as they leave the building.

Interestingly, several don’t follow the rest. About seven stay and listen to a crier, while the others move in a purposeful group through the street. Most are quiet, save the few who are arguing. You can just barely make out what they’re saying.

“But the Triad wouldn’t have manifested the tornado if we hadn’t!” one says.

“Absurd! They’ve never acknowledged us before, why start now?” another retorts.

The person at the back of the group reaches up to clasp the shoulders of the other two, revealing intricate tattoos on her arms. “No, we’re set on our course now,” she insists in a steely voice. “Just go to the corners and listen to the criers. Meet me at the storehouse when you’re all done.”

“Yes, Priestess,” both others grumble. Each leads a small group away from the herd to nearby criers, who are now all shouting their message of calm.

The woman, though, pauses. You try to find a place to conceal yourself, but too slowly. She spins on her heel and marches right up to you, glaring from under her hood. “Can I help you, soldier?” she asks curtly. “You’ve been following us since the library at least.”

>wat say
Uh, how well were we disguised last time? Is she likely to recognize Elsa?
You've never seen this woman in your life. The woman leading the prayer before was different. You haven't seen her yet.
Oh, cool.

"I was suspicious of the large mob, but as you've all dispersed already and aren't breaking windows I guess you aren't rioters."
Ask her name, and what she and her group are planning.
“I have, indeed,” you reply, the epitome of the concerned citizen-soldier. “I saw a group of fifty people, some cloaked, leave a building all at once and start shadowing criers. Somewhat odd, eh? But you’re clearly not rioters, so no problems.”

The woman – a striking human woman in middle age, with tattoos across her forehead and arms – glares at you a moment before bowing and stepping back. “As you say.”

“Who might you be? What is your group?” you ask, indicating the other people from the library.

“Nobody that matters,” she says cryptically.

You tap your finger on your pauldron for emphasis. “Fifty people in a riot. Not going home, shadowing criers. You may not be rioters, but you’re still planning something.”

She glares. “Are you being obtuse, or do you genuinely not know?”

“I have never seen you before, ma’am,” you say flatly.

She scoffs. “Right. And you were in the library, in the back where we were invisible from the street, because we were unknown to you.


>What do you do to get through to her?

>Try to discuss the matter – 1d100
>Exert (mundane) authority – 1d100+6
>Exert (divine)authority – guaranteed success, no roll
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Rolled 79 + 6

>>Exert (mundane) authority – 1d100+6
Come on, dice gods.
Rolled 39 + 6

>Exert (mundane) authority – 1d100+6
Demand her name. You're a Sergeant.
Eighty five is MORE than enough, nicely done.

Writing now! Also, I will happily run all tomorrow as well if the thread lives that long. I'll let you know when I'm done for the night.
Yeah, that’s enough.

“Now you listen,” you snap, taking a long step forward. “The city is aflame, in case you haven’t noticed. I am a Sergeant in the Second Home Battalion, and you are out of your damn mind if you think it isn’t my business to know who’s running about my streets. Now identify yourself and your comrades!”

The woman flinches back a step, as if expecting a blow. The two of you are standing in the middle of the street, surrounded by shouting people, but you could be alone in the world.

Finally, she relents. “My name is Arisa Yvaneva,” she mutters. “I’m from Osterlich. My friends and I are the Circle of Fervent Ardency of Clen.” She glares again, muted and angry. “See why I was reluctant? Half the city probably thinks we’re responsible for this.”

It’s the woman that you were told to look for last time you sought the Circle. This is about as far from an ideal meeting circumstance as possible, but that could be twisted to your advantage.

>”I see. Stay out of trouble.” (simply observe from a distance [no roll])
>”Then I’m glad we met.” (try to give off an impression of interest in the group [roll 1d100])
>Pull her somewhere secluded
>Use Asa's Speech to reveal our position.
>Tell her the Pantheon has need of her and her group
>cultists love being needed
>get truthful answers on what they're doing tonight, make her pledge not to share our secret, set up a method of contacting her in the future
That's an awful idea. Interrogation is the better option here. She flinched. Ask what they did that would make people think they're responsible.
Either option works. I'll go with whatever the audience decides.
I disagree, I don't see what's awful about it. And it's obvious why people would blame them. Cults are naturally suspicious, and they're a cult who worships the Pantheon, a member of which almost destroyed the city.
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>“But the Triad wouldn’t have manifested the tornado if we hadn’t!” one says.
>“Absurd! They’ve never acknowledged us before, why start now?” another retorts.
They already said they did SOMETHING one of them thinks would be worthy of divine punishment.

Revealing ourselves to a group that we know nothing of substance about is an awful awful idea. Fuck, I'm half suspecting that this group is the damn conspiracy and the second we tell her is the second she whips out the weapon and disintegrates us.

All we "know" about the circle is that they worship the gods in an old fashion. A fashion so old that nobody else alive even remembers how. We have no idea what kind of crazy twists they may have put on it. A few tidbits here and there from Asa and the King that they may be harmless and they may be useful are not grounds to go reveal our biggest secret to them.
That's why we're not telling all of them, just Arisa. They aren't going to tell someone uninvolved what they did if they believe it'll bring suspicion down on them. They've been peaceful and caused no trouble for the entire time they've existed, and we have to stop being completely paranoid somewhere.
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So glad you caught that.


They are indeed peaceful.

At present. They wouldn't feel persecuted if that were ALWAYS the case.
And why do you trust Arisa?

"Oh, hello lady who is a member of a group I don't know much about. That big group you just had was awfully suspicious meeting that you still haven't explained yet. While the rest of your group is off doing things in the city you just assigned them to, why don't I tell you my biggest secret that so far I've kept to kings, generals, and governors, instead of asking you what the hell you did the other guy thinks is worthy of a city destroying tornado."
She's the leader of a group with dozens of members, she must have some measure of discretion and responsibility.

She and her group are very devoted to the Pantheon, which we are an agent of.

She is almost certainly never going to tell us what her group did unless we reveal ourselves, or she'll make something up.

Whatever her group did was not responsible for Haret's wrath, so it couldn't have been too terrible if none of the demigods mentioned it to us.

We gotta start somewhere.
>none of the demigods mentioned it to us.
They wouldn't KNOW about it unless one of them died in the process. The demigods aren't omnipotent. Unless the Circle has a lot of elderly members, nothing they've been doing recently will have come to the attention of Asa and the others.
aren't omniscient*

I'd be willing to compromise and reveal our previous affiliation with the circle's recruiters and that we were told to speak to her the other day instead of going full interrogation.
They were also in 8000 locations reassuring people after the almostnado. It couldn't have been that big a deal if they didn't notice from a single area.

She scoffs. “Right. And you were in the library, in the back where we were invisible from the street, because we were unknown to you.

She already knows that we were watching the group that day. Telling her we were looking to join would sound pretty weak right now, considering the recent events and the way we just browbeat her into giving her name.
When she said 'in the back' she was referring to minutes ago, when you started following her. Not the other day. She can't possibly know you were at the prayer meeting when she wasn't there and you never gave your name.
Oh, I thought someone had seen us that day.
I still think the looking to join excuse would be weak for previously mentioned reasons. If any lurkers want to tiebreak? I don't think other anon and I are going to come to agreement.
8000 locations over the entire world, not just the city. At the scale 8000 is spread pretty thin. Given the rules and powers established already there are lots of things that can happen under the the gods' noses. Like the entire conspiracy until a few days ago for example.

>She already knows that we were watching the group that day.
We tell her that we came there for exactly the reasons we already had. We're interested in the circle already, maybe they could could be organized to help injured and calm citizens. In the process of heading there though we ran into her rather suspicious mob.
The conspiracy didn't accomplish anything big until they slaughtered 800 people. Which the demigods did notice, despite none of them being killed in the process.

>We tell her that we came there for exactly the reasons we already had. We're interested in the circle already, maybe they could could be organized to help injured and calm citizens. In the process of heading there though we ran into her rather suspicious mob.

I don't see anyone ever believing this. The pantheon almost just killed everyone, and now we're asking a cult devoted to them to help?
I'm trying to compromise. I'm still in favor of browbeating the info out of her.
If they really are legit then Heraldship should be enough to smooth everything over later. If not, then they're not very fervent worshipers in the first place.
She'll listen to us if we herald later, but this is our first meeting. She'll never forget how we act now, and even if she obeys us later due to her faith, she won't like us.

Secondly, I don't want to browbeat info out of her. There's no guarantee that we'll get anything accurate, or anything at all. And if we fail and reveal ourselves later, we'll look desperate and weak.
Okay, I don't see an agreement happening and it's really late.

Here's what I'll do: Go to bed. When I get up, if the thread is alive, I'll hash out a post and take things forward.
Night SE!
Hopefully the mystical bump lurker will cast his weight on one side or the other.
Bedtime bump

Well, I have nothing to add, but I can bump I guess.

The Same, but Down Under.
So no consensus. Woof. All right, I'll come up with something.
You’re locked. Confronting her so openly – or being confronted by her, at least – has more or less taken subtlety out of the equation. Lacking a plan, you improvise. “Ma’am, I don’t think you’re responsible for this,” you say, pointing at the spot where the tornado lurked just a few hours before. “And for what it may be worth, I remember your group from earlier today, when I attended a meeting at the very same library.” She tilts her head back in evident surprise.

“You do?”

“I do.” You point at where several of her followers are shadowing criers as they disperse the King’s message. “That said, I do need to know what your people are doing.”

She pauses, but clearly she’s not interested in pushing her luck. “We’re checking to see if the stories the criers tell are all the same.”

“And if they aren’t?” you ask.

“Then whatever happened here had nothing to do with Clen, and it was the will of the Triad in some other way,” she says evasively.

You cross your arms over your armored chest and narrow your eyes. “And that would be?”

“I mean that if the criers don’t have their stories straight, then this is just a reflexive attempt to shut people up, and the King has no idea why the Triad is doing this,” Arisa says with sudden scorn. For you, for the Triad, for the King, who knows?

After another few seconds of tension, you shrug. “All right. I’m obligated to ensure you stay out of trouble, so don’t go breaking windows, but as long as you stay to yourselves, I won’t impede you.”

She grimaces. “Fine. Thank you, Sergeant.”

>Wat do next
>Ask about her group and what they do
>Ask why some of the members believe this may have been their fault
“What does your organization-” you start to ask.

Arisa cuts you off. “There are people igniting things and attacking Guards all around us, Sergeant!” she snaps. “Get your priorities straight!”

“I’m under orders to make sure you don’t start trouble, ma’am, whether I think you will or not,” you say flatly. “There will be no further discussion of this.”

She glares daggers at you, but spins on her heel and storms off, shoulders hunched. You look over at the nearest crier to see he’s still banging on about Maas’ message, then notice something. The Circle members aren’t all in a uniform of any kind, but they’re all behaving the same way: each is holding an unlit torch in one hand. Arisa doesn’t bother joining a group, instead she simply doubles back to the library and storms in, slamming the doors behind her.

>Shadow the Circle to make sure they don’t cause trouble
>Shadow Arisa to make sure she doesn’t do something inadvisable
>Shadow Arisa
>Shadow Arisa to make sure she doesn’t do something inadvisable

She's being too evasive. If she tries to seal herself offs somewhere, kick the fucking door down. We have exactly no time for this kind of shit.
As much as you’d like to see what the Circle is really doing, Arisa is clearly mad enough to do something stupid. You give her a thirty-count before heading the same way. Rather than go in, however, you slip between the library and the building next to it, down a small alleyway which is thankfully free of rioters. You stealth your way towards the back, where the open garden is, searching for the wayward faithful. The Priestess isn’t hard to find; she’s slouched in a chair in the back of the garden, slugging something from a bottle, looking absolutely miserable.

She’s ripped her cloak off. Underneath she’s wearing dignified, scholarly robes, but the real sight is the series of interconnected tattoos on her face, which the random lights of the riot didn’t show very clearly. She’s utterly covered in them.

They’re damn familiar, too. The markings are so familiar it’s actually unnerving. You know you’ve seen them, but where?

Roll 1d100+11 for Recall.
(i lunch now)
Wouldn't the ones on her forehead be imitations of our actual herald markings?
Rolled 53 + 11

forgot roll
Rolled 53 + 11


Well, that's eerie
You close your eyes and think. Tattoos…facial and arm tattoos…markings on religious people…

Suddenly you have it. They’re not the tattoo from your forehead, they’re the tattoos that the Herald Dumatri had in the memory Asa gave you of Ghalad and the beach.

Except…different. They’re twisted in a slightly changed pattern, and you can’t see the chest pattern under her robes. Maybe they were different for humans?

“Fuck,” Arisa suddenly mutters. You snap your attention back to her. She’s slumped in her chair still, the bottle loose in her hands. “Of all the times to not have vodka.” She drops the bottle on the flagstones with a *crack*. She doesn’t even notice. “How about you, Vier?” she calls up to the sky. “Got any vodka for me? Or just tornados?”

No reply. Her bitter question fades into the sound of the dying riot on the streets. “Of course not. Just silence. Just ignorance.” She slaps a hand on her robe clasp and rips it off, spilling the fabric onto her chair and the stones around her.

Your heart catches in your throat. She’s covered all of her visible body with the tattoos. She has a shirt and pants on to preserve her modesty, but the rest of her from shins to hairline is covered in tattoos. Silvery, winding ones, that look like a cross between zebra stripes and vine growth patterns. “Thirty years, gone,” she grunts. “Thirty years of devotion. Thirty years of hard work. What the FUCK was it FOR?” she bellows drunkenly. “No acknowledgement! We were just…gonna get thrown out with the trash, a whole city of it…” She breaks down a bit. You can see tears in her eyes, even in the darkness. “No…heaven in death, thought I’d make one on Tarsh…why? Never get rewarded for it! Get called a cultist! Criminal! Stalked by some uppity Axilia!”

>Just listen
>step in
>step in
>"It was actually Haret who was conjuring the tornado, not Vier."
That's a good idea, seconding.

We might be able to make an ally out of this, we we can come at her from a position of knowledge, and maybe a bit of sympathy.
“Never asked for anything but recognition,” she whispers. “Never.”

“You have it,” you say, coming around the hedge. “And, for the record, it was Haret who started the storm, not Vier.”

She starts and nearly pitches out of her chair. “You! You again! Why don’t…why don’t you just…leave us alone?” She clutches at her robe and tries to refasten it.

“Hey, it’s all right. You’re not in trouble.” You sit down in a chair across from her and put your feet up. “Relax.”

“Relax? Are you insane? You’re bloody following me!” she snaps.

“Yeah. The King’s orders are hard to disobey.” You let that sink in as she reels. “I don’t quite outrank him.”

Her jaw drops open. “You…the King personally ordered you to keep track of me?” she demands. The tears start slipping free at the corners of her eyes. “Why?”

“He wanted to make sure you didn’t cause trouble. I don’t think he knows much about you,” you say. “By ‘you’ I of course mean the Circle. He doesn’t know you, personally, Arisa.”

“But then why? Why follow us around?” she demands, now slurring her words a bit.

“Because you feel like the old rules are the only ones that apply,” you point out. “There’s nothing wrong with respecting them, but people who follow codes that are no longer enforced are always a little out of control.”

She waves a hand at that. “Bah! Maas just doesn’t like that we remember that there are authorities higher than his!”

> “Such as?”
> “What if you were literally correct?”
> writein
> “What if you were literally correct?”
>> “Such as?”
Is she talking about something else? Cause Maas has been talking to the demigods all day.
I don't think she knows that.
You tap your hand on your knee, wondering how exactly to handle this. She’s a cultist, but a bitter and disappointed one. That’s…mighty rare, as far as you know. Maybe Asa was right, and they could actually use your leadership more than you realized.

“There is an authority above Kings, yeah. The Triad, I know.” You lean forward and stay quiet until she finally makes eye contact with you. “The Triad, they used to have people whose job it was to keep the Pantheon and the mortal realm in touch, right?”

“Yes,” she mutters.

“The Heralds, right? And eventually they became leaders in their own rights.”

“Yeah, Heralds,” Arisa says, gesturing drunkenly at her tattoos. “I liked to think I could have been one, once.”

You tug your bandana off.

Part of you wondered what it would be like, showing some random civilian what your true power was. You have, in the depths of the lonely night, predicted sadness, terror, rage, instant love, even blank uncomprehension.

You did not expect this.

“W-w-w-w-what the FUCK?” Arisa sputters. Her gray hair works its way free of its knot as she tumbles out of her chair and onto the mossy flagstones. She tries to stand up, only to lose her footing on the vodka bottle and tip flat on her face. She tries again, but this time she trips on her discarded hood and staggers into the chair, which she tips over.

>Roll 1d100+6 to not lose your shit laughing
Rolled 90 + 6

"I know right?!"
This will go poorly.
Please append a roll to your posts!

(and remember that rolls and votes with writeins almost always get an immediate bonus and ALWAYS get an end-of-chapter bonus)
Rolled 60 + 6

and we already have a good roll for not laughing which I can't beat, but may as well try
An accurate portrayal of the events about to transpire.
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Okay, you actually did superbly!

I'll write as soon as the laundry's done!
You know, all considered, she probably feels crappy enough after making herself look that dumb. You manage to restrain your mirth until she stands up and rights her clothes. “You, you’re a Herald? A real bloody Herald?” she gasps, wiping dew off her face. “You exist?”

“I certainly do.” You tap the gem. “I have a direct means of communication with Asa, and Asa alone.”

“B-but why?” she stammers. “Why you? Why here? Why now?”

“Me, because I was one of only three witnesses to the ambush in the woods,” you say. “Here, because the weapon used in that ambush is in the city. Now, because a few weeks ago, a Collapse-era superweapon was activated in Strevain. Haret was seconds from killing the city it was in when a mortal stopped the weapon before it could be used to destroy the country. This time, Asa convinced the others that a city kill was unnecessary before they could carry it out.”

“But…why did Haret suddenly attack the city?” she asks. Her cheeks flush as she realizes something. “I thought it was me…the Circle, we started doing group prayers, and I thought the Triad was offended…”

“You don’t need to know that,” you say firmly. The idea of showing a Circle the memory of heaven, or even acknowledging it existed… “Please trust me.”

“All right…so what now?” she demands.

Good question.

>Wat do?
This sounds like an excellent time to use Asa's speech to explain how we want to use them to find the conspirators.
Agreeing with this.

Maybe throw in some reassurance that we're not here to punish them, or that we want to strip their rights away or anything silly like that. There are good people who will suffer, and we call on them to do what they can to help us, regardless of differences in beliefs. Pile on that grace of the gods stuff we got goin' on.
You lean forward and transfix her with a stare. “Arisa, listen very closely. Do you trust everyone in your Circle?”

She recoils. “What? Of course! They know the ways of the Pantheon as I do!”

“Do you trust them? All of them?” you press.

She visibly hesitates. “I do!”

You stand up and take one step towards her. “Do you trust them all?”

Arisa flinches. “I mean, with tasks like keeping us secret…yes, I do.”

You hold out one hand, palm up. The sensation of behaving so differently from the way you normally would is so common now that you don’t notice any longer. “With a holy task?”

She gasps. “A holy task? What task?”

“As I said, Arisa…the conspirators that destroyed that Auxilia battalion, my battalion, they’re in the city. We have to find them.” You hold out both hands at your sides, completely nonthreatening. “Can I trust you?” You release the limits of your power in your next words, and the air between you seems to ripple with Asa’s power. “Can you, and all of your friends, carry out this task in total, undoubted secrecy and confidence?”

Arisa drops to her knees, heedless of the cold stones. “…Asa…” she whispers. Her eyes mist up again, and she slowly puts her hands over her mouth in awe. “Her true…was that her true voice?”

“It was.” You take one knee before her and gently grasp her hands between yours. “Can I trust you and ALL your confederates?”

She hangs her head in shame. “No. No, Triad help me, you can’t.”

>”Please explain.”
>”Then you alone shall assist me.”
>Then I cannot reveal myself to the Circle. I will need you to pass on my directions.
>Please explain.
Lets first ask what the problem is. We need to know before we set Arisa loose trying to help us. There could be some serious shit.

Also, backing >>32508793 if what we learn makes it especially dangerous to reveal ourselves.
You sit on the stone, legs crossed. You don’t know much about the pre-Collapse era, but one thing all the memories Asa gave you showed was that Heralds were at their best when they were friends, not masters. “Speak.”

Arisa sits too, though awkwardly. She’s quite a bit older than you, after all. “Well…to put it simply, I’m losing control of the group.”

You frown. “How?”

“The younger members are more active than I in recruitment, and I do not agree with all of them, you see,” she says bashfully. “Oh, but…damn it. I’m supposed to be calling you Your Eminence, aren’t I?”

You pause. “Well…if you were a noble, yes. But, you know, don’t bother. Not when it’s just the two of us. I suspect that you won’t have as much difficulty remembering who’s in charge as others do. So, go on. Young people.”

“Young people, yes.” She clears her throat. “Er, well…I have no problem with recruitment. Not at all, we need recruits. For the dues, if nothing else.”

“You collect dues?” you ask with surprise. “For what? You don’t meet in private.”

“We own a storehouse in the poor district, with a small collection of artifacts,” she explains. “The sorts of things that…well. They’re not banned, per se, but they are of little interest except to historians.”

“And this group of younger people are instilling rules you don’t like in your new followers?” you ask.

“Precisely,” she admits. Her tattoos ripple as she awkwardly lean back against the leg of her upturned chair. “I don’t know what to do.”

You rest your hands in your lap and think. “Arisa, I need to find these people, and I need to find them right away. Can you help me with that without revealing my existence to people you distrust?”

“Surely, but…I would need to be told where to look first,” she says.

>”Pursue the freelance mercenaries that I saw in the woods.”
>”Locate Don Kotrick and his stooges.”
>”Look for an old Explorer with a crate of weapons.”
Shadows are already on the mercs
Explorer is probably the guy with the superweapon, we should wait on him until we hear from Sun
>Locate Don Kotrick and his allies
>Locate Don Kotrick

Seriously, we want to make sure the cultists don't force the conspirator's hand.
Over the next several minutes, you relate much of your story thus far, from the ambush in the woods to Asa’s gifts, from the trek home to a small cross-section of your activity in the city since your return. You end it with your order from the King to find the Circle and surveil them. “So the target we’re hunting now is the crimelord, Kotrick,” you conclude. “A Shadow is on the only other mercenary we know of for sure, and the Explorer has cards he hasn’t shown.” You peer over at Arisa. “Are you all right?”

She has one hand on her forehead, and a look of total shame on her face. “Oh…an entire crate of Collapse-era superweapons in our city?” Arisa stands and looks up at the castle with its lights in every window. “I can understand why Haret wanted to kill the city. Horrors like that…it makes me shudder.”

“Maas is right, though. Haret jumped on the opportunity.” You stand and dust yourself off. “I need you to understand that the conspiracy has these weapons, but we don’t know which member has the Orb. Understand? If you do find a lead, let me handle it.”

“I won’t presume.” She stands too, then looks awkwardly at you as you retie your bandana. “Do you have a problem with the Circle existing? The King does.”

“The King has a perspective I lack, and vice versa,” you point out. You pass her her robe and stand back. “You’ll understand.”

She shrugs on the robe. “May I ask a favor, Herald?”


“Kindly ask the Triad why we have been ignored so long,” she says carefully. “We never lost the faith. We’re the only one who never lost the faith.”

>”I don’t think I should.”
>”Only if you promise to leave the actual fighting to me.”
>"I will. If you all do this for me after being neglected so long an answer is the least I can get for you. Just remember to find and watch these people only. I have fighters to apprehend them."
"I'll ask, but I can't promise an answer you'll like, or even one at all."
"I will. If you all do this for me after being neglected so long, an answer is the least I can get for you. Just remember to find and watch these people only. I have fighters to apprehend them."

“That’s reasonable.” She shuffles her feet as you pick up your shield and strap it back on. “Hell. This is so inadequate.”


She looks up at you. “May I confess something?”

You glance back, curious. “What?”

“I had dreams of this,” she admits. “Dreams, daydreams really. Heralds and Avatars descending on the city and granting us a holy task after so long in the dark and silence of ignominy. Banquets and festivals. Churches and temples. Not a drunken old woman, a Herald war hero half her age, a city-scaled riot, and…hidden war.” She sags at the shoulders as alcohol and shock take their toll. “I wanted the faith to be acknowledged openly. I never expected the Triad to put us to use as gossips and spies.”


You hesitate as you strap on your sling. “That’s fair.” You test the point of your spear on a wood bench and get a satisfying little *tick* sound. “All right. I tell you what. After the whole problem is over, I’ll sit you down with the King and you two can hash this out. I can’t promise anything, but it’s better than being treated like criminals for practicing the religion we’re all born with.”

She looks at you, completely stunned. “Really?” she breathes. “You can do that?”

“I can.” You clip your dagger in place and rest your hand on your armored hip. “All right.”

>”To the storehouse!”
>”Go round up your most trusted lieutenants and meet me (at place X)”
>”I need to go keep an eye on (character)”
Tell her we'll check with her later once things calm down a bit. She should start thinking about those she can trust and those she can't.

Head out and see if the city is calming down and if the king has made an announcement himself yet.
can support >>32510572
She assigned members to check all the heralds stories, but since they have an official excuse the heralds will all be saying the same thing, so we could tell her that to not waste the groups time.

Also if we find the king before he makes his announcement we could tell him that the circle is under control.
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>the circle is under control.
She just told us that it isn't. There's a younger group within the circle that's exercising its power and instituting new rules and she admitted she can't trust them. It's the opposite of under control. If we're lucky it'll just be some punks on ego trips and grabbing power in their little social lives. If we're unlucky it's part of the CONSPIRACY. You gotta be properly paranoid when dealing with conspiracies, man.
you're paranoid enough for the both of us

It's as under control as he could expect us to get in a single night
“I need to go see the King again,” you say. “Do me a favor and ensure that your fellow Circle members stay out of trouble. The King was adamantly opposed to me contacting you, and for good reason. If he finds out I told you all this, he’ll understand, but if one of your younger renegades does something stupid, I’ll have to kill them so Maas doesn’t cut me out of the loop.”

She winces, but she doesn’t say anything. As you leave, you glance over your shoulder at her and feel an instant of pity. She’s spent over half her life worshipping gods who can’t hear her. “Hey. Arisa.” You turn back to face her and smile. “There’s nothing wrong with faith. Asa specifically asked that I contact you, and it wasn’t to make you my spies.”

“It wasn’t?” she asks hopefully.

You shake your head. “Haret, Vier, Asa, they love their children very much. They don’t want you to feel alone any more. With any luck, this mess will teach them a bit about how responsible mortals can be.”

She smiles back at last. “You do speak for the gods, Sergeant. I never did get your name…”

“Elsa. My name’s Elsa.”

“Elsa. Very well. Thank you, Elsa.” She stoops to retrieve the vodka bottle as you round the corner and return to the road.

Roll 1d100+8
Rolled 49 + 8

plz be a happy surprise
Rolled 81 + 8

As you emerge into the street, a group of rioters on their knees start shouting, and you ignore them completely as the Guards around them take their wallets for anything that could be used to identify them. They’re the only ones you see. The rest of the fight seems to be over.

Some tired-looking criers on the corner are still repeating their messages, but most of the Circle members seem to be gone. A platoon of Guard troopers jog by in full armor, clattering with every step, and you duck back out of their way.

The city square is pretty far from here, but you’re rested from your long sit. You tuck your shield higher on your arm and take off at an easy run, hoping to catch it.

Before you can take six steps, something dark and odorous tackles you full from behind. Your combat reflexes kick in, and you fish-flop out of the roll, but before you can get your feet under you, something cold and metallic flashes from the darkness and right into your stomach.

It skitters off your armor as you take the blow, but another one comes in – gripped by a leather-gloved hand. This one nicks your left greave and knocks you back as your leg locks up.

>Kick the attacker back to get a good luck at them (roll 1d100+6)
>Unsling (which weapon? Dagger? Sling? Spear?) and attack at once (roll 1d100+6)
>Scream for aid from the Guards (no roll)
Rolled 70 + 6

>Kick the attacker back to get a good luck at them (roll 1d100+6)
And by >luck
of course I meant look

because I am not a derp
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Rolled 80 + 6

>>Unsling Spear.
Spear and shield seems pretty obvious. Reach and defense.
Rolled 97 + 6

>>Unsling Spear.
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stop getting higher rolls god damn it i have to keep rewriting things
You’ve killed before. This will be simple.

With one smooth movement, you rock your left arm a bit, and the shield slides down the leather into its spot on your tricep, with your shoulder pauldron tucked safely behind it. You lower your eyes behind your brimmed bandana, until the world below the pauldron is a sheet of metal and leather from your greaves and breastplate. Your sling is useless at this range, and only a complete idiot would use alchemic grenades in hand-to hand, but your spear is perfect for a fight on a street. The person who attacked you got out of his roll too, with a dagger in both hands, but it’s getting too dark to see anything right now. The glowlights aren’t on yet, the Guards are past you with their torches…this is tricky.

Then he does something stupid. He leaps at you, clean off the ground. You have a shield.

With a single bash, he’s four feet away, bleeding from the ear where his own knife cut him, and you’re as set and primed for battle as you can be.

>Take the initiative (by doing what)
>Hang back and see if you can take him alive
Stab him in the stomach
It might not be lethal
Look around, was he alone or are there more attackers?
You glance around before he gets his balance back – he’s the only one fighting, but there’s somebody else approaching from several feet away, and that person already has a dagger out too. You have several seconds before they become a player too.

The attacker nearest you is a human man, with dark features and a heavy stink of booze on him. None of his equipment is enchanted.

If you wish to stab for a lethal hit, roll 1d100+11. If you wish to try for a takedown, roll 1d100.
Rolled 53 + 11

Lethal hit
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Rolled 22 + 11

You either have to be several kinds of stupid to jump a soldier in full kit or have an agenda. Go for the kill and prepare to defend against the new guy.
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Try for a nonlethal takedown on Feathers, make it by the seat of your pants. Try for a lethal takedown on a drunk with a chip on his shoulder and you miss by a full Difficulty Grade. Jesus.
the dice are fickle
and by that I mean I know I consistently roll shitty and planned for that by picking the option that hopefully leaves us in a good position after failure.
Two fighters versus one means no non-lethal option is safe. The only reason you took Feathers alive when it wasn’t the plan is because she tripped and fell down some stairs.

You stab forward with your spear and the man with the bleeding ear deflects it with both hands, dropping his daggers. How drunk is this guy? You pull the spear, hard, but he has a death-grip on it, and he’s not letting go for anything.

He’s shouting now, slurring his words and cursing. You do the last thing he expects: you let go of the spear for an instant and let the shaft slide down your gloved palm. Suddenly off-balance, his grip weakens, and you drop to one knee to use your leg as a fulcrum and the spear as a lever. It rips out of his hands, and it’s back under your control…but now his partner is there, and he’s got two blades out too, and now there’s four blades to your one.

>Start backing up with shield raised, shout for assistance.
Yell for assistance but stand your ground unless one tries to get around and flank. Backpedaling might just invite them to attack.
they're humans, not animals....
Outnumbered. At least you’re not completely without backup, there’s Guards all over the city. You don’t take your eyes off the enemy as you slowly back up, spearpoint drifting from target to target.

“GUARD, FRONT AND CENTER!” you scream, as loud as you can. Just as you do, though, the new attacker moves.

This one is a woman, elf, dark, and fast. Moreso than her drunken comrade. She’s coming in with two knives, slashing in horizontal patterns to knock your spear aside. It’s not working, you’re trained for that, but it does take all your reach to keep her back. The other guy scoops up his knives and charges, shouting at the top of his lungs.

The first attacker is definitely the lesser threat. You leap sideways, putting the woman between you and the drunk. He barely manages to arrest his movement before he nearly collides with her. With his balance gone, he’s briefly out of the fight.

The woman isn’t. She ignores him and rushes you, clearly trying to take advantage of your own relocation. She doesn’t leap, she thrusts, both blades at once, one for your forehead and one for your groin in an upward slash.

You barely – BARELY skip back from both, but she’s still getting closer, and now she’s in your reach. A shield bash might work, but that leaves you open to the first guy.

>Lash out with a kick (roll 1d100+3)
>Drop your spear and draw the enchanted dagger
Can we go for a spear stab?
> and now she’s in your reach
She's too close.

>>Drop your spear and draw the enchanted dagger
Clearly our spear skills are just lacking.
But sure, go for the dagger.

Your spear skills get a bigger bonus, you just got jumped. That roll I had you do in the library courtyard was to determine whether you took damage in the surprise attack. You can win this if you pay attention.
The spear is getting in the way, damn it. If they were on horseback, you’d have won by now, but no.

You chuck the spear at the woman with all your might and drop your dagger into your hand from behind the shield, then lunge forward to attack before she can recover.

You miss completely with the spear, but it clatters against the legs of the man, and he goes down in a heap. The dagger slots into your hand neatly, and you’re on the attack. The man curses and struggles to rise, but the woman vaults back over him, heels over head. She’s clearly got training.

The man rolls out of the way, and there’s room between you and the elf. She hefts her knives and charges, swinging one arm at your shield to pin and one high enough put your eyes out if you’re not careful.

>Attack with everything you have (roll 1d100+3)
>Feint back and try to get her to overextend herself (1d100+4)
Rolled 12 + 4

>Feint back and try to get her to overextend herself (1d100+4)
Rolled 82 + 4

Feint back and try to get her to overextend herself (1d100+4)
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Rolled 81 + 4

>>Feint back and try to get her to overextend herself (1d100+4)
Hah, hell no. You jerk your head back, quite deliberately only moving far enough to invite another attack, then brace your legs. The second knife comes up from the shield pin, having never connected, and stabs upward, only for you to slice across her arm with your enchanted blade.

It’s sickening. The knife passes through her arm like it’s not even there. The woman shrieks and stumbles, blood spurting everywhere. She’s got skill, though – she transfers her momentum into a roll that draws her to your left, while the man staggers back up on your right and charges. If these two aren’t working together, then the woman is a master improviser.

The man hurls himself at you with sheer body weight, knocking you back even as you deliver a shattering kick to his groin. He vomits all over the pavement and drops the blades, but somehow, through adrenaline or sheer will, he’s on his feet still, and the woman is back up.

The Guard round the corner. A few of them spot you and yell, breaking into a run. Neither fighter is reacting yet.

>wat do
Attack the woman.
Keep shield up, take a few steps back, don't retreat far enough that they get an opportunity to run away though.
Rolled 1

Rolling Evade.
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...I rolled a One.
Enemy evade right
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You only need to buy seconds. The woman is staggering and losing a LOT of blood, but still dangerous. The man is essentially out of it. You lunge sideways, between the alley and the woman, who’s starting to look like she’s thinking better of her strategy. She spins on her leg and tries to run past the man, but he suddenly thrusts an arm out and grabs her leg, sending her crashing down.

“FUGGEN BISH ILL KILL YOU KIC MY NUTS” he screams, flailing randomly.

You leap towards the tangle, but the woman gets her hand free and slashes, and with a sense of pain you’ve never felt in your life, not even when you were actually dying, her knife passes straight through your eyes.


Oh, pain.

Screaming. Yours. Someone else’s. Boots on stone. Horrible feelings of light-headedness. Hot spurts of blood – maybe yours, some tastes human. Voices.

“SERGEANT! Listen to me, we’re putting you under for your own safety,” a woman shouts.

“I’m blind, not deaf,” you whisper. “Where’s the assholes?”

“Dead, we got them, don’t worry! We got your gear, we’re bringing you to the barracks!”

Running, lots of it. The ringing is gone, there’s shouting. A tingle of magic on your face, it feels like a cool breeze in a summer afternoon.

You’re asleep.

You’re awake.

You’re asleep.

It’s dark.

Well, duh, of course it’s dark, you’re blind, but…still. It feel like nighttime.

Will crying hurt? Probably not, this bandage over your face feels thick.

You hear the sound of groans and snoring. Smells like antiseptic and alcohol. You’re in the infirmary of the barracks. You don’t know what shape you’re in.

>Wat do
Pray to Asa to heal us the next time we sleep.
Call out, if anyone comes over ask what happened after we got blinded, what our condition is, etc.
Call out for somebody.
I was called away for a dinner gathering, sorry. I'm back and will be running until i need to go to bed.
There must be someone awake. “Hello?” you call out.

A hand descends on the bedside. “Hey, hush, Sergeant, it’s all right,” a voice you recognize says. It’s the doctor who healed Feathers. “Get some rest.”

“What happened?” you mumble.

“You took a hit to the eyes.” His hands brush your cheek. “Rest. My magic works faster if you’re asleep.”

“Why am I in the prison?” you ask. “Isn’t that dangerous?”

“You aren’t. You’re in the barracks infirmary. I was moved up to help. Seriously, sleep. I’ve sent for someone to cover me while I go get more supplies, so if you need anything, just hang tight, and they’ll be right with you.”

Then he’s gone.

It’s uncomfortable. It’s terrifying. You finger the gem in your forehead, looking for Asa, but it’s cold.

You’re alone.

“Hello?” you ask. “Is anyone awake?”

“Yes, my daughter.”

You start, knocking some blankets aside. “Asa?”

[Hush,] her voice says, now in your head. [I have an Avatar here, watching over you, but please be quiet. There are many sleeping people here.] Warm, soft hands caress your cheeks. [I’m here, my sweet daughter. I’m here. You’re safe. Jerome and your parents are cared for. You’ll recover.]

{I will?}

[Among your many abilities is the Gentle Spirit, my daughter. All you need do is ask, and I’ll heal you while you sleep. The scar…will take longer, but you’re not blind.]

{You…oh, Mai’te’s tears, I thought…}

Her hands shift a bit as she sits at your side on the little bed. [Rest, my beloved daughter. Sleep. I’ll be here.]

You let your hands fall away as Asa’s divine presence saps the fear from you, and you drift into an ueasy sleep.

Roll 1d100.
Rolled 27

gogo perfect healing
File: 1331785222261.png (188 KB, 451x358)
188 KB
188 KB PNG
Rolled 29

hoping for a cool ass scar
looks like we have some kind of scar, at least for a while
You dream.

You dream of something beautiful.

You are Dumatri.

You’re sitting on a stump in a forest clearing, watching four or five children play. One is sea tribe, the others are wood tribe. Two more, a cave tribe and a sun tribe, run in and join the game, whatever it is.

You grin to yourself as you watch the merriment. It’s quite comforting to see the children of the tribes getting along so well. It’s never a given with the adults, but you’re all Mai’te’s children here.

Her radiance is too great for life. She sends Shamans instead, to guide and advise you. For huge problems, like the sea wall collapsing, she’ll even send her son Ghalad, or her daughter Asa. You like those two, they’re always cheerful.

A hand clasps your shoulder as you watch the children. “Dumatri! Little brother, I hope you’re well,” Ghalad says.

You grin and embrace your spiritual brother’s Avatar. “Brother! Good to see you, too. The evacuation went well, you know,” you inform him.

“Oh, I saw,” Ghalad says. “I spoke to a few souls who joined us in heaven after the passage. I’m sorry not everybody made it, but they’re well taken care of, you know.”

You manage a smile at that thought. “Good.”

“Asa sends her greetings, as well,” Ghalad says. “She should be here, soon, she’s just taking her time.”

“Ah, I see.” You look over his shoulder to where several of the other Shamans of the tribes have gathered, talking about something. There’s much gesticulating and frowning. “What did you call us all here for, brother?”

Ghalad takes on a calculating air and sets his trident on the ground beside you. “Suffice it to say for now that the magic of this world is great. Mother and her…friends made it as such, of course. But the people of other races are beginning to do things with it that we never planned on. It’s not…a problem, exactly, but you deserve to know.”

You raise your eyebrows. “To…share?”

“Probably not.” Ghalad look back at the kids and smiles. “That’s cute.”

You glance over to see the sea tribe child, your son, sprint at the cave tribe child and halt at the last second, sending up a spray of dirt. The cave tribe kid tackles him and they go down under a dogpile. In seconds, the whole group is laying about laughing their asses off.

“It’s comforting to know the tribes still get along,” Ghalad says wistfully. “I wish…”

“Brothers, so sorry I’m late!” a new voice says. You both turn to see Asa walking up, clad as ever in her traditional appearance. A flowing wrap of some soft fabric wraps around her chest and up to her collarbone, with a simple tie dress around her waist. Unlike her brother, she goes unarmed, and she appears to be of the sun tribe, opposed to his sea. Offhandedly, you wonder who those two tribes are represented by the demigods and not the other two.

Asa favors you both with an ebullient smile. “How are you both doing?”

“Well, but you knew that,” Ghalad chuckles. “I’m sitting a few feet from you in the Geode.”

“True!” Asa hugs you quickly and pecks you on the cheek. “How about you, brother?”

“How do you feel?”

You start. It’s the doctor’s voice now. You’re Elsa, and you’re awake.

>”Uh, better.”
>”You tell me.”
>"Like my face got slashed by a rusty dagger."
“Like someone fucked my face with a piece of steel,” you grunt. “Yourself?”


That was unexpected. You blink the harsh light of the glowstone away to look at the doctor, and he takes a full four steps back.

You just sort of stare at him. “What?”

“You…have eyes!” he gasps. “You have eyes!”

Oh, wow. That was fast. But hey, now you don’t have to explain to Jerome why you have a scar, right?

“And that scar!” the doctor exclaims. “Here, look!”

You grab the mirror he offers you and hold it up to your face. When you get a look at your eyes, you nearly drop the mirror again. Your face had scars before, from a swipe by an enemy soldier that got too close, but now you have another, larger one, right across the bridge of your nose and both eye sockets. The eyes themselves aren’t brown, now, either. They’re silver, like Asa’s!

“What the hell?” you ask aloud. “What happened?”

“You’ve got a Gift,” he whispers. “That’s all I can think of. Unless…”

You feel your stomach tighten up. “Unless what?”

“Unless that gem on your forehead is what I think it is,” he says.

You tilt the mirror up a hair…sure enough, they took your bandana off when they bandaged your face. Your brand is plainly visible, and so is the gem.

>Wat say
>Tell him it is what he thinks, and it's currently a royal secret
>Command him to silence on the matter
>Quietly so other patients don't hear
>Get a bandana or something to cover up asap
You set the mirror down on the bed and hop to the floor. You’re dressed in your underwear right then, but your kit is all on a nearby table. You start pulling on clothes, glancing around to see how many other patients are awake.

Not many, none are looking at you. Good.

The doctor’s voice freezes your blood. “Listen, Sergeant, I can’t tell what that is, but when I tried to remove it…I mean, it’s bonded to your very skin – urk!”

His voice cuts off as you grip his collar and pull him close, staring directly into his eyes. “Listen very, very carefully,” you murmur. “It is a Royal secret. It shall stay a Royal secret, until the day I reveal it to the world. You shall tell nobody, you shall imply nothing, your report shall have no name appended besides yours. Understood?”

“Yes, my Lady.”

“I am leaving. This bed was empty overnight.” You release him and finish strapping on your gear. It’s disgustingly bloody and sweaty, but it’s better than cavorting around the city in your panties. “Thanks.”

“Yes…I understand.” He swallows. “Why are you here?”

“Doctor, if you find out, the worst has come to pass.” You grab your weapons, noting that at least the dagger is clean. “Good day.”

Outside, the sun is just barely climbing into the sky, but you don’t care. As soon as you’re out of sight of the exhausted soldiers in the halls, you tap your forehead.

{Asa! My Lady, are you there, can you speak?}

[You’re awake, my daughter, good! How do you feel?]

Well, truth be told, your vision is so sharp now that it’s actually disorienting. You had had average vision your whole life. You never realized how poor ‘average’ is. {Better than ever, thanks. What did you do to my eyes?}

[Replaced and improved them. I couldn’t repair them flawlessly, not in a few hours, but they’re sharper than ever.]

{I meant the color.}

[Oh. Well, they’re…actually my eyes,] Asa admits. [Copies of the ones I put in my Avatars.]

{…I have divine vision now?}

[You would have eventually, as your powers matured, it will just happen faster now.]

{But why was I attacked?}

[Those idiots wouldn’t have attacked you if you’d protected the King instead of contacting the Circle like I specifically suggested you do, my daughter,] Asa says quietly. [The woman was an assassin, working for the conspirators. Moor specifically. The man was just a drunk mugger that the assassin exploited as a meat shield.]

Your stomach turns to stone. [Oh, no. They’re on to me?]

{Partially. They attacked everybody with Home Battalion colors throughout the city that night, since all they knew of the person who took Feathers was that it was somebody in the Home Auxilia uniform. Thing is, First and Third through Tenth are all dispatched throughout the country right now, supporting the Legion against the border skirmishers. The only ones in town…]

{Vaughn, Mallerd, Dervich, and me,} you realize with mounting horror. {Oh, no no no…}

[I’m sorry, my daughter. I’ve put you at risk, yet again.] Asa’s voice is so sad that you can barely identify it with the perky, joyous woman in the dream last night. [I’m so sorry.]

{Who’s alive?} you demand. {Who made it?}

[You and Dervich. Vaughn is still in his cell.]

{Mallerd was murdered?}

[I’m so sorry.]

…Well. Now things are complex, indeed.

Thanks for running! Ended on a sad note.

I wasn't planning on doing another flashback scene, but I sort of had to.

I also had to have several art pieces changed to match her new appearance, too.

So next week will be busy!
just doodle a scar on her face
Yeah, except her eyes are a different color now.
just the iris, right? It should be even easier to do than the scar.

Also, while we're on eyes, what exactly does divine sight do?
It's not literally divine in the sense that they can see anything, it just helps with passing some sensory checks. They're equivalent to the best eyes an elf can genetically obtain normally. So Elsa, as a skirmisher, had average eyes and did an average job as a ranged fighter. Now they're much more refined and accurate. She doesn't actually get the ability to see through the eyes of Avatars like Asa does. That would be beyond broken.
So we've pretty much got the best possible eyes an elf can naturally have.
Like Captain America. Eyes only.
A sign that should become The Masked Herald.
At this point we don't even really need to be so secretive with our identity. I'm not saying go around with uncovered forehead and tell everyone, but we can tell more guild heads to coax help from them.
Except being cool

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