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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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It's time for Dead Gods!

Setting: Cender
Season: Early winter
Year: Post-creation 3975, post-Collapse 3008
City: Clen
Crime rate: Unsustainable

For old threads, look here! http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Dead%20Gods%20Quest
NOTE THAT QUEST 22 WAS NOT ARCHIVED, IT CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE: http://www.mediafire.com/download/7g6zn4rhzwnaw5e/22.zip
For updates, check twitter! @Someone_else___

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

Resident artist: Eversor_
This is Tarsh, the world of Dead Gods. On Tarsh, the Pantheon is stretched to the breaking point by the deaths of all but three of its dozens of members, with the remaining members largely serving advisory roles when they appear to mortals at all.

In this quest, you assume the life of Elsa Ledren, a young Sergeant in the Skirmishers of the Auxiliaries, the support forces of the Royal Army of Cender. You were on a long-term assignment’s first leg when you were attacked and killed in the forest. Your divine Pantheon member, Asa, brought you back to life with a mission: track down and kill the people responsible for trafficking the ancient magic weapon that killed you and your men. You discovered a large conspiracy to traffic and use these ancient weapons, and have been stealthily – or not – killing them off. In previous threads, you knocked off ten of the thirteen conspirators, but the remaining three now know exactly who you are, and are preparing for battle.

In the origins of the world, there were fourteen gods, and each created a race in their image. Yours, the elves, were created by Mai’te, who then created two demigods, a man and a woman, to liaise with the people, and also created the Heralds. These were normal mortals endowed with some of the powers of the demigods, and able to telepathically communicate with Mai'te, her children, and each other.
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A cataclysmic war, referred to hereafter as the Collapse, erupted about one thousand years into creation, and all but three demigods, all but two races, and all the gods died off. The tattered remnants of the world held together through the power of the three surviving demigods, including yours; the female demigod of the elves, named Asa. Three huge alchemic weather machines keep the world habitable, while the demigods have dispensed with the use of Heralds in favor of Avatars: physical projections of themselves that can walk and talk like people.

The afterlife was dismantled in the wake of the Collapse, and now, all souls are simply ‘inverted’ in the seas of Chaos outside reality after death, and absorbed by their corresponding demigod.

You were assigned by your King to track down a gang of bandits that had sided with the secessionists in the southlands, but were ambushed and nearly murdered by the conspiracy and their ancient weapon, the Orb of the Feathered Demon. Because the weapon can kill demigods, the Pantheon survivors made you a Herald in secret, and have charged you with killing the ten conspirators who survived the battle in the woods.

Previously, the King informed you that you have driven the main conspirators into a panic, and they’re preparing to leave the city. You have a general idea of how they mean to hide, but no specific idea about their destination, save that they may be trying to find a large mine to hide in.

All mechanics are based on a 1d100+modifier roll.
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Jerome stifles a yawn as you munch on your breakfast. “So what do you have up your sleeve today?” he asks.

“A lot,” you tell him. You swallow some toast and gesture outside. “I have to go talk to Gherta again about finding Moor before I do anything else. Then, I should go talk to Dietrich about sending more men to the mines, just to be safe, and see if he tracked down that third family too.” Jerome nods as you keep talking. “I should go chat with Arisa, and talk to Kelscik, and… busy. Busy busy,” you tell him, shaking your head. “It’s Saturday. What do you want to do?”

“I’m going to go to the market, first, and sort the rest of the mail,” he says with another yawn. “Start putting in the winter curtains, too.”

“Good idea.” You rise from the table and peck him on the cheek. “All right. Love you, handsome. See you later. Anything I should pick up?”

“Nah, I got it,” he says, brushing crumbs off his hands. “Love you too.”

>Which set of clothes do you want to use for this expedition? You can come home and change if you want.


>Do you want to actually follow Dervich’s and Sun’s advice, or just go with what’s listed up there?
>or just go with what’s listed up there?
Okay, and the other of the two things from which to choose? There's two options there. It's the same sets of clothes as ever.
>>Which set of clothes do you want to use for this expedition? You can come home and change if you want.
Low key. Stick the shield tiara in a pocket. Might be handy.

>>Do you want to actually follow Dervich’s and Sun’s advice, or just go with what’s listed up there?
I don't recall what their advice was.
Back from dinner.

The advice from Sun was to specifically ask Kelscik how to disable demon-fuelled shields without touching them. Dervich asked to be reassigned to a unit that isn't going off to fight - specifically, you - so he can get his shit together.
It’s better to be low-key, but protection is vital. You snug your bandana on over your hair – you need a haircut, too – and slip the tiara in a bag.

“Let’s go,” you mutter, snugging your civilian travel clothes on and securing a dagger.

Your Gem warms. [Sister, I have some interesting news for you,] Asa’s familiar voice tells you. [Have a moment?]

You press the little stone into your skin. {Sure. What is it?}

[Haret, Vier, and I have been working on something, a special ability,] Asa says. [The world’s balances of power aren’t like they were when last we created Heralds. The existence of the Gift changes things. You need to be able to track it, like you can Well-tapped souls.]

That feeling of peace and calm floods your mind and body as new power enters your Gem. [This is an experimental power, sister,] Asa cautions you. [Please be careful.]

ABILITY UNLOCKED: The Sight of Enigma
New Divine Ability unlocked!

The Sight of Enigma: Elsa can now see if somebody has a Gift by looking at any part of their body. ACTIVE.

>”This is really powerful!”
>”What’s the range on this thing?”
>”How should I be careful?”
>”Are you worried about something?”
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Also, I'm pleased to announce my next book! Dead Gods 3: War in the South will be a sort of epilogue to this story, and the cast will change depending on which characters survive this quest!

And I forgot the Level-up image AGAIN
>>”What’s the range on this thing?”
That sounds fine then.
>”How should I be careful?”
{Wow, this is pretty interesting,} you tell her as a little screen of gold flickers over your vision and vanishes. {What’s the range?}

[How far can you see?] she asks. [That far.]

{I have the eyes you gave me.}

[Pretty damn far.]

{Too cool. How should I be careful?}

[Don’t rely on it. It’s untested. By the by, what’s on your schedule for today?] she asks, switching topics.

{So, so much to do,} you sigh, slipping your socks and boots on. {So many people to visit.}

[I understand. Planning an attack?]

{Yeah. Elger Moor has way too much power. He has to be stopped before he tries to flee.}

[Good. Best of luck, my sister. Stay safe out there.]


The tunnel is an easy jog, and you emerge in the utility corridor under the castle barely sweating. If nothing else, all this running and walking you’re doing is great for toning your legs and improving stamina. Upstairs, Gherta’s Guard waves you in.

The woman behind the desk is a stranger. It’s Gherta, and you can tell by her clothes and bearing, but she’s under so much makeup that you can’t even see her extensive scars. “Ah, Herald,” she says quietly. “Good timing.”

“Duchess,” you say, bowing politely. “Am I interrupting?”

“Yes, but I take it as a blessing,” she says flatly. “I’ve just received a report about Don Kotrick you may find quite helpful.”

“Do tell, ma’am,” you say, sitting down at her invitation. “Have you found him?”

“One of his caches of illegal goods,” the Duchess says. “He’s sending somebody to clean it out and sell it all, and soon. Probably to finance purchases of security guards or weapons, to ensure his safe escape.”

>”Where is it?”
>”Is it guarded, or was he counting on it being inconspicuous?”
>”How was it seen?”
>”Do you want me to hit it?”
>>”Where is it?”
>>”Is it guarded, or was he counting on it being inconspicuous?”

Before we even get to planning I suggest we let his guy get it. I'm sure the spymaster has somebody who can follow and hopefully be led straight to Kotrik
>>”Is it guarded, or was he counting on it being inconspicuous?”
You lean forward, thinking intently. “Interesting. Where?”

She raises a hand and points out the tiny window. “Of all places, the horse stable by the southernmost gate. He can move goods in and out disguised as saddlebags. It’s where he launders passports and small gems.”

“Smart bastard,” you grumble. “Should I hit it?”

“After I have a chance to send somebody to tail the person Kotrick is sending to clean it out, Herald, and not before,” she adds with a shake of her head that sends her hair swishing about. It’s a wig, you suspect. “We need this intelligence. We may be able to bring down what remains of his network after he breaks for the hills.”

You frown. “Is it guarded?”

“Not visibly. I would bet on at least some wards,” she says.

“Any chance he’s sending Moor?” you ask Gherta.

She sighs. “No chance. He’s too valuable to risk on a simple cache job.”

>”Where is Moor? What should I bring with me when I hit him?”
>”Can you send somebody to find Moor so I can hit him before Kotrick runs?”
>”Any idea what Novai sold Moor?”

>”Where is Moor? What should I bring with me when I hit him?”
>>”Any idea what Novai sold Moor?”
“So where is he? Moor, I mean?” you ask.

Gherta tilts her head. “Well, you already know his hideout’s location. As for where he is, physically, right now, I have no idea. He won’t stray too far from his base, though. Most of his men ran for their lives when you announced he was a target, so he can’t have his security spread too thinly.”

Interesting. “Do you have any idea where he may have hidden whatever he bought from Novai, and what it was?” you ask.

“None whatsoever,” Gherta says, a note of genuine reproach slipping into her tone. The slip is shocking. Her disappointment in failing to discover something so valuable is clearly getting to her.

“When I do find him, what should I bring? In terms of weapons and gear, I mean,” you tell her.

The Spymistress ponders that, her angry moment over. “I would suggest the most durable equipment you have for armor, and your most powerful weapons – it’s a warehouse, no need to worry about open spaces.”

>Ask more questions
>Take your leave to go find Dietrich
>>Take your leave to go find Dietrich
Let's go recruit a lackey.
You rise to your feet and bow again. “Thank you for your time, Duchess. I’ll be sure to let you know when I assault Moor’s hidey-hole.”

“Kindly do, Herald, you don’t know which of his people works for me,” she says calmly.

Outside, it’s a short walk to the Captain-General’s office, and a somewhat longer wait while he finishes speaking with some of his Logistical officers, before you’re ushered in by a star-struck young Lieutenant who can’t stop staring at your brand.

“Your Eminence, welcome,” the old officer says, rising to his feet and saluting, completely without cause. You’re not even in uniform. You return it anyway. “What can I do for you?”

“I have a few questions, actually, General,” you tell him. “If I may?”

“Of course, of course, do sit down,” he says, matching action to words. “What did you wish to ask?”

“Sir, would it be possible to shake loose a few men to secure the old dwarf ruin on the river upstream?” you ask. “Like we discussed at the party.”

Dietrich nods and folds his hands on his desk. “I’ve already sent a full company of Guards, which should be all I can spare.”

You’re actually a bit taken aback. That’s far more than he said he would be able to spare before. “Most generous, sir, thank you,” you tell him. “May I ask what orders they were given?”

“Secure the mine as best as possible and watch for intruders,” he tells you. “All I can do. They have images of Kotrick, but we didn’t have one of Moor or this Novai fellow. Any luck identifying him?”

“None,” you grouse.

>How to approach the Dervich question?

>”Sir, my former squad Corporal has expressed an interest in reassignment.”
>”Might I trouble you for a bodyguard for this mission?”
>"Sir, my former squad Corporal has told me he would like to assist me. If you don't mind, could I use him as a bodyguard for this mission?"
>>”Sir, my former squad Corporal has expressed an interest in reassignment.”

Formal and professional
Dervich deserves your attention, too. “Sir, may I ask a small trouble from you?” you inquire carefully. “My mission is increasingly dangerous. I may need a bodyguard, somebody who knows my style and can keep up with me.”

“Ah, yes,” he says. “That’s not unreasonable, but surely a Shadow would be better suited for that? That’s what they do.”

“Indeed, but I don’t fight in Shadow style, and… I’ve already had a request,” you admit. “My former squad Corporal. The only man left in fighting trim in my entire battalion. He wants to work with me again, and I owe him one.”

Dietrich slowly sits back in his seat. “I… see.” He grimaces. “Well, I don’t mind terribly, but… you know, Herald, I have no jurisdiction over the Auxilia. That’s the King’s decision. I can put in a request, and he’d be mad to deny it, but… it will take a day or two.”

>”That’s fine, sir, thanks.”
>”I’ll just go ask him.”
>”That’s fine, sir, thanks.”
>>”That’s fine, sir, thanks.”
No need to barge in on the King without news. He's a busy guy.
“That would be much appreciated, General, thank you,” you tell him. The King doesn’t need to field your every request in person. “I should tell you also that I want to press Moor, and soon. Probably within the next day or so.”

“Ah, I see,” he says. “Indeed, that would be wise. Do you want backup from my forces?”

“I would appreciate it, but let me figure out what we’re up against first,” you caution him. “I’m waiting on a report from the Spymistress.”


“Finally, I wish to inquire if the third of my… victim’s families have been found.”

He nods. “They have. They were on holiday. They’ve since returned. Shall I contact them?”

>”Yes.” (provide a time and place to meet them)
>”Not yet.”
>>”Not yet.”
More pressing issues at the moment.
Ten days from now, in the garden where we met the other families. Gives us time to wrap up the current situation and then a bit of a break before meeting them.
Rolled 1 (1d2)

Flipping a coin. 1 for Yes, 2 for No.
“Please do,” you tell him, feeling that sense of loss on your heart again. “But let’s see what kind of time I have before Kotrick makes his move, first, sir. I don’t want to have to abandon a reconciliatory meeting to go kill somebody. I’d ask that I see them in ten days, and I would prefer to not do it sooner. Same place as last time, the library courtyard in the noble district at noon.”

“Naturally.” Dietrich stands and bows as you rise to depart. “Farewell, your Eminence.”

The air outside is crisp and chilly, and you snug your cloak a bit tighter as you jog towards Arisa’s house. The wind is picking up quite a lot – the weather machines are creating a blustery winter’s day.

Her large home is covered in scaffolding, you see, with workers scrambling all over. On Saturday. In a wind surge. You’re starting to wonder how much money she actually has.

Arisa’s door is repaired but wide open as painters walk in and out, and you duck in, looking for the Priestess.

You find her in the kitchen, fuming. “Hello, Elsa,” she says curtly as you walk in. “Can you believe this? The contractor I hired to repair the windows stole my bloody watch.”

Oh Mai’te, you do believe it. “Same thing happened to me when I had some men expand my basement,” you say, sharing her disgust. “Got the Guard on it?”

“I do,” she sighs. “Ugh. Please tell me you have good news to share.”

“I do,” you tell her. “I’d like to announce myself to the Circle. Can that be arranged?”

She blinks. “Already? Well, yes,” she says. “I can arrange it. A Sunday meeting, perhaps? I can send notices out this afternoon.”

>”That will do fine.”
>Tomorrow is recon day – Monday would work better.
>Suggest an alternative (what?)
>>”That will do fine.”

>”That will do fine.”
Gotta go. Vote well other anon.
“I appreciate that, Arisa,” you tell her. “I’ll be here. Noon?”

“Noon,” she agrees. “I’ll see what I can make ion my brand new kitchen, assuming nobody steals my cutlery,” she says, just a bit louder than she needs to.

The streets are still cold and blustery, of course, but now you’re running through the taller buildings of the merchants’ quarter, and it’s at least not as bad with these big structures to block the wind. Voyager Kelscik’s work at the Royal War Mages’ College means that he’s at least easy to find. As you approach the huge building, you see a group of War Mages munching on some food on the steps, looking completely unconcerned by the wind, or the fact that they look like schoolkids on the steps of the place. You march past them and into the huge structure.

Professor Alembri looks up from a chair by the door as you walk in. “Ah, your Eminence!” he says cheerfully. “So pleased to see you again! Are you seeking some follow-up about the teleporter?”

>”Yes, sir, thank you.” (ask him teleporter questions)
>”No, thank you.” (go to Kelscik directly)
>>”No, thank you.” (go to Kelscik directly)
"Those jammers did come in very useful though."
>Tomorrow is recon day – Monday would work better.
You muster a half-smile. “No, sir, but the jammers came in handy,” you inform him. “They worked perfectly.”

“Ah, glad to hear it!” he says, nearly clapping his hands together. “It’s not like I’ll ever get another chance to test them, you know. Thank you!”

“Of course, Professor. Good day,” you say, excusing yourself.

Upstairs, Kelscik is reading through a lab notebook as you knock on his open door. He looks up immediately closes the book. “Ah. Your Eminence, welcome.”

“Voyager. Am I interrupting?” you ask.

“Not at all, I was just finishing,” he says, setting the book aside. “It was a lovely surprise to see you at the party. Afraid I wasn’t much for socializing,” he admits.

You think back to the King’s sobering news. “Nor I,” you say, wearily dropping into a chair. “Sir, I was wondering if you would be able to help me. Master Sun sent me this letter,” you say, showing him the notice, “and he claimed that you may know more.”

Kelscik reads it over carefully, then sets it down and purses his lips. “Hmm… I may, but I know little that he doesn’t. Demonic shields… let us see.”

He rises from his seat and walks over to the wall, where a thick pile of books sits collecting dust. “Demonic… shields,” he says distractedly. “I think…” He pulls a tome from the shelf and opens it, glancing over the table contents. After a minute of skimming, he flips to a page near the back. “This is all I have,” he says, sitting back down and showing you the book.

You accept it and read, curiosity piqued. “So the shields were incredibly rare? I thought they would have been put in place to prevent the flying cities from taking damage in the war,” you say.

“They would have been, but remember that ‘shield’ is something of a misnomer,” Kelscik says. “They don’t shield anything, they prevent Pantheon members from physically modifying anything inside. That, and I rather doubt that the demons were simply lining up to be murdered and eviscerated.”

“True.” You finish the paragraphs and close the book. “So no ideas about dismantling them.”

The ancient mage smiles in a way that reminds you of a cat sighting a mouse. “Well, it may be of some use anyway,” he says. “The shields are rare, yes, but this means that the Pantheon members of the Harpy race couldn’t augment the city’s defenses once the shields were up. Whatever’s up there has gone unmaintained for three thousand years, plus however much time passed between the end of the Harpies and the end of the Collapse.”

>”How could we get up there without wings?”
>”Does Master Sun know the flight magic?”
>>”No, thank you.” (go to Kelscik directly)
>>”How could we get up there without wings?”
inb4 hot air balloon
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I just want to make sure the person who's apparently behind by several posts has a chance to catch up before I continue.
The cities were lifted high above the ground by the old magics, you know. “How do I get up there without wings?” you ask.

“A teleporter, or a glider from a vantage even higher,” Kelscik says. “There’s no other mundane way. With magic or an esoteric Gift, it could be done easier.”

“If I did get that teleporter, would I be able to carry anything, or a passenger, up there?” you ask.

He considers. “Possibly a bit of cargo, but no living thing.”

>Anything else to ask?
Are there any such vantage points near enough?
That area of the Mountains of Abandonment is called the Aerie, because of all the deserted cities in the air above. Still, the mountains nearby are the largest in the world… “Can you think of any such vantage points nearby?” you ask.

He reaches back up onto the wall of books and extracts an atlas. “Not offhandedly,” he remarks, paging through it. “I’ve never been up there… ah. It looks like the Spirelings had a fortress on the nearby mountins, which the Harpies looted barren once the wars started in earnest. Fascinating. Whether its elevation is greater, I don’t know.”

>Ask about ancient artifacts (anything specific?)
>Go home for lunch and plan the afternoon
>>Go home for lunch and plan the afternoon
“I see. I should ask Master Sun when he gets here,” you say. “Thank you for your help, Voyager.”

“It’s an honor, your Eminence,” he says politely, shaking your hand over his desk. “Do come by again if I can be of any further assistance.”

You bow over his hand. “I certainly shall, sir.”

It’s been a long morning. So much done!

[Temporary End of Thread]

I’m out until morning. Thanks. Please keep it alive until tomorrow morning.
The cold bread and turkey vanishes quickly beore the might of your hunger. “A meal well-vanquished,” you happily sigh as you push the plate away.

It’s a but past noon, and you’ve already had four meetings. Productive! In fact, you got done so quickly, you have nothing else queued up to work on.

Is there anything else you want to do on this half-day off?

>Wait for Jerome and sort the mail with him
>Go meditate
>Go back to the barracks and get in some combat training
>Go network – get in touch with some of the combat Guilds (Escorts, Assassins, Thieves, Mercenaries, Mages)
>Wait for Jerome and sort the mail with him
>Go back to the barracks and get in some combat training
>Meditate after training.

Though considering our luck, the middle of these may be a fruitless endeavor.
You spread out on the couch and catnap for half an hour, when Jerome walks in with a pile of mail. “Hey, Elsa, are you here?” he calls out from the door.

You sit up on the couch. “Hey, Jerome! Yeah, I am.”

“Good.” He walks in and drops a pile of mail on the table. “Look at this. Two months of mail, plus fan mail now.”

You sigh and walk over. “Grand.” You lift some letters and stare. “Well, this is from my parents… dated yesterday.”

“So stuff is getting through, at least,” he observes. “We’re probably near the end of the backlog.”

“That’d be nice.” The letter from your parents is succinct – they just want to know you’re okay. You hastily assure them that you are and stuff the note into an envelope. “Alright. Anything else we should actually reply to?”

“No,” he snorts. “Just junk. The fan letters… I shouldn’t open them. They may be a trap or something. Runic paper, whatever.”

“Smart. Yeah, I’ll get to it when I have the time.” You stretch and grab your cloak off the back of the couch. “All right, I’m heading back to the barracks for a while. I’ll be back in time for dinner. What do you want?”

“I was gonna make a big salad,” he says.

“Cool, want me to pick anything up?”

“Nope, I got what I need. See you tonight,” he says.

The walk to the barracks is free of heckling once you break through the initial cluster, and the barracks itself is pretty empty – most of the force has been sent south, plus a company to the mines… it’s pretty barren.

Dervich isn’t here, he must be out having fun. That’s what you like to imagine, at least.

You change into your spare armor after carefully cleaning and drying it, and run through some spear and bash drills for a few hours. The drill yard is chill y, but you’re working up a good sweat in no time. You’ve been running and walking everywhere lately, so your legs are in top shape, but your arms aren’t very well-exercised of late, so you feel the burn in your triceps in no time.

You flick some sweat off your brow as you eviscerate another straw bundle and finish it off with a shield bash. It feels good to be training on your usual gear again, you think to yourself. Shadow armor and short swords, Heraldic gear and weapons, that stuff is fine…

“But give me a spear that can stick a horse and a shield that can turn away bullets any day,” you say aloud.

“Sergeant?” a voice asks.

You glance over your shoulder – it’s a Guard. Maybe sixteen, with a sword across his back. “Sorry, I didn’t know somebody was using these,” he says.

>”Not a problem. Want to spar?”
>”Very well.” (send him off)
>”I’m done anyway.”
>”Not a problem. Want to spar?”
Naturally, I get called away now of all times. I'll try to be back soon.
You nod at the much younger soldier. “Not a problem. Want to spar?”

The other soldier’s face turns white when he sees your brand and Gem, but he bravely nods anyway. “Uh… yes, ma’am.”

“Cool. Flats?” you ask, twirling your spear. “No blood, huh? Just practice.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he says, unslinging the sword.

“So, let me ask you something, kid,” you say as he starts circling. “How would you fight somebody with a magic shield?”

“A shield?” he asks. “Uh… choke them. Gas or poison.” He lunges suddenly, though you deflect him. “Why?”

“I may be fighting somebody like that soon,” you remark. You draw back a pace as he whipse the flat of the blade at you. “Your footwork’s not bad, but watch your free hand. It’s either balancing you or not, can’t be both.”

“Right.” He swings again, and this one barely nicks your shield as you slap the blade aside.

>Practice a specific technique (which?)
>Just fight fair and square
>Ask him more stuff
>>Just fight fair and square
>>Ask him more stuff
You circle left, until the dummy is behind you, then lunge forward, sweeping with the spear. He swings high, trying to block you, but your spearhalf takes the side of his knee just in time. “Nice moves, kid,” you grunt as the flat slaps into your armored pauldron. “You local defense?”

“Wall guard,” he says, panting. “South gate.”

Oh. Interesting. “Ever see anybody coming and going from the stables at odd hours down there?” you ask.

“Uh, no,” he says nervously as you take your poses again. “Should I?”

“No, we’re just on the lookout for anything amiss down there.” You crick your neck and settle in behind your spear. Spearmen are generally vulnerable to infantry, but he doesn’t have a shield, so maybe it won’t be a problem. “What’s your name?”

“Private Dolomer,” he says. Now that you can see him clearer, he’s human, with pale skin and a wide swatch of freckles.

“Sergeant Ledren.” You swing the weight at the end of the spear up in an arc and nearly disarm him. He funbles for the blade and doesn’t drop it. “Don’t grip it so tight, you’ll break your fingers,” you chastise him, then advance. You swing the shield out to the side, and he braces for a bash, but instead you pivot around its weight and slam your unarmored shoulder into him, knocking him back.

He stumbles, losing his balance. “They let you finish training, fighting like that?” you ask. He flushes angrily.

“Yes, Sergeant,” he says curtly. He swings again, a two-handed strike, and you stagger back from the impact.

“There you go! Much better,” you encourage him.

>Keep talking (about what topic?)
>Go hit the showers and meditate
>>Keep talking (about what topic?)
See what the rank and file think of all this conspiracy/herald/god summoned tornado business
“So, though, for real, what’s your first name?” you ask him, settling back into stance.

“Delling.” He taps the edge of his sword and carefully re-grips it, setting his left hand on the pommel.

“Elsa.” You take a step back, finding the right range. “So, let me ask you something, Private. What do the Guards think about this whole ‘ancient superweapon’ thing?”

He winces and doesn’t answer. Instead, he lunges forward, quickly, swinging side-to-side to move your shield.

You try to step back quickly enough, but it doesn’t work: it knocks your shield to the side, and you have to take an awkward step to the side so his blade doesn’t slap it off your arm. “That was… ngh. That was an order, Private.”

“Really, though, ma’am?” he asks, anger coloring his voice. “I mean, do you really want to know?”

“Yes!” You drive his sword-point aside as it scrapes a layer of paint off your shield. “Yes, I want to know.”

He steps back, lowering his blade. “Fine.” He looks away, over the walls, towards the setting sun. “It’s a huge pain in the ass. We didn’t sign up for this. We signed up to fight rebels and bandits, not… divine criminals. There’s still people in the city in a panic over the tornado last month! And now this?”

You lean on your spear, letting your lungs do their work. “I don’t blame you,” you start to say, but he cuts you off.

“And this conspiracy! What’s that all about? Who are these people? What do they want?” he demands. He shakes his head before you can answer. “Nonsense. It’s all nonsense. I just want have an enemy I can fight! Not this crazy bullshit.”

>Keep talking (about what?)
>Hit the showers and meditate
>>Keep talking (about what?)
Agree with him. Elsa didn't sign up for that either. Gotta do what you gotta do to protect the city and all that though. Encouraging words and stuff.
>Me fucking too dude. It sucks.
>Heraldship is pretty sweet though.
Back and writing.
“I hear you,” you tell him, setting the shield aside. You’re both clearly done fighting. “The tornado was pretty scary, too. Haret being mad is never pleasant.”

He glowers, but nods. “You’d know, I guess.”

“I didn’t sign up for this either, but I had to do it,” you tell him, tapping your brand. “It’s worth it for the abilities alone, trust me. Well, for me, anyway,” you add drily.

He just looks disgusted. “I’ll have to take your word for it, ma’am.”

“We all have to protect the city in our own way, of course,” you continue. You grab your kit and walk past him. “Buck up, kid. We’re almost out of the woods.

Below, in the showers and the steam chamber adjacent to them, you drop your things off on the bench and strip bare, then let the hot water scour away the day’s labors. That runners’ high of endorphins that always follows a good workout floods into yrou muscles asn you tilt your head back and face the spigots above.

Clean and rinsed, you sit down on the long stone bench down the middle of the women’s showers and focus. The meditative practices Ritera’s memories gave you work just as well for you as they did for her, and you drift into that oddly detached state that accompanies them.

You sit there in the warm, humid air for nearly half an hour, until the sense of disconnection spreads from eartips to toes. You hold it for a while longer, then release all at once.

The sudden burst of energy makes you a bit dizzy, like always, but as conscious control of your body returns, you feel more balanced and healthy than you have in a long time.

“I should market that technique, or something,” you mutter, as you rinse off again and get dressed.

>Anything else to do today, or go home?
I think we're mostly waiting on info from the spymisstress to move out. So >go home
I guess.
>Walk around and practice that gift sight. Asa said it was untested, so we should test it.
My horrible shame is that the Enigma is something you were supposed to have received before the party; in fact you use it at one point to see that both of Maas' kids have Gifts that haven't manifested.
I thought it was weird since it had been done on a few occasions before.
You finish cleaning up and throw your clothes back, beginning the hike back to your place through the tunnels. Along the way, your Gem warms. [Sister, do you have a moment? The King has told me something interesting.]

{Sure, what is it?}

[Did you just ask Captain-General Dietrich to reassign your former Corporal?]

{Yes. Is that a problem?}

[No. I think it’s a good idea. But I wonder if you know what that will entail.]

You frown into the darkness. {How do you mean?}

[Where will he stay if he’s reassigned from the barracks? Where will he get his gear?]

{Uh, doesn’t the Auxilia provide that stuff?} you ask.

[And if he’s been assigned to the Herald Support Team – which doesn’t exist – wat will you do with him?] Asa asks patiently.

>{Is there precident for this?}
>{What do you think I should do?}
>{Can’t I just ask the King to provide the same support he always had before?}
>>{Is there precedent for this?}
>>{What do you think I should do?}
You see the little glowstone next to your door in the far distance. {Is there precedent for this?} you ask.

[Certainly. Many of the later Heralds had aides-de-camp. Some had butlers, some had bodyguards. They were also generally quite rich, and used to have places large enough for the others to stay.]

Oh. {What do you think I should do?}

[I think you should just do as you suggested. Ask the King to put him up in the barracks like before, and he should be fine. Or, you know, I’m speaking to the King now. I could ask him for you, if you wish.]

{Could you? I’d appreciate it,} you say gratefully. {I’ll just come get him through the tunnels when I need him.}

[The King has no problem with it, though he notes that it can’t be permanent.]

{He knows it won’t be!} you exclaim, unlocking the door with one hand. {I’ll kill Novai and Kotrick and be done. Then Dervich can go do whatever he wants.}

[Right. How will you pay him?]


>{Can you ask the King to meet his old salary from the war chest funds?}
>{Out of pocket, since it shouldn’t take long.}
>>{Can you ask the King to meet his old salary from the war chest funds?}
>{Can you ask the King to meet his old salary from the war chest funds?}
{I would appreciate it if you could just ask the King to meet his old salary from the war chest funds we captured,} you ask Asa. {I mean, it’s not like I’m asking him to be paid more.}

A pause. [He agrees, if only because he was already paying him before.]

{Good.} You walk upstairs and shuck your cloak. {Okay, I’m home safe after a productive day. I need to get dinner ready.}

[Very well. Will you move on Moor tomorrow?]

{I’ll certainly try.}

[Good. I strongly recommend you use Shadows for the attack, the King has already expressed some willingness to put them at your disposal.]

{Got it.}

>Anything else you want done today?
>>Anything else you want done today?
Go out for a bit and test that gift seeing ability. We need to know if it's reliable or not.
{By the way, I think I’ll test that Enigma ability,} you tell her. {Any ideas where to start?}

[Are those people still outside your house?]

{Yes. Unfortunately.}

[Then go out on your balcony and look down,] she says drily. [That’s more than enough.]

{Oh, good call.} You walk upstairs into the bedroom, then out on the balcony. The crowd below spots you and starts babbling, but you ignore them. Engaging your new powers, you see a strange, glimmering gold color fall over several of the outlines below. Some are quite bright, while others aren’t glowing – that’s most, actually. Others yet are only dimly flickering, while the one or two women who are either pregnant or carrying children seem normal, save the fact that one of the children she has on her arms is glowing as well, the same way Maas’ children did. {Interesting.}

[Does it work?]

{It does. No idea the range.}

Before you can continue, though, somebody below shouts. “Lady Ledren! What happened at that jewelry store?” Amazingly, the crowd falls silent, as if they’re waiting for you to answer.

>Ignore him and go inside
>Actually answer (with what?)
>Use a divine ability
>"That's classified."
>Go inside
>>Use a divine ability
Asa’s Speech
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Thank god. Somebody remembered we have that. The number of speech checks in this quest that have been harder than they have to be...
You draw deep on Asa’s powers in your reply. “In all honesty, sir,” you say, your voice ringing with divine power. “I erred. An enemy had taken hostages which I felt were willing participants. I was mistaken, and they died for my faulty intelligence. Recompense for the kin of the lost is already being arranged.”

The crowd mumbles a bit at that, and you have to admit to feeling a bit chagrined that Asa’s answer wasn’t actually at all far from what you had intended to say on your own. Interestingly, though, her voice continues speaking. “Moreover, the fact that the enemy has targeted me specifically means that anybody gathered here is at risk from a similar attack. As much as I am pleased that you all seem to care, I must assert that all remain here to their own peril.” Ah, so Asa was just making sure that everybody understood the risk.

The crowd’s noise increases, and a few people wander off, but the man who was yelling before keeps going. “Too bad!” he says. “We’ve all got our reasons to be here!”

You frown at him in surprise. “And what is yours?”

“I need to see what you’re up to here!” he says. “What your desires are!”

>wat say
>divine ability (which?)
>Just leave
>"To take down all the conspirators and make the city safe again."
>>"To take down all the conspirators and make the city safe again. It's my home."
“My desire is to see the city freed of its conspirators, sir, and nothing more,” you tell him. “I wish to make the city safe.” Before he can retort, you’re already gone.

Once the door is safely shut, you stab the Gem, but Asa’s already talking. [I hope that helped.]

{Me too,} you say wearily. {There was one guy who wouldn’t quit yelling out there, too.}

[Sorry to hear that. Tomorrow, you can put paid to this problem, though. Moor’s death will shake the city to its foundations. He’s a staple of the local black market. Trust in your own decisions.]

{I’ve made poor ones.}

[And owned them fully. Understand me?]

You sigh at her gentle reproach. {Yes. I do, sister.}

[Good. Get some rest. Be with your husband, rest well. Tomorrow, we begin the end of these monsters, and make the world safe again.] Asa’s voice turns from light conversation to absolute, rock-steady certainty. [Account for the Orb, and this is a done deal.]

>Timeskip to the following morning?
>Do something else tonight? (remember all divine abilities recharge overnight)

>Timeskip to the following morning
Rolled 51 (1d100)

VERY WELL. I am rolling 1d100 on the Dream Table! I used to ask you all to do it, but I would sometimes have to wait ten minutes for a roll, and also people would roll more than once on a single-roll-gated challenge, which is silly.
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Sorry it's taking so long. This is the longest memory. And I'm REALLY glad you got it before you fought Novai.
You are Herald Umbara Dhaw, the last living Herald in the nation of Osterlich, and probably the last one in the north. You can be pretty sure, since you have a means of communicating telepathically with all other Elf Heralds, though it doesn’t work anymore. You’re also pretty sure because there’s a gargantuan army of screaming ghosts on the horizon, eating everything and everyone, and it’s hard to see that and not lose hope.

Your hands are blistered from gripping the railing. The engineers and war alchemists beside you are feverishly adjusting the artillery on the platform below, and the soldiers on the grounds beneath are as prepared as they can be. The warhounds that haven’t gone insane or starved are lined up, ready to buy you a few seconds, and the Battlemages are already preparing their spells. For what it’s worth.

“DHAW!” a voice bellows. You wince at the sound of the voice of your king, who quite rightly blames you for all this mess.

“Your Highness?” you ask over the horrible din.

“What happened? Why did Mai’te not stop the ghosts?” the King demands, huffing as he charges up beside you, his armor all clattering together.

“She tried,” you tell him, pointing at the distant wall of ghosts. Every few dozen feet, a small column of light will appear, and a ghost will vanish from the front line, as Mai’te or one of the other Pantheon members sucks them into the afterlife. It’s slowing them, imperceptibly. At least the Pantheon members get a bit stronger each time.

“It’s not working,” he growls. The man’s not stupid. He knows what’s about to happen.

So do you. “Indeed,” you say quietly. “One way or another, Sire, it’s been an honor.”

“We join the ranks of the screaming dead tonight,” he sighs. “Yes. An honor.”
Below, a full rank of Royal Pike Guard brace across the gates as the last few civilians scurry inside and the combat sappers finish planting the mines. Obviously, concussion ammo doesn’t work against the dead, but for some unfathomable reason, Current bombs and Flare grenades do, and you’ve emptied your arsenal into the trenches outside the castle.

The sky is a cheerful, sunny blue. That just doesn’t seem right. You should be swimming in Oslin-otch or taking in a play, not preparing to be eaten by ghosts. That’s supposed to happen under a red sky, or black, or cloudy at least!

The screaming gets louder. You can’t make out individual words, but you can hear every pitch and timbre. They’re coming, and nothing can stop them. Nothing you have, anyway. The Brotherhood may have had some tricks up their sleeves, but they all hiked up their skirts and ran for safer terrain.

The crack of lightning behind you draws your gaze. The Dome – that accursed chunk of metal and sin – glitters as it sparks, dropping bolts of energy into the ground, where great iron bars have been buried to catch the Current. A few mages are desperately casting magic into the rods under the ground, trying to open up the channels and suck out a bit more energy, but it’s not happening fast enough.

The Dome was supposed to protect you. A great shield that nullifies all divine power within its projection range, it was supposed to ensure that the quibbling gods didn’t destroy Osterlich in their warring and arguing. It worked, to an extent. The problem is that it also blocked your Heraldic abilities, and prevented the Gods from harvesting the souls of the dead. Now they are coming for you, and all attempts to destroy the device have resulted in dead mages, joining the ghosts in their insanity.
Even the most prepared of souls can only maintain sanity for a day or so in the absence of a God to direct them into the afterlife, and with the death rate in Osterlich after the plague swept through last year, it’s a real problem. Now the Gods have to essentially strike the ghosts in the crowds outside at random, hoping to hit one that corresponds with their race. It’s far from ideal.

The ghosts are within a mile. The artillery opens up.

A bolt of scathing heat rips from the alchemic artillery over your heads, on top of the tower of the castle, and impacts… a hundred yards short.

“Try aiming FOR the enemy!” the artillery master screams, and his men hastily recalibrate. The next battery fires and their shots fly truer, impacting in the middle of the cluster, and dissipating the ghosts inside the shocking blue sphere that appears at the impact point.

They aren’t gone – they’re ghosts – but they’ll disappear for a day or two. Enough time for the Pantheon to get the job done.
Half an hour. An hour. The artillery is joined by crossbowmen first. Then archers. Then the mines. Then the hounds, and an instant after the ghosts finish eating the dogs, the pikemen. Then the pikemen vanish, screaming, into the maws of horrible ghosts, and then the castle is breached.

Your enchanted blade sings through the air, cleaving a ghost, which vanishes into a puff of blue smoke. The King is dead – his ghost is standing behind you, trying to help, though the way his spectral eye is twitching is extremely unhelpful. “Down! There’s one behind you!” he shouts, in his deep dwarven voice. “Now to the left! It’s coming… you got it!”

You scream as a blade bites into your thigh, and the Osterlicher soldier who accidentally swung it starts to gasp an apology before a ghastly Spireling easts him alive in one chomp.

You collapse, staring up at the horrible little gremlin in absolute terror. In vain, your finger flies to the Gem, but it’s cold.

“No! Umbara!” the King screams.

The word rips through the air, actually silencing the ghosts.


The refrain is a scream, it’s an order, it’s a divine commandment from an angry God. Specifically, it’s Vill.

Gods can’t manifest physically in the world as the demigods can, but Vill is trying, and the whole battlefield freezes as a person-shaped… thing appears at the edge of the ever-shrinking range of the Dome.

The huge outline of a Spireling raises its many arms, and beams of shimmering light emerge from its glowing body. All the Spireling ghosts around you scream and vanish.

You start to climb back up, brushing blood off your armor, when it speaks again.


The words echo from every surface, and the light flickers forth again. This time, it’s the living Dragon-men around you in the Army that suddenly scream and die, and their ghosts emerge from their bodies to stare at the angry God in total confusion, naked rage, and pure panic.

“VILL! NO!” you scream. You’re the only Herald alive here; you have to stop this somehow! You stab the Gem, and it fails to light – it’s still so damnably cold!

You look around in desperation as a new wave of light appears, impaling the humans, and killing them all. How is Vill doing this? What is that thing?

“The golem! Master, no no no!” a Spireling soldier beside you wails, raising its arms in fear, supplication, and awe. “No, Master, not like this!”

“That’s a golem?” you demand, flabbergasted. It’s the size of a mountain!

“It is! No, Master, don’t kill them! We can fix this!” the Spireling bellows.

You spin to look at where a few Mages are still hurriedly draining power from the Dome. “Is that thing Spireling too?” you demand, a dozen rumors suddenly slotting together.
The dwarves around you scream and die as the Spireling faces you. “Yes!”

“What’s powering it?” you demand.

The Spireling hesitates. You grab its collar and shake. “WHAT’S POWERING IT?”

“A… a demon,” it finally admits, crystals flaking off of its skin-chips. “A demon corpse.”

You slowly look up in horror as the facts align. “… Vill can project his powers inside the Dome’s radius… because one of his CHILDREN’S CORPSES is powering that thing?” you scream.

“Yes! We thought that if we could-” the Spireling says, before you stab him square in the throat. He gurgles and dies.

Nobody notices the exchange. All the living people in the castle are surging, running, screaming, trampling, and dying. Even out in the courtyard, where you are, it’s total chaos, as tendrils of evil divinity reach inside hiding places and take lives.

You glare up at the golem as all the ghosts around you scatter and run. A few of the Gods are still trying to intervene, you can tell, sending their power to smite ghosts at random… and as you see the soothing silver of Mai’te’s power among them, a terrible idea hatches. You grab your own blade and slice your wrists wide open, digging straight to the bone. You ram it through your throat to finish.

Your body falls away. You rise from your corporeal form, casting a horrified look at yourself as you do, and run away from the Dome as fast as your legs can take you. You’re a ghost now – you don’t tire.

Whispers start filling your ears – the whispers of madness and Chaos, but you don’t need to ignore them forever. Just a few minutes. You fly up the tower steps, blowing past huddling refugees, and emerge on the roof. You sink to your knees, hands aloft, and scream to the bright blue sky.

Tendrils of light impact against you.

Red – Dragon-man. Casteor.
Yellow – Felis. Sinerr.
Black – praun. Ayla.
Green – goblins. Nob.

Finally… silver.

You awake. You are in the Steel Cube.

Your soul sits bolt upright as your spectral armor and weapons fade, and your spectral wounds heal. Ghalad is there, looking at you sadly. “Dearest brother… I’m so sorry this happened to you-”

“SHUT UP!” you bellow, leaping to your feet. Ghalad recoils. “Mother! Quickly! Forgo heaven, I command it! Send me unto Mother, now!”

“Brother, what-”

You try to grab Ghalad, but your hands pass through. “Brother, SHUT UP!” you scream. “The Dome is powered by a dead Spireling demon! Vill is killing every single person in the entire city!”

Ghalad nods. “We know.”

You recoil. “You… know?”

“I suggested it,” Ghalad sighs. “The whole nation is tainted. The idiot Spirelings went too far. There’s secret weapons buried under every city. The Dome is the least of their horrors.”

You collapse, knees weak. “…what?” you manage.

Ghalad kneels. “Little brother, I’m so sorry,” he whispers. “You are the most deserving son of Mai’te to receive her Heraldship in a century. Don’t tell anyone I said that, but you are. I couldn’t be more proud of you.”

“But…” You bury your face in your hands. “But…”

“Hush, Umbara,” Ghalad urges you. “Don’t go before Mother with tears in your eyes.”

The cold steel beneath you vanishes. It’s stone now. You jolt upright in horror. The floors of the gates of hell are stone!
You lurch back, but Ghalad grips your shoulder, and your fear vanishes as sense returns – the whispers are gone, the Shamblers aren’t here, and the stone is the natural, dark stone of a cave, not the hewn rock of a dungeon. Little veins of iron and gemstones glimmer in the rock as you slowly stand and witness the full majesty of the chamber – a gargantuan cave, full of little wisps of light, with columns of brilliant silver energy streaming down through gaps in the ceiling.

“Oh…” you whisper.

“You took your own life to give us a message we already had, my dearest brother,” Ghalad says quietly. “Why in the world would I force you to forsake heaven?”

“…Oh…” you manage again, tearing up now.

Ghalad wraps an arm around your shoulder. “Rest, Umbara. Find your peace, your blissful reward. All will be well.”

You awake, and you are Elsa Ledren, and holy SHIT.

You spring upright in bed, nearly jolting Jerome awake. The Harpies weren’t the only race to kill their own demons? They had a WORKING God-Golem? It’s possible to negate divine powers entirely?

>Wat do
>Contact Asa, tell her what you saw.

Also, are God-Golems artifacts that let gods manifest like the demigods do?

Also could we get a refresher on what demons are again?
The God-Golems were basically Spireling crystal (something nobody knows how to replicate yet) with a divine channeler (also something nobody knows how to make anymore) inside. The Spirelings only created one before they all died off. Vill hijacked that one.

Demons are the collective thoughts, more or less, the anthropomorphic concepts that personified a particular emotion or desire. They took the form of the races that created them, and they died off with the Gods. The last one is in Skyborn, as far as you know. It's dead, but because it died before the Gods did, its body didn't disappear with the Harpies.
Ok, thanks.
How selfish of that one demon body though, not disappearing with the gods. It's a monster that doesn't belong in this world.

Are there still human and elf demons around or do you need a full god for those to exist and not just demigods?
Your character doesn't know if any human ones are left, but there's no elf ones left. You should ask Vier about human holdouts, that was her department.
You thumb the Gem. {Oh, Asa,} you think to her in a singsong voice.


{Guess what I just saw.}

[I have no idea.]

{Umbara Dhaw.}

[Ah. Did you see his successful mediation of the brewing Goblin – elf war?] As asks hopefully. [That earned him a statue in the Islands.]

{No. I saw the part where a golem made of Vill attacked and killed all the people in Osterlich’s capital,} you tell her coldly, all levity gone.

[Yes. The one, solitary time we agreed on a mass, multi-species sanction,] Asa sighs. [I voted against it, but I was outnumbered.]

{Do tell. Especially the part about the God-Golem, and the Dome, and the screaming ghosts,} you say flatly.

Asa appears on the porch outside and beckons you over. You sigh, pull on a bathrobe, and walk out.

“Sorry, but we’ll be here a while,” she says demurely.

“Sure. What are they?” you ask.

She looks up at the sky. “The Spirelings were a cruel, aesthetic, selfish people. Very much so. Had there been naught but Vill and his children in the world, they would probably still would have hated themselves. They had an insurmountable, total obsession with magic, alchemic, and divine research, that finally broke them. They harvested the strange crystals only they knew how to make, took a God Gem from a dead Herald of theirs, and used it as a channeling device for a golem.”

“How did they make it so large?” you ask irritably. You‘re getting sick of finding this shit out in your nightmares.

“Nobody really knows. They destroyed the cradle.” Asa sighs and leans onto the railing, where the people below are camping out. None see her, yet. “The Dome was a device meant to ensure that our rising conflicts wouldn’t interfere with the everyday lives of the people. Stupid of them. They killed a demon to make it.” Her pretty face twists in a grimace. “Did they think we wouldn’t notice?” she mutters under her breath. She spreads her cloak in her hands and grips the balustrade, making her look like she has dark wings. “Utter foolishness. Every single time mortals have slain immortals, it’s been a terrible idea.”

“And the ghosts?” you ask.

She shakes her head. “Elsa, you were a ghost, or partially so. Remember? In the forest. If you had become spectral in your entirety, if I had not forced a fraction of you to remain in your body while the rest lifted above, you’d be one right now.”

Your skin crawls at that memory. You heard those whispers too, you had just mistaken them for your own panic. “Right.”

She reaches back and smiles slightly, and your fear is gone. She’s leaning pretty hard on her soul-linking abilities to soothe your temper, but you honestly don’t care. It’s the least she can do. “Sorry, sister. I keep thinking that these ancient weapons won’t trouble us any more because they’re all gone, and then you remember them.”

>”Nothing to be done.”
>”Can you erase them?”
>”Nothing to be done.”
Even Asa doesn't know where we're getting these memories. You asked a while ago if anyone could guess where they came from and no one got it. Could we have picked them up somehow in our short time as a semi ghost? And if not, does the tendency of all these flashback subjects to die at the end of the memory mean anything?
No, she said she doesn't know where the memories of Heralds before her existence came from. She knows where the ones the other ones are coming from.
I tried
“Nothing to be done,” you admit, though it’s not something you like. “Can we at least slow down the memories?”

“Did you get even one when you were out on the road with me and the Sister, and Dervich too?” she asks reasonably.

You blink at that train of logic. “…No. Huh. I wonder why.”

“Hmm. I have an idea, but I can’t test it untl you leave the city,” she says contemplatively. “All right. Any other questions?”

>Is there anything else you want to ask?
>>Is there anything else you want to ask?
How were all these demonds captured/killed for all these demon powered Harpy and Spireling devices?
“How did the demons get captured, anyway?” you ask. “Aren’t they tied to specific locations?”

“Precisely,” Asa says. “They had these weapons and reactors built around them, whether they liked it or not. Then, they were simply transported. They were invariably killed in the process. That is, the ones that didn’t go willingly. Some may have.”

>anything else?
>>anything else?
Nope. I'm good.
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That was good chili.
The day dawns with a roaring wind. Yesterday’s puffs and bluster feel like a meager suggestion. From the safety of the tunnel, you wince in unease as the sound of something falling on top of the ground above echoes through the stone tube.

“Not a good day to be a ranged fighter,” you say to yourself.

The castle is deserted on this cold, unpleasant Sunday morning. The few Guards around pay you little heed – you’re clearly a ficxture around here now. Jerome stayed home to keep a fire going and reply to all your many, many letters. The safe ones, anyway.

The Captain-General never comes in on Sundays, but the Governor is, most of the time. Today, he isn’t. Puzzled, you walk up to Gherta’s office and knock.

“Come,” she calls.

Inside, the Governor looks up from the packet of papers in his hand. “Ah, Herald Ledren, good,” he says. “Just in time.”

It’s a bit rare for gubernatorial officials – even their leader – to interact with the King’s advisory cadre, but this is clearly important. “Sir! Duchess,” you add, nodding to Gherta at her chair, where she sits perched, engrossed in some more papers.

The Spymistress’ voice is clipped. “Herald,” Gherta says. “We have your target.”


Gherta rises to her feet and shows you a map of the merchants’ district. “This is it.” She taps a small building. “Moor’s warehouse, his entire lair, is mapped. One of my people managed to get inside last night, in the guise of a deliveryman.”

Your heart leaps. That’s the best intel you’ve managed to gain this entire campaign. “Well done! What do I need to know?” you ask excitedly, scanning the little paper.

“That I’m quite done with this whole mess,” Ekrine mutters.

“That you need to strike within the next six days, because that’s when Moor, Kotrick, and Kotrick’s advisor Ellin are fleeing the city,” Gherta says, with a glare at Ekrine he completely disregards. “They’re selling off some artifacts of their ambition.”

You glance up at Gherta, curious. “Explain.”

“Their ambitions extended to the whole city’s criminal enterprise,” Gherta reminds you. “They’re selling deeds to land, unused equipment. Financing travel.”

“Any idea how many men are in there?” you ask.

Gherta griamces. “Twenty six. Guard types, moving types, and Moor.”

You slowly look up from the paper. Over two dozen enemies?

“What do you wish to do, your Eminence?” Gherta asks calmly.

Ekrine clears his throat. “If you want me to shake a few dozen men from their bunks, it’ll happen,” he says. “I just need an hour’s notice, make it an hour ten if you need horses.”


>Assault the place solo – use one of your crowd-control powers to take them all on at once
>Assault the place in large numbers – you won’t be able to use all of your powers without consequence, but you can be confident that few enemies will escape
>Small strike team of elites – enemy may be greater in number, but you’ll be better prepared if he actually is just emptying the place
>Actually wait a day, see how things change, and go get Kelscik or Culler to send over some real firepower

>Actually wait a day, see how things change, and go get Kelscik or Culler to send over some real firepower

Let's pull in everyone!
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See, you can't just run off. I have questions to which the answers of will change my plans.

What buildings are adjacent to the warehouse? How adjacent?
How far is the warehouse from the gate?
Is the warehouse along any major foot traffic streets?
What material is the warehouse made of?
Is it multiple rooms or just one large area?
Is there roof access?
Is there an underground tunnel/sewer access?
How many explosives can the alchemists get make for us in what time frame?
Are any of the guards visible from the outside?
How are they selling off the property? In person? Do the leave or do buyers come to them?
Do the guards ever leave? How long are their shifts? Are they descript, or are they all wearing cloaks and armor?
Do we know anybody they've contacted about travel? Can be flip them? If their route is known then attacking a fortified position is stupid and it'd be easier to do it on the road.
Running in and putting everyone to sleep would be a lot of fun...

>Ask Asa for best course of action...
>>Assault the place in large numbers – you won’t be able to use all of your powers without consequence, but you can be confident that few enemies will escape
>Actually wait a day, see how things change, and go get Kelscik or Culler to send over some real firepower

Though is it possible to catch them on the fifth day? Just as they think they are about to get away scott free?
“All right. Ground data first,” you assert, pacing across the little office. That Sergeant’s training kicks in, and the other two watch. “What buildings are nearby, and which are adjacent?”

“There’s… another warehouse on all four sides,” Gherta says. “It’s a storage area.”

“Right. Occupied?”

“All four, but they won’t have Moor’s men in them, they’re all hands on deck,” Ekrine says angrily. You wonder at his tone.

“How about the gate? How close is the gate to the warehouse?” you ask.

“Surprisingly far, actually, given how much stuff they’re moving,” Ekrine provides. Whatever provoked his anger is gone, apparently. “Over a mile of roads. None of them straight.”

“What is the warehouse made of? Wood, stone?” you ask.

“Stone foundations, wood walls, stone pillars, metal bars in the windows on the ground floor, glass ones on the upper walls, only one large floor inside with a small loft apartment where Moor stays when he’s working,” Gherta instantly recites.

“One large room for the whole building?” you ask in surprise. “Plus the loft?”

Gherta checks something on her desk. “There’s a small cargomaster’s office. Also a small hut in one corner, for the restroom. The other two corners have coatracks, but no structures. The room is about thirty six stories tall. There’s a hand-cranked lift for getting things up to the loft, and a spiral staircase for foot traffic.”

“Is there roof access?” you ask. “Or a chimney?”

“No to both,” Gherta says.

“How about tunnels? Anything?”

Gherta checks the map. “A single water pipe in, one meter wide. A sewage line, forty centimeters wide. Drain in the floor… down into the cisterns. Those are wide enough for ten men abreast.”

“Can I use the alchemy offices in the armory to create a custom bomb to deal with this place?” you ask, glancing at Ekrine.

He grimaces. “I… suppose. Don’t ask for too much, your Eminence. We’re fighting a very expensive war.”

“Is the place guarded well?” you ask, looking back to Gherta.

She nods. “At least ten of those twenty six men are guards, and one is Gifted. At least one. Plus Moor, who is also Gifted.”

“How are they selling this property? Are they using sellers, or are buyers coming to them?” you ask.

“Couriers, carrying papers in wax tubes,” Gherta says. “They send out the messengers. That’s how I managed to get a man in, remember?”

“What about the guards themselves?” you ask, ignoring her remark. “Are they working in shifts?”

“Yes, actually. Four on, four off, eight hour rotation. They send two men out to get food every night at sundown,” Gherta said. “The workers come and go. Twenty six is the average. It’s as low as eighteen men plus Moor at night, it’s as high as thirty at midday, again not counting Moor. They’re all wearing armor of some kind. It’s a bit unsubtle, frankly.”

“Then maybe we should ambush them on the roads,” you say. “This place is a fortress. We can just hit them when they leave.”

“You could. Are they using the road or the cistern?” Gherta asks politely. “I don’t know. Also, if you wait to kill Moor, you’ll miss Kotrick. They won’t be dense enough to travel together.”

>Any other questions?
>No more questions. Hire some brotherhood from Culler for this mission.
How many conventional entrances are there? Since the Governor seems against just blowing the thing up, it might be best to just flood the thing with tear gas. Pick off whoever runs for the doors and then move in in force.
Also, where do they get food from? Do they frequent the same place? Lethal poison may not be an option with all the workers, but if we can slip something into the food that will make them all sick it'd help a lot.
>Flood place with gas
>have no antidote for any potential hostages or innocents caught in the gas.
>26 dead within minutes of raid beginning
Also, small explosives to blow entrances out of the wall would help a lot.
“How many doors?” you ask.

“One fourteen-foot wide, fourteen-foot tall door, for large wagons,” Gherta says. “A double human door on all four sides.

“How do they supply? Are they going to a grocer?” you ask.

“They usually bring food in from a local grocery, yes,” Gherta supplies.

>Last chance to ask questions, the hour is up!
At least four teams, probably a fifth that goes straight for the loft. Maybe more depending on how many shadows we can grab and how many brothers we can hire.

If we need more than four entrances for the number of people we have, small explosives to blow holes in the walls.

The plan is basically to just flood the entire thing with tear gas. We make sure all our guys have those fancy masks and goggles. We take care of any of that flee the building before moving in to take care of the rest.
We should definitively do it when they're at they're lowest number of people.

As for approaching the door, probably tear gas. Possibly even Elsa approaching them using armor stolen from guys heading for food or a worker and using her sleep ability once she's close enough.
Okay! The consensus is to plan, go hire some Brothers and Kelscik if he's available, and hit the place tomorrow! Writing.
You tap your finger on your lip and think over your options. “We have to storm the place, don’t we? We have to hit them hard, hit them all at once. We should attack first thing Monday.”

“Why wait?” Ekrine asks.

“I need time to gather allies,” you tell him. “I’m going to see if I can hire Voyager Kelscik.”

Gherta’s eyebrow twitches. Ekrine’s jaw drops. “Are you serious? He’ll blow up the city!” Ekrine exclaims.

You grin tightly. “Not if we just have him on control. Lock the place down.”

“Ah.” Ekrine nods. “But you still want to hire Culler’s men?”

“I do.”

“Then by all means. Would you like to have any of your gear enchanted?” he asks. “The war chest the King procured should cover it well.”

>Enchant your combat boots
>Enchant your Heraldic uniform boots
>Enchant your twin Shadowblades
>Enchant your spear
>Enchant your bandana
>”No, thanks.”
>>Enchant your spear
This sounds cool.
>Enchant your spear

We already were.
“An upgrade to my spear would be nice, actually,” you mention. “I’ll drop it off at the armory on my way to the library.

“I see. I’ll inform the King,” Ekrine says. “Do you want any of our men at all, or will you spend the money to hire an exclusively outside force?”

>Bring some Guards (how many? What sort?)
>Bring some Army (how many? What sort?)
>Bring some Auxilia (how many? What etc)
>Bring some Legion (how many? Etc)
>Bring some Shadows (etc etc)
>Bring some War Mages (etc)

PLEASE RECALL THAT MOST OF THE MILITARY IS ACTIVELY DEPLOYED AT PRESENT (don’t go asking for a full company or anything)
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Shadows and Brothers definitely on the teams going in. War Mages would be handy if there's any to spare.

Army/Auxillia to round out the teams going in.
Army/Auxilla/Guard to surround the place and block off the streets.

We don't need a ton of the last two. Just how many needed to seal off the block and handle anybody who escapes, also to keep anybody from wandering into a fight.
>Enchant SHAFT – render it far, far harder to destroy (improve durability)
>Enchant HEAD – make it armor-piercing like the dagger is (improve anti-defense ability)
>Enchant POMMEL – make the spear as light as a feather (increase encumberence) [to your own peril]
>Enchant HEAD – give it Flamewind (automatic critical hit against unshielded targets, burn damage) [note that you can’t have both HEAD enchants at once and all enchants are permanent]
>>Enchant HEAD – give it Flamewind (automatic critical hit against unshielded targets, burn damage) [note that you can’t have both HEAD enchants at once and all enchants are permanent]
That's just too cool to pass. We always lose it after the first hit anyway.
>HEAD, anti armor

I feel like unarmored enemies aren't the ones we're going to need crits on.
Rolled 2 (1d2)

Flipping coin. 1 for Flamewind, 2 for Piercing Point.
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When we're up against an army of unarmed mindless swarming things. I'm going to remind you of this moment and say 'I told you so.'
“Oh, of course, Governor, don’t get me wrong,” you hasten to assure him. “A few Shadows on the point team… maybe a Shadow Infiltrator on the roof to spot. A team of Army troops to surround the entrances, a Guard unit on all the nearby roads… perhaps a few men in the cisterns. This is too important to not have your men involved.”

“My pride’s not at stake here, Herald,” he says drily. “But they’ll be ready. The King will be informed. Mages, also?”

“Healers, at least,” you say doubtfully. “But they must surely have all been sent south by now.”

“Not all. You’ll get what I can spare.” He glances at the clock. “You had best hurry if you want to be in the library garden by noon, madam.”

“Right.” You pass back the map. “Well done, Duchess. Very well done. I’m impressed. This is the kind of intel I need.”

“I’ll pass along your well wishes to the people on the ground,” Duchess Gherta says, though of course she’ll never do any such thing. “We’ll be ready.”

Down in the tunnels again, you jog home, shoving your uniform into pouches and grabbing your spear. Running all the way back, you arrive at the armory in the barracks. The Enchanter looks up and immediately recognizes you. “Ah, your Eminence! How may I be of service?” she asks, rising to her feet.

“Greetings, madam,” you say, inclining your head. “Governor Ekrine should have sent ahead.”

“He did.” She checks a scrap of paper. “A spear?”

“Indeed. Standard Auxilia issue,” you say. You pass over the weapon, and she examines it.

“Hmm. Indeed, standard issue,” she says. “Folded steel point, magic honing but no enchantment. Second Home Guard tassle, metal pommel.”

“Right. What are my options?”

She lists them all, and after some pondering, you select the enchantments that improve the shaft and head, focusing on improving the shaft’s durability and the shaft’s ability to pierce armor.

“Very well!” she says, setting the weapon down on the table. “I’ll get on it. Not many orders, with all that gear they brought… um. I’ll see you tomorrow,” she says, flushing furiously.

You hide a sigh. “Right.”

Out in the barracks, you hurriedly strip off your clothes and pull on your Heraldic uniform, then cinch a thick green cloak over it all. You slide the tiara on under the hood, then start to move for the door, when Dervich’s voice speaks up. “Elsa!”

You glance back – “Hey! Al, how are you?” you ask.

He’s beaming as he runs up to you. “I got reassigned!”

“I know, isn’t it something?” you ask.

“The King! The King came down and talked to the Division Colonel, right before the Colonel took the last of the Division south,” Dervich explains. “He pointed right at me!”

You didn’t know. “Hey, that’s cool,” you tell him. “So you’re on my detail now?”

“Yeah, I guess I’m your new bodyguard or something?” he says. “I mean, I’m not done with the paperwork.”

>”I have a small mission right now. Want to tag along?”
>”Then I’ll see you tomorrow. We’ll be busy.”
>>”I have a small mission right now. Want to tag along?”
Besides aide-de-camp, are there any precedent for cool titles we can give Dervich?
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No, but if you have any suggestions, the floor is open!
Should also let Asa play dress up again.
You grin at his obvious delight. It’s not like Corporals and Sergeant ever get along particularly well, but he’s clearly just glad to be back in action.

“Great. I’ve got a mission right now, actually,” you say, tapping the hilt of the dagger at your waist. “Want to tag along?”

“Uh, what do I have to do?” he asks.

“Just stand there and look solemn, while scanning the rooftops for anything unusual,” you assure him.

“Well… sure,” he says. As he runs off to grab his spear, you tap the Gem.

{Sister, is there a title I should give Dervich? Or a uniform?} you ask.

[A title? He’s like a bodyguard now, right? Hmm. Traditionally, I think it’s Shieldbearer, but you actually carry a shield, so… uh, let him pick, I suppose. As for a uniform, yes. It’s the same as yours, only cut for a man. I’ll whip one up from shipwreck material, if you like. It won’t be enchanted, and it won’t have the magic shield. Other than that, it’ll be the same. Give me a day or two.]

>This is your last chance to grab some gear or supplies before heading out, first to the library, then to Kelscik’s office. Do you want to secure anything? A horse, maybe?
Uhh, nothing comes to mind. Are we carrying a grenade pouch?

No. All you have on your schedule for today is going to the library, then the College, then the Brotherhood Chapter house. You can go grab some explosives if you think you'll need them.
Some kinda weapon. The enchanted dagger will do for running around town.
You're already carrying that, so I'll just continue.
“It’s not far, Al,” you tell him as he jogs up with a spear and shield. “And your title is whatever you want it to be. The old one doesn’t really apply.”

“Ooh.” He thinks for a moment. “Well, they used to call the bodyguards of the old Priests Paladins, if I recall correctly. That works.”

“Okay, Paladin Dervich, let’s get going,” you tell him. “Grab your coat.”

The walk to the library isn’t a bad one, but the wind is horrible. It’s blowing so hard that you see tree branches down more than once. The library itself is closed, but the gate to the courtyard is wide open, and there’s already a team of Guards out back, just like before. “So what do you want me to do, Elsa?” Dervich asks over the wind.”

“Find us another place to meet, this is insane!” you shout back. “A restaurant, that auditorium down the street, anything!”

“On it!” he says, and he jogs off.

You wait awkwardly for a few minutes before he returns. “I found a little café down the street,” he reports. “It’s big enough.”

“Great, we’ll go once the Klarno family gets here.” Even as you speak the words, a small group of elves in expensive-looking winterwear walk in. One of them, a woman with long black hair, walks right up to you.

“Are you Herald Ledren?” she asks over the howling wind.

“I am, and now that you’re here, we’re relocating!” you tell her. “The place down the street is open, we’ll go in there and talk out of this wind!”

“Works for me!” she shouts back.

>How do you want to approach this?
>Find out how much they know first – they were out of town, after all
>Just dive right in
>>Find out how much they know first – they were out of town, after all
You square your shoulders as the party walks into the café, with the Guard in close behind. The surprised proprietors look on from behind the counter, but don’t move to intervene. You grab Dervich as he walks in and pass him some coin. “Go get us all a pot of tea, would you?” you mutter. “I feel bad taking up these tables but not buying anything.”

“Sure,” he mutters back. He trots up to the counter and starts talking while you usher the Klarno family into the back room.

“So sorry, if I had known the weather was going to be so horrible, I would have rescheduled,” you apologize. “Please, sit.”

As they do, you remove the cloak and affix the tiara – it hadn’t been necessary last time, but you’re not in a pre-secured location now. “So. My name is Elsa Ledren, Herald of Asa,” you say as soon as you’re all secured. “I want to know before we begin: how much have you been told?”

“We returned home as soon as we heard of Gibson’s death,” the black-haired woman says. The other two – older people – nod glumly. “We knew… well. We left him here when we went on vacation that he was sickly, but we thought his treatment was getting better.”

“A Herald,” the older woman says quietly. “He would have liked to meet you, madam.”

You sigh. “Indeed. And I wish to offer my most fervent apologies for what I did. I want to make sure you know all the circumstances behind your family member’s capture.”

The younger woman blinks. “Capture? Gibson was my brother, what capture?”

Oh, damn it.

>Go detailed – tell them everything
>Skip the gory details, just tell them about Soutri and you
>>Skip the gory details, just tell them about Soutri and you
But if they ask for details, go ahead and tell them.
“Approximately one week ago, a mercenary named Everett Soutri captured your brother and two other random civilians,” you tell them. “They were made hostages. I moved in to free them, and mistook them for co-conspirators with my poor combat intelligence, and destroyed the building with them still inside. None of the hostages survived.”

The older people pale, and the woman claps her hand over her gaping mouth. “I accept responsibility for acting on the wrong lead, and I have slain the hostage-taker,” you tell them. “I brought you all here to offer you a recompense.”

“Recompense?” the old man asks, his voice quavering. “Are you quite serious?”

“Yes. A memorial, a scholarship for a family member or two, or more. A street naming, anything.” You tap the table. “The previous two families… well, they accepted the scholarship and memorial. If you desire something else, you need simply name it.”

The waitress deposits the tea and quickly withdraws. The three elves exchange shocked glances. “Well… Herald, we only found out you existed this morning, so you’ll have to give us some time,” the old man finally says. “Can we contact you after the funeral?”

“Of course, sir, though I may have to leave town to pursue the criminals,” you inform him. “I don’t know. Send a message to the Governor’s office, he knows where to find me.”

The black-haired woman stands and looks out the window, where a trash barrel is rolling by in the gale-force wind. “I just don’t know what to do,” she says quietly. “We thought he was getting better. We felt so guilty about leaving him here. He insisted. ‘Go on, have fun!’” she says in a false basso. “Ugh.”

“I am profoundly sorry, madam,” you say heavily. “Even if Asa hadn’t told me of its value, I would still offer you that.”

“What did she say?” the old man asks in the same tone.

You pause. “I would have gone to hell for this in the old days,” you admit. “The least I can do is apologize.”

Nobody really feels like talking after that.

>Stay for lunch
>Run off to the college before the weather gets worse
>>Run off to the college before the weather gets worse
>Run off to the college before the weather gets worse
too awkward
As the civilians filter out and the Guards walk back to the garrison, you gulp down the tea and leave some coins on the table. “All right, Al, we gotta run,” you tell him. “We need to go visit an expert at the Royal War Mages’ College.”

“Ah, yeah? I’ve been there, I know where it is,” he says. “Who are we there to meet?”

“Voyager Kelscik of the Firesouls,” you tell him. He starts. “Yeah, I know. My fucking life,” you mutter.

[Temporary End of Thread]

Can we go for three days? I think we can! Please keep it up!
Man, this board moves too fast now. I'm back and writing. Not much left to do this weekend.
The College’s looming walls greet you and provide a respite from the driving winds. The token guards at the gate snap to as you approach, and let you pass by without a word. Inside, you walk up the many flights of stairs until you’ve reached Kelscik’s office.

The receptionist halts you at the door to his private office. “Sorry, your Eminence, but he’s in talks,” she says apologetically. “If you could just wait a minute?”

“Sure.” You and Dervich find seats and wait in the little reception area.

After a moment, Dervich looks out the door into the halls. “I’d never been to the offices before. This place is so… sterile.”

“I was thinking the same thing, first time I came up here,” you remark. “But it’s a training center, not a university, so I guess it’s to be expected.”

“Hmph.” Dervich taps his finger on his crossed arms and sighs. “So… what was that thing in the library about?”

You sigh. “I killed some civilians on a mission.”

“Oh.” He pales. “Don’t keep going, I shouldn’t have asked.”

“Forget it,” you say, tiredly massaging your eyes. “It’s over.”

He looks back at you with concern on his youthful face. “Well, I mean… look, I’m sorry.”

“I said forget it,” you tell him. “Really. I’ll be alright. Have you ever met a Firesoul before?” you ask, changing the subject.


“Well… just be polite, he doesn’t bite,” you tell him. “Just let me do the talking. I’m going to be asking him for a lot of help.”


After another ten minutes, the inner door swings open. A mage in College robes walks out, and Kelscik himself appears in the doorframe. “Ah, your Eminence, welcome back,” he says. “Can I help you with something?”

“I certainly hope so, sir,” you say, climbing to your feet. Dervich takes another moment to rise, but he doesn’t look overwhelmed like you did when you met Kelscik for the first time. Maybe he can’t see auras, like you can.

Inside, Kelscik clears a second chair for Dervich and sits you both down. “So. What can I do for you?” he asks.

>Ask for support during the battle – crowd control, security
>Ask for combat assistance – actual fighting
>Ask for help neutralizing whatever relics Moor may have

Support is required, prevent possible outbursts that will inevitably occur.
>Ask for support during the battle – crowd control, security
>Ask for help neutralizing whatever relics Moor may have
“Sir, I recall that you told me that you wouldn’t be able to support me in battle during the fight against the conspirators,” you begin. “But would you be willing to help in another way? Specifically, support? Healing, crowd control, site security?”

He tilts his head to the side as he thinks. “Hmmm… I suppose I could, but I would need some advance notice. I do have obligations here.”

You wince. “Oh. We only got the intel on his location today. We’re attacking tomorrow morning.”

He sighs and hesitates. “…I could be of some help, perhaps. I caution you that it will not be cheap.”

“The King will cover it,” you promise.

He nods, slowly. “Very well. Crowd control, healing, site security. I can do that. Will I have escorts?”

“As many Guards as the Governor can shake loose,” you say, sagging in relief. “Thank you, sir, so much. The Brotherhood and the Shadows will be providing direct combat support.”

“All over some ancient relics,” he sighs. “What a waste.”

“Quite.” You think about mentioning the teleporter, but Maas specifically told you not to reveal its survival to anybody.

“And now I must ask you something in return,” Kelscik says. “What do you intend to do after all this is over?”

“Lady Asa has promised me a small plot of land and the privacy that goes with it,” you tell him. “My husband and I will settle down and start a family.”

“Ah. Admirable.” Kelscik’s grey eyes narrow. “I wonder, though, if the King wouldn’t rather retain your services. The old Heralds were advisors, by the end.”

“Yes, and how many wars did that start?” you reply. “It’s not worth it.”

“Hmm. Have you considered joining the Brotherhood? Your skills would be of immense use to them,” he points out.

You shake your head. “It also annuls all ownership and contract,” you point out. “I don’t want to lose my possessions or marriage.”

He nods. “Of course. Now, if you’ll be so kind, where should I meet your men?”

“The parade ground of the castle, tomorrow, at dawn,” you tell him.

“I’ll be there. My fee for such an action runs variably, since I don’t know what role I’ll be filling until after I act,” he says. “We’ll discuss money after the fact.”

“Indeed.” You climb to your feet again and shake his hand. “Thank you, sir.”

>Go directly to the Brotherhood Chapter house
>Go get some food
>Ask Dervich if he thinks we should bring in anybody else
>Go get some food
>Ask Dervich if he thinks we should bring in anybody else
>>Go directly to the Brotherhood Chapter house
Back. I'll run another hour or so and call it quits.
As soon as you’re out, you look up at the sky. The gale-force winds are gone, but now the raincloud that was chasing them looks like it’s moving in. Grand. “We should stop for lunch,” you remark as Dervich catches up. “Then we’re off to the Brotherhood Chapter House. Anybody else we should bring in?”

“I don’t know, the Thieves’ Guild?” he replies. “They know the city. They’re like the Assassins’ Guild, they only keep the name out of tradition.”

“Hmm. I’ll think about that.”

The two of you go and grab a quick bite at a small restaurant down the street as the rain starts. At least it’s not too heavy. After you’re done, you both put on your hoods and make for the Chapter House.

“So you’ve been here before?” Dervich asks.

“Sure. Maybe eight times, for meetings,” you tell him. “It’s a nice building.”

“Yeah. I’ve walked by, never been in.” Dervich shakes his head. “This is a crazy job.”

“On your first day, you say this,” you deadpan.

Inside, the receptionist rises to her feet again, beaming. “Ah, your Eminence, welcome back! What can I do for you?”

“Hello, Celene,” you say, returning the bow. “Is the Master in?”

“He is, actually,” Celene replies. “You just caught him.”

“Thanks.” You walk past her in the halls, and find Culler precariously balancing a bowl of onion soup and a stack of papers as he tries to open his office door.

You walk a bit louder to grab his attention. “Need a hand, sir?” you ask, grabbing his office door handle.

“Ah, thank you, Elsa,” he manages, balancing the bowl. “There. I take it this isn’t a social Sunday call?”

“Sadly not,” you tell him, standing back to let him in. “I was hoping to hire some of your Brothers to attack another conspirator.”

He sets his items down before replying. “You know, your Eminence, there are channels for that,” he says. He looks up from the desk with the ghost of a frown on his face. “I don’t mind helping, but the Brothers would feel more respected if you approached them directly.”

“How?” you ask. “I don’t know more than a few of them.”

“The same way the Governor does: he sends a man to walk in and post a notice on the board,” Culler says. “But I understand that you don’t have adjutants, of course,” he adds, digging out a spoon.

You cough into your hand. “Er, I do, actually. Meet my new… paladin, Alan Dervich.”

Culler looks up at Dervich as if just noticing him. “Oh. Hello, sir.”

“Master Culler,” Dervich says, bowing. “If I’m putting up notices, where do I do it?”

You grin to yourself at Alan’s iniative. Culler points out to where Celene is puttering about in the lobby. “The stickboard out there. Include contact information.” He turns back to you. “But of course, since you’re here, we may as well get to it. You wish to hire combat specialists?”

“I do,” you tell him. “Many.”

His eyebrows rise. “Interesting. Assaulting a fixed position?”

“Something like that.” You sit in a chair and look out the window into the soggy courtyard. “Indoor fighters.”

“Hmm. How many?”

>Only one – an advisor
>Two to four – team leaders
>Five to ten – elite assault teams
>”How many have you got on hand?”
>Five to ten – elite assault teams
>>Five to ten – elite assault teams
“Elite teams. Five to ten Brothers,” you tell him.

He leans back in his chair in surprise. “Interesting. This is a full-scale battle indeed! I don’t even know that we have ten combat specialists left in the Chapter. Everybody’s been sent south.”

You slump in your seat. “Oh.”

“I can scrape together…” He pauses to consult some papers. “Er, seven combat specialists. No, make that eight.”

“I’ll take it,” you say. “How do I arrange payment?”

Culler looks at the papers again. “I’ll handle it, fear not. I do caution you that I charge far more than some of the younger Brothers.”

You blink at his telltale word. “You? You’re coming in person?”

“Why not? If there are no Brothers left in the building to oversee, I’m not much use here by myself,” he says reasonably. “I daresay I’m a talented swordsman.”

“I’m sure you are, sir,” you say. Internally, you’re adding up the money it will take to hire the local Firesoul and Brotherhood Master. Good thing you have two hundred million in cash in a briefcase.

>Do you have any further arrangements to make today?
>Do you have any further arrangements to make today?
Not that I can think of.
Then I'm bailing. See you all next Friday!
Thanks for running!
Yarp, thanks!

A person on the IRC said they wanted this kept alive for a while longer for catching up.

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