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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 twelve of the conspirators, and now there’s only their leader left alive.

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, the demons, 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, you rescued Kerin, an elf demon, and restored him to power. Now, you’re planning the final attack on the conspiracy leader, Don Kotrick. You brought King Maas to see Kerin, and now you’re hiring mercenaries for the final attack. They’re also going to go see Kotrick’s family.
All mechanics are based on a 1d100+modifier roll.
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As soon as you’re out the door, and through the crowd of sycophants, you turn north, towards the noble district, where the Kotrick family’s home sits. You don’t know much about them, but you do know from Gherta tjat they disavowed their son’s crimes. They’re old noble stock, from the lesser lines of non-land-owning nobles, but none of them rank as high as even a Baron would.

>Page Asa for information about them
>Go see if Gherta has files on them first
>Go see if Gherta has files on them first
You decide that it can’t hurt to go see Gherta first, so you head off to the castle, which is on the way anyway. As you arrive at the castle, you’re struck by how deserted it looks. The walls that face out over the plains have their Guards, but the Army and Auxilia forces are all gone out to battle. It occurs to you as you walk that you don’t even know the state of the war, either. It’s hard to believe, you think glumly.

Upstairs, Gherta is sitting behind her desk as always, looking over papers. When she looks up, she scowls. “Herald.”

“Am I interrupting?” you ask carefully.

“No, no, I’m just exhausted,” she mutters. “What do you need?”

“Information, Duchess,” you say, dropping into a chair. You have the tiara, but no armor on today – no point in intimidating anybody. “I plan to visit the Kotrick family in person and see what they know.”

She raises an eyebrow in grudging respect. “Oh ho? Brave. I’ve spoken to them through my agents, you know.”

“Yes.” You lean forward over the desk. “I want to go anyway. I think they’re afraid of you, frankly, and I can give them an authority figure that isn’t Royal.”

“They’ll be more afraid of you than me, madam, given what you’re going to do to their son,” she remarks flatly.

“I’m willing to risk that,” you tell her. “And maybe I can learn something from them that will let me capture Kotrick alive.”

The scarred Duchess stares at you for a while before finally nodding acquiescence. “Very well, Herald. Here’s what I have.” She reaches down into the pile of paper and pulls out a scrap. You glance it over.

The Kotricks have interests in several local textile mills, including the one where your parents work, and of all things, a controlling stake in the local Horse Breeders’ Guild. Their current head of the family for legal purposes is the patriarch, a Well-tapped old man named Scovi, Don’s grandfather. Don has a sister and a brother younger than him, both involved in the same legitimate shipping company in which Don had once worked. Their home is in the noble district, as befits their non-inheriting status in the nobility. Among their titles is a minor lordship, and that’s it. They’re old money, but the current patriarch is investing heavily in the businesses of the city.

“Hmm.” You close the file and tap your lip. “All right. How should I approach them?”

“By walking up to their door and asking to speak to whomever’s at home, of course,” Gherta says drily. “If you’re going to break convention, do it full-throated.”

>Get Dervich as backup, or to play good cop/bad cop
>Just go there directly and have him meet you at the Brotherhood Chapter House
>Just go there directly and have him meet you at the Brotherhood Chapter House
he doesn't need to see our awkward
“Then off I go,” you say, climbing to your feet. You press the Gem and think a message off to Dervich. He won’t receive it, of course, but he knows to meet you here. “Thanks for your help, Duchess.”

“Of course,” she says, and turns back to her papers without a word.

Downstairs, you just relax in the barracks and meditate until Dervich walks in. He spots you and jogs over. “You need me, Elsa?” he asks.

You rise and stretch the tingles away. “Sure do. Can you run over to the Brotherhood Chapter House and post a message there for me? Hiring like Culler said we should, I mean?”

“Sure. For the hit on Kotrick?” Dervich asks.

The barracks pass you by as the two of you walk downstairs. “Yes. I’m going to talk to his family now. If you could just say in the notice that we’re hiring for underground combat and medical magic, at the Silver Lining Mine,” you tell him, “then we’ll just need to visit the Alchemists before we get going.”

He hesitates. “You’re really going to go talk to the Kotricks?”

“I am,” you assure him.

“Without me?” he asks. “I mean, I’m your Paladin.”

“Thanks, Al, but I’m not at risk.” You grap his shoulder as you reach the front door out to the massive parade ground. “Just go post the notice and meet me at the Alchemists’ Guild, alright?”

He sighs, but nods. “Yes, ma’am.”

>You presently have your Heraldic uniform and tiara, and your dagger. Do you need anything or anybody else before you go?

>If not, just vote >Depart
You leave the parade ground and walk out into the roads, where the light mid-day traffic carries you to the noble district. Foot traffic dies off almost entirely as you make your way up to the Kotrick estate.

It’s actually not very impressive, but it’s well-built and not as ostentatious as Forest’s place. The weather-beaten stone walls hold up a conscientiously-cleaned roof and gutters, and there’s a smattering of lawn structures about.

You walk past them up to the front door and knock, stilling your nerves. At once, a stately man in a tuxedo opens it. “Can I help you, miss?” he asks politely.

“I hope so, sir,” you tell the butler. “My name is Elsa Ledren, Last Herald of Asa. I’m here to speak to Master Scovi Kotrick.”

His eyes bug out when he sees your brand and tiara of office. “Oh my goodness… er, yes, do come in,” he says hastily, backing out of the way.

You enter into a lavish but surprisingly small antechamber, while the butler awkwardly takes your cloak. “Er, I will return shortly,” he says, bustling off.

Roll 1d100+15 for Perception. I’ll take the first roll.
Rolled 70 + 15 (1d100 + 15)

As the butler scurries off, you take stock of your surroundings. The first thing you see outside the antechamber is a larger sitting room with several leather couches, all toned in dark colors, with a small hearth and crackling fire in one wall. The room’s walls are lined with shelves, but instead of many books, you see racks of trophies, weapons, pennants, some few books at the ends of the shelves, and a few plaques with candles below. Clearly, this family flaunts what it has.

What stands out most is a small box of dark wood, inlaid with electrum if you’re any judge, and set on the top of the mantle on a two-inch-thick piece of stone. It’s not labeled with anything.

As you look around the room, you hear the butler return. “Lady Ledren, if you please,” he says, composure restored, “the master awaits you in the drawing room.”

“Thank you.” You break your eyes from the box and follow.

On the back end of the main floor, the grand chamber opens up into a smaller drawing room, where the master of the household waits. Scovi Kotrick is sitting in a chair at the far end, staring into a goblet of brandy. “Master Kotrick, I present Herald Ledren of Clen,” the butler says politely.

Scovi stirs in his seat. He’s been through it, you notice. His scarred face, and the worn armor on the wall beside him, show signs of repeated battle. “Do come in, Lady Ledren,” he says quietly.
>Walk up beside his chair
>Actually sit down across from him
>Stand in the center of the room
>Stand in the center of the room
As much as you want to be respectful, you’re a Herald and he isn’t. You walk into the center of the chamber and stare at the back of his head as he looks into his cup. “Master Kotrick. I understand you’ve been made aware of your grandson’s activity?”

“He’s a fucking idiot,” the old man says angrily, and you realize with some unease and distaste that he’s bloody blitzed. That brandy bottle looks dry. “Yes, I’ve been ‘made aware,’” he growls, “when you shouted his name to the sky above. Then that lady who works for Gherta comes in with her dead eyes and her angry words, and suddenly the Kotrick family are all bound for hell!”

You pause to let him vent. You spent enough time around your drunk squadmates in the Auxilia to know that he’s better off getting it all out of his system. “What do you want here, Herald?” the old man demands. “An apology?”

>”I want to know more about Don.”
>”I want to know what you know about his activities.”
>”I want to know if you recognize any of these names. (show him the list of conspirators)”
>All of the above
Back and writing.
You clear your throat to buy time to marshal your thoughts. “Actually, I’d like some information from you, if you please,” you tell him. “I want to know about the man himself. His education, his habits, all that.”

The old noble coughs. “Sure. So killing him is easier?”

You settle your patience and try not to get too angry. “Sir, I’d prefer to take him alive.”

“And have him executed instead,” Scovi finishes. “Right.” He huffs a heavy sigh. “Ugh. He’s got a degree, hell if I remember what it was. He didn’t drink, not that I remember. He was always good with math.”

“And his personal nature? Was he foul-tempered, quiet?” you press.

“He liked to talk, but it was always directed, he never wasted words.” The old man shifts in his seat, still not meeting your eyes.

“Alright… and what did you know of his activities? Legal or otherwise,” you ask.

He snorts. “He worked in the family business, shipping and horse breeding. Never wanted to serve, like I did.” He sighs into his cup and drains it. “Not that anybody will remember that now,” he adds with a bitter whisper.

He’s not revealing much. “Do you know these names?” you ask, passing the paper to him.

1. Explorer: Master Novai Saren – Light elf, living in a mansion outside the city walls. Deceased
2. Noble 1: Don Kotrick, human, local crime lord, hiding in the Silver Lining Mine, owned by a man named Calver, founded by the MacGrudder family mining complex with the last of his men
3. Noble 2: Elger Moor, human, Gifted Mage, and second-in-command of Kotrick, hiding in stolen goods warehouse in merchants’ district. Deceased
4. Mercenary 1: Everett Soutri, former Army officer light elf, lives in a converted jewelry store in the noble district, male human, Well-tapped and incredibly smart. Deceased
5. Mercenary 2: Caliso Wind-thief, female dark elf, running for her life on the Margent Highways, Gifted battle scout. Deceased
6. Mercenary 3: Gardener ‘Hooks’ Dunwaith, Gifted, Male human. Deceased
7. Mercenary 4: Kerry Ding, War Mage, Orondian expatriate, lives in a small farmstead in the woods near ambush site, male human. Deceased
8. Mercenary 5: Derek ‘Jester’ Bowler, former member of the Governor’s bodyguard, hiding in a warehouse on the river to the north, outside the city, awaiting passage to another country, male wilderness elf. Deceased.
9. Mercenary 6: Faye Whitehand, referred to as ‘Feathers’, female human. Captured alive, since deceased
10. Bodyguard 1: Richi Donnai. Deceased
11. Bodyguard 2: Heldo Donnai. Deceased
12. Invisible bodyguard: William Laurenz. Deceased
13. Kotrik’s hitman, wilderness elf, real name Cordel Keen, handle ‘Forest’, living in noble district in a small mansion under an assumed name. Deceased

The old man struggles through the brandy and reads. “Hmph. Moor, know that family. Never accomplished much. Soutri, knew him, he worked on my company’s security before he went free-lancer. Keen, know that family, they used to do business with the Merchants’ Guild.” He hands it back. “Don’t know the rest.”

>Press for some specific information
>Quietly see if any other family members are around who aren’t drunk
>Thank him for the info
>Ask about that box on the mantle
then >Quietly see if any other family members are around who aren’t drunk
“All right, sir, I just have two more questions,” you assure him. “First, may I be so bold as to inquire that box on your mantle downstairs was?”

“Was?” he snaps, looking over at you at last, glowering. “What did you do?”

You stare. “Nothing. I just asked what it was when I saw it.”

He keeps glaring. “… A relic from the days when my great-great-grandfather was the local Explorer’s Guild Master,” he finally says. “The box is empty. It’s the box itself on the trophy.”

You nod, sensing your audience end. “All right, thanks. I should go.” You bow politely. “Sir.”

He grunts and goes back to staring into the fire.

Outside, you find the butler waiting for you. He looks nervous again, and it’s not hard to understand why. “Lady Ledren, if your audience has concluded, I’ll see you out,” he lets you know.

“Actually, now, I’d like to be redirected towards a sober family member,” you tell him. “Because that was a waste of my time.”

The butler breaks out in a sweat. “Er, Lady Ledren, I’m not sure what you mean,” he says.

“The man’s stone drunk, sir,” you say flatly.

The butler sighs and looks away, in a shocking breach of decorum for one in his post. “Yes, but… do you have an appointment?”

“Did Duchess Gherta’s people need one?” you ask coldly. “This is a formal investigation.”

The man looks side to side, avoiding your gaze. “All the rest of the family is out working, Lady Ledren,” he finally says.

>Use a power to see if he’s telling the truth (which one?)
>Just go, you have more to do before noon

>Use a power to see if he’s telling the truth (which one?)
Mother always knows

this feels spoonfed but I'll take it
You could also have used one of your vision powers to look through the walls and ceiling.
We'd look pretty dumb if we picked up other butlers or maids though.
You meet his eyes next time he looks over and let Mai’te’s power slip into your mind. You’ve never used this ability, so the effect is interesting to you. You see a little silvery spool of light emerge from the area around the butler’s brain and hang in the air over his head, in the shape of a circle.

The knowledge in your mind emerges from the back of your consciousness – he’s telling the truth, but he’s terrified because he knows that a family member will be returning home soon.

>Just linger
>Take a hint and go meet Alan
>Just linger
Time to outstay our welcome
“Then I’ll be on my way,” you tell him evenly, and you follow him down the stairs. You take your time, though, walking at a leisurely pace, looking into rooms as you pass, and generally taking your time. You allow yourself an inordinate amount of time to fasten your cloak, secure your tiara, and all, and just as you’d hoped, the mask of strained professionalism on the butler’s face melts into despair as the main door opens behind you.

All surprise, you turn around, to see a woman in her late thirties pulling off a cloak. “Archer, would you kindly start a fire in the… oh,” she says, looking at you in flat-footed awkwardness. “Er, excuse me, do I know you?”

You shake your head. “Herald Elsa Ledren,” you tell her. “No, we haven’t met.”

The woman’s face falls. “Oh. Here about my brother, eh?” She sighs and passes her cloak off to the butler. “I suppose you just got here too?”

“No, actually, I talked to your grandfather,” you inform her.

She scoffs. “I imagine it involved a lot of drunken yelling,” she says crossly.

>Ask her the same questions
>ask her something else (what?)
>same questions
“A bit,” you tell her. “Do I find you in a better mood?”

The woman grimaces. “I don’t really have a choice.” She finally returns the bow. “Portentia Kotrick.” She extends one hand towards the sitting room. “Well, let’s get this over with.”

When you’re both seated and the butler is gone, Portentia looks sternly at you over the rim of her glasses. “So… what did you want to know?”

You quickly reiterate your questions from before, finishing with the paper. She sighs as you press your inquiry. “My older brother Don was always a very ambitious man, but he was never too overt about it,” she says. “He was always looking ahead, but not always sure of hwo to do it or where to look for it. He was smart, very much so, but not great with people.” She looks up at what’s probably a family portrait of them up on the wall by the trophies. “He was closed off as a child, especially after our father died, but he seemed to come into his own as an adult. As for his education, he received a degree in… some mathematical field, I can’t recall which.”

“And his business work?” you press.

“Immaculate. I don’t know how he was funding his… misbehavior… but it wasn’t from the family purse,” she insists firmly.

“Did he ever hint that he had some other source of income?” you ask.

She ponders that. “No, save that he sometimes seemed to have some clothes or jewelry we had never seen him buy, but he’s a grown man, so how odd is that?” Portentia asks with a shrug.

“Did he have a woman in his life?” you ask.

His sister sneers. “None he didn’t pay for.” Apparently she finds Courtesans beneath her.

“And the list I gave you?” you ask.

“I know the names Soutri and Saren from the criers,” she says. “The others... no, not really. Wait…” she says, suddenly squinting at the paper. “Ah, I know the Lorenz brothers. My warehouse employed them as security guards.”

>Ask something else
>Leave to go meet Dervich and talk to the Alchemists
Sorry, that should read Donnai brothers. Laurenz was the invisible guy.
ask about box then thank her and leave
She returns the paper with a strained smile. “Is there anything else?”

“I want to thank you for being so forthcoming,” you tell her. “I know this has been very difficult to learn.”

Her mask slips for a moment, and her genuine anger shows through, but you can’t tell if it’s you, the King, the Holy Triad, her brother, or the world that has her angry. “Oh, do you?” she asks carefully, her voice cracking a bit.

Despite her rage, you stand meet her gaze. “I’ve died twice so far,” you tell her levelly. “So yes.” You look up at the mantle. “That’s an interesting piece,” you remark.

She looks back and sees you staring at the box on the fireplace. “Oh. Yes. A family heirloom. A distant relative found it… anyway.” Portentia stands and holds her hand to the door with restrained politeness. “Thanks for coming by, Herald,” she says flatly.

Well, there’s a dismissal.


Taking a dinner break
taking a Tuesday night break because this is the last meeting of my club for the semester :(
Outside, you start off towards the Alchemists’ Guild. You’ve been before, and the imposing slab of stone hasn’t changed a whit. You walk in the front door and sit in the tiny lobby to wait for Alan.

About half an hour later, he walks on in, looking highly irritated. “Elsa, there you are,” he says as soon as he spots you. “The bloody Brotherhood Chapter House was full of new recruits today,” he complains. “It was like the local school dumped all the kids who were too impatient to learn a trade all at once.”

You can’t help but smile at his obvious annoyance. “All too young to be real people yet, huh?”

“Bunch of fucking kids,” he grouses. “So what do we need here?”

>”We’re going to be contacting a guy I’ve worked with before to get some help with our mine troubles. (invoke du Bois)
>”We just ask around.”
>”I ask Asa for a contact.”
>>”We’re going to be contacting a guy I’ve worked with before to get some help with our mine troubles. (invoke du Bois)

Hopefully this won't be too much.
You lower your voice. “I know a guy here. We’re going to invoke some assistance.” You don’t mention du Bois aloud, of course, since your help here was secret, but still. He nods solemnly and follows you into the reception area.

The receptionist you saw before – of course – is gone, and a person you don’t recognize is sitting there. Without even looking up, he speaks. “All deliveries go in the back.”

“I need to speak to the Guildmaster,” you tell him.

“Grandmaster du Bois is busy,” the receptionist says, still not looking up from his papers.

You lean over the desk and glare at him until he looks up. He spots the brand and immediately pales. “Just find me an opening,” you say flatly.

The receptionist – a young elf man with a small Guild pin on his collar – nods at once and pulls out a book. “Er, can you be here in an hour?” he asks nervously.

>”We’ll just wait.”
>”Sure.” (go get lunch)
>>”Sure.” (go get lunch)

It's a good idea to compose ourselves and waiting there might just make us more irritated.
“Sure.” You straighten back up and jerk your head at the door. Dervich falls in behind you as you walk out, looking a bit stunned.

“You know the Guildmaster?” he asks, astonished. “How?”

“I helped him with some things,” you say vaguely. “He’d appreciate my not sharing.” And it would have been nice if they had replaced the criminal with somebody competent, you add in your mind.

At a nearby little restaurant, you and Dervich sit at a side table, ignoring the press of people except to sign the occasional autograph, and afterward, walk out to the street beside the Guildhall, where the magic filters on every window erase the smells of the experiments inside. The hot drafts of air from the vents on the building’s sides keep the spot tolerable.

The two of you loiter outside, just idling. Alan looks up at the grey skies overhead and shivers. “So it’ll be six, seven days on the road?” he asks.

“Something like it,” you say. “Then a day or two there, and six or seven days back.”

“Ouch.” He sighs, and his breath puffs up mist in the air. “That won’t be a problem.”

“You got other plans?” you ask mildly.

“No, not really. Just wondering how the war in the south is going,” he says. “I try to stay current.” Then he looks down at you. “So how do you know Master du Bois? He’s the Grandmaster of this regional Guild office. He’s… what, number four in the whole Guild.”

>Actually tell him
>Ask for him not to ask you
>>Ask for him not to ask you
>>At least not until private, though don't mention it.

The second part is incase he insists on asking in a good place, not in nigh-public.
“I can tell you, but not in public,” you promise. “Ask me later, not now. Alright?”


The two of you loiter until the hour is up, and you walk back into the building. To your surprise, Master du Bois is actually standing there, shaking hands with some departing Merchants’ Guildsmen. “Of course, ladies, any time you want to order more, just let me know!” he says jovially. He sees you and his smile vanishes. “Ah… Herald Ledren,” he says carefully as you approach. Clearly, he didn’t just figure out who you really were when you were helping him before, but he also wasn’t expecting to see you again. “What can I do for you, your Eminence?” he asks.

“I’d like to place a custom, rush order,” you tell him as soon as you’re in close and bowed formally. “For a special mission to which I have been assigned.”

He starts. “Oh! Oh, of course, do come in, we’ll talk in the labs,” he says, ushering you into the back of the tower.

A few chambers and one magic filter later, you, Alan, du Bois, and four men and women you don’t recognize in magically-enriched lab uniforms are standing around a table made of condensed alchemic ice – expensive, and easy to sculpt, but requiring replacement fairly often. It’s ostentatious, but it’s pricy. “So, what do you wish to order?” the portly Guildmaster asks.

>Ask how much he knows about your public hunt for the criminals
>Get right to the juicy details
>Negotiate payment first
>>Ask how much he knows about your public hunt for the criminals

I think this is a good way to start, to see how much he already knows and for extra insight.
“Well, first, I’d like to know how much you know about my mission so far,” you tell him.

“I was in the square,” he answers.

“Oh! When I addressed the city?” you ask. That was a weird day, for sure.

The old Alchemist nods, reverence coloring his face. “Indeed,” he says gravely. “I recognized you, of course.”

“Well, then you know enough,” you tell him. “We have another conspirator cornered, and what I need is sleeping gas I can use underground.”

The Alchemists exchange glances. “Underground?” one asks carefully. “Uh… how much dissipation are we talking about?”

“There’s vents, which I need to put everybody underneath to sleep,” you tell him.

The researcher flinches. “That’s… a tall order. Sleeping gas in an underground environment… that’s a recepie for total disaster.” He looks over at the large rack of empty containers on one wall of the little lab. The much larger one beyond is full of bustling alchemists, you see. “Well… how much do you need?”

“How much can I require to flood an entire mine, without endangering its hostages, and also knocking the criminals out?” you ask.

The researcher immediately shakes his head. His silver hair slides over his lab coat lapel, almost snagging on his Guild pin. “Can’t be done safely. Even the mildest sleeping gas would accumulate in the tunnels and kill the people inside.”

“We could work up a custom batch, one that separates into air and something inert and harmless,” another suggests. “I mean, it would take a long time…”

“I need it at the Silver Lining Mine in Baron Mavos’ territory in nine days,” you tell him.

The grim faces of the researchers tell you all you need to know. “I could mix up… perhaps a quart of the liquid form of the gas,” one says doubtfully. “If I pull a rush job, maybe… one and a half. That’s enough to give some people in the effect area a throbbing headache and knock some out for perhaps half an hour. Not even remotely enough to flood Silver Lining.”

>”I’ll take it.”
>”And if we lower the risk threshold?”
>>”And if we lower the risk threshold?”

Curious about this. That and I figure we can still choose which strength.
“And if we lower the risk threshold?” you ask bluntly. The Alchemists all look very uncomfortable.

“You mean stop caring about the hostages?” du Bois asks unhappily. “Well… gentlemen?”

“I am not comfortable poisoning hostages to inconvenience some criminals,” one Alchemist says before the others can speak. He glares half-heartedly at you from across the table. “Do these criminals have breathing masks?”

“I have no way of knowing, but if they raid the supply lockers in the mine, maybe,” you say.

“Then we can’t promise anything,” he says.

“To be clear, Herald,” du Bois says, holding up a hand to silence the angry Alchemist, “are you proposing that we make the strongest sleeping gas we can without harming the hostages, or are you proposing that we simply make the strongest sleeping gas we can, and to hell with the hostages?”

>”No, I want them alive.”
>”Yes, I want that mine unconscious no matter what.”
>>”No, I want them alive.”

Last thing we need is guilt and bad PR
“No, I want them alive,” you assure him. “No collateral damage. So, I’ll take the weaker stuff.”

The Alchemists all seem to relax a bit now that you’re not asking them to kill over a dozen innocent people. “Good, good,” the first one says. “We can whip up a quart by then. Is that date of delivery or date of completion?” he asks.

“I need it in the vents of the mine, ready to pop, in nine days.”

“That’s possible,” the researcher says.

“And how will the order be placed?” du Bois asks respectfully.

“The King will be picking it up,” you explain. “We have a fund set aside for equipment purchases.”

“Then consider it done,” the researcher leader says, to a room of nodding heads.

>Do you want to order anything else done?


>Do you want to have any more gear enchanted? You could ask the Brotherhood to melt down the Dragon-man armor piece and have it reforged as a new shield, you could have the one you already have enchanted, you can enchant your boots at the armory, etc.

>If it hasn't been done check the tunnels' dimensions

>Have the dragon armor melted into a shield

I figured I'd ask about that as it's important incase fighting happens in one.
“Then I’m off,” you tell them. “I need to run a few errands.”

“Thank you for your business, your Eminence,” du Bois says, which the others echo. “Do stay safe.”

Outside, Alan stretches and stifles a yawn as he takes to the streets. “So what’s next, chief?” he asks blearily.

“Late night, there, killer?” you chuckle.

“Oh yeah.”

“I go home and grab that Dragon-man shield and drop it off at the Brotherhood armory to have it melted down and turned into an enchanted shield,” you tell him. “And then, we go to the shrine with Jerome.”

“Oh, cool,” he says. “I’ll meet you at the south gate with the cart.”

“Thanks.” You grin as the two of you start off. “I really appreciate this help, man. You could have discharged and taken off, but you’re helping.”

He modestly shrugs. “It feels good to be doing something again, and I like working with the Pantheon directly. Really feels like I’m accomplishing something. You don’t get that vibe with the Auxilia sometimes, you remember?”

“Yeah, I do.”

You wave goodbye as the road splits, and you take off at a jog through the back roads to your home. Your house is square in the military district, so it’s a bit of a hike, and by the time you’re there, grabbed the armor piece from the chest, and back in the Brotherhood chapter house, nearly three hours have passed. You had an early lunch, but it’s already almost two in the afternoon.

As you walk up, package under your arm, you tap the Gem. {Sister, how wide are these tunnels in the mine?}

[The main access tunnels are about ten feet by ten feet, because those have carts, but the side tunnels are maybe seven by seven, and the new veins are even thighter laterally. The main mess, with the hostages, is thirty feet tall and eighty wide. The main gallery is forty feet tall and a hundred wide. All the surface tunnels and access ramps are about ten feet wide and eight feet tall.]

{Okay, great. Thanks. I’m about to have that Dragon-man armor made into a shield, by the way. Think I should have it enchanted?}

[I do. Something durable.]

You enter the building and nod politely to Celene. “Hello, ma’am. Is the Enchanter in?”

The receptionist beams. “He certainly is. Do you wish to place an order?”

“I do,” you say. “May I go downstairs.”


Down below, you find the Enchanter at his station, organizing his bottles and flasks. He looks up as you approach. “Ah, your Eminence, welcome back. You were but a humble Sergeant when I saw you last,” he says cheerfully.

“So I was, Brother Della,” you reply in the same tone. “Today, I’d like a very special custom order.”

“Ah, so? What do you have in mind?” he asks.

You plunk the armor piece down on his table. “I have come into possession of a Dragon-man armor piece I would like reforged into a shield,” you tell him. “Is that possible?”

“Oooh,” he says quietly, running a hand over the fine, orange metal. “Lovely piece of work. Wing guards?”


“Useless as armor, pretty as ornament, for those of us ungifted with flight,” he says, appraising the metal. “A shield, you say? The smith is the man to talk to, but I can do it,” he says. “Did you come to me because you wanted it enchanted?”

“What are my options?” you ask.

He ponders. “Well…”


1) Barrier of harm – resistance to elemental damage
2) Recoil reduction – any attack you successfully block imparts no knockback
3) Shield reservoir – if you have a magic shield on (such as your tiara and helmet, for instance) they now take much longer to break if the shield is worn
4) Slammer – shield bashes do double damage and can break enemy shields
5) Pain-wind – Bashes impart crippling pain on the target and make them less likely to recover from strikes
6) Flamewind – When you run with the shield up, you trail flame that harms everybody who touches it except you

>Nothing – no enchantment
>3) Shield reservoir – if you have a magic shield on (such as your tiara and helmet, for instance) they now take much longer to break if the shield is worn

This sounds good, thogh we should remember to use said magic shields.
The tiara you can turn on and off, the helmet one is always on if you're wearing it. They're both bubble-style.
Your Auxilia training lets you know that there’s little more useful to an infantrywoman than a good shield, and a shield that actively makes you harder to hit is just great. “The shield reservoir, sir,” you tell him. “Is that quite alright?”

“That’s quite feasible,” he says, accepting the metal blocks.

“Do you accept Royal Promissary notes?” you ask him.

“I do, in fact,” he says, already running his hands over the metal. “When does this need to be done?”

“Monday morning, I’m afraid, and I’ll pay for the rush job,” you tell him awkwardly. “I know it’s a Friday, but… I’m leaving for battle Monday.”

He snorts. “We don’t observe laborer weekends anyway,” he promises. “It’ll be done.”

And with that, you think to yourself, you’re done. Time to go get Jerome and get ready to leave.

You walk home, tucking your cloak against the brisk wind. When you arrive at your home, the crowd out front is much smaller, and it’s not hard to see why. Several neighbors of yours are out front, angrily pointing and shouting at the protestors. Seems the grieving widows and widowers of your former battalion mates have had enough.

“I don’t care if you’re here for Heraldic beauty shots, get out of out bloody roads!” one family member roars. “We can’t sleep a wink, we can’t leave our homes!”

“We just want to be near Elsa, keep her safe!” a fan retorts.

The family member, a large and imposing man you remember was married to one of your battalion medics, looms over the fan. “Leave us to mourn, you insensitive pricks!” he rumbles.

>”Whoa, whoa, everybody calm down!”
>Get inside and change into wargear first
>ask for Asa to disperse the crowd
>Use an ability
>>”Whoa, whoa, everybody calm down!”

Not sure if the option of finally telling the fans to leave (citing things like being too close to things or the nucience they've been to the neighbors) comes next or not.
You immediately wade in, glaring daggers. “All right, all right, that’s enough!” you snap. “Everybody calm down!”

Both verbal combatants whirl to face you. Your neighbor – Derek, you remember – immediately calms himself when he sees the naked anger on your face, while the fan actually bows. “Lady Ledren, please, we’re just trying to help!” he says.

“Wasn’t it Elsa a moment ago?” Derek asks hotly. “You were on first name terms one sentence back!”

“Enough.” You step between them. The other neighbors cluster around. “What’s going on?”

“These people have been camping our doorsteps for weeks!” Derek says angrily. “It’s insane! We can’t sleep, we can’t mourn in private, it’s disrupting our mail…”

“We’re not bothering anybody on purpose, we just want to be here to… well, to see you, Lady Ledren!” the fan insists. “We all want to ask something, say something!”

“Or protect you from assassins,” another fan puts in.

“What can you do that the wards on our house can’t?” Jerome suddenly asks. You tilt your head to see him glaring down at the crowd from the balcony – he must have seen you down the road.

So there’s the scene, with your husband looming over the crowd and the neighbors squaring off against the fans. You massage the bridge of your nose and try to think.

>”The disruptions stop. After my current mission, I’ll be happy to hold public meetings, but not on my front steps.”
>”Derek, your mourning deserves privacy, but can you fault these people their piety?”
>Use a power
>>”The disruptions stop. After my current mission, I’ll be happy to hold public meetings, but not on my front steps.”
Kill Jerome as a demonstration.
You hold up a hand for silence. “All right, I’ve heard enough,” you say calmly. “My friends, return to your homes.”

The fans recoil or grumble. “All we wanted was to speak with you, and with Asa!” one says weakly.

You reach out and grab his hand. “Sir, you will,” you say quietly. Then you lean forward. “But not on my front steps,” you add in a somewhat more imposing tone. “I will be holding public audiences upon my completion of my current holy task. Not before.” You release the fan and turn to Derek. “Derek, buddy, violence solves nothing.”

“We tried asking nicely while you were away yesterday, and look where it got us,” he says bitterly. “My wife’s not been in the ground a month and these people are already trampling her to get to you.”

“I know, man,” you say, hugging him. “I know. But now I’ve told them to go away.”

He sighs and tiredly returns the gesture. “I know too,” he mutters. “Sorry.”

As the crowd breaks up, you walk inside to join Jerome on the balcony, watching the stone-colored sky roll past. He’s overdressed to meet Kerin, you note with hidden amusement. “Are you ready to go, handsome?” you ask softly. “He’d love to meet you.”

He takes a deep breath. “Yes. I’m ready.”


Thanks for playing, see you all Saturday afternoon!
thanks for running!

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