Four years have passed since what is now called “the Sunwell Crisis” - a time when the infamous Sunhawks, led by prince Kael’thas Sunstrider, attempted to summon the demonic Burning Legion into this world. In a desperate struggle the mad tyrant and his slavish loyalists were defeated - and a new age has begun for the elvenkind, one of recovery and prosperity.But you are ‘Lynestra Dawnstrider’, the last Sunhawk, hiding from the law in the land of human cutthroats. There, even those of them you've considered friends have revealed themselves to have dubious loyalties and secret agendas, while those that oppose you openly have turned out to be harboring shocking secrets. With Mercer's grimoire and his little book of secrets, you could very well be on the verge of ousting and destroying him, should you find out he deserve that...Or so you wished. Mercer's scribblings are most unhelpful to anyone unaware of the largest context of his ramblings - and so, you head out to meet Godfrey Church. A personal friend of Jarad and one of the targets of Mercer's paranoia - who else would be better for untangling this mess?And if you get exceptionally lucky, you could even find out if Church is an ally you can trust or a foe ten times more dangerous than sir Egmund could ever be...>Google document, constantly updatedhttps://docs.google.com/document/d/1-jPBo0HRy-9zORO12ZO325ka3L1e2Bsjrtzo9RDlO20/edit?usp=sharing>Twitter, because you have to have one these dayshttps://twitter.com/sunhawkqm>Previously, on the Last Sunhawkhttps://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2022/5118694/
EX 2, MOV 2, TWI 1, PRU 3, MND 2, DZL 1Stress: Good enough.Consequences: Fine.Fate Points: 3Church was right - one truly would not be able to miss Falconcrest's current abode, and neither would one mistake it for anything else.Falconcrest aimed high - he wasn't hiding out in a cellar of a ruined home, nor was he skulking around in a dark, smoke-filled tavern, concealing himself under a false name and a cunning disguise. This was clearly a man who considered himself to be above secrecy - his chosen lair was a large, splendorous manor. Not one of those brought low by war and time - this one was clearly newly restored, maybe even newly constructed, probably on the inheritance of some lordling, who felt like the time was right to claim his birthright and return to his ancestral lands, but had very little idea of just how violatile this region was. It was difficult to imagine the manor's previous owner in any respectful light - maybe because he clearly considered decorating his gardens with marble statues to be of a higher priority than investing into some fortifications. The ones that he built were clearly not enough.The other reason you've suspected that you stumbled upon Falconcrest's dwelling was the mild Syndicate presence in the area - that being a warcamp surrounding it, with tents stretching further than your eye could see. It was difficult to count how many men Falconcrest had with him, but whatever their number, it was clearly enough to deter Trollbane - something that Falconcrest was clearly delighted by. Why else raise the orange flag of Alterac on every watch tower? It was as if he was daring the stromic king: "I'm right here. Come get me". In the sky above the manor, you've seen the unearthly demonic silhouettes - the sphere-shaped observers, slowly patrolling the perimeter and watching over what was happening below, and flocks of what the uninitiated could confuse for birds - but you've known to be bilescourges. The presence of the Argus Wake in the camp must have been high - Church alone could not be possibly responsible for all the "help" the brigands were getting.Below, what little you could observe suggested some kind of celebration happening - fires were burning brightly, and drunken songs were being sung - someone was having the time of their lives. Those who met you by the gates, however, were in a fouler mood. "I don't know you.", one of the brigands, a toothless, tattooed crook with an orange scarf on his neck, told you. Your nightmarish steed huffed out a puff of foul-smelling smoke. The guard was left unimpressed.
"Lynestra Dawnstrider.", you introduced yourself briefly. "I'm of the Argus Wake.""I didn't know the Wake has elves in it.", the guard's comrade chimed in from the side. This one was a large man with curly red hair, who looked like he belonged on the cover of a children's fairy tale book."The camp is filled with you cultists right now. Saying that you're 'of the Wake!' in a mysterious tone means zilch to me. We weren't told to expect you.""Yeah.", added the other one. "You're not on the guest list for this party."Your eyes drifted between the two guards. You understood exactly what was going on here - these people were placed on guard duty and away from booze and loose women. Probably as a punishment. They were bored out of their minds - and impeding you was both a source of some entertainment, and a way to get back at the powers that be.>[Exertion] "You think to mock me, knave?!">[Dazzle] They misunderstood me. I'll be staying right here. They, meanwhile, will be fetching Church for me.>[Prudence] Is this minute of entertainment truly worth the trouble this is about to bring upon them? Let us all be rational.>I'm not coming as a guest, I'm coming as a plus one. TZERAK!>Show them the amulet, marking me as a member of the inner circle.>Simply ride on, ignoring them. What are they really going to do?>Let's play their game. How do I get inside then?
The wait is over. Twitter is now blocked in my country, but I don't think most of you were relying on it anyway. The promised glossary is slowly being written.
>>5185378>Show them the amulet, marking me as a member of the inner circle.If that doesn't work then escalate to...>[Exertion] "You think to mock me, knave?!"Glad to see this back QM!
>>5185378>>Let's play their game. How do I get inside then?>>5185379Russkiy? Good luck to you.
>>5185522support>>5185379I don't use twitter at all, if that's any consolation. Stay safe. At least 4chan is untouched.
>>5185522Supporting this.>>5185379Stay safe, QM.
>>5185378>>[Exertion] "You think to mock me, knave?!">>5185379Get to Yerevan fren. Someone I know has already left through there.
The bloodstone amulet emerged out of your pocket, and you extended your hand forward, the thin golden chain dangling from your fingers. “Do you know what this means?”, you’ve inquired briefly then.The expression on the face of the loudmouthed guard changed in an instant - and he gestured to the side, inviting you to enter:“Uh, sorry. I didn’t think someone important was coming.”“You’ve thought wrong.”, you answered, but decided not to dwell on this petty matter. It was beneath you. “Do you know where Godfrey Church is?”“The warlock?”, the guardsman asked the stupid question, and did not wait for either an answer, or a sign of exasperation. “He’s here somewhere.”“Could you be more helpful?”, you sighed. This conversation was beginning to get tedious.“He don’t report to me. And I’ve been out here all this time, guarding the gates.”, the man defended himself. After a second of deep thought, he added. “He’s probably with his lordship, celebrating the victory.”You nodded to him then, wordlessly indicating that you’ll look for him, and drove your mount forward, into the manor’s grounds and into the Syndicate warcamp. It looked like your suspicions of a some sort of celebration were accurate - outside of the guards standing on the outside and the demons tirelessly patrolling the skies, every living soul you’ve seen here was giving into their vices. Many were drinking and singing bawdy songs, others were gambling and bartering with stolen goods, and one very memorable man was even streaking through the camp to the sounds of everyone’s amazement and adoration. You winced to that - so, if you did that, you would lose everyone’s respect and never live it down, but when that man was doing it, it was being celebrated as an act of bravery and daring? Yet another example of everyone else but you being judged by a lower standard - but by now, you were used to it.Speaking of low, the culture in this camp was visibly wilder and - at least, seemingly - lacking in discipline when compared to the duke’s men, nevermind the elven royal army. You’ve had your bit of letting yourself loose back in Strahnbrad, and maybe you’ve gone too far in a few places, but once again, little merriment you and the soldiery have done was a trifle compared to the chaos going on here. Once on your way to the manor, you’ve seen a man - a syndicate men, you presumed, not a prisoner - being forced to stand still with a glass on the top of his head, while his drunken friend were trying to shoot it to bits with pistols. Even though the victim of the prank was clearly drunk off his mind himself, the quiet panic and the realization of just how dangerous things were for him have been both clear in his eyes. You’ve even briefly considered intervening - and maybe you would have even done so, had the glass not finally shattered with one lucky shot made by a staggering brigand, who might have just as well shot his friend in the face. This time, he did not.
You remembered the day not so long ago, when you and the syndicate men have fought side by side against the death knight of Strom and his undead minions - you remembered how well they have turned out to be drilled, and how effective they were at fighting something that, with all honesty, should have utterly decimated them. You wondered to yourself, if Falconcrest’s men would have faired just as well - if they would keep their formations, if they would not scatter, if they would have quickly intervened to save you when you fell. For some reason, you had some difficulty imagining it.You’ve also noted as you entered, how few people took any interest in you whatsoever. Some of the idle men glanced at your steed, of course, and even watched to see where you would go, but you’ve come to expect the dark arts attracting much more attention than that. Perhaps, it was true - Falconcrest was surrounded by so many warlocks, they’ve long ceased to be a novelty. You wondered to yourself then, if things were different on Perenolde’s side - or, perhaps, if they were completely the same.Soon enough, you were stood before the manor itself. The bulding bore some signs of a recent scuffle - such as bullet holes, for example - but it still managed to look pretty impressive, all things considered. Whatever was the subject of the celebration, it was clearly going on inside as well - you’ve seen lights in every window, and although you could not quite make sense of the muffled voices that reached you, you’ve figured someone was trying to declare a toast. As for the windows where lights didn’t shine… Well, you were certain that private celebrations were going there as well.“Is Church inside?”, you inquired from an armed man standing guard by the entrance. He nodded, and that was all the answers you needed from him. Feasting, was he? If your amulet was working right now, you could have informed him that you’ve come - but it wasn’t. You’ve had to settle for other options.>While I am here on important business, I'm sure it can wait for half an hour. Nobody is going to die just because I've joined a party.>I’ll get someone to inform him that I’ve come. He’s known I’m on my way before he began stuffing his face with pie, and he has only himself to blame for being dragged away from it.>On the second thought, I can wait until it’s over. I’m sure I’ll find myself something to do in the camp.
>>5188836>I’ll get someone to inform him that I’ve come. He’s known I’m on my way before he began stuffing his face with pie, and he has only himself to blame for being dragged away from it.Lynestra is a repressed degenerate, but I'd like to think that she has enough self-control to avoid two self-destructive nights of debauchery back-to-back, to say nothing of the damage it will do to her reputation.
>>5188836>>While I am here on important business, I'm sure it can wait for half an hour. Nobody is going to die just because I've joined a party.
>>5188836>I’ll get someone to inform him that I’ve come. He’s known I’m on my way before he began stuffing his face with pie, and he has only himself to blame for being dragged away from it.We're here for a reason. Though I suppose partying a bit would give us some insight into Falconcrest's lot, and could be fun too.
>>5188836>While I am here on important business, I'm sure it can wait for half an hour. Nobody is going to die just because I've joined a party.It's going to be fine folks. We should get a trait for carousing in fact.
>>5188836>I’ll get someone to inform him that I’ve come. He’s known I’m on my way before he began stuffing his face with pie, and he has only himself to blame for being dragged away from it.
Rolled 1 (1d2)I fucking love ties, you guys.(1 - you go in, 2 - let's not.)
You’ve wavered for a moment, deciding between going in and joining the festivities - if only briefly, you still had business to do here - and cutting right to the chase, which would mean dragging Church out - by the ear, if necessary - and having a long and serious conversation with him about who killed Jarad and why. In the end, the desire to mingle with what passed for high society here won out - and so, after demonstrating the guards posted outside your amulet, in you went.Your fears about this place were, sadly, confirmed when you’ve entered through the door and taken a good look at its interior. It was everything you could expect when one lets pigs out of their stall and into the human abode - in the very first moments here, you were exposed to such a charming sight as an old, skillfully drawn painting with throwing knives sticking out of it - to add insult to injury, the aim of the thrower was off too. As you’ve made it a little deeper into the hall, you were forced to step over the remains of a fallen and shattered bust, the pieces of which were being picked up by a hunched over butler with such a dreary and mortified look, it seemed as if he was being held here against his will - come to think of it, it was almost certainly the case. To get to the stairs, you’ve needed to pass by a brigand clearly out of his wits from strong drink - as you passed by, he muttered something and tried to reach for your waist - but much like that bust, he tipped over and fell - all before you managed to even blink or react. On the second floor, you’ve had to pass through the ball room, where you were faced with… Dancing, strangely - some of it surprisingly refined and skillful, with flair that could only come from being born into nobility, but some of it… Not so much. Some of it with willing partners, some - with local maids, whose expressions read as if they would have preferred to be shot instead. Overall, you’ve noted that these men were on their best behaviour compared to the wild folk outside the manor - these must have been officers, or even if you were wrong, and they were of the low rank, they must have at least come from nobility. Some of them were even dressed the part, with clean white shirts and dancing shoes for the occasion. Church, however, was not amidst these strange bandits - so you silently continued on. Your dancing days were long gone anyway. Eventually you’ve found yourself before the painted door, from behind which you’ve heard laughter and cheerful proclamations. It was important - and you knew it, because it had yet another armed guard - a hefty-looking man with a sword on his belt.“Business?”
Yet again, you’ve produced a bloodstone amulet silently - but it did not look like it made much of an impression on the man. His face did not shift a touch, as he patiently explained:“This room is for lord Falconcrest and his closest men. I don’t know you. For all I know, you’ve stolen this thing of a corpse. I repeat, business?”You exhaled lightly.“I’m looking for Godfrey Church, a fellow disciple of the Argus Wake, for I have much need of him. Does he happen to be inside?”“He’s there.”, the man nodded calmly. He fell silent for a moment or two, before coming to a decision. “You can pass. You upset anyone - and you’ll regret it. That clear?”“Crystal.”, you’ve answered without false pleasantries. The man moved aside and even opened the door for you, allowing you to hobble inside on your cane - and so, you have. Just as you’d expect, inside you’ve found some manner of a private feast - there were only about a dozen people here, not more so - and to your surprise, you’ve recognzed several faces here. Not only was Church inside, sitting at the table and chewing on the lemon pie, but so was your so called superior - Staffron Lerent, the living corpse with no eyelids. Both of them were attentive enough to notice your appearance - the man gave you a brief, unsurprised nod, while the dead man’s eyes stared into you so directly, it could not possibly be pleasant. Aside from these two, everyone here seemed to be Syndicate men of one breed or another - and your eyes quickly began drifting across their faces. Could lord Falconcrest himself be present here? If so, which one was he? The large bald man with a nasty scar across his face and a full black beard? He certainly looked like he could keep the entire camp’s worth of scum and villainy in his grip. Or what of that younger, yet still rugged man with a cautious pair of eyes? He was the sort to have led the brigand’s life for a decade, if not more - and led it well. Truly, just about anyone in this room could have been him, but if you’ve had to make a bet, it would be…
“An elf comes!”, a man rose from his seat, a goblet in his hand. When the doors opened, people still talked - but the moment he stood, he alone spoke. “You… Must be the one I’ve heard so much about, the mighty hawk.”Lord Falconcrest - and it could not be anyone else but him - was somehow everything you expected. Had he been disarmed, he would not look out of place in a gentleman’s club in just about every human city still standing. With his fashionable dress and his long, waxed hair, this dandy man looked like he belonged in a carriage driving to a ball - yet instead, it seemed it was his working uniform for robbing said carriages. You knew this look from a thousand different adventure books, and you’ve understood in an instant what he was going for with his carefully crafted image. He was not a bandit - he was a gentleman thief, an authentic one, straight from the pages of “The Highwayman Tales”. He was the sort to compliment you on your tasteful pearl earrings, before taking them from you, or kiss your hand moments after stabbing your bodyguard. He was the bandit lord whom it wasn’t much of a shame to be robbed by - it was meant to be a privilege to be stolen from by someone so sophisticated. Now that you’ve seen him with your own eyes, you realized just how many of his men you’ve met today - at least those on the younger side - tried to emulate him in some degree or another. Then you’ve concluded that few managed to pull it off.He gestured with his goblet in your direction and continued:“I’m honored, truly. You really gave it to that death knight, didn’t you?” It was difficult to tell if he was being earnest or not. With the way the events back in the tomb unfolded, it could be either way. Once again, your eyes briefly darted across the faces here. Only a few of those in the room were disinterested in your person - most of them were looking at you, those of the Shadow Council in their number.>I’ll agree. The victory was difficult, but I’ve claimed it justly - the creature tried to run with its tail between its legs, before being met with the final death>I can not diminish the heroism of the duke’s men - we share in the glory, all of us.>Inform his lordship it is merely a small glimpse at what the Syndicate and the Argus Wake can achieve together. That should make the Shadow Council happy.>The way I remember it, it was a hair’s width away from a disaster. The death knights of Strom are an existential threat, and they must be prepared for.>Deflect the question entirely, focus on his first words - I’ve heard much of him as well. >He knows who I am. Express interest in just how much he has heard, and from whom. Was it Church?>[Write-in]
>>5191436>Deflect the question entirely, focus on his first words - I’ve heard much of him as well. While I'm sure we are eager to finally lap up some well deserved praise for what may have been our finest personal achievement, lets not let him lead the conversation. He'll probably just run circles around us praising us before getting us to join him on his latest venture using the fact that we are in the presence of our "superior", Lerent.If we do acknowledge his praise then I think a mix of lapping up his praise and cautioning what a dire threat the death knight's are works, that way we hype up the threat we dealt with even more, thus stroking our own ego while still offering a wise degree of preparation and respect for the enemy.
"Adventure" books.>>5191436>"You flatter me greatly, milord. The tales of my deeds are but trifles when measured against the stories that surround you. May I join you in merrymaking?"
>>5191436Eh, screw it, supporting >>5191505
EX 2, MOV 2, TWI 1, PRU 3, MND 2, DZL 1Stress: Good enough.Consequences: Fine.Fate Points: 3"You flatter me, milord.", you smiled very briefly, your cane tapping against the stone floor as you approached a few steps. "But the tales of my deeds are mere trifles when compared to the stories surrounding you.""Are they now?", lord Falconcrest raised his eyebrow. He felt flattered - or just felt that he should feel flattered. "Well, I would be delighted to hear just what 'tales' you've heard. You're late to this party, but it doesn't mean you can't be the heart of it.""Is it an invitation?", you've approached the table slowly. "I'm sorry that I left my dress for the occasions at home.""If this is how you dress every day, what do you look like on the occasions?", one of the brigands to the side chimed in, the ginger man with a slight hunch. "You, she doesn't like, Sean.", Falconcrest raised his hand without looking. "You be quiet."The bandits laughed merrily - even Sean himself, although a few seconds too late and in a manner a little forced - all of them but the humorless Lerent, who merely stared directly into you, possibly trying to gauge what were you here for, and what were you trying to achieve.He didn't know, then. But did you? Why did you say those words? What was your angle here?>This is simple courtesy, it's how I'm expected to act. Nothing more, nothing less.>Just like before, this is my chance to live a little. I can't be faulted for enjoying good food and sweet wine.>My angle is political. Under the guise of this conversation, I find out what is happening in the Syndicate, and maybe even push an agenda.>The truth is, I may have walked into the lion's den, and I'm doing my best to not make any damage - to myself, or to others.>This lord Falconcrest may be a human, but I can't deny he has some charm. If something happens, I wouldn't mind it.>I'm merely pleasantly wasting time until I can get my mind around the Jarad situation.>[Dazzle] Let there be no mistake - I'm the one in control. Men are so easily manipulated!>[Write-in]
>>5191924>This lord Falconcrest may be a human, but I can't deny he has some charm. If something happens, I wouldn't mind it.Going with the spirit of anons write-in, I think this makes sense. Though personally...>Just like before, this is my chance to live a little. I can't be faulted for enjoying good food and sweet wine.>My angle is political. Under the guise of this conversation, I find out what is happening in the Syndicate, and maybe even push an agenda....these two would be good secondary angles to ply if the conversation lasts long enough, though this seems like the sort of choice where we want one specific thing out of this conversation.While getting in bed with Falconcrest either literally or figuratively isn't necessarily where I personally want to end up since there is sort of a potential conflict of interests between the duke and Falconcrest, I'll admit that if we DID sleep with the bandit lord or otherwise get close to him then it'd certainly make for an interesting turn. The duke's position on who should rule isn't 100% clear, but it seems he favours Perenolde, as do Brooks and Mercer. So, either playing both sides or just getting close to Falconcrest to influence him or feed info to the duke could be a juicy situation.We could also use the chance to relax, hopefully without getting so drunk that we start rambling about being a soldier of the apocalypse or taking bets that involve us walking through town naked.
>>5191924>>This lord Falconcrest may be a human, but I can't deny he has some charm. If something happens, I wouldn't mind it.
>>5191924>[Dazzle] Let there be no mistake - I'm the one in control. Men are so easily manipulated!>Use a Fate PointI see that anons want to go on dates with a charming rake, and this isn't even a vote against that idea. But, Falconcrest is probably the most influential individual in Alterac right this moment. If we could cajole him into doing even one single solitary favor for us - say, ordering his men to stop harassing the duke's roads, or protecting us from anyone who still cares about our war crimes - it would be incredibly helpful.
>>5192277I don't disagree, I'm just uncharacteristically against spending our fate points so early after we were potentially left with the prospects of having to confront Mercer or the duke or something last session. A few frivolous uses of FPs on my part (like with the imp guarding the tomes) has also contributed to making me a tad more cautious. Who knows how long that'll last, but for now that is how it is.We should also keep in mind that we probably won't get our trait that helps with Dazzle rolls here, since we aren't making friends so much as deliberately manipulating him. There is also the likely possibility that Falconcrest is so used to courtly intrigues among rogues and devilish warlocks that he is practically immune to our feminine charms.
And why ever not? Why shouldn’t you have indulged yourself? It has been long since you were close - with anyone - and as far as human specimen went, this lord Falconcrest was far from the worst you could do. There was certainly some refinement to him, but also rough charm, some tasteful barbarity. It was not as if you leaping into his arms at the first opportunity either - you were just going to leave the door open, so to speak. If nothing were to happen,there would be no shame in it. And if it were to happen - there wouldn’t be any either.You’ve sat yourself down at the table, where the brigands dined on some of the finest things that could be found in Alterac - young lamb with the sauce, sweet potato bread, the famous alteraci cheese - and as for the wine, your heart skipped a beat when you’ve seen the label on the closest bottle - it came from the Brightsong winery. It was elven, which meant it was the best it could possibly be - and also, was a very rare find - especially these days, when the winery has become history. Coming here just might have been the smartest decision you’ve made in the last few days.“As for what I’ve heard, your lordship…”, you raised your eyes and glanced at the man sitting not so far away. “I’ve heard that you have made your significant fortune with a blade, and that you’re some of the most successful warlords in recent history. You are a highly dangerous man, my lord.”“Laying it a little thick there, sister.”, Church butted in from the side, but neither you, nor anyone else was paying attention.“Is that a bad thing?”, the leader of the rogues asked of you instead.You let a briefest smile appear on your lips and shook your head:“Not at all.”You’ve made sure your eyes met, then - and you thought you’ve seen a spark in his. Falconcrest nodded then and smiled easily:“My men won’t let me lie - I’ve spilled my share of blood in this land, but nothing grows lest it’s watered. Stromgarde, the Forsaken, ogre, troll, harpy - if it’s necessary for my birthright so they die, I will gladly kill them all.”“They think to chop up Alterac like a pie, everyone tries to hog a piece.”, another brigand added from the side. “They feasted long enough by now. It’s time for us to get our share.”“Precisely.”, Falconcrest raised a toast in agreement. You drank to that. “If by ‘our share’, my friend, you mean ‘everything’. Because I mean to get back every little square inch of our country back to its rightful owners, every little square inch is ours, and we’ll tear it out of their hands - together with their fingers, if they so insist.”You’ve opened your mouth, but someone else talked over you before you’ve managed to speak:“You’re doing a pretty good job, lord!”, the hunchback brigand yelled....annoying.
“I know!”, Falconcrest agreed easily. “That’s why we are here today. Not just us - but our new elf friend too. Many of you probably don’t know - but this woman has already done a lot for our cause, despite the brief time she has spent here. Strom has grown desperate enough to beg the Ebon Blade for help - and now that they’ve gotten it, they’re fielding the most despicable butchers the continent has ever seen.”“With dark magics too! To shame!”, someone made a jest. You’ve known it to be a jest, because everyone laughed - Falconcrest did too, if only briefly.“But this elf… The elf meets one of those butchers, and what does she do? She takes his head.”He glanced towards Godfrey and Lerent in turn, with a devious smile on his lips:“How about that, boys? When will you be stacking death knight heads at my doorstep?”“Nice job, hawk.”, Church nodded to you, looking up from his sliced cheese. “Just when I think you’re done surprising me, I look away, and you do that.”“Decent performance.”, the dead man spoke as if it was being forced out of him. “The Argus Wake has noted it.”“Decent?”, Falconcrest echoed with a mocking surprise in his tone. “I think it was a little bit more than decent, old man. Commendable! That’s the word I would use. Worthy of a commendation, that is - maybe even a promotion. A few more feats like that, and maybe she gets your job.”The brigands at the table did not laugh, they hollered. Nagaz’s lieutenant did not even smile - just stared directly at you without saying a word. When the people quietened down, Falconcrest inquired:“So, what do you make of it?”You’ve had a little already, but you were sober enough to know that with Lerent here staring daggers at you, you needed to be very careful about not saying what you were truly thinking.“Of what, my lord?”“Of everything.”, the man shrugged his shoulders. “Or anything, rather. Your little victory, of Alterac, of what brought you here - we’ve talked enough about me for now, I want to know about you.”>[Write-in]
>>5196687>"What brought me here? Twice have I been driven from my homeland, once by the Scourge, and again by my own people. The Alliance of Lordaeron branded me a criminal during the Third War, and I carry with me the stigma of using dark magic. I simply hoped to find a place for myself here, in Alterac."Great, we finally get our fifteen minutes of popularity, but now our boss is trying to clam jam us. What's worse, he's watching us to make sure we don't accidentally have fun.
>>5197388Supporting. Can't think of a more clever write in.
the fact that there was no announcing twitter post kind of threw me off I guess I am just gonna support this in the meantime >>5197388
>>5198468Well I am just glad the quest is still going strong
"Well, if what brought me here is what you wish to know, the answer is simple.", you rested on the back of your chair a little, before continuing. "Twice have I been driven from my homeland, once by the Scourge, and again by my own people. The Alliance of Lordaeron branded me a criminal during the Third War, and I carry with me the stigma of using dark magic. I simply hoped to find a place for myself here, in Alterac.""And you've found one.", Falconcrest spoke, almost interrupting you. It seemed like he wished to offer the definitive opinion on the subject before anyone else managed to chime in. "I hope you realize it - that our little society of rogues and reprobates is perfect for someone like you."Your eyes involuntarily darted to Church, if only for a moment."I've been told that, yes.", you confirmed with a slight nod. "It was the truth then, and it remains the truth now. The Syndicate is long past the days of being an alliance of gangs loosely aligned under the common banner - it is a force to be reckoned with.", the bandit lord hummed. "Our strength won us wealth, prestige and respect. The food you're enjoying right now, the manor you're staying at - it is only a taste of everything to come."You nodded slowly. The man seemed utterly convinced in the victory beyond the corner - so much so, that you couldn't help but be infected by it somewhat. To be responsible - and more importantly, recognized! - for bringing an entire kingdom back from the dead... Not only it would be quite a feat, something to truly be proud of, but it would have catapulted you into a position of respect and importance for the rest of your life. You've then immediately chased away those thoughts - this was not a proper time for daydreaming, you were still in a middle of a conversation."A lot of people speak of new Alterac.", you nodded then. "But they also seem to have differening ideas about whose vision should helm it, and what precisely this wonderful future should look like.""Firstly, this future is inseparable from the future of Argus Wake.", Lerent croaked. You understood the implication perfectly, as did Church. Whether or not anyone at the table, lord Falconcrest for example, understood just what did the dead man mean by those words - that was a mystery."Firstly, magus, you should keep chewing.", Falconcrest spat in clear annoyance. "Secondly - there is only one vision in the Syndicate, and it is mine. What Perenolde is operating with, I would call more of a tunnel syndrome. His past efforts and achievements, everything he did for our people - it must be recognized, of course, but we must not allow blind loyalty to guide us into darkness. Aliden is clinging to the old order that is plainly not there anymore - I am thinking about leading us into the future."
Once again, this conversation was turning political. Whether it was a good or bad thing was an open question, but you were not getting any closer to Falconcrest's heart right now. Unless you were? >Subtly change the subject back to me. Perhaps compare Alterac with Quel'thalas, and go from there?>Subtly change the subject back to Falconcrest's personal affairs, and not so much his political program. >Outright apologize for getting political, ask for a change in the subject. Or maybe some entertainment is in order?>Hold on, I'm still not really sure how Falconcrest and Perenolde differ in what they want to achieve and how. I want to hear it from the man himself.>The Syndicate seems to have many enemies. Almost too many. How realistic is this talk about new kingdoms?>[Twilight] Falconcrest clearly despises Lerent. Maybe I could sabotage the Shadow Council's foothold?>[Write-in]
>>5199128>Hold on, I'm still not really sure how Falconcrest and Perenolde differ in what they want to achieve and how. I want to hear it from the man himself.Falconrest appears to be the kind of individual that loves the sound of their own voice so I suggest we keep him talking and feign the interested listener. As for sabotaging the position of the Shadow Council, Lerent seems to be doing plenty in that regard already, no need to put ourselves in the firing line just yet, besides I see little benefit for us in sabotaging them right now.
>>5199128>Outright apologize for getting political, ask for a change in the subject. Or maybe some entertainment is in order?
>>5199128>Hold on, I'm still not really sure how Falconcrest and Perenolde differ in what they want to achieve and how. I want to hear it from the man himself.Falconcrest is like us in a way; pontificating about high-minded ideals and contentious opinions from atop his soapbox as his captive audience looks on in awe. He'll be happy if we just let him keep on talking... right?
>>5199128>Subtly change the subject back to Falconcrest's personal affairs, and not so much his political program.
>>5199128>>Hold on, I'm still not really sure how Falconcrest and Perenolde differ in what they want to achieve and how. I want to hear it from the man himself.
>>5199128>Hold on, I'm still not really sure how Falconcrest and Perenolde differ in what they want to achieve and how. I want to hear it from the man himself.
"Fascinating, your lordship.", you nodded then, speaking in complete earnesty. Political affairs truly were fascinating to you. "Had I never stayed in these lands, I would not even know how... Complex local politics are. I would, however, be interested to hear about it in more detail. Just what lord Perenolde wants that you disagree with so much?”“He’s a traitor, I say.”, one of Falconcrest’s officers hummed. “Wants to sell the country to our enemies, just like his father. It’s in the blood.”You’ve looked at the expressions of those present to see how many agreed with this point of view. A few people have nodded or otherwise expressed agreement - but many remained silent or looked away. Some have outright cringed in disgust - at the man’s words, not at Aliden’s policies, you’ve suspected. Good king Perenolde’s treachery was clearly a controversial issue, even in this particular company.“The Second War, whatever happened there…”, Falconcrest waved his hand. “Is a mess we’ve inherited, and now have to deal with. Talking about whose fault was it, and what could be done differently, is a waste of time. However, we do need to accept that it happened. So did the Third War.”“I think I begin to understand.”, you muttered quietly. “Aiden thinks that with enough force, with enough “legitimacy”, we can bring all of our good old friends back to the negotiating table - Stormwind, Stromgarde, the dwarves… The people who butchered our families, dismantled our kingdom and took away our lands and titles.”“He wants to “negotiate” with Strom!”, one of the brigands huffed. Then, the drunken man unsheathed his dagger and forcefully struck it into the table. “Here’s the only “peace” I intend to give to these bastards!The gathered men raised a voice of approval at the gesture - the only exceptions were the people you knew by name: Church’s reaction was a bit more half-hearted, as he barely pretended to be overtaken by patriotic fervor, while the living corpse that was your “superior” in the Wake didn’t even so much as blink - while there was visible displeasure in his expression, it was plainly written on his face from the moment you’ve walked in, and maybe even from the moment this feast started. As for Falconcrest…“Now, to give the old man some credit…”, the bandit lord spoke when the people calmed down. “I don’t think Aliden intends to just lay down our arms, extend an olive branch to Strom and then accept…”
“...whatever they intend to do. He wants to negotiate from the position of force, the proper way. But Aliden’s failing is believing that what king Trollbane and the rest of them think matters at all. Treaties, claims, marriages, old pacts and alliances - Aliden is so stuck in the old ways of thinking, I don’t think he’s even aware that Lordaeron doesn’t exist anymore.”, he flashed a devious smile. “In fact, last time we met and I mentioned my trip to Tirisfal, he asked me just how king Therenas is holding up.”The table erupted in a sensible chuckle. Falconcret continued.“The truth of the matter is, there’s a whole new world out there. Take a look around. What surrounds us?”“Walls.”, some jokester suggested. You and the bandit lord both pretended not to hear it.“The Plaguelands.”, you answered. “Siverpine and Tirisfal. Arathi.”“And who holds the Plaguelands?”, the man inquired of you and immediately answered himself. “The forsaken and the paladins - the settled parts of it, of course. And these paladins are not aligned with Strom, or with the Alliance. In fact, I don’t think they care about our petty squabbles in Alterac at all. Lordaeron, well, that is firmly under the Banshee Queen’s rule - and she does not care much about what Therenas has decreed about Alterac’s partition. As for Arathi - our enemies would have you believe that the moment Trollbane returned, Stromgarde has suddenly come back full force, in its old borders. But they get really quiet when asked about all the orcs and undead in those parts.”“You’re suggesting the ruler of Alterac should concern himself with the new power in this land.”, you tasted more of the local wine. It was sweet, but not as sweet as hearing of Stromgarde’s feeble foothold in their own rightful land. “The Horde.”“Feels strange, doesn’t it?”, Falconcrest shrugged. “It’s as if the orcs won the Second War.”“And I can’t help but notice that you don’t sound too concerned, your lordship.”“I’m not. I’ve never had much love for either orcs, or the undead…”He eyed his court warlock at those words. That was not a slip of the tongue just now - Falconcrest has said it on purpose, and he made sure Lerent heard it.“...but I’m pragmatic enough to work with them, if need be. If the Banshee fashions herself the new power in Lordaeron, I say: “Hail to the queen”. After all, as long as she agrees to respect our borders and my sovereign rule, why ever not?
“You think that she will accept the resurgent Alterac?”, you blinked.“I understand your doubts.”, Falconcrest smiled and nodded. “But believe me, my lady, things are far simpler than you think. Mutually beneficial arrangement with the Horde will serve all parties far better than a war. Take trade, for instance. Nature in Lordaeron is dead. No grazing fields means no livestock...”“They’re dead.”, you reminded his lordship carefully.“They still need parchment. Leather. Glue. I’m not talking about starting an economy based on animal husbandry, mind you - that’s merely an example. The forsaken are also quite interested in alchemy - they make weapons out of plants. Again, there’s much use for it from the living soil.”“The Horde could simply take it all by force.”, you argued then. “And yet, they didn’t. The truth is, the fearsome orcish war machine is just not as terrifying as the rumors have it. Forget about the war they’ve just lost - they’ve been struggling in Arathi for years. Against whom? Refugees, volunteers, foreign mercenaries, bandits - that is us, of course. What is there to fear from the Banshee, if she’s still struggling to swallow Gilneas and the Plaguelands? A conquering, rampaging horde, some days away from taking Alterac by force, they are not. But I will tell you what they are - a society of customers. You should recognize it yourself, exile or not.”You did not know what to expect from Falconcrest, but that was a shock compared to even your boldest expectations. Something was brewing there, in your private thoughts. An opinion.>This is… Actually possible. Especially with this new, apparently peace-minded troll at the head of things. And it’s not as if Alterac is a stranger to odd bedfellows.>Everything he just said is completely insane. The Horde will never entertain any of this.>It’s not the most solid plan in the world, but it’s at least worth an attempt. Every alternative is even more shaky.>Regardless of whether or not his plan will work, it’s not a plan I have any interest in. My vision for Alterac is different.>That is a lot to take in. I need to think on this more before I decide how I feel about this.>I wonder what Perenolde would say, if I interrogated him on his policy. Would he also present his solution as the only sensible one?>[Write-in]
>>5204764>>Everything he just said is completely insane. The Horde will never entertain any of this.I am not sure where in the timeline we are has Gilneas already been invaded by the banshee queen? Because that is about as much parley as I would expect from the banshee bitch. Our people couldn't trust her with the defense of silvermoon, much less should these lowly brigands entrust their fate that would at best see them as a useful pawn to poke the alliance with, one that can be easily discarded when it is no longer convenient. Now I am not certain how far the Sunhawk cares for the people of Alterac but I would dare say the best shot they have is alligning with neither side and playing both off against each other. Instead of grovelling at the feet of an horde or alliance master they should get themselves into a position where both sides outbid each other for its allegiance or at least neutrality, I am thinking like Yugoslavia. Obviously such a buffer kingdom would need a strong figurehead, but so far I have my doubts if Falconrest could proof such a canidate. On another note I am not sure how the Argus Wake would view a Horde or Alliance alligned Alterac, but that is a question for later.
>>5204764>Smile and nod quietly.>Everything he just said is completely insane. The Horde will never entertain any of this.If our earlier conversation with the undead patrol had any truth to it, the Forsaken see Alterac as an all you can eat buffet that they haven't visited yet, and its continued existence at the moment is predicated on Falconcrest being a pain in the Alliance's ass. I'm not sure if anyone else at the table knows this, since we have the unique privilege of being able to casually chat with the Forsaken. Having said that, we should avoid spreading doom and gloom by keeping this to ourselves for now, at least while we're surrounded by Falconcrest's buddies.On the story side of things, I feel that Lynestra would probably be against making nice with anything undead unless it was the only practical option, based on how players characterized her. She fought shoulder to shoulder with her hero against them, feels like the current leadership of Quel'Thalas did the prince wrong, doesn't have any warm feelings for the Horde, and has an ability called "Thalassian Revanchism" that lets her kill undead harder just by having a big hate-boner for them.>>5204787Adding some lore context to this, Alterac's value is strategic. It's a mountainous region that provides a route leading straight into the heart of Forsaken territory. Properly defended, an army trying to advance through it could be delayed for months, if they ever get through at all. During the Second War, Alterac allowed the orcs to pass through it unmolested in exchange for being spared their wrath, expediating the orc offensive considerably. If our hypothetical New Alterac did aim to join one of the two big factions, there is a decent chance that it could do so as an equal thanks to its geography. Consequently, both have sufficient reason to try to take it by force.
>>5204764>>It’s not the most solid plan in the world, but it’s at least worth an attempt. Every alternative is even more shaky.>>Regardless of whether or not his plan will work, it’s not a plan I have any interest in. My vision for Alterac is different.
>>5204764>Everything he just said is completely insane. The Horde will never entertain any of this. >Regardless of whether or not his plan will work, it’s not a plan I have any interest in. My vision for Alterac is different.
Your heart sank as you’ve listened to Falconcrest explain his plan. As he continued talking and talking, you were at first halfway expecting him to burst out laughing, shake his head and inform you that everything he said was merely a jest - but then, you slowly began coming to terms with reality. You’ve snuck a glance at the others at the table to see if any of them realized just how insane this scheme was - but only a few people seemed even somewhat dubious, most were nodding along with the conceit pouring out of the bandit lord’s mouth. Those of the Shadow Council, meanwhile, behaved in most curious manner - Lerent was looking away, clearly bored out of his mind with the conversation, and having no interest whatsoever in his lordship’s political alliances, while Church… Church was looking right at you, and gauging how you felt about this speech.And what you felt was utter disbelief. Has the high of easy victories driven Falconcrest absolutely insane? Treating with the Horde in these parts meant treating with none other than Banshee Queen and her people - and while the orcs may have deposed their warmongerer of a warchief, nobody has done the same for Windrunner. She respected no treaties and had no regard for the rules of warfare. Oh, Alterac would know peace with her people - the people of the grave, if such dignity would be even affored to it. One needed to only ask Gilneas about how the Banshee treated the so called “neutral powers”.Still, you could not afford to voice those thoughts now. Even if you were to challenge Falconcrest on it and try to persuade him to change course, it had to be done when you were in private. Arguing with him in front of his men would not only do you no favours, it could also make him entrench in his position - humans were notoriously stubborn. So instead of speaking your mind, you’ve said only…“Fascinating, your lordship.”, you smiled and nodded. “A unique perspective, to say the least.”The bandit lord drank more from his goblet - and then gestured for the servant girl to pour more. Her hands trembled, as she’s done so.“It’s a new world out there.”, he nodded, looking to you. “Your people recognize it. You could say that in part, they were an inspiration to it all.”
“My people and I share a complex relationship.”, you tried to remind tactfully.Falconcrest hummed shortly. He seemed to recognize some hesitance in your tone, but did not comment on it - not out loud. Instead, he changed the subject entirely:“Speaking of complex…”, he eyed Church to the side. “I was told that the way you ended up in our kingdom of thieves and whores in quite a strange way.”“She spat in my face.”, the human warlock spoke matter-of-factly.“Some people pay good coin for that, my friend.”, Falconcrest thinned his lips. He then shifted his attention to you. “What did the man do to upset you, anyhow?”You answered dryly:“He held me prisoner in a basement.”“And then catapulted her towards importance and fame.”, Church answered with a unoffended huff. “I’m yet to receive any thanks for that, but ours is an ungrateful job.”“That, it is.”, Falconcrest shrugged his shoulders. “Some people just don’t appreciate what they have until they lose it.”You suddenly narrowed your eyes.“And some people don’t appreciate it even after they lose it.”, he continued after half a moment of silence. “Something to think on, perhaps.”He rose from his seat slowly, and waved his hand briefly at the men:“I think I’ll be retiring - do not burn the manor down while I’m gone.”, again, he would shift his attention towards you. “You must have traveled here long. Do you require quarters?”>What I need is to speak with Falconcrest alone. >Subtly signal to him that his quarters will do just fine.>Focus. I came here for Church and the matter of Jarad’s slaying.
>>5206558>>Subtly signal to him that his quarters will do just fine.It's time
>>5206558>Focus. I came here for Church and the matter of Jarad’s slaying.when 2 of the 3 options are already coomer bait I am not sure my single vote will be enough to stand against it, chances are this will go like the card game and a bunch of voters come out of the woodworks to push this particular angle.I will just say that I would prefer if we opposed the windrunner tradition of shacking up with the first human boytoy we meet. Our beloved prince might be dead, but we are still a Sunhawk, the pride of our race, have some standards.
>>5206558>What I need is to speak with Falconcrest alone.>Subtly signal to him that his quarters will do just fine.I wonder if our poor charisma could cause a misunderstanding and he thinks that we're trying to assassinate him lol.
>>5206558>>Subtly signal to him that his quarters will do just fine.
>>5206558>Focus. I came here for Church and the matter of Jarad’s slaying.
>>5206558>>Focus. I came here for Church and the matter of Jarad’s slaying.Turning up to Falconcrest's place and immediately jumping him seems like shooting ourselves in the foot reputationally here. If we want to honeypot him, try make him actually want it. In the meantime, lets resolve the more immediately pressing issue.
>>5206558>>Subtly signal to him that his quarters will do just fine
>>5206558>>What I need is to speak with Falconcrest alone.>>Subtly signal to him that his quarters will do just fine.
>>5206558>Subtly signal to him that his quarters will do just fine
>11 votes in a quest where you usually get 4 to 5>8 of them from IDs with only 1 post attachedWhat a shitshow. I'll think for a while on how to handle this.
>>5210432It's a shitshow indeed. Maybe take votes until a cutoff point? Or combine the prompts so that we squeeze him, figuratively and literally, in his tent.
To me it appears to be an unfortunate repeat of the high stakes card game, where the voting population of the quest suddenly doubled after the QM put out the prospect of a triumphant ride through the camp. >>5210432I am not going to tell you how you should run your quest, because frankly you have been doing an excellent job, certainly a better one than I ever could. However when you put out an option like this, well the outcome becomes sadly rather predictable. That being said my sincere hope is that this unfortunate outcome does not discourage you going forward.
>>5210432twas inevitable. Should've closed the vote earlier.
>>5210432>>5210465One of the unwritten axioms of /qst/. Include an option to be a slut, and anons will try to tip the vote in favor of being the biggest slut. This happens to go hand-in-hand with a certain activity which I shall not accuse anyone of participating in. I've seen this handled in various ways in other quests. But honestly, it's okay for a QM to veto a vote/write-in that they don't want to write, or one they think seems suspicious.
Sorry for vanishing for more than a couple weeks, I had a rough few weeks in my home life. I'll catch up tomorrow.
>>5206558>Focus. I came here for Church and the matter of Jarad’s slaying.I did vote for the flirting, and I'd be totally fine with speaking with him privately to undermine the Shadow Council, but it is way too soon to sleep with the man regardless of any juicy directions the story could take involving conflict of interests. It'd be particularly weird to do so after coming to the revelations of his ambitions being crazy.We came here for a reason, lets follow through, we can always flirt with Falconcrest or undermine the Shadow Council in the coming days.
>>5210432You could try doing what ForgottenQM does to prevent samefagging except with perhaps a longer grace period to account for people being slower to realise your quest is up. Or you could not take 1 post IDs for votes like this or demand that users doublepost to prove that they haven't fiddled with their routers or whatever to ID-switch, that way people who's IDs have changed due to their fiddling won't be able to verify their posts after they change their IP.Weird situation I came back to, but I'm glad the voting didn't go in a direction I wasn't fond with while I was gone.
I've thought on it for a bit, and I've decided that every time the quest's playerbase inexplicably tripples (but for some reason, only when it comes to one particular vote), I'm not going to count 1-post IPs. Hopefully, this will bring back some semblance of democracy.Post soon.
To say that Falconcrest's decision to depart felt abrupt to you at the very least was to say nothing - just a minute ago, he was asking you about your career and moments later, he was excusing himself and leaving. Still, it was not as if you were here to see his lordship - and truth be told, while you did entertain the idea of a really private meeting with him, your interest in the matter was somewhat chilled by his recent speech - at least, for the time being.You smiled and nodded politely to him, and allowed him to depart - you, meanwhile, turned to Church and gave him another nod. He understood the gesture immediately - and soon enough you were standing to leave with a few other Falconcrest's noblemen - but before you'd made even a few steps towards the door, you've suddenly felt a grip of cold fingers on your wrist. "Do not forget your station.", Lerent's faintly glowing eyes would stare into yours. "And do not feel encouraged by the reception you've gotten here. You've done nothing to deserve it yet."You've pulled your hand away just in time for him to release the grip - and opened your mouth to answer. Before you've managed, however, the human warlock that was passing by took you from the other side and began dragging you towards the exit without so much as a word. The sight must have been almost comical - sadly, you were not able to see it for yourself, and the only one in the room who had any interest in the happening was the man with no sense of humor whatsoever.Once you've made it past the door, you've freed your hand from Church as well, and briefly gestured:"What's his malfunction?", you've inquired on Lerent's matter."Don't take it personally, Lerent despises more or less everyone.", the man hummed, and briefly flashed a smile. "I suppose he feels a little bit threatened too. Anyway, are we talking right now about - well, whatever happened there?"By 'whatever happened there', Church meant, of course, Jarad's death - the very reason you've arrived to the manor in the first place. You've had a little bit to drink - but not enough to forget your purpose. You nodded:"Not here.", you added.The man appeared to not have any issue with it - and soon, both of you were slowly heading outside. Slowly - for you were plagued by your unfortunate condition still, and although Church's expression or tone did not betray any signs of annoyance, he still decided to kill the time with a brief chat."So, how things are going in Strahnbrad? You must be tired of smiling and shaking hands, with all of the attention on you. To kill a death knight in single combat..."
>Inform him that I am, in fact, a local celebrity. Constantly waving to crowds from my carriage is getting exhausting, but that's the price of fame.>Celebrating my heroics aren't on top anyone's agenda right now. Everyone's minds are on the still present danger, not the fleeting victory.>We've had a brief celebration, and in a way, it did focus on me. It was surprisingly fun, maybe it would have continued the next day too - but I had important business.>Experience a flash of embarrassment over my drunken antics and mumble something quietly in a response.>The duke and lord Falconcrest both seem to think I've done well for myself, and who am I to disagree?>It's hard to feel accomplished with people like Mercer and Lerent downplaying your success at every turn.>Feeling some excitement just remembering about it, go into some details about the fight - how I alone was unafraid of the creature, and how he would flee, had I not slain him.>I don't think I've done anything that exceptional. I was only doing my job.>I don't recall killing him "single-handedly". It was a close fight, and we've both had help.
>>5213001>>We've had a brief celebration, and in a way, it did focus on me. It was surprisingly fun, maybe it would have continued the next day too - but I had important business.>>The duke and lord Falconcrest both seem to think I've done well for myself, and who am I to disagree?>>It's hard to feel accomplished with people like Mercer and Lerent downplaying your success at every turn.>>Feeling some excitement just remembering about it, go into some details about the fight - how I alone was unafraid of the creature, and how he would flee, had I not slain him.
>>5213001Supporting >>5213027>What have you been up to in the meanwhile?
>>5213001>Inform him that I am, in fact, a local celebrity. Constantly waving to crowds from my carriage is getting exhausting, but that's the price of fame.>Celebrating my heroics aren't on top anyone's agenda right now. Everyone's minds are on the still present danger, not the fleeting victory.>It's hard to feel accomplished with people like Mercer and Lerent downplaying your success at every turn.
>>5213027>>5213339I'll go ahead and back these.
“The distinguished part of Alterac seems to think I’ve done well.”, you mouthed after a moment of thinking. “I imagine in another time, another place, this battle would have won me a medal.”“There’s still a chance.”, Church noted. “More than half of the Syndicate’s officers are the former nobility.”“I’ve noticed.”“Don’t get me wrong, they’re enjoying the life of freedom and complete inaccountability - at least, those who have adapted well - but many of them will gladly give it all up, for their former privileges and prestige. Medals, tourneys, titles… The kind of trappings that allow you to call yourself part of a kingdom, not a gang.”“I can’t say I don’t understand the feeling.”, you’ve nodded. You huffed slightly, as your descent downstairs began. “I could do with some formal recognition myself.”Church seemed to immediately understand exactly what you meant - he just canted his head and inquired:“Mercer?”“Him. Some others as well.”, you answered noncommittally. “Lord Falconcrest was not even there, and he pays respect to what I’ve done. Sir Egmund was. If I were in his skin, I would never forget what I’ve done to save his skin.”“So, what exactly happened there?”, Church inquired in idle curiosity.“They were afraid - all of them. All of Mercer’s bluster was gone from him in an instant, when he saw exactly what we were up against. He was like a quivering dog with a leaden tongue, too terrified to even breathe. If that thing had the opportunity, it would simply walk right to him and slit his throat without him raising a hand to defend himself. He did not, for one and only reason - because I was there. I wasn’t afraid. I mocked it, I challenged it, I ordered the attack - me, not Mercer. And when the wretch tried to escape, fearful for his life, I’ve unwoven its spell right then and there - and then, I watched it die.”Church whistled a little - an unfeigned sign of respect:“If everything you say is true…“It is.”, you nodded firmly.“...then I’m not surprised Nagaz is beyond himself from joy. This could be very good for my career.”“Your career?”, you raised your eyebrow.“I was the one who recruited you, haven’t I? You know that the Shadow Council is pretty much a pyramid scheme, right?”You’ve stopped for a moment and narrowed your eyes in an unamused manner.“Relax, I’m merely jesting.”, the human waved his hand. You were not convinced. “Expect Nagaz to send you a gift basket any time now. Ordinarily, he would promote you too, but there’s not a whole lot of room for it now that you’re in the inner circle.”
You simply nodded. Right now, you were not terribly interested in how the orc felt about what happened - first of all, the Shadow Council were some of the last people you wished to benefit, and secondly, you’ve had too much on your mind right now.“In any case, after that there was a party in the honor of my victory - not a feast, but a celebration with the common soldiery. It was unexpectedly interesting.”, you’ve admitted. “There was drinking and gambling, singing, dancing… Mostly drinking and gambling, truth be told.”You’ve thought a moment, thinking whether or not to reveal this particular tidbit, before you finally shared:“I’ve won quite a fortune. It’s not a manor in Quel’Thalas by any means, but I imagine if I bartered it all away, it could buy me quite a lot of things in these lands.”“I can’t imagine you drinking, or gambling with the local lot.”, Church gave you a suspicious side glance. “You seem too stuck up for that.”“Maybe you merely have poor imagination.”, you’ve shrugged your shoulders, as you passed your cane into the other hand - you needed your right to open the door. “All was going well, until…”You’ve thought about revealing something else for a moment. This time around, you decided against it.“...I’ve met Mercer face to face, and the ungrateful fiend gave me somewhat of the same spiel the dead man just has. As if he has forgotten that if I weren’t there, his head would be decorating a death knight’s saddle - in the best possible world for him.”By now, you were already walking outside and breathing the mostly fresh evening air, only slightly polluted by the smell of cheap booze and overcooked meat. Church was leading you to a local barn - a secluded place, where the two of you could speak on the more secretive manners in secret.“Don’t feel too upset about what Mercer says and does.”, Godfrey dismissed you. “He’s an old man, terrified of losing his grip on the boy. He has gotten too used to ruling in the old duke’s stead - now that the boy is old enough to be making his own decisions, or at least choosing his idols, the fun times are over. And compared to the influence the Argus Wakes wields, he’s nothing. He knows it too - so he’s lashing out. You just have the misfortune of being the closest target he can reasonably be mad at.”“Thanks to you placing me there.”, you’ve noted.Church only shrugged his shoulders - he had nothing to say in his defense, or he had no interest whatsoever in defending himself from that claim. Instead, he gestured to the secluded building:“We’re getting to sensitive matters, so it’s good we’re almost there.”, he said to you. “I’ve arranged it so it would be empty, and I’ll have the entrances watched.”
From the outside, the place of the secret meeting looked to be a completely ordinary barn with not a soul around. Secluded indeed! A single demon watching from the roof would be able to secure the area and make sure no one listens in - especially one with the talent to see the unseen.But did anything await you inside? There was no way for you to know - not until the doors were opened.>A quiet and secluded place? I can’t help but notice that this is a perfect place for a trap. If we’re to speak, then I’ll choose the place.>This is pure paranoia. Earlier I wanted to make friends and win allies - and I can do that by extending some trust first. And if things do go ill, my magic is superior to his.>[Write-in, potential rolls] Before I go, some things to consider…
>>5213963I never trusted church, but way back when people voted in favor of him, so I say we are sticking with the sentiment. There is litle reason to act paranoid now, especially if we were the ones to initiate this meeting, no reason to act fearful now.Unless someone comes up with a great write in I will just go along with the original plan.>This is pure paranoia. Earlier I wanted to make friends and win allies - and I can do that by extending some trust first. And if things do go ill, my magic is superior to his.
>>5213963>>This is pure paranoia. Earlier I wanted to make friends and win allies - and I can do that by extending some trust first. And if things do go ill, my magic is superior to his.
>>5213963>>A quiet and secluded place? I can’t help but notice that this is a perfect place for a trap. If we’re to speak, then I’ll choose the place.Paranoia is good
>>5213963>This is pure paranoia. Earlier I wanted to make friends and win allies - and I can do that by extending some trust first. And if things do go ill, my magic is superior to his.>... but, summon a demon of my own now, as a precaution. There is no harm in being safe.Our good friend Godfrey had us completely at his mercy when he first peeled us off that road yet let us go shortly after, and he's caved to pretty much every single one of our demands so far despite Lynestra having as much charm as stale bread. I wouldn't say that he's particularly trustworthy, just less untrustworthy than, say, our good friend Mercer.
>>5213963I don't think anything has changed in our relationship to warrant some sort of trap or ambush. At most I could see him to have arranged for an interested party or magical trinket to listen in on our conversation to record or or to have attest to any incriminating conversational details we let slip.>This is pure paranoia. Earlier I wanted to make friends and win allies - and I can do that by extending some trust first. And if things do go ill, my magic is superior to his.>Summon a small band of imps to join whomever Church has watching the perimeter, or in the case of an ambush to back us up and take some of the pressure off of us.
Rolled 6, 2, 5, 6 = 19 (4d6)Caution is always wise.(Prudence +3)
“It’s not as if I have no trust in you.”, you spoke slowly. “But I would like to add to your security. A simple formality.”“Of course.”, Church hummed.Perhaps, it was just your paranoia - but there was a displeased tone to it. The human made concessions to you before - and every time, he seemed nonchalant about them, carefree: “Do what you want, elf, this is barely even an incovenience”. But this time around, something was different in his attitude - as if your caution was a slight. You did not push the issue, and neither did you pause for longer than a moment, before speaking the summoning incantation - regardless if you were right or wrong, you did not want him to know about your suspicions. Soon enough, a swarm of imps stood at your feet - most of their kind were the dregs of the demonic legions, fit only for the role of cannon fodder. But yours… Yours were no different. Noisy, crude, misshapen little creatures full of lust for chaos, with no individual worth to any of them. Yet, they were perfect for this task, as if tailored to it - if something were to go wrong, you would know immediately, and so would the entire warcamp. You merely needed to point your finger to the roof for the creatures to scale the wall and take their positions - you took a good look at the roof then, before nodding to Church.“After you.” The human warlock was the first to step inside the old, unlit barn - and after a few moments, you followed. At the first glance, this place was not anything special - it looked and smelled exactly how you expected it to, and the farm beasts did not exactly add to the charm of the place. It was not as if you had no love for the animals - you adored all sorts of critters, big and small, as long as they were clean, groomed, well-behaved and had other people specifically tasked to make sure they were. “It smells awful.”, you complained, your nose twitching.“It’s a barn.”
Church flicked his fingers and lit up a flame in the lantern that hung from the wall - the light it gave was feeble, and did not cover the entire place, but it was better than nothing - at least you could get a good look at the man you were talking to, and a somewhat decent look at your surroundings.Someone less prudent would not spare a glance to her surroundings at all. Someone less observant and slower to pick up details would not notice a tiny claw peeking out of the stack of hay, or the strange way the rafters creeked as you entered, or the odd shadow growing out of the sleeping horse’s own like a tumor. But your eye was keen, and it saw every single one of those things - and immediately, you’ve known that you two were not alone here. Hiding from your sight, there were demons here - more than one, perhaps even some you could not spot immediately. These were not guards posted to make sure your meeting goes off without a hitch - these were conspirators in a plot, ones who did not wish to be seen. Who could have possibly placed them here ahead of time? “Human barns are disgusting.”, you pretended to wince and then turned to Godfrey again.“And yours are not?”, he lifted an eyebrow with unfeigned curiosity.“Mostly not, no.”, your head shook. “We have magic to take care of those matters.”“Seems like a waste of time, energy and talent.”, Church shrugged his shoulders. “Perhaps so.”You both were quiet for a few moments. Again, the lone wooden beam above you would creek shortly - someone there must have moved. You resisted the temptation to look.“So… Jarad.”, Church leaned against the wall and yawned. He continued seconds after. “Good old Jarad, heavens rest his soul.”“With everything I’ve heard about him, I severely doubt it.”“Fair enough.”, the warlock shrugged his shoulders easily. “I don’t think even he would disagree. Now, as much as I would love to chat about barns and your heroics, you’ve traveled a long way to urgently talk about a dead man. Curiosity is killing me."The warlock awaited your answer - or your questions, as it might have been. While the hidden creatures kept to their places, not making a move - at least, not just yet. >[Write-in]
>>5215126>"I now occupy the position which Jarad once did, yet I know precious little of the man, or the responsibilities I inherited from him. Who was he, really, and what is my role in all of this?">"A reliable source has informed me that you and Jarad were familiar. I would like your opinion on the truth of Jarad's demise, and the time leading up to it."There are a lot of questions I'd like to ask, though I'll settle for two at risk of totally dominating the conversation. Hopefully we can learn about Church's goals at the same time, so that we can finally figure out if he's a friend or foe.
“I’m beginning to think this position, this predicament I’ve fallen into - call it whatever you wish - is somewhat of a legacy issue. I may have inherited more than just Jarad’s job - but also everything that comes with it, good or ill.”“And you want to know about who he was, and what he was doing, and how does it affect you.”, Church guessed. “Precisely. I think that you are the best possible man I could ask.”, you nodded simply. “Essentially, I want you to tell me about the Argus Wake’s agenda, Jarad’s part in it and my part in it. From the very beginning, as if I were a complete cretin, who fell into the job by happenstance.”“As if you were a ‘complete’ cretin?”, the warlock inquired, placing special emphasis on that particular word.You simply nodded. You tried to keep your eyes on him, never glancing away to any of the creatures waiting in ambush - it was not in your interests to make anyone here aware you’ve known about them.Church, meanwhile, shrugged his shoulders - did not even sigh. When he began his thrilling tale, he actually sounded like he was having fun explaining the very basics you’ve both known very well:“Alright. Alright. You might not have known, but our world is not the only one in existence, and we: humans, elves, orcs, whatever else lives on this wonderfull rock, we are not actually anywhere near the top of the food chain. That would be the Burning Legion - the interdimensional demonic empire hellbent on conquering the entire existence.”“I think I may have heard about them.”, you spoke drily.“Although the Legion’s armies are so vast, they might as well be infinite compared to us, mud people, our world is far from the only prize they’re aiming for - and when your bucket list includes everything, it might be a while until you finally get to buying some bread, no matter how effortless this single task otherwise is. So although the Legion will, one day, arrive full force and easily win, we will probably not live until the day it happens - and neither would our children, or grandchildren.”“Unless they have someone on the inside.”, you tried to speed up this thrilling tale. “Someone who would open a gate for them and allow their armies to arrive today.”“Precisely. There were several attempts to facilitate their conquest by us, mortals - the first one dating more than ten thousand years ago, and the latest, well…”He threw a glance at you.“No need to explain.”Indeed, there was not. The implication was clear enough, and he did not even need to say a word.
“At the first glance, handing over your world to demons might seem like a poor idea.”, Church continued. “But some would disagree with this assessment. Here, in the Argus Wake, we have all sorts of people - some see the Burning Legion as the only true gods, and for them ushering their coming is a religious duty - those are zealots. The really compassionate and idealistic sort, we have that too, believe that the Legion’s victory is inevitable, and by surrendering we will spare ourselves from needless death and destruction. Then there are egoists - those believe that the Legion will reward the collaborators and make them kings.”“At the very least.”, you interrupted him. “Many a general of the Legion started his career as a conqueror of the worlds by simply kneeling.”“No interruptions.”, Church raised his finger. “Then there are those who don’t believe the Legion will win or arrive - at least, not in their lifetimes. They follow their masters to receive personal gains and fulfill their petty ambitions. And then, of course, we have the crazies, who just want to watch the world burn. Lerrent is one of them. But all of us, without exception, are ultimately either contributing to facilitating the Legion’s arrival, or preparing grounds for it, so their conquest goes as smoothly as possible.”“And that is Alterac’s role.”, you lifted your head. “It’s one of the Shadow Council’s pet projects, yes. Our particular cell is here to make sure that Alterac is strong, while its enemies are weak. The end goal is a self-sufficient kingdom with nothing to fear from its neighbours.”“And that’s the part I don’t fully understand.”, you canted your head to the side. “How useful can one upstart kingdom be?”“Like Nagaz once said, ‘You would be surprised’. Now, no one really expects that lord Falconcrest will be the most important war asset once the skies begin burning and raining inferno down the ignorant heathens. But it is at the very least useful to have a territory where we can operate more or less openly - and once the Argus Wake really fuses with the Syndicate, we will have our own state - their profits will be our profits, their intelligence - our intelligence, their military victories... I don’t think I need to spell out the many benefits that will bring.”“The Syndicate must be aware that we are simply using them, and they must at least strongly suspect why. Why don’t they care?”“Oh, that part is quite simple. They’ve lived through not one, but two failed demonic invasions - three, if you count the orc wars and whatever happened there. Most alteraci believe us to be kooky cultists - strange, but essentially harmless. Besides, you can not even begin to imagine in how much of a desperate situation they were before the Argus Wake appeared on the scene. If not for Nagaz, right now Falconcrest would be selling fake watches and male potency ointments. He knows it, we know it, everyone knows it.”
“And Jarad..?”, you began.“And Jarad was a true believer in the cause. He had the skill, he had the ambition, and he had no attachment to the current state of the world whatsoever - a perfect combination. He could succeed Nagaz one day - maybe even lead the entire Shadow Council and mastermind the new invasion. Instead, he was cut down in his prime - before he really managed to truly achieve anything he wished. His death is a heavy blow to us - one we are yet to recover from.”>What was Jarad doing in Strahnbrad? Am I expected to continue his work there?>Is Falconcrest or Perenolde more aligned with Syndicate’s goals? Did Jarad prefer any one of them?>I know that Church wished to get his hands on Jarad’s grimoire. Why?>I know that Church wished to get his hands on Jarad’s grimoire, and as it happens, I have it with me.>Does Church think Jarad was murdered? If so, by whom?>And what of Mercer and Halligan? How do they fit into all of this?>And what of Church? Is he a true believer in the cause?>[Write-in] I’ve been investigating Jarad’s death. I’ve uncovered some interesting things…>[Write-in]
>>5218371>And what of Church? Is he a true believer in the cause?>What was Jarad doing in Strahnbrad? Am I expected to continue his work there?>Does Church think Jarad was murdered? If so, by whom?I don't think we can really mention the grimoire without drawing the conversation to it, so I would avoid the subject for at least a little longer.
>>5218371>>I know that Church wished to get his hands on Jarad’s grimoire. Why?>>Does Church think Jarad was murdered? If so, by whom?>>And what of Mercer and Halligan? How do they fit into all of this?
>>5218371>And what of Church? Is he a true believer in the cause?>What was Jarad doing in Strahnbrad? Am I expected to continue his work there?>Does Church think Jarad was murdered? If so, by whom?Gonna have to agree that we should keep quiet about the things we do know for now. The information we have could win us a lot of influence and favors in this conversation if we want to use it, or put us in a bind if we aren't cautious. Church's description of Jarad seems to match some of the assessments that were made in the previous thread, so he has been truthful with us so far.
>>5218371>>And what of Church? Is he a true believer in the cause?>>Does Church think Jarad was murdered? If so, by whom?Yeah, keep the grimoire secret for now. If he's uncooperative we can offer it as a sweetener.
>>5218371>>And what of Church? Is he a true believer in the cause?>>What was Jarad doing in Strahnbrad? Am I expected to continue his work there?>>Does Church think Jarad was murdered? If so, by whom?
EX 2, MOV 2, TWI 1, PRU 3, MND 2, DZL 1Stress: Good enough.Consequences: Fine.Fate Points: 3“I’ve heard that him and you were good friends.”, you noted after a moment. You briefly observed Church’s face then, and saw a shadow of genuine sadness wash over it for a moment.“That, we were.”, he nodded and smiled briefly. “From long before we even came here, or before we truly joined the Shadow Council. It used to be just the two of us, conquering the world one grimoire at a time, learning things man was not meant to know in the dark crypts beneath Stormwind. He was always the better warlock, although I was always the more handsome one - so I suppose we both had our gifts. It was him the Shadow Council contacted first - I just followed. Always - when he first dabbled in dark magic, when he was recruited, and when he was called to Alterac.”“I’m sorry.”, you glanced away. “Ah, don’t be.”, Church shook his head. “This place can be quite alright at times.”“I meant…”“I know what you meant.”, Godfrey looked at you in genuine annoyance for a moment. “I get it.”A silence stretched for a few long seconds, as you’ve all stood there in contemplation - you, Church and the creatures he had hidden away. If he has set up an ambush in order to assassinate you, he was sure taking his time - there was a number of times when he could have sprung it. What was he waiting for?“...do you think it was an accident?”, you asked suddenly. “His death.”“What? No. Of course it wasn’t. Are you stupid?”, Church blinked. “He was killed. And before you ask - why yes, I do have an idea as to who might have done it. It was Mercer.”“Mercer?”, you echoed with a faked expression of shock plastered on your face. “How?”“Don’t quite know, to be honest. Don’t think there’s a surefire way to find out at this point. Jarad was trying to pull off something big that day, really push the envelope…”“An infernal.”, you lifted up your head. “He was summoning an infernal.”“Ah, done your homework, have you? Yes, few in the Argus Wake can pull it off - a very dangerous spell, many ways it could turn ugly, with lots and lots of collateral damage. I assume you know in how many ways it could have gone wrong with someone’s involvement. He could have been shot - the spell then goes wrong, massive explosion erases all evidence. A stabbing works just as well - with a nice little bonus of not leaving you with a bullet to hide. You’d probably die in the process - but hey, you can just get some moron to do it for you. The cleanest way is definitely to get your hands on the grimoire, make a few creative changes to the text. You don’t even have to understand a thing about magic to mess with letters and diagrams - and you don’t have to have an idea as to what you’re doing. Just one or two little changes - and something will, eventually, go wrong.”
You’ve nodded to yourself barely - Church only confirmed what you’ve figured out yourself, but it was nice hearing your conclusions confirmed by an independent source. You’ve come up with all the same theories by just looking at the scorched meadow for a moment or two.“And you think Mercer could have done those things?”“Why not? None of those things take brains, merely evil intent - and by the way, Mercer is not lacking in the brains department either. Jarad was the sort of people that loved to explain how necessary he was to the ignorant rubes. I can easily imagine him saying: ‘Let me focus, cretin. Do you know how many things could go wrong with the ritual?!’ once upon a time, and Egmund listening and getting ideas.”“Let me rephrase that. You think sir Egmund would do it?”“...yes?”, Church blinked at you in disbelief. “He hates the Shadow Council, passionately. He hasn’t exactly made the secret of it either. Every year the Argus Wake was here, it ate away at the influence Mercer used to have. It’s probably difficult for you to imagine, but this yapping dog actually used to be a big deal once upon a time. After the man he served died, he was not only running the gang, but also raising the boy. Do you have any idea how upset he was at us arriving to the scene and overshadowing him in every way imaginable?”“I get the idea.”Mercer..? You can’t say this hasn’t occurred to you many times - everything you’ve learned seemed to make him look only more guilty. Church probably did not even have a clue about either the grimoire sir Egmund has written, or the spycraft he was engaged in - and he still came to this conclusion. But…“Everything fits together.”, you muttered. “Seems so simple.”“Sometimes things aren’t complicated. You have a man with the means, the opportunity and a lot in the motive department. I’m not an investigator, but if I were, I’d say: ‘Case closed, skipper. Doesn’t get any more open and shut than this’. But what makes Mercer look really, really guilty isn’t even the crime - it’s the cover-up.”“Cover-up? Are you speaking of his investigation?”“Oh yes, his investigation! A man nabs the dead man’s grimoire and keeps it out of the Shadow Council’s hands. Because he’s ‘investigating’. Him - a man without any skill in the dark arts whatsoever. I might ask you, what exactly is he doing with that thing? Unless he’s looking at the doodles of succubi, I’m just having a difficulty imagining what is he ‘investigating’.”It was quite alright - you did not have a difficulty imagining it, you’ve had an answer yourself. Church could very well find it shocking - but you’ve held on to it for now.
“Still, there was a lot of times Mercer could have done it.”, you hummed. “But he only did it now. Unless something pushed him to do it…”“No offense, but this is some ridiculous logic. ‘If he wanted him dead, he would have long done it, and he would do it right’ is an age old excuse for failed political assassinations. Firstly - if Mercer sabotaged his grimoire, like I said, it could have taken time for these chickens to hatch. Secondly - if Mercer shot him, he could have taken his time either looking for a perfect opportunity, or gathering up bravery to go against the Shadow Council so directly. Thirdly - well, you’re actually right, something could push him. Jarad was pushing for a lot of changes in how the little duke was running things in Strahnbrad at the time.”“At the Shadow Council’s directions, I assume?”“You assume correctly. An increase in the Argus Wake presence, up from a single man. A safehouse in the duke’s lands. A dedicated group of the duke’s men, now directly to answer to our warlocks. A mining operation to get our spell reagents. A natural increase in our cooperation - but you can see how these things would infuriate good old Egmund. He could barely keep up with Jarad as it was - how was he supposed to keep his influence on the boy with a dozen Jarads?”You couldn’t help but notice that this piece of the puzzle has conveniently fit too. Even the mining operation - you might have heard something about that, although the explaination given then was quite a bit different.“And with Jarad gone, with me in his place…”, you blinked. “Am I supposed to make all of those things happen? What if Mercer kills me too?”“Well, first off, that would be a shame.”, Jarad flicked his fingers. “And secondly… Well, unless you were given direct orders to lobby for these causes, I wouldn’t worry about it. Yet. For now you can settle in, build rapport, continue with your heroics - but I’m sure that sooner or later, Lerrent - or maybe even Nagaz himself - will contact you. Not with a request, but with an order. And when Nagaz tells you to jump, you only open your mouth to ask: ‘How high?’, no matter what reservations about jumping do you have.”“Do you?”, you’ve asked suddenly and sharply.Church blinked. He was quiet for a moment, dumbfounded as he rarely was.“Excuse me?”“Do you ever have any reservations?”, you inquired again. “You’ve talked earlier about the kinds of men there are in the Argus Wake. What kind are you? Are you like Jarad? A true believer?”
Church’s eyes narrowed. His mirthful expression was immediately gone from his ways, and you could sense just how tense he became at this question. For a moment, he looked away from you and towards a stack of hay you’ve known he has had a demon hidden. Turning a way from you, he folded his arms behind his back and made a few steps across the barn. It was so quiet, you could only hear the wooden beam above your head mournfully moan under strain.“That’s a hell of a question, Hawk.”, he huffed finally. “It’s the sort with the right answers and wrong answers. So, you first. That time in Quel’Thalas… It’s just as Nagaz said - you and that king of yours have almost done it. Just a few minutes more, and it would be over. What was that all about?”It really was a dangerous question. Before you even open your mouth, before the exact answer forms in your head, just what are you going to tell him? When it comes to scorching the world in felflame and handing what remains to your demonic masters, there is little room for the grey area. All justifications, motivations, tearful backstories - all of it will flow from one simple, binary choice.>One day, Azeroth will belong to the Legion.>I don’t want to set the world on fire.>[Mind Palace, Fate Point] Any hints? Any hints at all?>[Movement] Wrong answers? Is that why he prepared assassins for me?
>>5221610>>[Mind Palace, Fate Point] Any hints? Any hints at all?
>>5221610>Prince Kael'thas wasn't simply a great leader, but an exceptional one. In a way it worked for me like with you and Jarad, with the key difference being that he not only lead me but my entire people. So when he lead us out of the smoldering ruins of our ancient home, I followed, when the alliance turned their back on us, when he ventured into the broken lands, when he discovered the opportunities offered by the fel and eventually when we returned home. I won't claim that we had a connection the way you and Jarad had, however what I can say is that after ... what happened at the Sunwell I was left the first time without someone to follow. Back then I wished for nothing more than see my princes plans come to fruition, but now I am not so sure anymore.
>>5221610>[Movement] Wrong answers? Is that why he prepared assassins for me?It really is a yes-or-no question, and he seems concerned about our answer. This isn't really a question of what we think, but what he wants to hear. We've been put on the spot, so now would be a good time to improvise.
>>5221610Supporting >>5222071Explains why we did what we did, but is ambiguous enough to not directly out us as a traitor to the "cause" but still paints us as someone having doubts, which if Church is a spy for someone or merely a self-interested power-seeker then he'll probably seek to recruit us or get us on his side assuming he doesn't want the world to burn.Argh, I finally got the time to catch up only to waste time procrastinating, catching up on other things, and rereading the previous threads to remind myself of the conclusions we came to regarding the investigation. Was kind of hoping to delay this confrontation into we had a better sense of Church's character. I honestly believe he isn't a crazy based off the the self-aware way he frames the people who constitute the various ideological archetypes of the Argus Wake, but it is still risky to go forward with such a blunt 'yes or no'.Speaking of regrets about wasting time, I wish I was here for the previous vote, I don't think going over the stuff we did with Church really added to our pool of knowledge, but I think learning about Halligan or the two leadership candidates for Alterac would've been useful. So would getting Church's help with the fallen out page or Jarad's grimoire, we needed to still test Theory D about whether it was tampered with. There was no point in holding it for "leverage" or "negotiations", we came here for his help in this matter or perhaps use it to get closer to Church by doing him a favour, since he wanted the grimoire. Certainly asking Church about who murdered Jarad instead of revealing how much we'd discovered at least made him think we were a bit stupid.
The vote seems split, so I'll go ahead and change mine.>>5221610>>5222114>[Mind Palace, Fate Point] Any hints? Any hints at all?>>5222617There's absolutely a point in temporarily withholding information to use as leverage. We were deliberately led to a remote location where concealed demons wait, and Church was visibly irked that we were judicious enough to prepare an appropriate countermeasure. Not long after, we asked him a fairly innocuous question about his motives, and he responded by turning it on us and explicitly saying that there are right and wrong answers to it. We do want his help, but we may need to twist his arm a little to get what we want.
Rolled 3, 4, 4, 1 = 12 (4d6)What answer does he want from you? Think!(Mind Palace +2)
...would you like to reroll that for an additional fate point?
Rolled 2, 1, 4, 3 = 10 (4d6)Let's try that again.
EX 2, MOV 2, TWI 1, PRU 3, MND 2, DZL 1Stress: 1Consequences: Fine.Fate Points: 1Thoughts were leaping like maddened fleas in your head. What were you to say now? What did he mean when he has spoken of right and wrong answers? And what part do his concealed minions serve in this plan? Was he planning all along to draw you into this place and find out if you're a loyal follower of the Shadow Council? And if you're not, he'll...No. No. Calm down. Breathe. First of all, it does not befit a Sunhawk to panic. Secondly, being visibly afraid will dramatically reduce your chances of successfully persuading Church - whether you fool him or speak the truth. Thirdly - he did not start this topic, you have. It is very unlikely he could have planned for this specific possibility - on the contrary, you probably caught him off guard just like he caught you.There'll be no sudden insights, no incredible revelations dawning on you in the eleventh hour - it is just you, your head and what do you think you know about this man and what he wishes to hear from you. Pick a direction, and later you can think of the exact words you frame it. As far as you know, both can be equally important.>The Legion has my loyalty.>Regardless of my exact goals, I'm not necessarily in love with the Legion.>Goals? Loyalty? I don't even know what I'm doing here. If he remembers, I didn't ask for this position.>[Dazzle] Honesty is the best policy. I'll speak from the heart, no need to overthink this.>[Twilight] Like a politician, I'll go into a long speech that will muddle and confuse his simple question.>[Movement] I'd rather change the subject to his subterfuge. If I'm firm and aggressive enough, it just might work.>[Write-in]
>>5223246>>[Dazzle] Honesty is the best policy. I'll speak from the heart, no need to overthink this.Should've just had sex. This conversation did not yield useful information.
>>5223246>>[Movement] I'd rather change the subject to his subterfuge. If I'm firm and aggressive enough, it just might work.
>>5223246>Goals? Loyalty? I don't even know what I'm doing here. If he remembers, I didn't ask for this position.
>>5223246>Regardless of my exact goals, I'm not necessarily in love with the Legion.The Legion never held my loyalty. Only the Prince.
changing my vote >>5223578 to this to avoid stalemate >>5223612
>>5223246>[Dazzle] Honesty is the best policy. I'll speak from the heart, no need to overthink this.>Use a Fate point if this wins, this is extremely important.
Rolled 1 (1d2)I was going to abstain because of the tie, but it looks like there's another one.
>>5223246>[Dazzle] Honesty is the best policy. I'll speak from the heart, no need to overthink this.
>>5222676I didn't really see our question as innocuous, personally. To me it seems like a moderately dangerous red line. Affirming or denying true loyalty to the cause both come with their upsides and downsides if they became public knowledge. Denying true loyalty may lead to a lack of access to certain resources from certain hardliner faction from with the SC were it to become public knowledge, or a general lack of trust or regard for his safety, or worse were he to let out ulterior motives beyond merely being self-interested. Affirming such loyalty could garner the trust of resources of aforementioned hardliners at the cost of becoming a crazy in the eyes of the more self-interested folks who don't believe the apocalypse will ever happen, that and you'd have to act the part and go along with any ride or die true believer nonsense even if it were suicidal.Really I just think he is defensive about it either due to the considerations I mentioned above, or perhaps he really is a spy or something. Or perhaps he is defensive because he personally thinks WE are a crazy true believer who is suspicious of him and are interrogating him in order to decide whether he ought to be summarily executed due to a lack of adequate belief in the cause, we do have that ultra-loyal sunhawk reputation, and we did burn a man to death when ordered to.We also have to actually reveal that we have discovered things about Mercer or that we are at least in possession of the grimoire to pique his interest, we aren't going to get leverage by vaguely alluding we have things he may be interested in. If you mean withhold the actual grimoire itself, then sure, I agree, but we probably were gonna not let him take it anyways, just let him look at it and help us, we need it as evidence for our confrontation with Mercer and the Duke regardless of whether Mercer is the killer or not.Doesn't matter now I suppose.
Rolled 2, 6, 1, 4 = 13 (4d6)The truth, is it? Can this man handle the truth? (Dazzle +1)
>>5226436Embarrassing. >>5225949Maybe I articulated what I wanted to convey poorly.Of course we should share the grimoire and talk about what we know with him during this conversation, albeit while keeping our guard up. We're keeping it in our pocket for a little while as we discuss other less important things. The reason why we're asking him about familiar topics right now is to check what a witness tells us against what we know, a fairly mundane thing to do while investigating. We're also sitting on sensitive information completely unrelated to why we're here that can be used to benefit our position in the Wake, should we feel inclined to pursue that venue.
EX 2, MOV 2, TWI 1, PRU 3, MND 2, DZL 1Stress: 1Consequences: Fine.Fate Points: 0You breathed in deeply - if only because it gave you a precious second to think about what to say. What were you going to tell him? That you would gladly sell out not only Alterac, but also the entire world for a chance to rule over the cinders? That you would gladly see the Shadow Council burn for what their founders inflicted upon your homeland? That you were only using this cult, and your only interest was in power and the material things? That you were a fool way in over your head, who fell into this nest of vipers by accident, and only remained because it’s still somehow the safest place to be in?You’ve snuck a glance at the shadow cast by the wooden beam above, and then the clawed stack of hay ahead. It was pointless. You had little idea what Church was himself, and thusly - little idea as to what he wanted to hear. It was no use trying to figure him out now - you plainly did not know enough, and there was no time to pry more. Despite the countless number of possible speeches that could leave your mouth right now, you’ve only had two options. Firstly, you could choose a lie and stick to it - no matter what this lie is.And secondly, you could simply tell him the truth.“You wish to know where my loyalties lie?”, you inquired. Your eyes were peering into Church’s own inquisitively.“Of course.”, he hummed.“Very well. I’ll tell you - but you best listen well - it’s not a question with a simple answer. For you see, had we met four years ago, I would tell you that my loyalties lie with my king and my people. The Legion, its dark masters, the half-elven mongrels who betrayed it, the Shadow Council - none of it ever mattered to me, no matter how dark our path became. It was always about our people, and what is best for our people. When we stormed the frozen shores of Northrend, it wasn’t because of Illidan’s schemes and double dealings with demons. It was about our revenge on the monster who destroyed us. It was always about us - just us.”“Somehow unsurprising.”, Church smiled. “But when you came back as conquerors, turned your blades against your own people, all to summon a demon lord - how was that in the name of your people? That’s the part I don’t get, not the rest of it.”“It was all falling apart by then.”, you confessed. “We lost the manaforges, the Tempest Keep - everything we’ve done in the Outlands was for nothing. One of our armies turned against us because of a prophecy. A prophecy, Church - they marched against Shattrath to take it, and all it took was some cryptic nonsense for them to turn around and turn their coats.”
You clenched your teeth and closed your eyew for a moment. Church did not truly need to hear this part - but you’ve never managed to speak about it, not to a single soul - and you’ve needed it more than air. “Damnation upon all prophets and seers! How were we supposed to know that the prophecy would turn out to be true? How many predictions do charlatans make every day?”Church shrugged his shoulders. He was no longer smiling, but his answer was still somewhat of a jest:“I don’t know. A thousand?”“And just this once, it turned out to be the truth - when the existence of our whole people was at stake. How were we supposed to know? From any rational, sensible, reasonable point of view, the Scryers were traitors - naive, insane traitors. An entire army of them, tricked into fighting for their own extinction. But they were right - all along, they were right, and we were wrong. It turned out, there was never a need for any of the things we’ve done. The manaforges, the conscriptions, the forced labor, our dubious alliances, even more dubious wars - it was all nonsense. All we had to do was trust some prophecy, and it would all turn out fine. We’ve spilled enough blood to turn an ocean red - and it was never necessary. None of it. The Sunwell ended up purified - against our efforts, not because of them - and our hunger for magic was cured.”By now, you’ve almost forgotten about Church - and entirely forgotten about the demons he kept in an unsprung ambush. When you remembered of the reason for this speech, you’ve cast a look at him - only to find him dumbfounded into silence. He clearly had a lot to say on the subject - but all the same, words were failing him.“But by the time it was all coming to an end, we didn’t know something this stupid was about to happen. The state of things looked direr than ever - and our king… The sun king was almost slain - he clung to life by a pure miracle, but even that turned out to be a curse in disguise. It changed him - he grew desperate, aggressive, unhinged. He began secluding himself, and people said that he would speak to someone when he was all by himself.”“And you just… Followed him, even after that?”, Godfrey inquried very carefully.“Of course we followed him! He saved us all - more than once. He was more than a king to us by then - he was a messiah, almost a god. If not for him, the elvenkind would not even exist anymore. Even in the desperate times, we looked back and saw that he led us true. At every point, he did everything right - although I suppose, in the hindsight he should have been listening to prophecies more.”
You breathed in, trying to calm yourself.“So yes. We stayed true to him, and he stayed true to us - at least, I hope so. So when he recovered, when he came back with one last plan… We followed him, no matter the doubts and the reservations.”“...no reservations about attacking your own homeland, in order to summon the Burning Legion?”“That was never the plan. Kael’thas declared that the lord-regent must hand over M’uru for an important ritual. The regent refused…”“What’s a muru?”, Church asked, but you only threw a fierce glare at him and continued.“...which made him a traitor. We would return to Quel’Thalas and make him obey his king - by force, if needed. So that’s what we did. We’ve returned, we claimed M’uru…”“What?”“...and marched to the Sunwell, where Kael’thas would perform a spell that was meant to save us all, for good. We’ve shed elven blood, yes, but by that day we were hardly strangers to it. Again - you have to understand how utterly insane the Scryers seemed to us, and how unthinkable the regent’s disobedience was. No matter how misguided, those who stood against us, with weapons in hand, were enemies. There was no way around it.”“And you’ve never once thought that perhaps, summoning the Legion was a step too far?”>The Sun King never wished to summon the Legion at all. There were other actors at play, and Kael'thas died long before the summoning.>We were in the wrong. By the end, I recognized it, and so have many. But by then it was too late.>If we only knew, we would recognize the insanity. But the rank and file had mere suspicions at most.>If that's what Kael'thas commanded, it must have been right. We followed orders, as we always have.>There was simply no time to either question orders or mutiny. It all ended soon - at least, for us.>There was no other choice.>After everything else we've done? No, it did not seem like a step too far.>War against our own people made me see them as twisted enemies. If they opposed us, we must have been in the right. >It was immortality and cosmic dominion for our people - or suffering and death. At the time, a simple choice.>...and still is, hunger for magic or not. I would stand with the Sun King again today.>After what the world has done to us, maybe the old world deserved to end.>Who are you to judge us?>[Movement] Why would it be a step too far? >[Write-in]
>>5226745>[Movement] Why would it be a step too far? I'm unsure if Church is accidentally revealing his own views with that last line or if he is baiting us into going beyond revealing that we were only ever in this for our people and our king and into revealing that we hold no current loyalty to the Shadow Council. I'm also not sure if this prompt is us seizing on his words to catch an idea of his own motives or a deflection on our part to avoid seeming truly disloyal to our supposed current cause, but if it is the former then this needs to be jumped on right away.If there is a natural place for us to finish responding to his question then I'd like to answer with...>The Sun King never wished to summon the Legion at all. There were other actors at play, and Kael'thas died long before the summoning.>We were in the wrong. By the end, I recognized it, and so have many. But by then it was too late.
>>5226745>If that's what Kael'thas commanded, it must have been right. We followed orders, as we always have.I am done rolling insight
>>5226745>>If that's what Kael'thas commanded, it must have been right. We followed orders, as we always have.>>There was simply no time to either question orders or mutiny. It all ended soon - at least, for us.
>>5226745>The Sun King never wished to summon the Legion at all. There were other actors at play, and Kael'thas died long before the summoning.>We were in the wrong. By the end, I recognized it, and so have many. But by then it was too late.I think the 'just following orders' line comes across as another copout for Lynestra. She overthinks shit constantly, and tying herself up in mental gymnastics to avoid thinking maybe Kael'thas was wrong seems more in character. More than that, I think Church just wants to hear us commit to a position rather than prevaricate and hedge. He doesn't seem like the sort to really give a shit about your beliefs so long as you do the job, but if he does turn out to be a true believer, well, good thing we prepared our contingency demons. If not, we're gaining a proper, potential ally in the Shadow Council. Either way, it gives us the most chance to gain something worthwhile from this conversation.>>5226792
>>5228365Yeah, this.That aside, this is a pretty big character moment for us assuming Lynestra isn't lying. I'd personally rather we have eventually come to realise we were in the wrong once we had all the facts. I think we can still maintain that our thought process was entirely correct given the information we had, and keep our admiration for Kael'thas without going with the idea that it would be right to follow his orders unquestionably even if it meant the conquest of the world.Basically, I'd like to avoid whitewashing all that we did and saying that we learned nothing and just would've obeyed orders, it feels wrong to me that we would've have slowly began to have more doubts from our flashback moment onward as our actions became more drastic and things turned against us and we killed our own people.
Interesting results. I'll do my best.
“Have you ever been in a war?”, you inquired briefly. “Once upon a time.”, Church hummed in a response. “You’re going to say that you were doing what you were told, aren’t you?”“If you really were in a war, you know that you don’t question your leaders when the arrows are still flying.”, you countered. “When spellflame is raining upon you, moral questions are the last thing on your mind - there is no time to think or doubt. The time for mutiny, should your orders be truly unjust or wrong, comes in the time of quiet, when you have the privilege of sitting down and thinking - maybe even planning for the future. I did not get this privilege - I was busy trying to survive and save my people.”“You’ve had years of quiet since.”, the human pointed out. His inquiries were not giving you any opportunities for fence-sitting - with every question, he was trying to get you to choose a side, and your excuses were beginning to run out. “Now, I remember you burning a man to death without an eyebrow raised - but killing a man and killing millions are different matters. Would you follow these orders today? You are, after all, in the Wake.”“With the benefit of years and hindsight?”, you narrowed your eyes. “If you think that I’m going to weep over my wicked ways and repent, I’m going to disappoint you. We’ve all done the best we could under the circumstances - from the sun king to me. I’m not going to defend inviting in the Legion, just like I’m not going to defend many other things that we’ve done - but as far as I care, the point is moot. Whether we were on the right side of history or not doesn’t matter - we weren’t on the winning side.”“Hawk…”, Church sighed. “The way you take the simplest questions and deliver these long-winded, incredibly dramatic answers that are all about yourself… It’s impressive. You have a gift.”“Thank you.”, you’ve answered dryly.“But if I got it right - and I think I have - there was never much fervor in you about ‘following your orders’ when it came to this particular matter? And it would be fair to say that there isn’t much now either?”“If I have it right - and I think that I have…”, you responded in tone. “I’ve asked you a simple question about ten minutes ago, which you turned around on me. That’s impolite, Church, but I’m going to extend some elven grace and forgive you, as long as you end this interrogation. You’ve received an answer - think about it whatever you wish.”And do whatever you want to do, you’ve thought to yourself. You still had very little idea as to how he has actually taken your answers - only that he seemed satisfied at actually receiving some. For a moment or two, Church was quiet - he even momentarily turned away, and you immediately suspected that he was about to command his dogs to attack and adjusted your stance accordingly - but in the end, it turned out he just wished to stretch his legs for a second.
“You want to know which war I was in?”, Godfey asked of you.“I’m sure you will tell me regardless. But yes, I actually do wish to know.”“That would be the Third War - same one you fought, except I’ve done it on the western front, on the shores of Kalimdor. I’ve sailed there with Proudmoore and the rest of her merry folk. At the time, we were called an expeditionary fleet, but soon enough we came to be…”“Theramore.”, you finished for him. “You’ve fought against the Burning Legion?”“Is it surprising? Me and Jarad were ordinary sorcerers back in the day, fighting in the army of salvation against the end of the world. Things were harsh, we’ve had to make some difficult alliances with people who were merrily slaughtering us just yesterday.”He got momentarily distracted from his own story and added: “That’s not a metaphor, by the way, the orc warchief still had human guts all over him when he walked into that room, had every intention of killing us all too - but then this prophet wizard spins his yarn, and suddenly the orc and Proudmoore are shaking hands. She got some blood on herself, and then I see Jarad giving her a handkerchief to wipe it away. I swear, it would be the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, if he didn’t kill a couple of my friends on the way there.”“My people made allies with the orcs too.”, you reminded him. “And even trolls. We have difficult history.”“I assume the Horde didn’t send you their delegates wearing elven ears as a necklace.”, Church countered. “Anyway, that’s not the point of the story. We’ve had some ups and downs, and at times it seemed like we were about to win. Until Hyjal. We’ve all heard him long before we’ve seen him - because when he walked, the ground shook. We’ve known he would be coming personally, so we’ve thought we prepared rather well. There was a field of landmines ahead - goblin explosive discs, the little bastards jacked their prices way up when they’ve heard there’s an apocalypse coming. Then there were walls and towers - and behind them, a regiment of Proudmoore’s best mages. None of it helped. We just saw his silhouette slowly rise above the walls, as he walked through the explosions and fire without even slowing down. A mortar hit him square in the face and did not even flinch. Then he stopped, waved his hand - and the walls were no more, along with half of our warcamp. All devoured by felflame in an instant. Then he walked in.”“Archimonde.”, you muttered quietly.
“Him. The moment Proudmoore realized how outmatched we were, she ordered the retreat - grabbed as many folks as she could when she teleported away, but not us. Jarad and me weren’t amongst the lucky ones - we’ve seen that we were left behind, and we knew that we were done for. We just watched the demon lord look at us, smile a crooked smile, and for a moment I’ve felt my heart stop. Then he looked away, and just kept walking. As if we didn’t even matter - we were insects to him. Then his army swarmed in through the hole in the wall - and in minutes, the other half of the warcamp was gone as well.”“How did you survive?”“By running like hell. I wasn’t about to fight a losing battle, so I just ditched them all, Jarad included. I ran to the orcish camp - and reached it just in time to see what remained. It was gone. All that bluster about warrior spirit and strength of a true orc - for nothing. Those of them who survived envied the dead. And that’s when I stopped and thought to myself - he was right to look at us that way. We really are insects.”“But you’ve won.”, you pointed out. “The Burning Legion failed at Hyjal. Archimonde is dead.”“No.”, Jarad answered pointedly. “I didn’t win. Elven magic tree won. Their flying spirits won. And if I recall, it was the only shot they had, they’ve spent it and paid for it very dearly. Meanwhile, the Legion didn’t even lose a millionth of their fighting force. Now, the story was a bit long and convoluted, but the point is this - I never want to fight the Legion again.”He breathed in through his teeth, his eyes closed, before he suddenly opened them again and exhaled.“I hope you got your answers, because I’m done talking about the matter. And a word of advice, Hawk - next time a member of the Shadow Council asks you about your motivations? Try at least pretending to be on our side.”He turned around sharply and faced you again:“Now that we’ve swapped some war stories, let’s go back to the matters of the present. You’ve come here about my dear friend Jarad. You obviously suspect he was murdered, since you’ve come all this way - and you’ve heard my opinion on the matter. In case you forgot, let me remind you - it was obviously Mercer. And now, since you’re here anyway, and you’re obviously very invested in the subject, let me take some initiative. How about you and I do something about him?”>Let’s assume that I’m on board. What is his plan?>I’m not going to do anything until I’m sure he’s guilty, and this visit did not convince me.>What does Church get out of this?>This is an opportunity to bring up my findings.>Even if it was Mercer, I’m not about to go avenging Jarad. >I don’t think it was Mercer at all. Something else is going on here.>[Write-in] Not only I don’t think it’s Mercer, I have a far more likely culprit.>That’s too big of a decision to make right now.
>>5228975>Let’s assume that I’m on board. What is his plan?>This is an opportunity to bring up my findings.>What does Church get out of this?aside from revenge of course
>>5228975>>Let’s assume that I’m on board. What is his plan?>>I don’t think it was Mercer at all. Something else is going on here.
>>5228975>This is an opportunity to bring up my findings.>I don’t think it was Mercer at all. Something else is going on here.We won't know until we investigate the grimoire and stuff more closely or look into some other suspects. Mercer certainly has more to him than meets the eye, but no direct 'I totally killed Jarad and liked it' proof.Assuming he doesn't have a more clever plan than "simply kill Mercer", it kind of fucks up our home situation if we take hostile action against him that isn't subtle, not worth it without knowing his guilt.Also, I liked the compromise with the split vote QM.
>>5228975>Let’s assume that I’m on board. What is his plan?>This is an opportunity to bring up my findings.>What does Church get out of this?It seems that both of us have complicated motives. From the sound of things, Church seems like he could fall either way if properly motivated, something to keep in mind for later if we want to try to win him over. He also seems to harbor some dislike for the Horde, albeit for different reasons than the ones we've expressed so far. Since it seems like we've explored most of the less pertinent topics and gotten his opinion as an observer, we can move on to the meat of this discussion.I'm willing to hear Church out after we've examined the evidence together. It's not like we can't walk back on his proposal if we're not convinced, or cook up a better plan if we are.>>5229070I've alluded to this, though now seems like an appropriate time to come out and say it. We currently have proof that Mercer's spy is sleeping next to Perenolde. If, through Church, we arranged to indirectly inform Perenolde, Mercer's espionage will come back to bite him. Such a Machiavellian act couldn't realistically be traced back to us, and the duke could hardly be held accountable considering he's only just old enough to start making his own decisions. It wouldn't be my first choice, but it's an option that's on the table.
>>5228975>>Let’s assume that I’m on board. What is his plan?>>This is an opportunity to bring up my findings.>>I don’t think it was Mercer at all. Something else is going on here.
“Before we begin plotting a man’s death…”, you raised your voice. “I’d like to clarify one thing. Unlke you, I’m not convinced that sir Egmund is behind this.”Church raised his eyebrow in response - and when that didn’t seem to him like enough of an expression of his bemusement, he also canted his head to the side:“You don’t think Mercer is responsible?”, he inquired slowly.“I’m not saying he’s definitely blameless.”, you shook your head. “But I’ve looked into the matter myself before I asked for your help, and I’m yet to find any definitive evidence pointing to him. Only guesswork and happenstance - nothing that would stand in a court of elven law.”“The man exploded in a fireball.”, the warlock answered patiently. “What sort of evidence are you looking for? Mercer’s shoeprints on the scene? A witness saying he saw Mercer call down a meteor from the skies? A note saying: ‘Mwahahaha, I did it, and I would do it again’?”“Maybe.”, you stubbornly countered. “And I understand why you feel inclined to blame him. But he might be a red herring, while the real murderer is someone you’ve not even considered.”“A what?”, the human waved his hand, focusing on the entirely wrong thing.“It’s a literary term. The most obvious suspect, who is not actually the perpetrator.”Church opened his mouth and stood there for a moment, trying to find it in himself to say something. It took him some time, but eventually he answered:“While I appreciate healthy skepticism, we are not heroes from some pulp novel.”Perhaps he was right - if only because you’ve felt more like a villain these past days. Godfrey, meanwhile, continued:“This is real world. In the real world, you don’t always catch the man red-handed or get him to confess in a maddened rant. Sometimes, you have to settle for using your head.”“That’s what I’m trying to do.”, you argued. “Thinking it through instead of blaming the first man available. I would love nothing more than for it to be Mercer, but I want to be sure. Think about it this way - if we let the murderer get away, he might not stop at Jarad. Any of us can be next.”“By the… Mercer is the murderer. He’s the only logical suspect!”, Church huffed. “Think about it this way. Does he have a motive that you know of? Perhaps, one he ranted about, repeatedly?”“Maybe.”, you nodded slowly. “Could he pull it off? I’d like to remind you - one crossbow bolt, and the deed is done. No evidence left behind, because the bolt is incinerated by the spellflame. Nobody witnesses it, because the shot does not produce any noise.”
“Alright.”, you nodded, trying to hide the frustration in your voice. “Let’s entertain the simple theory of the simple mind. It’s sir Egmund. What do you suggest we do? Go and kill him? I assume that’s your plan.”“Another charming trait of yours - you think everyone but you is an idiot.”, Church gestured. He did not seem to be offended. In fact, on the opposite - annoyance and frustration quickly vanished from his voice, as he returned to his quick, matter-of-factly, usual tone. “We can’t kill Mercer - at least, not in the open. Too ugly, too much possible backlash from our allies in the Syndicate - they might get ideas we’re going for a power grab. No, we make it official instead. Accuse him of murder and present the case to the boy lord. Present evidence…”“Which we don’t have.”“...and get him punished. In the best case scenario, he’s hanged - good, one problem less. He may also get exiled - that’s also acceptable, the roads are dangerous lately. All sorts of things might happen. I’ve thought this through, as you see, and it was already approved by my higher-ups.”“I’d like to remind you once again that the case is flimsy.”, you responded. “We don’t have anything actually connecting him to Jarad’s death, other than our word that he would absolutely love it.”“I’ve thought of that too. First of all, we need Jarad’s grimoire. It will help us prove that his death wasn’t an accident - we establish that there had to be foul play, we open the door for Mercer being responsible.”“Guesswork.”, you muttered.“Maybe. But him holding on to it for so long is suspicious, don’t you say? Aren’t you interested why?”You weren’t. But only because you already knew.“Propose we have the grimoire. What then?”“Then we smear him like no man hasn’t been smeared before. We say that Jarad’s only a tip of the iceberg, and Mercer has actually been plotting for quite some time. We’ve already faked some evidence and have witnesses we can produce. Several of the recent blunders can be blamed on him - we call it an intentional sabotage.”“And then?”“And then Mercer does all the work for us. We provoke him into showing that he has no interest in working with the Wake, and would like to see us all dead - which is true. Then comes the finishing blow!”
A silence stood between the two of you for a few seconds. You raised your chin and asked:“Well?”“It’s a work in progress.”, Church confessed. “I’m thinking about something dramatic. A witness claiming that he saw Mercer do it, or maybe summoning the ghost of Jarad, who’ll point his finger at Mercer.”“Really? That’s something you can do?”“...no, it won’t be his ghost, but we’ll probably manage to fool people. Like I’ve said, it’s a work in progress. But the overall plan is simple - we get rid of Mercer in a way that gives it legitimacy. It’s not us, it’s the duke’s decision! And when he’s gone, it will open a lot of doors. You, for example, will have the duke’s ear.”“So this is what this is really about. You want to grow the Shadow Council’s power over Strahnbrad.”“I prefer to think about it as a “Three at the price of one” deal. I get Mercer killed, I avenge my dead friend, and it helps my career. You probably won’t believe it, but I have some personal distaste for the man even if we discount the murder. He’s really unpleasant - and unlike you, he doesn’t have a pretty face, so he doesn’t get a pass for it.”“It’s dishonorable to frame a man just because you distaste him.”, you pressed.“Don’t start again with your ‘real murderer’ nonsense. Instead, tell me something - you’ve mentioned you were looking into the matter. Did you actually discover anything?”>I took some initiative and already borrowed Jarad’s grimoire.>I’ve inspected the scene of the crime and made some conclusions.>Mercer has an agent in Perenolde’s ranks! Or rather, in his bed.>I have this spy logbook that Mercer kept. The ciphers are fake - but everything else is real. And very interesting.>The twist of the century! The rabid warlock-hater is a warlock himself!>Mercer had a spy following me. It was Brooks. I believe Jarad had such “friends” too.>Nothing much, actually.>[Write-in]
>>5229969>I took some initiative and already borrowed Jarad’s grimoire.>The twist of the century! The rabid warlock-hater is a warlock himself!>I am actually very pleasant, by the way.This just seems like a good place to start off.
>>5229969>>I took some initiative and already borrowed Jarad’s grimoire.>>Mercer has an agent in Perenolde’s ranks! Or rather, in his bed.>>The twist of the century! The rabid warlock-hater is a warlock himself!
>>5229969>I took some initiative and already borrowed Jarad’s grimoire.>The twist of the century! The rabid warlock-hater is a warlock himself!>I am actually very pleasant, by the way.>Even if we do this and it works, that still leaves the matter of the truth of Mercer's guilt, if we cannot confirm he is the killer then we have a murderer on the loose with an agenda of killing us warlocks for some nefarious purpose.I'm not sure I want to reveal the other stuff yet. I'd like to take another crack at the spybook with fresh eyes and perhaps help, but I don't really want anyone but us freely having access to everything and anything that may potentially be in it. As for Mercer's spy in Perenolde's bed, I'm also not certain revealing her get us anything here, at least not yet. I was thinking that if Mercer does end up removed if we could co-opt her for our own purposes somehow.I'm really unsure about removing Mercer from play though, the motive we chose was justice and even if it wasn't I would rather have more people around that are hostile to the Wake. Really, if he was amenable to it I was thinking of allying with him.
>>5230491Supporting this too.
“I’m not unpleasant.”, you’ve said suddenly. Church quirked his eyebrow in confusion - he must have already forgotten what you were referring to, a few seconds after he himself said the words.“What?”“Earlier you’ve said that I’m unpleasant. I don’t understand it. Unpleasant how?”, you nodded into his direction. The human opened his mouth just a little, inhaled to answer, but dallied - so you continued. “Jarad wasn’t my friend, he was yours, so I’ve come here to discuss your affairs with you. On your terms, mind you - I walk into whatever place you choose, I bear this stench so you can have your secrecy, I’ve not even commented on the lighting. And I liked remembering those times I’ve talked about about as much as you’ve liked remembering Hyjal, but you certainly loved poking at my motives and my life. And when you asked your questions, I answered them honestly also, despite those “right” and “wrong” concerns. I’m very pleasant.”Church remained standing there, with his mouth slightly agape - all of this took him by utter surprise. Perhaps so much so, that he even forgot that he had an unsprang trap laid for you - because the next things that came out of his mouth were stammering excuses.“Look, I’m sorry.”, he raised his hand in a gesture of peace. “I was just kidding with you a little. I didn’t think you would mind it so much.”“You kidnapped me off the road and tied me up in a basement.”, you reminded him vengefully. “I’m being very nice with you, and everyone else too - even sir Egmund…”“Of course. I…”, Church shook his head quickly. Even in the feeble lantern light that touched only half of his face, it was clear to see how uncomfortable he was.“...but people keep saying these untrue things. It upsets me.”“You’re fine.”, Godfrey spoke quickly and loudly. “A little bit strange, maybe more than a little bit, but you’re fine still. I’ve already said I’m sorry.”“I’ll take strange.”, you answered bluntly.
A moment of silence stood between you, and Church was too afraid to break it. You’ve done so first - reaching into your bag, you swiftly moved on, as if you’ve never left the subject of evidence at all.“But back to my findings…”, you continued calmly. “The grimoire you’ve mentioned? I’ve taken some initiative already. Behold.”Indeed, the tome was now in your hand - you extended it forward, but not enough for Church to grab onto it - and when he made a step forward, you’ve allowed your hand to drop.“I’m yet to take a good look at it.”, you confessed. “So we can do it. Together. Then we find whatever answers you’re looking for there.”“You…”, Church’s face shifted through several different expressions, as he must have recognized exactly what you’ve just shown him. “How did you…”“I’ve borrowed it from Mercer’s home.”, your answer came. “And it wasn’t the only curious thing I’ve found.”The book had to be placed back into the bag, as you needed your other hand to hold onto the cane. This meant that a dramatic pause took place before you’ve produced another tome - but this one belonged to the living, not the dead.“What’s this?”, Church asked quickly, with unfeigned interest.“Another grimoire. Would you care to guess who it belongs to?”“No clue.”, Godfrey shook his head. He was too interested in the subject to be in any mood for games.“It is written in sir Egmund’s hand.”You’ve stared the human in the face then, trying to gauge how he has taken the news. Initially, he seemed dumbfounded - truly dumbfounded, even speechless. He inspected your own expression with a narrowed pair of eyes, before he finally said:“You must be joking.”“Do I look like I’m in the mood for jests?”, you asked bluntly. When no response came, you followed up. “I’ve found it in the same place he stored Jarad’s grimoire at. It was guarded by a demon that must have been summoned by Mercer himself. He actually understands what he has written in the tome.”Another pause followed. You reiterated and truly drove th point home:“Sir Egmund is a warlock. Just like us.”For a moment, Church just stood there, trying to take it all in. When he finally had, he chuckled softly:“Now isn’t that a twist. Good old Mercer, sworn enemy of the Shadow Council - a warlock. Like us.”“That’s what it seems like.”“What I’m saying is… What’s next? Nagaz finds the Light within, and his black heart grows three sizes? Will someone else turn out to be a warlock? Lord Perenolde? The boy lord of yours? Mercer! Now, if there’s someone I’d never…”Church didn’t finish the sentence - only slowly wiped the smile off his face and shook his head. Despite seemingly taking the revelation in with good humor, the news actually concerned him - which was fully understandable. They concerned you too as well - with all this affair regarding the murder, you’ve never truly thought about the implications of Mercer learning the dark arts - not when, not how, not why he did it.
“I need to sleep on this.”, Church spoke suddenly, lifting his head up. “This… This might change things, I need to think. We both do. And you, well… The road must have been exhausting, and you’re still on your feet.”“Glad you noticed. You knew I would be coming. You could have prepared a chair.”“I will.”, Godfrey was quick to promise. “I should have, and I will. You… You keep the grimoires - you deserve it, and tomorrow morning we’ll talk about how we handle this matter.”“And the matter of Mercer too.”, you pressed. “His guilt, the murder, the fate of real malefactor - we’ll speak of that too.”“Sure, that too.”, Church once again nodded. At this time, he would promise just about anything.“Because I’m yet to be convinced he did it.”“Tomorrow.”, he repeated. He quickly headed for the door of the barn, pushing it open for you like a gentleman…And you followed. Slowly, very slowly, exaggerating your exhaustion - because you remembered all too well that despite all the pleasantries and apologies, and the nice chat you two shared, there were still demons hiding in the building - and the moment you’ve turned your back, they could strike - the moment Church gave them a signal. Indeed, it would be the single most opportune moment.Breathing shallowly and listening closely to every errant noise coming from within the barn, you’ve tightened your own grip on the pack of demons you’ve had stationed on the roof. It was tempting to count how many steps remained until you’ve made it out and stepped outside, but you could not afford splitting your attention like that. Tense, you’ve made one step after another. You heeded the creaking of the beams above and listened into the snoring of the beasts, trying to tell if you’re hearing movement or not. It was quiet still - which made you all the more nervous. “You’re a miracle.”, Church spoke briefly. “You’re cra… You’re a maverick, but you’re a miracle.”“I suppose.”You were not even listening to his platitudes, all too aware that he probably used them to distract you from the trap he could be about to spring.“Tomorrow morning.”, he reminded you. "We'll talk again then."These words were spoken when you were standing outside already, and the fresh air entered your lungs. With a shove, the human closed the creaking doors of the barn shut once more and then gave the surroundings a glance - making sure there were no interlopers around. Then, he waved his hand to his minions on the roof……and recalled them from their spot. Once the demons disappeared in black smoke, leaving only yours in the position, Church nodded to you wordlessly and then quickly walked away into the night, leaving you behind, alone.
And we're done. We're on page 10, which means your adventure continues soon in the next thread, I'll probably post it this tuesday.The standard feedback drill applies.
>>5233721Can we still share a tent with someone? You know for, uh, reasons.
>>5233739If it is a result of a vote that I can observe to be fair, sure. Otherwise, funny business keeps happening.
>>5233744Sure, our business is done here and I can't see why we're not allowed a bit of fun.
Excellent questing as always>>5233758fuck off coomer, why cant you at least allow it to happen naturally
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=The%20Last%20Sunhawk%20QuestThread archived, don't forget to upvote. The last thread no one bothered to upvote, so upvote that one too so people know this quest is worth reading!Tense moment in the barn, had me worried there for a little bit.As much as I enjoyed Falconcrest and his posse I regret going along with the flirtatious angle after our mysterious influx of voters, it got me outvoted the previous time so I should've known better.Otherwise, not much to say, or if there is I've forgotten anything I did have to comment. I enjoyed your writing very much as usual.Waiting warmly for the next session involving our not-unpleasant blood elf.
I think the vote situation was handled well. While I don't have anything against lewd stuff, being a shameless strumpet would fit more naturally if early voters decided to remain a morally challenged murderhobo instead of wanting to settle down and live a wholesome life. Well, as wholesome as an unapologetic war criminal in a doomsday cult for evil wizards can be. That said, here's to hoping that there aren't any problems in the future.