Kyrie does the most damage this round... to both parties
Ancient Keep; H1
“I'm not the one who needs to snap out of it!” Kyrie protested. Zeran may as well have been deaf for all the effect her words had.
His stuck his pistol into his holster while reaching out for Kyrie with the other hand. Kyrie dodged back, slapping him in the gut with the flat of her shovel blade. “I'm sorry!” The gunslinger was winded but mostly unharmed (-7sub Zeran).
While Zeran was wrestling with Kyrie, the Dancing Lady moved in on Giles. “I hope you like to scream, mortal.” He swung his sword at her in self defense, but she merely caught his sword with her hand before he wound up momentum. She stepped in behind his guard and seized him by the arm—but it wasn't his arm she caught.
Frodrick grinned at her mischievously. He was leaning half off his horse, but he had intercepted her. “Why not me?” he asked.
The Dancing Lady narrowed her eyes at the dwarf. “Very well.” With a vicious wrench she dragged Frodrick off his horse. He stumbled when he hit the ground, but managed to maintain his footing (Frodrick Grappled).
Only moments after he hit the ground the garden was already attempting to retake his feet. In his current predicament he didn't have much hope of resisting. Giles and Kyrie, too, lost the battle against the omnipresent clinging vines and flowers (Entangled).
Kyrie pulled against the vines crawling up her leg, but it was no good. She was already firmly entangled. Instead she turned her attention and her shovel to the evil lady of the keep. Kyrie brought the shovel down on her exposed back as she stooped over Frodrick.
The lady flinched but hardly seemed to notice (-3dmg Dancing Lady). No matter. Even if it took twenty whacks with the shovel, sooner or later all weeds yielded to the diligent gardener.
Giles was having no better luck. His feet, too, were held fast, adding to the list of problems hampering his mobility. He took a chance, imbuing his sword with evil's bane. He didn't know what this elf-like woman was, but he was about to find out if she was some kind of planar being.
He swung his sword, but to his dismay the bane magic did not react. Worse still, his aim was off, and he barely glanced a blow off the lady's tough skin. She looked like an elf, but her skin was even better armour than the grimstalker's bark, to say nothing of her supernatural resistance to physical blows.
While the others attacked her flank, Frodrick was trying not to become her next meal. With her strength and height she had every ounce of leverage over him. Inspired by the proximity of her fangs, he tore his feet free of the flowers, but no matter how he pulled he had no luck trying to fight back against her hold.
Jargon reared, looking for a way to help her master by destroying his enemy, but unable to reach the malicious creature.
Can you blame me? If I didn't throw everything at you, you'd complain it was getting too easy
Ancient Keep; H1
Whatever magic was compelling Zeran to act the way he was did not seem to be swayed by neither reason nor shovel. He took her by the shoulder with a firm grip. Kyrie spun and tied to push him away with a blow from her shovel, but he held on (-6sub Zeran Grappling). He took hold of her arm, then turned to look toward the stairs, telegraphing the next step in the instructions dominating his mind.
Kyrie grit her teeth. She was beginning to get frustrated with Zeran's antics. She didn't want to hurt the poor guy, but his interference was trying her patience. At least all she needed to do was remain in the area to help her allies, even if she couldn't fight. Rather than fight against the tendrils entangling her body, she set her stance to take advantage of the fact that if she couldn't move, neither could Zeran easily move her.
The Dancing Lady twisted Frodrick's axe arm behind himself, pressing her body up against his shield (Pinned). It was slightly awkward for the elf-proportioned woman to bend over to meet the dwarf's height, but she managed. “I'm going to be spitting out crusty old dwarf hairs for weeks. I hope you're happy.” She pulled his head back and bit into his neck.
When she came away, Frodrick's beard was stained red, and she had a trail of blood running down her neck (-4dmg Frodrick, -4Str, -3Con), threatening to stain her dress.
Kyrie cast about for something she could do with Zeran hanging off her arm. Next to her Miguel was still staring vacantly at the lady's back as she knelt over Frodrick. “All right, that's quite enough of that.” She said. Kyrie extended her shovel up to his face one-handed, blocking his line of sight with the metal head.
Miguel's eyes started to clear up. When his eyes refocused and he saw the lady for what she was, he froze. “Baobhan sith*,” he said.
The woman shot a glance over her shoulder, seeing her last hypnotized victim set free. She finally stopped her dancing. “Damn Magdh and the rotten fate that brought you lot to my lair,” she spat bitterly.
Giles quickly shifted to bane of fey creatures. “You're going to love this, then.” He thrust with his sword, which seemed to come alive and guide his hand toward the Lady. His blade jerked in his hand as he struck and pierced through her armour-like skin (-15dmg Dancing Lady). It was not the lethal blow he'd hoped, barely penetrating into her ribcage, but it was the first time she seemed to acknowledge the pain.
The Dancing Lady glanced down at the shallow wound, leaking blood over her white dress (Injured). She shrieked with frustration, though it was impossible to tell whether in reaction to the injury or the damage to her finery. The vivid stain, matching the scarf tied around her waist, grew, making her injury seem far more life-threatening than it actually was.
Frodrick coughed, then called to his mare. She kicked through the thrashing garden and came to his side. He no longer had much of a free arm, so took hold of her reign with his teeth. “Pull,” he grunted through grit teeth.
Jargon tugged back, struggling against the strength of the flowers holding Frodrick's lower body and the deadly strong fey pinning his upper. His strength gave out quickly. The bloodloss sapped his strength from him and he couldn't maintain the struggle.
Where Jargon had been standing hardly a moment before, a thick shrub suddenly shot up. Unlike the rest of the garden, the cause for it's movement was not the Dancing Lady's magic but that of another familiar form. The branches and leaves retreated into the grimstalker's back as he rose.
Before Giles knew what was happening, a woody arm wrapped around his neck, sharp claws at his throat. “I told you I'd not forget to repay you,” Teorlian hissed into his ear. He slashed across Giles' throat, drawing four bloody reck marks (-14dmg Giles 4/42, Poisoned -1Dex). The soldier wrenched back, perhaps what saved him from having his throat ripped out entirely.
Giles twisted his torso as much as he could with the garden wrapped around his waist. The grimstalker hesitated, gambling on finishing the job. He'd obviously hoped Giles wouldn't have the power left to stand after the attack. The moment passed and he turned to flee once again.
Giles lunged after the bloody fey assassin, praying that the feybane magic in his sword would guide his wild strike. It worked better than he could have hoped. He swung a hard overhead attack diagonally down at the the grimstalker's head. By the will of his destruction and the fey-slaying magic in his sword, Giles's blade bit into Teorlian's neck and nearly took the fey's head from his shoulders (-26dmg *crit* Teorlian DEAD).
“Remember that.” Giles said, the burning paralytic poison in his throat making him almost slur his words.
(All Giles needed to do to incapacitate the grimstalker was 1 damage. A mere 2 damage would have been enough to drop him unconscious. Anything more would have just made it more likely that Teorlian would bleed out by himself rather than wait to be finished. No instead Giles rolls a crit and destroys the grimstalker with 2[5+3+2+2]+7dmg -5 from DR)
(For back reference, a couple people broke/got entangled this round that weren't really noted in the text b/c sweet goblin balls there's only so many ways to describe becoming or escaping the entangle. Frodrick got re-got and Giles managed to escape most significantly.)
Frodrick: Ice Armour,
Posted on 2015-07-11 at 17:16:45.
Edited on 2015-07-22 at 16:19:02 by Sibelius Eos Owm
If things don't look bad, how else would you know you were in a boss fight?
Ancient Keep; H1
The Dancing Lady's head snapped up as Teorlian fell to the garden floor to fertilize the plants. “You have deprived me of a valuable servant and the satisfaction of killing him slowly myself.” The Dancing Lady dropped Frodrick like a forgotten toy.
Giles was too beaten down and worn out to react. Frodrick threw his bulk in front of her first attack, blocking her clawed hand with his shield (-3dmg Frodrick), but she flew at the weakened Giles like a predator scenting the blood of her prey.
Even with the benefit of Kyrie's protection, he was in no shape to fight back. The Lady's teeth sank down into into his arm as he turned to fight (-2dmg Giles), while her other clawed hand found its way under his chain shirt. She tore through his soft, unprotected belly (-3dmg Giles -1/42), finally overcoming the limit of his body's endurance. With no more than a pained breath, Giles collapsed into the mess of grasping vines and flowers (Unconscious, Dying).
Zeran took a step in the direction of the stairs, attempting to drag Kyrie along behind him. She did not have the balance to put up a fight, so instead she let the tendrils binding her lower body do their job. Zeran pulled, but could not overcome the strength of the entangling garden, foiling their mistress' plans as eagerly as the Charter party's.
Rather than try to struggle against Zeran's grip, Kyrie simply stretched her arm over to the fallen soldier's body. She channeled more of the same sacred light that caused her body to glow with the power of her faith into his body (-4LoH). His most lethal wounds sealed, preventing further bloodloss, while most of his lesser injuries practically vanished (+10hp Giles 9/42).
Giles snapped back to consciousness and pain suddenly, sucking in the very same breath he let out when he collapsed. He was on the dirt-floor now, towered over by foliage. A bad place to be by any measure, but even worse with the angry fey woman actively seeking his death. A tactical retreat was in order.
Giles rolled over and crawled away as quickly as he could. He was not surprised by the searing pain of the Dancing Lady's claw tearing open a mercifully shallow wound across the back of his leg (-3dmg Giles 6/42). He pulled himself up next to the fallen tree-like body of the grimstalker. Something about strange bedfellows crossed his mind, but he had more important things to worry about. He couldn't quite see it from here, but he knew his cold iron sword must lay fallen somewhere in this direction (Poison Resist 1/2)
With Giles crawling away, Frodrick closed his guard tight to himself (Total Defense). He hoped the Dancing Lady would continue focusing her attacks on him now that he and Kyrie stood directly between her and her prey. He threw one arm around Jargon's neck and used her strength and support to pull himself free finally of the vines.
Miguel's wits caught up to him a moment and a half later. He couldn't remember what he'd been thinking about a moment before or what exactly happened between getting to the top of the stairs to now, but he knew his help was absolutely necessary. At once he filled his lungs and let out a strong, commanding note of encouragement for his allies (Inspire Courage).
Dancing Lady: Injured, Bastion Target, Challenge Target, Entangle
Teorlian: Still Dead, Just Checkin'
(Things keep heating up each round. What happens next? Stay tuned until next week b/c apparently I just don't post very quickly these days XD But still, I'm rather excited to see you guys get home after this and to see what waits for you)
Frodrick: Ice Armour,
Ancient Keep; H1
With Giles crawling out of her grasp, blocked by Kyrie and Frodrick, the Dancing Lady's attention snapped up to the glowing paladin. “So, this light of yours is what dulls my claws so?”
Kyrie didn't respond, far more occupied with healing Giles. The evil fey hissed in anger, reaching for the girl. Kyrie almost missed the first strike, turned aside at the last minute by the force of protection that shielded her body. The other claw was faster, and Kyrie had to duck away, even as both Zeran and the roots held her down barely able to dodge (-8dmg Kyrie). She twisted again as red-stained white teeth flashed toward her (-5dmg Kyrie 32/50).
Using Zeran's grip as leverage, Kyrie reached over to Giles' leg as he retreated. The Dancing Lady barely a secondary concern she kept her focus on channeling the light to mend his wounds (+11hp Giles 17/42).
While all this was going on, a notion penetrated into Zeran's mind. It absolutely seemed reasonable, for reasons he could hardly remember why, to bring Kyrie outside where the fresh air might help her clear her head, but he was going to be damned if he was going to hold her down while some madwoman ripped her open. His head started to clear.
Frodrick took a momentary breather to assess his options. He didn't have very much strength left. He could barely fight back as the creeping vine from the window pinned him down. If he could get free, he might focus his effort on a spell. He struggled to pull free of the enchanted plants, but the fey's magic was too strong.
Giles meanwhile crawled to his feet now that he was safe out of the reach of the lady. Once again he felt the poison in his body fading as he fought off its effects (Poison End). Grateful for the turn in fortunes, he moved to the edge of the stairwell where his cold iron sword still lay after being thrown there by the grimstalker. It was half-covered in the thrashing greenery of the garden, but the plants didn't seem to be trying to snare it.
With a song on his lips, Miguel mentally charged his sword. He hadn't been aware for most of the fight, and even now his mind could barely focus on more than one thing for too long, but he would make up for what he'd missed. With the combined strength of his magic, music, and Kyrie's faith, he struck a blow to her side. It was a shallow cut, but she noticed it like one might notice an unexpected cat claw.
“Oh, darling, no need to be impatient. I'll get you after I dispose of this little witch.” Her voice was cold and dripping with acid.
Good thing she doesn't have fast healing like the redcap
Ancient Keep; H1
Zeran's body caught up with his mind, and he let go of Kyrie. He did not like having his mind used like that. He drew his pistol, dropping a metal ball down the barrel that he hoped to feed to the Lady personally. For now he kept cover behind Kyrie. There was little chance of a clear shot in this confined space, but he bided his time.
Finally free of any bindings, Kyrie held her ground against the Dancing Lady's assault. She ducked one claw and sidestepped a following lunge. “Stubborn idiot. I will destroy you. Run now and you may live.” She swiped at the paladin's face, forcing her to jerk away (-8dmg Kyrie 24/50)
Too bad no one ever told her Kyrie was immune to fear. She stowed her shovel, looking the Dancing Lady dead in the eye. “No.” Kyrie tugged on the guige strap around her shoulder, pulling her shield into her grasp. “I don't run.”
Giles, cold iron sword in hand, stepped in beside Kyrie. He was down and out for a few moments, but now he was ready to deliver a proper beating.
The fey lady backed further against the wall and window behind her, driven back by a swing from Frodrick's axe and a glancing blow of Miguel's sword. Haughty, imperious defiance remained on her face, but her miscalculation was going to cost her in the immediate future.
Ancient Keep; H1
“I've been meaning to give you this all day,” Zeran said, raising his pistol level to the Lady. He aimed carefully between Miguel and Kyrie, not wanting to blow any holes in his allies, and fired. The small lead ball bored into her chest below the breast. By now the front of the Dancing Lady's fine white gown was stained crimson with her own blood (-8dmg Lady Bloodied).
The Lady of the keep reeled back. Instead of issuing yet more condescending threats she simply bared her sharp teeth, her breathing becoming laboured. She struck out at Kyrie. The girl braced behind her shield. The fey's claws scraped uselessly over the metal surface.
Wildly, she turned to Giles and snapped in his direction almost like a feral dog might, though there was no foam on her lips to complete the image. The two together managed to avoid everything the lady could throw at them, but at the cost of giving the garden purchase to entangle their legs again.
Kyrie grunted. “I told you.” She wrenched her legs free, putting her empty right hand on Giles' shoulder, channeling yet more energy (+11hp Giles 28/42). “I don't run.” After she healed him she turned her power on her self (+15hp Kyrie 39/50) “...and I don't die.”
Finally back in the game, Giles drew back his sword, the feybane magic practically causing the blade to quiver in anticipation. His strike was less about aim as it was releasing that deadly potential. The cold iron pierced into her abdomen, a few inches off from centre, like the skin belonged to a human, almost reaching through to the other side. "Maybe you should have surrendered," he said.
The Dancing Lady gasped, her wide black eyes growing distant and her lips working soundlessly (-27dmg Dancing Lady, Badly Wounded). She did not collapse as Giles removed the blade, proving only once again how inhumanly resilient the fey were for all their delicate beauty.
Her eyes remained focused on Giles as her body seemed to keep fighting back of its own accord. Frodrick threw a heavy strike low at her knees, not in attempt to hit her, but to force her to ignore Miguel's strike.
Miguel didn't have a cold iron feybane long sword, but he still filled his blade with what arcane energy he could muster to strike down the fey that simply refused to fall.
Unfortunately for him, he succeeded.
It didn't take much to bring the Dancing Lady down after Giles' attack. Her body went rigid the moment Miguel's sword touched her, with the actual cutting being an afterstatement (-9dmg Dancing Lady). Instead of collapsing the Lady's body hung as if suspended by an unseen energy.
Without warning her voice returned to her in an instant, doubled in strength. The words she had been silently mouthing burst out of her like a demon driven from her lungs, spilling unintelligible syllables out into the garden. Though her eyes remained vacantly focused on Giles, black tendrils of energy errupted from the side-wound the Miguel had cut, chasing the Lady's blood to his sword and plunging into his body.
Miguel's body was wracked with pain briefly while the energy of the curse took hold. Meanwhile the Dancing Lady's body fell unceremoniously to the ground, devoid of life (Dead).
The pain of the spell soon faded, but the effect remained. Though Miguel had not been phsyically harmed by any of the Dancing Lady's attacks, his mind had suffered more of a beating from poison and death curse today than most ever dealt with (-6Cha Miguel). He opened his mouth, but it was his turn to be stricken wordless. With nothing to say, he simply swallowed.
(Miguel has been stricken with a curse. Unlike the mere ability damage caused by the poison and blood drain that almost everyone has suffered by now, the charisma penalty from the curse is permanent until the curse is broken.)
Frodrick: Ice Armour,
Posted on 2015-08-14 at 19:49:24.
Edited on 2015-08-24 at 22:22:30 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Ancient Keep; H1
Over the next several days the Greenbelt party holed up in the keep to recover from their battle. They brought Stefan and the wagon into the keep, after disarming the trapped gate once more, and loaded up the Dancing Lady's heavy piles of treasures.
As they recovered to full physical and mental capacity, shaking off the lingering effects of the various poisons and bloodloss, it quickly became apparent that Miguel's curse was not fading with time. At Frodrick's urging, the party decided to turn back for home early this month to seek a remedy for the baron's condition.
The rulers of Volga returned to their capital by way of Tatzlford again. This time no ambush of kobolds attacked them on their own roads.
The plan was to return straight to the fort and send for Jhod's advice on the matter, but passing through the town they noticed an unusual crowd in one of the public squares. As they approached, they heard the cause of the assembly before they saw him.
“I ask you my friends, what kind of rulers go gallivanting off into the wilderness, leaving the brave souls who followed them here to only to gods know what kind of trouble. Why, we don't even have to use our imaginations to speculate what kind of monsters wait out there to strike at us! Think only of the vile werewolf hardly a few months past.”
As the Greenbelt party came around the corner, the man himself came into their view. At the centre of the crowd stood a portly man in fine clothing stood, projecting his eloquent speech over the heads of a modest gathering. The man clearly knew how to work the people, and his pauses were occasionally filled with mutters of discontent or even shouts of agreement. Even those faces that hadn't clearly bought into the speech showed conflict.
“What would have happened if the lord of the land had not returned when they did? How many more would be dead? And those poor souls who did perish—it doesn't bear thinking, but what if our so-called brave leaders had been here, where their duty lies, instead of stirring up trouble with the wilderness. Would they still have died if not for the negligence of our protectors?”
A man in uniform—Frodrick's captain of the guard and second in command—approached the wagon. He bowed his head first to Miguel, then Frodrick. “My lords, I apologise. I wanted to get to you before you had to discover this with your own eyes.”
“This man, Grigori, arrived just days after your last departure. He has been making daily speeches in the town squares for the last week and a half. At first he got little attention, but he is persistent and persuasive. People are starting to listen.” (+2 Unrest)
Grigori's speech rose to a pitch. “Even now, my friends, I ask you: where are your benevolent rulers now? What are they doing that is so important that they leave their capital city unguarded?”
(We have about one week before it is time to enter kingdom phase. Grigori has already raised unrest in Volga by 2 (to 4, adding onto the little bit we had before leaving) and the longer he goes on without being stopped in some way, the worse the damage becomes. That said, be conscious of your public image. Silencing the rabble-rouser may do more damage than letting him continue depending on how it's done.)
Posted on 2015-08-20 at 16:06:19.
Edited on 2015-08-24 at 22:22:47 by Sibelius Eos Owm
During the trip back, Kyrie was oddly quiet. She didn't like to think that the weeds could have her beat, but they had the advantage of an unknown number of years to root down the architecture and any exposed ground. It was just beyond what she could do in a short period of time. At least she had made some progress though.
"Hmm... maybe a sharper sickle would do the trick. But no, sharper just means that you cut the stem easier, the root's still there. Also removes the handhold to pull the root out. Maybe a sickletrowel combination type thing, for digging up the roots in spots the shovel is too big for." She contemplated with an almost uncharacteristic seriousness.
What she wasn't touching on, however, was what the woman had said to her. Mostly because she didn't understand what she was talking about, beyond pointing out the green in her hair. She fingered the hair absently.
* * *
"Wait, so you mean that guy is basically doing the reverse of my job? Telling the people what they should feel, rather than letting the people tell them?" Kyrie gives a confused look, "Maybe I should stay here for a bit while you guys try to get Miguel better." She notes, "But we can talk about that later."
With no hint of hesitation, she walks through the crowd, up towards where the guy was doing his blah blah blah, but rather than address him which he probably expected, Kyrie turned towards the people.
"Good afternoon everyone!" She calls and waves, probably not the first time she's ever addressed a crowd this way.
"Isn't it strange that we still refer to outside of the city walls as wilderness? Or maybe the reason is because it has 'wild' in the word itself. Some parts could be safe or friendly, but others are not. However, if we're to make safe the realm for the people to live in, we should know first hand what lies beyond the city walls." She adds, "And there's still a lot of weeding to do."
"Also, being and having friendly neighbours is better than not even introducing yourself to others that have been here longer than we have. If anyone's wondering about what we've discovered so far, I'd be happy to tell them some time. If you don't know me, I am Kyrie, and I am here to listen to you, the people." She smiles cheerfully, "When I'm in the city, you can often find me helping out with the community gardens. Please feel free to talk to me whenever."
I should start following political debates for inspiration on twisting logic and ignoring valid poin
Viridian City; G5
Capital of Volga
Kyrie hopped off the wagon with a metallic clatter of armour. Though none of the people in the crowd seemed to notice her pushing though to where the orator stood, she caught Grigori's eye. “Well, who do we have here?” he asked of no one as she approached.
"Good afternoon everyone!".... “Please feel free to talk to me whenever."
Faces that had previously been inflamed by Grigori's rhetoric turned to doubt. Did they really believe this girl, who had been so eager to help on so many different occasions, would do hesitate at anything to ensure their safety? A few weren't so sure anymore.
Grigori for his part did not hesitate. He was not going to surrender the crowd so easily to one forthright, honest speech.
“Listen to this folks! She talks of what lies beyond the city's walls, as if we haven't seen firsthand as those very monsters are driven into the city. Think back to that unpleasant little matter in the outlying farms last winter. Winter comes soon again, my friends. I think it would be better to make sure these 'neighbours' of ours don't come asking for more handouts.
“It seems like they know it is more dangerous for them out there where our leaders are out hunting than it is in here where we cannot even protect ourselves. Sure we have the brave souls of the watch to guard the city, but just as surely I think it is too much to ask of these men and women to stand in the way of every monster that storms in while our leaders are away.”
Kyrie could see the faces of the people unable to refute these claims. Even if they could not believe that the girl before them would intentionally do anything to bring harm to them, they could not deny Grigori's arguments.
The portly man, arms outspread, turned partway to gesture to Kyrie with one arm and the wagon with the other. “Why don't we let us then ask what it is that keeps our defenders out of the barony for three weeks out of every month? Meeting the neighbours is it? To that, miss, I say 'hah'! A fool's errand! No, I think there is a simpler reason.”
The majority of the crowd still stood in concerned doubt, but Grigori was beginning to win over a few members. They knew this story a dozen times over. It was not hard to believe it had found its way even here.
“Who among us has not heard of the treasures said to lie lost out in the Greenbelt? Tell me what about the rumours of a dragon living in the depths of the Narlmarches? Where there's a dragon, there's a dragon's hoard. Surely these riches make a simpler and far more tempting reason to spend so much time away from their duties to the people?”
(Apologies in advance if Grigori's rhetoric ends up causing anybody too many headaches. He's basically designed to be a huge pain in the backside and I've seen enough Internet trolls fighting to make a showing of this if all goes wrong.)
Giles sighed and stepped from the wagon walking to the crowd trying to roughly fix his hair and damaged blood stained uniform as his did not saying a word until he took a place beside Kyrie and Grigori.
" I've never been good at speeches... but I respect this man, no for what he says but that he has the courage to say it, it takes great courage to stand up and speak before a crowd but it also takes great courage to sit and listen, now I may not have been here in the past few weeks to hear every word he has said as some of you have but I have heard some and I respect that which he has said. He is right we have mistakes and at times we have faltered and let some of you down there is nothing we can do the bring back those we've lost, but just like us and all of you, they knew the risks and the dangers of coming to this brave new world. This man claims that in our ventures into this land we have been wasting time but had we not gone out had we not our roads may still be plagued by Kobold assaults, bandits and all matter of creature, we go out because we do not see ourselves as above you that would would send you the people who helped up build this budding empire out to do all the work that when facing danger we would rather have necks cut open to bleed out then risk the lives of our people. He questions what we doing in the last three weeks, and I have wagon full of answers, relics, treasure... and I body with freshly torn scars to show you what we've been doing and why we do it, it is with our, all of our continuous efforts, not our strength or intelligence alone that is the key to unlocking this kingdoms true potential. Your leaders have faith and trust in the people, faith that we can fail true success comes from failure, we cannot grow as leaders, unless we are allow to makes mistakes and learn from them."
Giles paused for a moment to look over the people and to collect himself once more.
" We have always tried to look ahead to the future to protect our people but it is difficult to look further then you can see, this man condemns us for allowing you people the right to live without yours hands being held, condemns us for not watching your every move for not allowing you to live your lives as you see fit, we have faith in you people to be able to stand upon your own two feet and protect what you have fought to help build.... we are all mortal, and one day neither us or you will be here to protect your children and there children, we are only mortal and cannot see so far ahead to protect everyone at this very moment anything could happen, the walls could be breached, a monster could rise and strike at us all, the fact are here does not protect you, the fact this man is here, will not save you. This land was founded because we dared to venture out into the wilderness, the darkness and face the unknown, and now all of you are a light in that darkness that evils will seek to extinguish, we as your leaders can only do so much to protect you from it. So condemn our actions if you will but it my belief not as your leader, not as your superior but as a soldier as someone who has come close to death fighting for this land and all of you within it, that we should therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the kingdom of Volga and its outlying lands last for a thousand years, men will still say, this was our finest hour, if we as a people can stand up to this land, the life of the kingdom may move forward, into the broad sunlit uplands and beyond."
I bet Churchill would be proud to be remembered in fictional political debates ^-^
Viridian City; G5
Capital of Volga
Grigori folded his arms as Giles got out of the wagon after Kyrie, his face the picture of smug confidence.
"I've never been good at speeches... but I respect this man. Not for what he says, but that he has the courage to say it.”
The orator's smugness faded slowly as Giles went on. This one was cleverer than he gave credit for. That was a dirty move, agreeing with one's opponent. His expression resolved into annoyance.
”It takes great courage to stand up and speak before a crowd but it also takes great courage to sit and listen. ... we cannot grow as leaders unless we are allowed to makes mistakes and learn from them."
Giles paused. He could tell he held the crowd's attention. Not every member had been won over, but he at had every pair of eyes on him, including Grigori at the back with his audience turned toward the newcomer. Grigori's nose twitched. At the pause he sucked in a breath and flew headfirst into the next wind-up.
“And just where do you suppose all this new-found wealth is going—”
“We have always tried to look ahead to the future to protect our people,” Giles said loudly. Some members of the crowd suffered whiplash. “...but it is difficult to look further than you can see.
This man here condemns us for allowing you people the right to live without yours hands being held ... that we should therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the kingdom of Volga and its outlying lands last for a thousand years, men will still say, this was our finest hour, if we as a people can stand up to this land, the life of the barony may move forward, into the broad sunlit uplands and beyond."
The people gathered in the square fell silent. Some looked down in thought, others shifted uncertainly. Several looked back to Grigori to see if he was going to rise to the rebuttal.
The portly man huffed. It took him a moment to regain his footing. He glanced to those who awaited his retort. Maybe he had not lost them yet. He swelled with breath, thoughts racing. It looked like several of the fringe members of the audience were fixing to be on their way. He would have to speak quickly.
“Yes. Yes, listen well to your leader's words. Listen to how easily they tumble from his lips. Very fine rhetoric you will hear indeed, but what is the substance of the matter?” He grasped at straws, and it seemed found one. “He asks for your understanding when mistakes are made—for your patience while they learn their duties—yet the mistakes of a baron, or even a king, are not failures to be laughed off at the end of the day with a drink.
“Such rulers are held to a higher standard, are they not? When great minds make a mistake the results are equally great, I tell you. Do you believe this fledgling community to be the kind of place that would tolerate such mistakes? Or do you believe that a better, more experienced ruler should take over the reigns to guide the wagon steady where greener hands might lose grip?
“Listen carefully to their plans to defend you from danger and you will hear a fool's advice. How easy it is to say that the vagaries of fate cannot be helped. Powerful wizards might be able to see into the future, but for us we cannot know what the next day has in store for us, is that right? Perhaps that is true indeed, but does not the man who goes out into the rain take steps to protect his head from getting wet? Or does he say 'there is no helping fate' and leave his hat and cloak by the door? Does not the farm wife keep her hens safe from harm by keeping them enclosed in a pen, or does she simply sigh when one runs away or gets stolen by a wolf that 'such is fate'?
“Why, then, does he remind us that we live in the wilderness, and tell us that we cannot help our fate if by choosing living in the wilderness we should find monsters on our doorstep—yet not think to build a wall to keep the wilderness out and the good citizens inside? Surely all that treasure they have brought back from the wilderness is more than enough to fund such an endeavour.”
“By their own admission these men and women who presume to lead you are not fit for the duties—and privileges—that naturally go with that office. That I leave you to consider, my good fellows. Think hard on what I have told you. Your very lives could depend upon it.”
By the time he finished, some part of the crowd had already dispersed of its own accord. Those that remained did not cheer or mutter in agreement with his words anymore, but he had prevented the day from being a total loss. He only needed to keep the seed of doubt alive in their minds and the next big disaster—or maliciously spread rumour—would be the fertile soil that would bear the fruit.
The rest of the crowd returned to going about their business. Grigori stepped down from his ledge with a sigh. He brushed off his clothing. “I hope you're happy,” he told Kyrie petulantly. “Damn near ruined a perfectly good performance, the lot of you.”
(Assuming he is not interrupted or stopped as he is packing up)
With no further business the orator strode away from the party down the street.
Posted on 2015-08-22 at 04:40:46.
Edited on 2015-08-22 at 05:05:15 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Stir until plot thickens, then pour onto ungreased cookie sheet
Viridian City; G5
Capital of Volga
As the people started dispersing, Zeran got it into his head to introduce himself. “Keep an eye on the horses for me, would ya?” he called to Frodrick as he hopped out of the driver's seat. He approached Grigori with a wide smile as the well-dressed man dusted off his finery. With casual ease he laid a firm hand on Grigori's shoulder.
“Excuse yo—,” Grigori started, but Zeran ignored his protest.
“Lovely speech and all, but it's hard to bulls*** a bulls***ter. These people are smarter than you give them credit for. Once they see past your honey they'll realize you're only here for your own gain”
Grigori fixed Zeran with bored look that showed through with naked contempt.
“When I look at you I see your fancy clothes, your politician's words, and your obvious good-eating, and you know what?” Zeran dropped the smile, narrowing his eyes. “I hate people like you. It's my job to troubleshoot problems like you before you can fill our fine citizens with false promises.”
Zeran shifted his stance, turning so that the pistol on his hip was plainly visible to both men. “Now I”m not going to strongarm you or get rough. I'm just going to ask you to move on. There's nothing here worth risking your life over. You know, because of all the werewolves and whatnot.”
The gunslinger Royal Assassin released Grigori's arm and turned to walk away without waiting for any kind of reply. Behind him Grigori snorted, muttering, “Was that supposed to be a threat? How droll.”
In a louder voice he called after Zeran and to the party in general. “You won't shake my resolve! I am the voice of the people. These folk deserve to know just how and why your little venture out here is domed to fail so that they can choose for themselve whether or not to jump ship before it's too late.”
He bit his lip, almost nervous for a moment, but had nothing further to add. He turned and strode away at a steady pace.
Giles sighed, not satisfied to leave it quite there. “Don't wait up for me, I'll just be a few moments,” he told the others. At that he took off down the street, going after Grigori.
Giles caught up to the man shortly. At first Grigori ignored him, as if pretending not to see him. Giles didn't give him the option. “I'd really rather we didn't leave matters on that sour note. Maybe we can get to see one another's points of view better some time over a couple drinks?”
Grigori stopped suddenly and regarded Giles icily, not even bothering to mask the suspicion in his expression. He said nothing for several second, then finally came to a decision. “Fine. I accept. I'm free most evenings.” Giles was in luck, it seemed the man had reached the same conclusion Giles had—that there could be something to gain out of getting to know one's enemy better.
Giles tipped his hat to the rabble-rouser and turned back to the fort. The false smile fell away from his face. Now it was matter of seeing who could get the most dirt on the other the fastest—and this man had a headstart. For that they'd need to talk to Sootscale.
The remainder of the party returned to the wagon and made their way back to their headquarters in the old refurbished fort. There were other matters to attend to that also required their attention. A messenger was dispatched to fetch Jhod, the High Priest from wherever he was at this time of day. That was not who they met first, however.
Spymaster and kobold chieftan Sootscale awaited their return. The small black kobold had been alerted to their return and had suspected they would want to see him very shortly given the current state of affairs in the barony.
“My informants have been unable to determine where this Grigori fellow comes from, but he has wasted little time gathering what he needed to twist words against you in his speeches. He's only been here for near two weeks but he is gifted at being the loudest voice in any room.
“His speeches mostly follow the same pattern—convincing people that your absence is a sign of poor leadership, and that you are spending your time lining your pockets with treasure hunting while leaving the people to the mercy of the wild. Recently he has been using fears of troll sightings to incite restlessness.
“Grigori spends most afternoons moving around the town commons to spread his cries to a wider audience. When he's not in public he spends most of his time at the inn where he keeps a room. It is known that he possesses two weapons, a rapier and a small bow, and that he wears a shirt of mail beneath his clothing.”
Zeran told Sootscale to keep his spies on Grigori in case the man let slip anything that would be useful if turned against him. The kobold returned to his duties as Jhod Kavken finally arrived.
The middle-aged cleric was out of breath. “My apologies I took so long, my lords, I was—err, tied up—in matters with my wife.”
Jhod looked over Miguel for a few moments, then cast a spell to allow him to view the magic working on his body. After observing him for a few moments, Jhod shook his head sadly. “I'm afraid I do not have the skill to undo this curse. My magic is not strong enough to cast the spell that would undo the magic that is supressing the baron's mind. If I had a scroll I could do my best to activate the magic within, but I dare not think that I would be up to the task of unraveling the spell.”
He place a hand gently on Miguel's shoulder, turning to the other. “The counter-curse is not a simple spell, but it is rather common. I would recommend that you see if Lord Alexandria could be capable of activating the scroll. In the meantime, I will pray to Erastil for guidance in this matter.”
He bowed his head to the lords and lady of Volga and left.
“Well,” Miguel said after Jhod left, “I guess there's nothing for it at the moment.”
Zeran had been leaning up against a wall while the conversation with Jhod went on letting the gears in his mind turn trying to sort out a plan. He waited until Jhod had departed before speaking up. "Think the Lord will help us? But besides that, we have the immediate problem of Grigori or Griggles as I've taken to calling him in my head." He looked between his companions giving Miguel a bit of a weird glance. "That curse really throws me for a loop when I look at you." He comments with a chuckle trying to keep light since they had a possible solution.
The gunslinger sighed a bit and shook his head. "I'm wracking my brain, but all I can come up with is executing the fat man, if any of you object, or have a better plan I'm all ears. But I'd rather we deal with him as soon as possible before he causes anymore ruckus." Zeran grumbled a bit after and shook his head keeping his body language and facial expression open to the rest of his friends.
" Executing a man who for the past two weeks has been filling our citizens head with slander and lies will only make everything hes said seem more true and then we will have a problem on our hands, its actions like that which can doom men and kingdoms."
Giles began to pace a bit around the room rubbing his chin
"No the only way we will get out of this one is to play his game, while sootscale and his men gather information, it may be best for us to... invest in some fortifications for the city and campaign agents him as he has been us. Hes a clever man and no doubt attempting to ruin men is how hes made his money. With any luck we can dig up some dirt on him, or I might be able to pry something out of him myself, since Ill be having a drink with him one of these nights, you'd be surprised how far a touch of hospitality and some strong alcohol can get you."
Giles stopped pacing a Cheshire smile growing on his face
"Of course, should all... politically correct means fail there are... more direct options as you have suggested... mind you should we have to resort to him, perhaps at least I can insure that "Grigori" leaves the city of his own free will"
The Virtue of Rule he was about to list was 'Righteous Anger'
Viridian City; G5
Capital of Volga
Though the first snow had come and gone most of a month ago, the next day served as a reminder of the season with grey skies and chilly air. Around the town of Viridian hearth fires were lit to keep the homes warm, and extra layers were found buried in closets where they'd been left last year, soon to be needed again.
With Grigori in town and a quarter of the governing body still abroad, there was no point in tending to matters of official duty. Instead, the party decided to focus the whole of their efforts for the week on tackling the problem of what to do with the charismatic rabble-rouser stirring up the populace in their nation. Unfortunately they didn't have a whole lot to go on.
Instead, the first order of business for the day came to them. Lily Teskerten (Local Flirt) arrived at the fort seeking an audience with the rulers.
“I heard a rumour that you were back in town and that you had returned with a wagon full of treasure recovered from the wilderness. I was curious, there wouldn't happen to be anything in that wagon that might fit my request, would there?”
As it happened, there was. On seeing the treasures retrieved from the Dancing Lady's keep, Miss Teskerten's eyes lit up. Her gaze danced across the ancient water clock, the alabaster statue, the harp, and the statuettes of the elven goddess and the jade snake.
“Well, the alabaster is nice, but I just don't think I have that much room for it in my bedroom.” She picked up the smaller, clothed statuette of Findeladlara. She ran her fingers over the detail on the mithril archway. “Now this, on the other hand, this is just positively delightful. Yes, this is exactly the kind of item I'm looking for. Who do I have to thank for recovering this little item.”
Zeran stepped in, “Well, I suppose we all take equal credit, since we all fought to slay the dark fey living in the keep.”
“Oh, my, a treasure guarded by monsters, how very exciting. Come here, then.” Lily casually stepped into Zeran's face and planted a kiss on his mouth. Without missing her stride she turned to the next closest.
Kyrie opened her mouth to protest, “Well, I don't remember picking it up—”
Lily silenced her with another kiss, an anecdote about weeding dying on her tongue. In order, she 'rewarded' Miguel and Giles next. Turning to the crotchedy old dwarf the human woman showed the first instance hesitation, but stooped over and planted a chaste kiss on his cheek, despite his flat expression.
After rewarding everyone in the party in this manner, Lily slipped a hand into the basket she brought with her, drawing out an old but good quality cloak. “Of course, I haven't forgotten the more material reward. This belonged to my father. It's old, but he kept it in good condition before he died. I'm sure it's still got some magic left in it, if you want to check. You can see flecks of steel sown into the fabric. It's supposed to give you some protection from harm or some such. He wasn't wearing it when he died, if that bothers you.”
After a short process of elimination, it was decided that Miguel should wear the cloak for protection, since he was the one of the five barons designated the official 'ruler', his status might make him a target.
(Later – See Q&A for Shopping List)
The episode with Miss Teskerten reminded the party about the rather significant treasury worth of personal loot they had begun to acquire. Seeing as how the further south they went the more dangerous the threats became, it stood to reason that they should arm themselves to be equally dangerous, beginning with enhancing their weapons and armour for greater lethality or sturdier protection against the stronger and stranger magics of the beasts and beings of Golarion's wilds.
With their assortment of spoils freshly sorted and stored, and a comission freshly penned to have an artificer mage come to enhance their equipment, the party was ready to when word of Grigori's latest movements came in. The man had been spotted beginning his daily routine by a corner store across from the brewery.
It took all of thirty minutes to travel to the street corner where the portly man had set up shop. As with before they could hear the sounds of his hot air before they could hear him. Unlike before the moment they turned the corner, two thirds of the leadership suddenly stopped, listening intently to Grigori's words.
“It is said that the leaders of mighty Ancient Thassilon decided that there were seven qualities of a good leader, and vowed to rule with these virtues in their hearts. The first is wealth—but what good is wealth if the prosperity of the ruler becomes the prosperity of the people?”
Kyrie, unaffected by the magic and undetered, marched straight toward Grigori without giving the others a second thought. There was already a decent sized crowd gathered around to hear him listen, and nobody seemed to notice her approach, forcing her to physically push her way through to get to the front.
Grigori glanced at her, but did not acknowledge her in his speech at all. “The second is fertility—look to your ruler, Baron Miguel. He is a healthy young man in his prime, but should he not be taking a wife and ensuring the propegation of the bloodline? It is my understanding that he does not lack for suitors, but perhaps he lacks for ability?”
Kyrie stood beside Grigori, completely ignored by audience and orator alike. The crowd's attention was focused solely on Grigori, as if she wasn't even there. This was not the glassy-eyed captivation of the Dancing Lady, but something underhanded was going on, and Kyrie had already had enough of enchantments to last her through the rest of the year.
She moved back through the crowd to where Giles was surveying the various people who walked into the street and were caught in the effect like travellers following a will-o-wisp. It was easier going this time, since the people she moved aside had not even stepped back into place, leaving a tight path.
“But my friends we must use caution when talking about the Seven Virtues of Rule—when taken to their extreme, as they were before the fall of ancient Thassilon, these virtues become deadly sins. Now tell me, who among us has heard the rumour that the most valued patron at the local brothel is none other than Lord Giles Alexandria Nox?”
Giles, standing not a hundred feet from the speech snorted and reported to Kyrie. “I can't tell what spell is going on here. It seems to catch people as soon as they can see Grigori, though, so he and his performance are obviously the focus.”
Kyrie nodded going to Miguel. “I need to borrow this for a moment,” she told him. The farmgirl reached into his pocket and took a small, rough stone from him.
“Huh, oh, okay,” Miguel muttered. It seemed unlike the crowd, he and the others were still vaguely aware of their surroundings, even if their attention was entirely absorbed by Grigori.
Kyrie aimed to change that. She returned back through the crowd as Grigori went on, trying to ignore the smug look on his face. Looking up at the wall she felt out the weight the thunderstone that Miguel had found earlier in their inventory. The same stone that Adela had given to Frodrick more than a year ago.
She pitched the stone up high against the solid side of the shop.
“.. The next virtue being that of righteous—”
The thunderous crash of sound rattled the windows of the shop in their frames. Grigori screamed a curse and immediately hit the deck. Despite their proximity to the sudden noise, the people did not seem to notice at all, turning from watching Grigori's speech to conversing with each other. None were harmed thanks to Kyrie's careful
Across the street at the far back, Miguel, Zeran, Frodrick, and Stefan came out of the enchantment, turning to each other like the crowd did. The adventurers recovered faster than the general populace, however, turning back to see the robust man get to his feet.
The man beside Kyrie stood up, red-faced. “What in the blazes did you do a thing like that, you daft girl?”
Something in Kyrie snapped. “I think it might be fair to ask you the same thing. If you want to talk it out, then talk it out to us, rather than going behind our backs, and trying to pull special effects on people to just use them. Unlike you, I'm here to LISTEN to THE PEOPLE! Not put words in their mouths! Do I make myself clear? If I have to, I will follow you and do this again if you try pulling the same stunt anywhere else!”
Grigori turned from red-faced anger to shock to alarm, backing against the exterior wall of the shop. The people gathered were starting to come out of their reverie and quickly turning to confusion and concern as they beheld the scene play out.
The opportunistic rat that he was, Grigori threw his arms into the air, looking to the crowd. “Do you see the violence inherent in the system? The tyranny that is hidden below the veil of sweet-voiced lies? Heed my words, one man may be subdued, but the will of the people will not be thwarted so easily!”
Zeran started to move to get to Kyrie's side, but the anxious crowd was even more difficult to navigate than the charmed one earlier.
Posted on 2015-08-27 at 05:14:38.
Edited on 2015-08-27 at 05:16:08 by Sibelius Eos Owm