A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    The carriage was speeding down the burned-down forest. It rocked on the uneven cobbles - the old Imperial Road was slowly disassembled by enterprising locals in the centuries that followed after the Imperium broke into the individual war-mongering countries.

    The views from the window were seldom pleasant for last days - a burned down forest, an unpleasant showing of ruined houses - a village, rebuilt in ruins of old fort and from ruins of the old fort - a land, that slowly started to rejuvenate itself after the war.

    A quick stop in a roadside inn. Almost empty, save for few travellers, a roadwarden and her company, and a family on the way to their new land, with eyes full of fear and wonder.

    Barren fields, a broken farmstead. Few peasants, trying to break the land, to persuade it to give its bounty. A field of barley, followed by a field of iron, with sad reminder of a battle still sticking out from the ground. Moors, lit by fireflies, fertilized by the dead that dwell below.

    Above the moors, a skeleton of obviously opulent and imperial manor house, gazed proudly over the ruined lands, perched on a hill. A ruin, with moon peeking over the remains of walls, looking like teeth of some giant monster.

    Another day. Another farmstead. As you go on, the farmsteads are larger, as you come to lands that are better protected. Farmers are still tired, ragged and most of them only glare at you – but you understand. The carriage is well-protected, your patrons did not spare any expense, so you travel in more comfort than the farmers live in.

    Irritated by the thought, your mind slipped back to the other occupant of the carriage. The proud owner of the carriage – or better, a servant, paid off by those you despise. The carriage itself, as comfortable and decadent as money could buy, represented part of installment. A payment for their soul, maybe. A smirk on the full lips of your companion, as she brought a glass of wine to her mouth, turned sour as another bump on the road managed to ruin her obviously expensive blouse. Still, even if you despise her lord, you wonder about her motives.

    Days go on. Games of cards and dice replace lively discussion as you try to spend hours during the day, or in taverns, or in camps in the evening. Soon, you just stare, or read – if the road allows it – or spend time with Watte, as far as possible.

    And then, after what seems like eternity, the leader of the escort signals the procession to stop. You look out and see a silhouette of a fortress on a hill in distance. Finally! It looks smaller than you thought – but as you come closer, you find out it was just distance playing games with your eyes.

    The fortress is large. Three defensive rings, each of them as big as a castle itself, form what seems like a large city on a mountain, with the highest spires reaching taller than the cathedral in Windgate, and the lowest gate looking like it was built right into the mountainside.

    As the carriage drew to the walls, you stared outside – and even caught your beautiful companion looking out – the gates were indeed built directly into the mountainside, and the carriage, together with your escort, were lead through a set of large tunnels into a sunlit bailey, by a squad of dwarven veterans.

    Your credentials checked, they let your carriage pass beyond another gatehouse – into a ward full of tents and soldiers – this time humans. You were lead to a keep, and introduced to a stern-looking older man, whose graying hair was slowly winning over the black colour of his beard.

    „Welcome, ambassadors. We are happy to have you.“ His voice was tired, a bit cranky, and did not sound happy at all. „Please, follow me to your accomodations. Your luggage will be unloaded soon – and the servants will take care of it. You are here sooner than expected, but your rooms are ready, if you wish to rest a bit or freshen yourself."

    He takes a deep breath, as he leads you into a hall and towards the side stairwell. "Dinner will be served by sunset – you can either join us in the Great Hall, or make your own arrangements. There are no discourses today – the meetings start tomorrow – but there is already something to see. Events. You know, everyone wants to trump the others, so you are welcome to either visit the wine tasting in the Northern Tower of our ward – most nobles will be there and invitation is open to all ambassadors – ambassador Kholmarr of Corthavir insists on everyone at least stopping by to introduce themselves, but he holds these for the whole week."

    He slows down, to let few guards pass. "Then there is also the elven ward – that’s the one up there. They will be singing something called ‚Canticle of Years‘ and are inviting anyone and everyone interested. And you could try for an audience at Lord Protectol Filicion – he is hosting an open court today. Or, if you dare, you can go visit the dwarven ward – the tunnels below. They are hosting brawling matches, drinking matches – and are not against sharing, if you can behave. Their princes are a bit more jovial than the elves, but also tough and hot-headed.“

    He continues droning on while stepping up the stairs - you already counted three floors and the man did not stop. It seems he is quite used to this speech.
    „Your rooms, your lordships – opposite each other. Again, welcome. And if you need something, tell one of the servants, or send for me – my name is Rovigo and it will be my pleasure to serve you.“ He even casts a smile at you this time, and even though it is a practiced and tired smile, it seems genuine.

    Your „room“ is spacious, especially for someone used to living in a single room in a cottage. There is a small alcove for the servant, with a space for sleeping above the fireplace, a small entry room with a table for two or for working, a sturdy wardrobe, and a separate room with a chest and big, four-poster bed. The fire in the two fireplaces happily cracks, chasing away the cold spring evening, there is a tankard and glasses on the table, and a paper folded under them. It looks almost homely.
    You hear the door open and you see Watte, carrying your luggage inside. You are here – it’s not a dream, it’s not a distant future, or a boring ride in a carriage. Lives are at stake – and future is at stake too.
    It’s time.

    What do you do?
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
    Formerly GMing: Riddle of Steel: Soldiers of Fortune

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    The Imperial Road's consumed corpse, the wretched properties of hopeless farmers, the ruins of forts and villages reclaimed by nature, following the passage of conflict and death: that scenery encountered during the road trip was definitely ominous, especially given the context of the expedition, and a testament of what cycles of violence can inflict to a society, particularly to its poorest layers.
    For Marques, not easily impressionable, that had been mere food for thought, a way to occupy his mind with considerations about the foulness of war; the fortress was a different deal, and even the Brass Advocate had felt a slight shiver once he had realized its majesty: a fallen giant of ancient and obscure times, an image that entered into his psyche together with the question of how many civilizations, even greater than the Imperium, had fallen due to the shortsightedness of lords and kings.

    He was there, thinking about all that and his mission, temporarily hypnotized by the flames dancing in the fireplace in front of him. Was he good enough? Of course he was: his talent and drive led him to his position and he was going to use any figurative weapon at his disposal to ensure the triumph of justice and rationality.
    The arrival of Watte with his luggage brought Marques back to the now, his new room, the old fortress revitilized by the varied events of the day. The events: where would he go? Apparently, this Kholmarr of Corthavir explicitly invited everyone for presentations, so it would certainly be courteous to pass by. And then? The advocate was particularly curious about the events hosted by elves and dwarves, glimpses of those alien cultures he had barely ever had any contact with.
    A better question perhaps: where would Astra Deutor go? The other representative of Armedy hadn't been a cordial traveling companion and until proven otherwise, especially given her ties, she should be assumed an opponent, even though they're officially colleagues. Antagonistic, but intriguing: he needed to know more about her, and what better occasion than the social gatherings around the fortress.
    It was decided then: Marques would go to her room and simply ask her.

    "Watte, I'm going to pester Lady Deutor and try to find out which events she'd like to attend. I don't think I need any particular assistance, so you're free to do whatever you want, even sleep all day," the warm hint of a smile appeared on Marques' mostly impassive face, "you deserve it."

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    The sun was already descending when they arrived, which made time a resource to be considered. Watte shuffled his feet, and looked out of a window.

    "Yeah, sleep's a mighty fine idea, but I've been sitting on my arse for too long - I need to move a bit. Feeling antsy. So if you don't mind, I'm going to play the part of 'trusty footman' and follow you around. Just in case. That is, after I unpack the few things we brought. And if you decide to spend time with the gal..." he motions towards Astra's room "I'd go eat something afterwards, so you can find me in the servants' dining hall if I'm not here. Bloody fortress this is, could easily get lost. So if you want to go see the lady, go now while I unpack, but don't go anywhere without me afterwards. Would appreciate it."

    He looks around, almost uneasy, but then takes a deep breath and starts moving around the room, unpacking with soldier-like practicality, only stopping to point on the table.

    "Hey, Marques - what's the paper about? Looks mighty fancy." It was a small folded piece of paper, inserted below the glasses on the table.
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
    Formerly GMing: Riddle of Steel: Soldiers of Fortune

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    "Aye aye, chief, I won't stray from your supervision for too long."

    Marques approached the table to study what his pal noticed; it wasn't rare for Lescearp to find himself deep in thought and a bit oblivious of his surroundings, luckily there was Watte with his sharp eyes and reliable attentiveness (a good reason to have him around while exploring the fortress).
    He delicately moved the glasses aside (Hopefully I won't need them), picked up the paper and unfolded it in his hands, to read what was likely a welcome message with maybe some useful information.

  5. - Top - End - #5
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    Marques hears Watte chuckle and return to unpacking. The paper is white, thick and when unfolded, it contains only few sentences. The handwriting was smooth and uniform.

    "Welcome, dear ambassador of Armedy. It is an honor to receive you in my fortress. As you may know, you are currently stationed in the Dusk Ward, where most of human ambassadors are stationed. Every morning, an agenda will be delivered to your door for the day's disputes, which you may enter freely. At midnight, the Council takes place, where your voice and vote may sway the destiny of our kind. If you are unable to participate, your deputy will be the one to take your seat. If you are unable to appoint a deputy, your vote is lost. Please, feel like at home - and if you have any security concerns, visit me in the East Guard Tower, nearest to the gatehouse.

    Signed: Riordán Cullogh, Dusk Ward Overseer and Commander of United Army of Blackrock"

    As Marques read, another smaller piece of writing fell from one of the folds - this one was different, a brown paper, a hurried handwriting.

    "Trust no one. Meet me at dawn, on the parapet overlooking the Dusk Ward, near the Great Wall. Come alone and I will address you. I need your help."

    No signature on that one. A smear, maybe dirt, maybe something else, on the corner.

    The fireplace cracks, trying to chase away the cold spring air. Outside, first raindrops fall, knocking gently on the window. A storm is brewing.
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
    Formerly GMing: Riddle of Steel: Soldiers of Fortune

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

  6. - Top - End - #6
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    The advocate sighed while reading the smaller piece of paper, It's just the first day and it seems there are already complications around the corner.

    Once his eyes finished to scan what there was for him, he addressed the assistant in a more serious tone than before, "Watte, I changed my mind: near the Great Wall there's a parapet overlooking this ward, I want you to recon the general area... you know, for safety reasons. You're free to stop at the dining hall once you're done." He refolded the brown paper and put it in his pouch. "Oh, and tomorrow I'd like to see the dawn from the fortress, so we'll wake up early."
    Marques concluded with a look, the kind of look that says, Don't take it personally, but you're a terrible liar: the less you know, the better, so don't question me.

    He thus left Watte to unpack the luggage and exited the room, but before going to Astra, he needed to have a word with Rovigo.

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Watte looked surprised, but then nodded and looked outside the window. You could not see the parapet, as the Great wall was positioned on the West and their windows looked south-east, but he got the basic idea.

    "All right. Recon the parapet. Got that. And then dining hall and sleep, so I can wake you up before dawn. Can do." his hand moved as if he almost wanted to salute Marques, but he remembered where he was quickly. "What should I look for at the parapet? Or do you just want me to survey the area and find out as much as possible?" He scratched his head, and then again looked out of the window.

    Something else caught Marques' attention: voices in the hall. It sounded like the venerable Rovigo was leading someone else up the stairs.
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
    Formerly GMing: Riddle of Steel: Soldiers of Fortune

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

  8. - Top - End - #8
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Marques barely stopped at the door to answer Watte, making sure not to hide his knowledge on the subject of reconnaissance, "Just... scout around. The way scouts do."
    Then he waited in the hall for Rovigo, also curious to see who he was accompanying.

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    The first thing Marques saw when he left the door was the opposite door - it was open, indiscreetly, showing a spacious solar - a sunny sitting room, with a large table. Behind the table stood a handmaiden, with her back turned to Marques, but obviously in distress - her shoulders were slumped, and she looked like she was sobbing.

    Which was not surprising given the harsh tone her mistress - or someone else inside - spoke to her. The topic was a piece of luggage that fell, at least based on the few words Marques heard - but she was being berated and scolded.

    To right, he could see Rovigo, leading a duo of noblemen - the kind you have not seen much. Clad in furs, tall, with braided long hair, the two stern-looking men wore a strange medley of jewelry. Northerners, from the Frozen Wastes.
    Last edited by lacco36; 2021-08-10 at 02:11 PM.
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
    Formerly GMing: Riddle of Steel: Soldiers of Fortune

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    The indecorous scene in the other room made Marques almost forget the question he wanted to ask Rovigo: what could the servant possibly have done to deserve such a harsh treatment? Did the fallen piece of luggage kill a passerby?
    Moreover, Rovigo was in the middle of escorting other nobles, probably to their new accomodations like he did earlier for the Armedian ambassadors, and the matter Marques needed a clarification about was so trivial he could easily wait a better time for that.
    Thus, the advocate crossed the hall in a few firm steps and knocked on the open door.

  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Marques Lescearp
    Hallway in Front of Room; Hour and Half till Dusk

    A familiar face appeared in the doorway - an unfriendly face. Big, brown eyes, set wide apart, a perpetual scowl and immovable left part of the woman's lip crowned by a wart made it hard to consider her beauty - maybe some parts of the face could be considered pretty, but together... it made her remarkably unlikeable.

    Her attitude did not help either. Marques already spent a considerable amount of time thinking if he did something that could displease her, or even indirectly offend her, but he was unable to connect her to any of his cases or personal dealings. However, she treated him as a trespasser, or someone convicted of libel against her person, stepping in almost at any moment to protect her mistress from him - as if he was some kind of known seducer and she a virgin nun on her way to become a saint. On the other hand, she was obviously a skilled servant, and given her patron's... beauty and inclinations, you could hardly blame her for presuming men were a threat. Still, she was seldom only insufferable and actively tried throwing logs under your knees. This... remarkable handmaiden's name was Danica.

    "Ah. You. Her Grace is busy and does not accept visitors at this time. If you need something, state your business and I will relay your message when she is not occupied by..." the sourness of her face while looking at you could turn milk into cream "...important issues."

    A smirk on her face told Marques she will relay the message, but most probably a bit later, as she usually does.

    Behind Marques, Rovigo passed, and he could hear him repeat a very similar spiel.

    "...called ‚Canticle of Years‘ and are inviting everyone left and right. If you want, an audience at Lord Protectol Filicion could be arranged too – he is hosting an open court today. Or, and I think you could like this, you can go visit the dwarven ward – the tunnels below. They are hosting brawling matches, drinking matches – and are not against sharing, and I'll say you would fit right in..."
    Last edited by lacco36; 2021-08-11 at 02:57 PM.
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
    Formerly GMing: Riddle of Steel: Soldiers of Fortune

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

  12. - Top - End - #12
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Marques stared at Danica, his aplomb in contrast to her acidity, and started speaking like her appearance was at most a little inconvenience, hardly something that could stop him from getting what he was looking for, "Danica, I don't care much about fancy appellatives and the likes, but I have a name, quite distinguished from the word 'you', and it would be polite of you to address me by that when you greet me."
    He proceeded without giving her the time to respond, "That said, we can move on to the matters that brought me here. First off, I was wondering what's the commotion about," he cast a compassionate glance to the scolded handmaiden. "Whatever it is, I'm sure it can be dealt with in a more measured and respectful manner, assuming you're capable of such an approach," the jab wasn't subtle on purpose.
    "Then there's the question I'd like to discuss with Her Grace in person. You say she's 'occupied by important issues': what, pray tell, is the nature of these issues? If they're related to our mission here, and I can hardly conceive something more important, I think I should know."

  13. - Top - End - #13
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    His eloquence must have made an impression on one of the men behind him, as he heard someone chortle and remark something in a coarse language he did not understand. If good or bad impression, he could not be sure without looking away from his current target.

    Danica seemed unmoved by Maruqes' speech and curled her lip in disgust. "Well, master Lescearp." It sounded like she spit out the name, as she moved forward with the intention to shut the door behind her. "The commotion is none of your business - a true gentleman does not intrude into lady's private affairs, and it is not your job to tell my mistress how to deal with incapable servants." In the closing door, he could see the rich green dress of lady Deutor moving away from the scolded handmaiden.

    "And I will not allow you to intrude on the privacy of my mistress when she is not accepting visitors. I repeat: if you have something to be discussed with her, you tell me, now, or leave."

    It was an ultimatum - and Marques saw by the corner of his eye the men slowed intentionally down, to make sure no word of this exchange escaped them. Luckily, Marques did not suffer from stage fright.
    Last edited by lacco36; 2021-08-12 at 09:56 AM.
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
    Formerly GMing: Riddle of Steel: Soldiers of Fortune

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

  14. - Top - End - #14
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Oh, an interested public... I could try taking advantage of it.

    There wasn't the slightest change in Marque's tone of voice, "I'm an advocate, it's my job to participate in disputes, and if privacy was that much of a problem, oh dear, I would barely make a living; but let's put this aside for a moment. Danica, all I would like to do is to discuss with Her Grace about the strategical participation to the events of the day and the ways we could show the unity between us, the ambassadors of Armedy, in this time of introductions and first impressions. Right now, as much as you're carrying out your duty pretty effectively, as expected of, I must admit, a highly efficient servant like you, you're actually hurting that very image of unity," he tried with subtle (but not too much) hints to make her aware of the curious onlookers, "I'm sure your mistress can understand this, as the trained and surely capable diplomat she is. Moreover, as I could notice the scene happening inside, certainly everyone passing by can, and I don't think it helps the job of an ambassador to appear grumpy and petty; this may very well be a one-time thing, but bad impressions don't care."
    The advocate takes a little pause to let his arguments sink in.

    "Why don't we meet halfway? I wait here, while you reach your mistress and tell her I wish to talk and benefit from her experience and wisdom: if she doesn't accept, I'll leave and do my own things, if she does, it would purely be her choice, no invasion of privacy, and I might provide a welcome distraction from whatever is happening in there, or she might simply pour out her frustration upon me, not sure which outcome you'd like better. So, what do you think?"

  15. - Top - End - #15
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    Her face barely twitches with hatred, combined with something else. However, there is no time for Marques to contemplate - Danica retreats and smashes the door closed.

    It takes only few moments before she opens the door for Marques with a loud announcement.

    "Lady Deutor will see you now, ambassador Lescearp." If her voice could kill, Marques would have been already eviscearated, tied to a pole and left to rot.

    He hears one of the two men clap behind him, the other breakes out a hearty laughter.

    The room is already prepared, with table fitted with a tasteful cloth in colours of House Deutor, and the only thing missing are fresh flowers. Lady Deurne emerges from a side room, a bit out of breath with a cheeky grin and a hint of blush on her cheeks.

    "Oh, dear ambassador. You wanted to consult something with me? Please, sit down and speak - Ilina, wine - you know I have been suffering the absence of the sound of your voice and eloquence for some time." Her smile is a practiced one, but there is a spark in her eyes, which makes Marques think for a moment her statement was true in a way. But only for a moment - the girl with eyes filled with tears enters the room, being called by her mistress, and brings a pitcher. Astra points towards two silver cups on the table - and Marques notices the mark of House Deutor on both.

    Astra sits down first, with Danica standing behind her.
    Last edited by lacco36; 2021-08-14 at 10:57 AM.
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
    Formerly GMing: Riddle of Steel: Soldiers of Fortune

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

  16. - Top - End - #16
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    "Your Grace, I'm flattered to hear my presence is appreciated."

    Marques reached the chair and sat down, his movements relaxed, showing no hurry or impatience, as to balance out the residual tension in the atmosphere.
    He moved his calm but penetrating eyes from Astra to Ilina and vice versa (completely ignoring Danica in the process) in a brief moment of scrutiny, then he continued, "For starters, I was wondering if everything is fine, as I perceived some agitation while I was coming here."
    Last edited by Captain Cap; 2021-08-15 at 10:48 AM.

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    Astra nods, with a smile.

    "Thank you, the pleasure is all mine. As for the commotion, Ilina here had an accident with one of the gifts I brought to our future allies - a glass statuette - and I got a bit carried away."

    She looks at Ilina, who drops her eyes to the floor.

    "But we straightened it up, did we not?" her voice is sweet, and Irina just quickly nods several times, eyes fixated at the floor. "After all, she is young and inexperienced and this is a very important event, is it not?" Her attitude changes a bit - becomes much more focused - as she looks back at Marques.

    "But my dear Marques, you did not come here to only discuss my temper... " a single, abashed smile. "Did you come to invite me for a dinner?"
    Last edited by lacco36; 2021-08-16 at 02:06 AM.
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
    Formerly GMing: Riddle of Steel: Soldiers of Fortune

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

  18. - Top - End - #18
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    "Of course I am, we're partners in this delicate mission and thus is most appropriate for us to be together," Marques doesn't drop his formal demeanour and continues as if Astra has already accepted his 'invite'. "But which events should we attend after? The wine testing in the Northern Tower seems a nice way to end the night and get to know our fellow human ambassadors; I'd also like to pay a visit to at least one of the other wards, but for this I defer to you and your experience: you've definitely had much more exposure than me to the cultures of elves and dwarves."

  19. - Top - End - #19
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    "Do you mean..." Astra's eyebrow lifts "...a private dinner? Or do you wish for us to be seen together? As for the after-dinner plans, I'd prefer the culture of elves before joining the... revels of dwarves. The wine testing is almost a required event for us - we'll need as many allies around here as we can get, and I do not trust the elves or the dwarves to be on our side.

    She takes a sip of wine. Her attitude changes.

    "Now, you say we are partners, but I know your reputation - the Golden Boy of the House Aurivain, who turned into a Brass Advocate. I don't know what your plan is, but let me tell you - I am here to represent my house, my country and myself. Do not stand in my way - and we both may benefit of our partnership."
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

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    When House Aurivain is mentioned, Marques nearly lets a grimace perturb his impassive expression, but only for a moment: as Astra said, he's now the Brass Advocate, just it, no ties with the Aurivain, nor with any other house.

    He takes a sip from his cup and carefully savours the wine in his mouth: it's good, that's for sure. His gaze lingers on the mark of House Deutor, "To represent your house, your country..." then returns on the interlocutor, steely, "funny, you say it like you won't have to choose."

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    Astra obviously noticed the change on Marques' face, but hid her face behind her cup. Which was unfortunate, as Marques' remark made her choke on her wine.

    She coughed few times to clear her throat and held her hand up, to ask for some time. After she caught her breath, she flashed a quick, cold smila at Marques and replied. "I know what I stated. I also gave you the order of priority for my choices."

    She stood up, a cup in her hand. "Is there anything else you wanted, my dear colleague? I need to prepare before the dinner, so please, let me know in what color scheme you plan to dress - I' like to show others that we are in... close cooperation. And also - I need to know if you plan a private dinner or a public one."
    Last edited by lacco36; 2021-08-19 at 03:11 AM.
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

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    Marques couldn't help but feel guilty and a little alarmed when Astra nearly choked on her wine; he didn't mean for the remark to be as intense as it turned out, but deep down he was pleased with such effectivity.

    At least she puts the country before herself... that's something.

    "For the colours I think I'll go with... grey... yes, dark grey, matched with beige and tangerine."
    After taking another relaxed sip, the advocate gently puts down the cup, then a more energetic attitude reveals itself as he stands up, "Well, that's it then: after the dinner at the Great Hall," to answer the question about public or private, "we meet the elves, later we attend the wine tasting. Before leaving you to your preparations, as I'll go to prepare myself, I'd appreciate if you could tell me when I can come get you: I have no intention to... intrude again on the privacy of yours," he looks for an instant at Danica, a tinge of smugness in his eyes, "at least for today."

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    She stands up and makes a curtsy.

    "You are allowed to take your leave, master Lescearp. See you in two hours time."

    Astra leaves the room. Danica stares at Marques from behind the chair, eyes like daggers, and the whole room becomes a bit colder.
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

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    Before Marques has the time to make his farewells, Astra has already left the room. At least the other two are still there.

    "As Her Grace has granted, I'll take my leave now." He smiles at Ilina and bows a little, "Ilina, it has been a pleasure." Then turns to Danica with the most neautral face, "Danica."

    After wishing everyone a good evening, he's ready to leave the lady's quarters.

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    Marques could almost feel Danica's eyes on his back and was glad there were no knives near, as his expectation based on her face would be a quick stabbing. And then there was Ilina, silent, who did not even look up.

    But he was now outside, in the hall. He could hear voices on the left, from the stairwell, and saw the door of the northerners on the other side of the hall - but as the hallway curved, he could not see where it ended.

    Outside, the rain seemed to take a break - he felt a faint draft, but did not hear the drumming of the rain. Maybe it was safe to venture outside, for a moment.

    On the other side of the stairwell he saw another door - maybe that one lead to one of the walkways above the courtyard. Maybe not.
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

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    And now what do I do for two hours? To just wait in my room feels like a waste of time.

    Marques looks to the right, Those northerners seem pleasant folks, then to the left, Voices... other newcomers? I think I'll go take a look.

    He proceeds to the stairwell.

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    Marques, coming closer to the stairwell, heard a familiar voice - droning away, a bit gruff, but he recognized a spark of the old soldier. Down the stairs he noticed a movement - at least two other persons followed Rovigo. Marques noticed a military-like blue overcoat, dark hair and then a cloak with a fur collar and a cape, in colour of deep garnet.

    "a long song called ‚Canticle of Years‘ and are inviting everyone who likes them some music. I'm not sure you want but an audience at Lord Protectol Filicion could be arranged too – he is hosting an open court today. Or,... oh, ambassador. Hello. Out for a stroll? Or looking for someone?"

    Rovigo rounded a corner and stood on the stairs, ready to give way to Marques. Behind him, Marques saw a soldier-like figure, with long, curly dark hair and olive skin, clad in the blue overcoat with purple sash and piping, reminding him of the Larizjian navy - the uniform of a sailor, but a figure of a dancer. The woman was striking in the simple outfit, her eyes calmly evaluating him from below a prominent eyebrow, face framed by long, curly black hair.

    The other person was standing behind, face in shadow of a cape. Marques could hear some commotion below, most probably luggage bearers and servants.
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
    Formerly GMing: Riddle of Steel: Soldiers of Fortune

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

  28. - Top - End - #28
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    "Just a little stroll, yes..." Oh, I almost forgot! "Actually, while I've got you, I have a question for you: at what time exactly will the agendas of the days to come be delivered? Just so I can better organise my mornings."

    Marques would gladly avoid the possibility of leaving important documents unattended for some time in a place supposedly teeming with adversaries and schemers, especially in light of the mysterious message.
    Last edited by Captain Cap; 2021-08-25 at 05:15 AM.

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    Rovigo's answer comes after a moment of silence. "Oh, you mean the discourses - the big debates? There will be a list of topics, distributed into each Great Hall, every evening, valid for the next day. It should be available, so you can send your servants to memorize it, but I will also distribute it to rooms, when I get to it - usually in the mid of the Third Watch. The big debates usually start in the evening, with the speakers usually being nominated during the day - their names written next to the topic they will cover - and often, when a topic is not decided, it will remain for the next day. Like now, we have two topics: the Caretaker for Monument of Ages and the Commander of Blackstone - those remained from two days ago."

    He took a deep breath. "So, if you want a free morning, your best bet is to stroll to the Dusk Dragon Hall - down two floors, take the hallway to your right, get out on the walkway and just straight on - in the end there is a great hall, where dinner shall be served - to see if you want to tackle one of the topics. Or just await me, tomorrow in the morning. If I do not catch you, I will leave the pamphlet with one of your servants."

    He looks back, almost surprised. "My apologies, master Lescearp. If you will have more questions, seek me out in the Great Hall, in the evening - but I have to lead these ambassadors to their rooms."

    Rovigo took a bow towards the obviously irritated lady and gestured towards the stairs. "As I was saying, you could go visit the elves, or the dwarven ward - though I recommend not taking an evening gown to one of their brawling and drinking matches – they like to combine the two."

    The pair walks around Marques - and he notices that even the cloaked figure has long, raven-like hair, and is decisively female, as he notices few rings on a sleek hand, with painted nails. What follows is a procession of servants with luggage.

    Spoiler: Third Watch
    Show

    Watch = around four hours
    First watch = from midnight to right before dawn
    Second watch = dawn to morning
    Third watch = morning before noon (circa 8 AM to noon)
    Fourth watch = noon to afternoon
    Fifth watch = sunset to night
    Sixth watch = night before midnight
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
    Formerly GMing: Riddle of Steel: Soldiers of Fortune

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Hope they're not upset with me for Rovigo's talkativeness...

    As the servants pass by, Marques diligently counts their numbers, Four handmaidens and twelve others... sailors? It makes sense: the leading woman seemed a navy officer or a captain of some sort, perhaps there's a faithful crew in her retinue. So, sixteen servants in total, eight in average, as much as Lady Deutor, a royal. Not bad, and these considerations accompany him downstairs, along with his curiosity about the next day's topics, leading him to the Dusk Dragon Hall.
    Last edited by Captain Cap; 2021-08-26 at 03:36 PM.

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