An epic search for the Amethyst heptagon leads a party of fresh graduates through the northern reaches of Ustalav. Based in Karcau, the party visits places like the dark Castle Jarovich or the dangerous alleys of Carrion Hill.
Catching what teh lout said to Victoria, Harl goes red in the face, blodd boiling hot as the forge. Standing from his chair as calmly as possible, the dwarf walks behind the young man. Placing a strong hand on the man's shoulder and squeezing hard, he leans in and growls in,"Ye ever say somethin' 'hat offensive ta Vic again and I'll put that fire ah yers out permanently, Ye understand? Now appologize 'fore I make ye."
Well, Malkaznor, Lord Malkaznor....I am searching for historical books helping me to solve two riddles, and - of course - any magic I find inside. As we meet here I suppose you know this library quite well. This might be of interest for me. On the other side I think you are seeking to leave this place? Or tell me what you are invested in and we discuss if one hand washes the other. In worse case our ways gets separated. So tell me about you.
With a slightly raised eyebrow of skepticism, Victoria 'fans' towards the gentleman that he might have a second chance to try a first impression, but the tone is that he need be on his best behaviour and mind his manners...
Kirk stands rigidly from the dinner table, realizing what Victoria's plan must surely be, and decides to seat himself off to the side of most of the guests. He accepts a cigar and sits quietly observing the situation, smoking lazily by himself.
The black creature thinks for a moment, then nods eagerly
We make deal! We show you history books and you destroy the rune ward that keeps us on this plane!
Rapidly flapping their wings the three demonic creatures hover down to you to exchange a handshake...
Trying his best to make you forget your first impression of him, the young courtier accompanies Victoria to the saloon. Here the dinner guests form small group and discuss the recent political events or just the quality of the cigars. The large room is a mixture of a library with large winged-back chairs and small tables and a dancing parlour. Aramis walks directly to a large crystal flagon of whiskey and begins to fill glasses for him and his friends.
The countess meanwhile moves to Solaric's side and asks
Keeping the man at a respectable distance, she continues the merry dance leading him along... once again, the Black Widow of Karkau lures the man into her web of intrigue; leaving him with just enough to spark his interetest, but not enough to satiate his desire.
TL;DR So the notion is to use this man as a bit of a pawn, before long he will find himself lured in by her 'cult of personality' combo of Diplomacy, Bluff, Hypnosis, and then Suggestion. Ultimately the man will be either sed to sew discord within Aramais camp, or to go along with a reasonable sounding Suggestion that leaves Aramais exposed; to either a crushing scandal, stroke of fatal misfortune, or stroke of a dagger in the night
We make deal! We show you history books and you destroy the rune ward that keeps us on this plane!
Before we make the deal, I would like to see the rune ward and analyse if the rune can be destroyed. I have to figure out if I am able to do this, as in such case the deal would not make sense for you Malkaznor. Please show me the way.
Johenric wants to check if these are mephits or an other species.
I hope you are a cunning magician...otherwise we would have wasted our time - something we don't like - even though we are immortal, heh!
Malkaznor, I want to clarify this before we go. It is your own decision to accept an analysis before making any agreements. In case you have a problem with such sort of pre-agreement, everyone will go his own way.
While the three demons are moving, Johenric waits in the library, expecting an answer from Malkaznor.
Yeah sure, take your time and look at the rune ward, then tell us what you think, magician.
While Solaric and the countess dance through the dancing parlour, Aramis rolls his eyes and curses silently. He had enough for one day and decides to leave and so he drags courtier Martini with him, who is very very sad to leave Victoria behind...
The beaming countess does not even notice his leaving, but says to Solaric:
Tomorrow, one hour after dawn all competitors will meet in front of the southern gate. Then their weapons and horses will be inspected and you will be enlisted. On the following day the first contests will held, but I still don't know what competitions will be there - only St. Just and the tournament comittee know.
"Thank you, your Highness. You are a remarkable dancer! These moments are like a dream to me! I cannot believe that I am actually here holding you! I cannot bear to let this night end. I have cherished every moment with you. However, I will be patient, for the Inheritor willing, we shall always be together. Tell me, your Highness, when we are alone and in private, what do you wish for me to call you? Also, when we are in public and in the open, how then shall I address you?"
"Tomorrow, one hour after dawn all competitors will meet in front of the southern gate. Then their weapons and horses will be inspected and you will be enlisted. On the following day the first contests will held, but I still don't know what competitions will be there - only St. Just and the tournament comittee know."
"I will discuss matters with St. Just and do everything in my power to win that tournament fairly and honestly. Let us pray that the Gods shine their favor down upon us!"
"My dear, I will certainly do my best and leave the results in the hands of the Inheritor. Thank you again, Sassandra, for a most wonderful evening! I look forward to being with you again soon! You know where to find me if you need me for anything."
Solaric discretely squeezes her hand and smiles warmly as he departs. Once outside, he bids his companions farewell.
"Good night, my friends. I thank you for all you have done for me. You are all most kind to this Knight, especially as I walk in the realms of love! Well, Flofer, Harl, and I will return to the temple. Tomorrow morning I must meet with the other competitors to discuss the tournament. Perhaps I will see you afterwards. Fare well, my friends."
All three mischievous creatures cock an eyebrow, then Malkaznor says
You want our help or not?
@ The rest:
Another crispy morning over Karcau. Large groups of clouds travel slowly across the firmament and it's far from a promising start of the day. Most people have preferred to stay at home and so the streets are rather empty when you look out of the window.
Just after dawn, Solaric proceeds over to the front of the southern gate. He is fully armored for battle and is riding Dart. As he rides, he says a quiet prayer of thanks and prepares himself for whatever this day may bring.
"Thank you for this day, great Inheritor. Let me be a channel of your will today in all that I say and do!"
In front of the southern gate a large wooden podium has been errected. Queued up in front of it are all tournament competitors waiting for their chance to enlist. There are at least 60 of them and many look like they know how to use their equipment.
The enlisting process hasn't started yet, but between all those folks you spot St. Just walking around and exchanging handshakes with certain knights - most probably former graduates just like you.
As he notices you he walks over to you and pads Dart on the side of his neck
Sir Zekkaran, good to see that you are in time - I heard your greatest rival has not turned up yet?!
"Rival? I have great respect for all my brothers in arms, save one. Do you refer to the barbarian who calls himself Aramis de Voisseur? Well, I suppose if I did have a rival it would be him. He is the most self centered arrogant clod that I have ever met. I am not sure he even knows of our beloved Inheritor, except for the fact that I saw the fear in his eyes at the mention of her name! I have never met knight who has strayed so far from his codes as to display rudeness directly in front of her Highness, the Countess Sassandra Livgrace. Indeed, if this rival does show up, it is my great wish that he learn from the vast gathering of noble paladins who have gathered here who are called to action by the blessed Iomedae! So he has not arrived yet? I should say that this is already cause for suspicion."
Coming upon Solaric already at the prescribed meeting point for the gear inspection, Harl with Flofer in tow comes up grumbling about the duties of a squire and being early. Waving off the boy's excuses, Harl calls out to his friend, "Found yer boy still in bed when came back from the forge 'is mornin'. Figurded ah'd come out and help the armor an' weapons. Only a dwarf knows what to really look fer." he finishes with a tap of his thick finger on his head.
First, I am currently not able to open the door. I would need to get the right spell. Anyhow, it is obvious that you know what is behind. If you want me to follow this up, please let me know what do you want. I want to avoid opening the box of pandora...Think about it, meanwhile you find myself in the library.
"Found yer boy still in bed when came back from the forge 'is mornin'. Figurded ah'd come out and help the armor an' weapons. Only a dwarf knows what to really look fer."
"Thanks, Harl! Now that I think about the competition that I am about to face, I realize that I am going to need all the help that I can get. Getting Flofer up and at em in itself could be a full time job! If you can give him any inspiring words, that would be greatly appreciated as well!"
Kirk meets the group in the morning, feeling almost smug about his reputation around town, but a little out of place surrounded by all of the powerful warriors. He approaches Solaric and the rest, "Victoria is ill, I think. She won't be coming."
Then he looks about, noting that Aramis hasn't yet arrived, and scans for anyone from Aramis' crew that he might recognize.
"Probably from putting up with that rat she was a talkin' to last night. I dunna know how that lass can stomach them fools even fer our greater good." he says to Kirk. "Flofer, shut yer trap boy an' get ta brushin' down yer knights horse. I'll show ya how so ya don't kicked in the face, as funny as that could be. I can only imagine how much ya'd be whinin' ifin' that were to happen."
Noticing Solaric's now worried tone, St. Just explains quickly
Aramis has not shown up yet, one of his squires told me that he binged a bit too much yesterday, but that he will surely be here on time. Solaric, you should get up on the podium now, I arranged that you will be the first one to enlist, okay?
With that he returns to handshaking and organisational duties.
You're sure the trio is making faces behind your back, but you are also sure that such a ward might make sense, and so you leave it alone and return to the library.
"Solaric, you should get up on the podium now, I arranged that you will be the first one to enlist, okay?"
A podium? I know what to do with that!
"Thank you, St. Just. I would be honored to declare my intentions first."
Solaric pulls out his horn crafted from the canine of a rhemoraz and steps up onto the podium. Putting the horn to his lips, he lets the noble tone sound forth calling all the knights to attention. He let's the sound fade and he breaks the silence with his words.
Touch of Glory +3
Diplomacy 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (12) + 16 = 28
"Hail my brothers! I Solaric Zekkaran personally wish to greet you and wholeheartedly welcome you to the fair city of Karcau! In times of darkness and in times of peace, it is the quality of honor that drives a knight. Honor through action and deeds. Whether it is the act to stand true and faithful when the shadows of doubt bring fear, whether it is in the act of defending the lonely and meek, or demanding justice when the deeds of others cause pain upon others, or whether it is the act of smiting evil when it is most wicked, we are united by our common belief and understanding of the meaning of honor."
"I now invite you to join me as I personally declare my intention to enlist and compete in this tournament of champions. I pull forth my sword and pledge that I will fight for the honor of my being, at the bidding of the Countess, Sassandra Livgrace, for the glory of the Inheritor. May we trust in the Inheritor, the Dawnflower, the Father of Creation, and all of the other the faiths of purity, that we may let them guide us this day and ever onward. May our actions, both in tournament and off the field, work to bring about that realm where peace, justice and goodness prevail. Now I ask you to also step forth and declare your intentions for this tournament and hereafter that we may ever do their will and bring about a realm greater than one that any one of us could bring about alone."
Solaric raises his sword and declares, "For Victory, for the Heart!" He repeats the chant waiting responsively three times.
After Solaric has ended most of the knights break out in loud praise of the Inheritor. Only some seem either too concentrated, distracted or of too rivalrous nature.
With the encouraging response from the majority of Sinaria's warrior elite, Solaric steps up to the enlistment table where a large form is laid before him:
The various disciplines of the tournament represent the skills and abilities a knight always had to have in the perilous lands of Ustalav.
Takes part in:
Defend the Castle:
Overcomer of Wizards:
One against the Juggernaut:
One vs One:
Master of the Forge:
As you look at the form, the soldier behind the desk explains
Sir, you have to take part in at least 5 of the competitions. All points from all competitions will add together and the knight with the highest sum of points will win the tournament.
Heh, no problem, you can just wait until Solaric has left and also enlist :)
@ Kirk: As soon as Aramis has turned up, I will tell you.
"Don't be bitin' off more an' ye can chew now there, pointy ears. D'ya even know what some of these events is?"
"Harl, my friend, you must realize the importance of winning this tournament! If the winner is the one with the most points, then shouldn't I try to earn those points as often as possible. There is no way to earn points if you don't compete. Granted, I have no idea what Horror Mastery or Defend the Castle is, but it cannot be any worse than what we have already faced on our own."