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.
"Weak?! Perhaps I am. But it does not matter because I have the almighty Inheritor looking down upon me, guiding me in my every move. Who needs physical strength when I have the strength of character to follow the light that guides me from within?! Prepare yourself, Aramis."
Solaric tilts his lance and spurs on his horse for the next joust.
"Impressive that you know so much about my people, Aramis. I did not realize that you read books!
Before his next run, Solaric climbs down off of his horse and kneels down to pray. He waits in silence for a moment to listen to the guiding spirit of Iomedae. After a brief moment, he prays the following, "Blessed Inheritor, In preparation for the task before me, let me become more conscious of your divine Spirit within, that I may go on. May I rely on your promises, for although the work is great, I know you will encourage my spirit and my heart with the presence of your Holy Spirit. Though I come in humbleness, help though my efforts in my approach to thee!"
The half elven cleric of Iomedae then casts guidance on himself. Climbing back upon his faithful horse, Dart, he pats her necks and gently encourages her. "Time is upon us! We must now take down this knight, once and for all!"
Once he is ready to ride again, he climbs upon her saddle and spurs Dart on to greater speeds.
As Solaric kneels down to pray Aramis is just about to make some jokes again, but noticing that many of Karcau's citizens also lower their heads in piety, he dismisses the idea and waits, gnashing his teeth.
Once the joust begins anew, his concentration is a bit disturbed
"I will not allow that a feckin coin will decide who wins this joust!"
"Is that because you have lost favor with the gods, my dear Aramis? Perhaps it is time for you to open yourself up to the glory of the inheritor."
Sitting atop his horse, Solaric raises both of his arms out and looks to the sky and declares.
"Blessed Inheritor, guide me this day at this moment, as I fullfill your will! Let your glory and kingdom come to this land, and let me, Solaric Zekkaran lead the charge. It is not my will that I fullfill, but yours, of great Inheritor! Let thy will be done in me and through me! For Victory and the Heart!"
Solaric casts guidance upon himself, grabs a lance and makes a valiant charge straight at Aramis.
Victoria's demeanour shifts subtly as she leans forward to whisper something to Kirk.
"Perhaps your mind best turn to how we will be correcting any tragedies today might send our way. The man is robust and strong, and unlikely to exire willingly. The end of this matter will fall to you soon enough, for either party being victorious here today will still net us a problem... I can't see him taking well to losing, it would almost be worse than him winning"
She then sits back up and politely applauds the match.
Kirk leans back to Victoria, "It hasn't left my mind," he says. "Hopefully my contact, the Queen of Hearts, will come up with something that can be of use. Otherwise, I've got plenty of other tricks up my sleeves," he says with a rue smile. "My friend Horace gave me his lab to look over, so I'll be spending some of the coming nights working on a special solution for our little problem."
"I wonder that such a treacherous man will in turn expect treachery from others, or whether his stupidity is truly an act covering a calculating mind. We will need to set up a few ruses to draw his attention no doubt, and take advantage of the concept that a man spending all his time watching his back eventually finds a knife in his front"
"Iomedae be Praised!" Solaric exclaims as he jumps off of his horse. Bending onto one knee, he bows his head and silently prays.
Blessed Inheritor, I thank you for guiding me and allowing me to glorify your name on this day! Thank you! Let me ever continue to serve you and remember these moment when times of darkness come!
Rising to his feet, Solaric raises both of his hands in triumph. He bows to the crowds and gives a deep and gracious bow to the Countess Sassandra Livgrace as he stands before her.
"Your highness, I am honored to have the opportunity to compete in this tournament. I have faced a many strong opponents today, and by the grace of the Inheritor, she was brought me to victory! I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such exceptional and kind hearted people in this remarkable city of Karcau! May the Inheritor shine down upon you and your people this day and forevermore. At your bidding I will continue to give of myself in all that you ask."
Touch of Glory (+Cleric Level to Cha based Skill Check)
"Ahh Solaric triumphs. On one hand that solves the potential political problem, however we are still left with a man I doubt will take kindly to such a reversal of his fate. We'd best get you to work on that special solution then Kirk"
"Thank you! Thank you! Let us trust in the faith that we will all be guided by our Inheritor when the time comes upon us!"
Solaric returns to the tent and comments to Flofer.
"Ok, Lad. I am allowed to have you compete on my behalf for any event of my choosing. Thus, knowing your love for music, I kindly ask you if are willing and able to compete in the bardic performance on my behalf? Now, I do not need to tell you the importance of this event, and I will not take any offense if you say no. But if you accept, they all I ask is that you go ahead and sing your heart out."
Male Human Hellknight 4 Bard 3 HP:71/71; AC:32/27/12
Well you know Solaric, there's more to being a bard than just music! It's aaaaallll about the show! he says with a dramatic sweep of his arm and a spin on his heel that may or may not have been intentional.
I can play a song, and the people may dance and love me for a time, but will they remember me? Or will they remember you? And which is more important!? A fine speech can wake fires in the hearts of the audience that burn as bright as any note-stirred passion. This could be a chance to spread the holy light of the Inheritor...To praise his righteousness and rejoice in the glory of the Lightbringer! And there may be more to gain from your personal participation than you realize. Your religion is a vital part of your life, and if you are a champion, people will want to know more about you so they can tell tales when they return to their homes, their market stalls, and wherever the long road leads them. Why not give them something more, something more personal? You could give them yourself. Flofer says, pausing to take a breath only when he is going red in the face.
However! If you would like me to perform a song in your name, I would be honored! he says with a surprisingly well-executed bow.
Flofer retrieves his lute and brushes the dust off his blue cloak, tuning his instrument while he waits for Solaric's response.
"Why not give them something more, something more personal? You could give them yourself. "
"I do agree with you, my lad! It is not easy for me to simply sit back and let others do for me what I should be doing myself. Certainly I have no trouble spreading the light of the Inheritor and creating a performance that they will remember for a long time. What do you know to be allowed in bardic performances? Could I combine words of inspiration with music? Must I sing, or would the use of my horn be allowed in the competition? Do you have any other ideas that would hep create the drama that I am looking for?"
Male Human Hellknight 4 Bard 3 HP:71/71; AC:32/27/12
Have you decided to perform yourself? Ah, we'll make a bard of you yet! Flofer says, laying down his lute.
Well, I wouldn't think there would be many restrictions at all. A bard is a performer, an entertainer, a storyteller, a musician--all of these things--and if you want to use your words to express yourself, you can! If you want to play an instrument, you can! If you want to re-enact an epic story, you can walk around as you speak, and maybe draw your sword or something for effect! Flofer says, stroking his chin.
But whatever you choose to do, the important thing is to do it with a passion and an energy and a commitment that the audience will recognize and never forget. If you are afraid, do not show it. Your mind is your armor, your voice is your sword! Use it to cut down the doubts and the shrouds of apathy! Draw them in as you weave your story--either with words or music--and make them forget who they are, what they are doing, and why they are there. They'll love it! he says with a grin.
Oh, and do something unusual. Give them something they've never seen before... I can't tell you what that is, but if it comes to you on a feeling, follow it.
I don't know if the people of Karkau know you, or have heard your story, but from what I've heard of it...Well, it's a pretty good one, I'd say. Lots of struggles, hardship, and excitement? That's always a crowd-pleaser, you know...
"I don't know if the people of Karkau know you, or have heard your story, but from what I've heard of it...Well, it's a pretty good one, I'd say. Lots of struggles, hardship, and excitement? That's always a crowd-pleaser, you know...
"Hhhmm? That sounds like a real strong possibility. Very well, Flofer, I think I will try and compete myself in the bardic performance! Thanks for the encouraging words. Perhaps the tale of our adventures would make for a suitable choice to sing as a performance or tell a story bout!."
As soon as most of the people have left the stands and the knights had an hour or two to regain some of their strength, bellowers wander the streets of Karcau again. The bardic performance is to be held in the afternoon at Swansong House. This time there will be no spectators, but the most talented mages of the academy will carry the sound of the bards to certain taverns in the city, so that everyone may hear what the contestants sing and rhyme.
The weather has changed a bit and a cold wind blows through the streets of Karcau and so no one is reluctatnt to enter a tavern and listen to the songs of heroes of the past, unfulfilled loves and threats of the future.
With a shiver crawling down his back Solaric and his friends reach Swansong House. In the distance the surface of Lake Prophyria crawls with the chilling winds blowing from the east. In the garden of the countess' residence the contestants have already assembled and the dark glinting in Aramis' eyes greets you, while the other knights smile friendly and even compliment you on your win in the joust.
The countess already waits in her parlour and slowly everyone enters the cozy room with the large windows overlooking the lake.
"Thank you," He replies to several knights. "If I succeed, it is only by the grace of the Inheritor!"
Solaric politely greets those assembled. He clasps arms with several knights as he passes through towards the lovely Countess Livgrace.
"Good afternoon, your Highness!" Solaric says with a wide smile as he graciously takes her hand and kisses it. "I am delighted to be at Swansong House for this next event. I have been preparing a very special performance for just this occasion. I realize that I am who I am, and for something like this, I must play to my strengths. Thus you will hear music from the noble horn, as well as words that inspire and uplift. You could say this experience will be simply divine!"
Hark ensures Kirk will be fine by accompanying him to the lab. It feels good to be marching again to the old Soldier. Nothing like the weight of his armor and shield upon his shoulders. [ooc]"So what do you think that stuff is , boy?"[/b] he ask as he looks about the lab.
"I didn't know you were going to play for us, Sir Zekkaran. I bet your skills with the horn equal those you possess with the lance."
"Indeed, I am prepared to do my best. I have thought long and hard about what is to come and I have decided to perform what comes from my heart. It will be part music, part poetry, and all to glorify our blessed Inheritor. Please let me know when you wish for me to begin."