"I didn't dare...I...I just couldn't stand the idea you lose to Narumek...so tell me, is it true now? Are you going to take the place beside me, can we lead Sinaria into an era of peace and prosperity...and most important of all...what do you feel for me?"
A warm smile comes to Solaric as he is swept up in relief. "Do not cry, my dearest Sassandra." The half drow declares gently as he wipes the tears from her eyes. "It is true. I have won the final event and the judges are about to declare me the tournament champion. Sassandra, your Grace, you needn't have worried. I admit, the dark knight Narumek was a powerful foe, and I am sure that the thought of spending your life with a former hellknight wound be terrifying. However, I have no doubt that we are destined to be together. The Inheritor has guided us step by step to this moment, where we may now transcend social and political boundaries such that we may be together, united as one! The blessed Inheritor has need of us both and she will work through us to bring about justice, peace and prosperity throughout Sinaria."
"Although Iomedae's kingdom comes, most importantly, she has brought to me my eternal soul mate. You, Sassandra, are that person who completes my life and makes me whole. I love you with all my heart and all that I am. My greatest wish is to bring strength and joy to you and to serve with you at your side. May we ever work to bring about a new era of peace, music, culture, faith, and enlightenment to the people of Sinaria. If this is also your wish and you will to have me at your side, all you need to do is give me your word. Pulling forth the sword pendant around his neck, he holds it out for the countess, bends down on one knee, and asks, "Will you, Sassandra Livgrace, take me, Solaric Zekkaran, to be your lawful husband in holy matrimony?"
Victoria tries not to look to incredulous, but just can't hide it when not in front of Solaric.
"Cairn, I am still suspicious. This is Karcau, we don't do happy endings where the gallant knight gets the princess and lives happily ever after even, this is the land of the cautionary tale, where lost children get eaten and the punchlines of jokes are punctuated with bodies."
"The closest we got was my dear Pitr who settled with his dear Sczarni fortune-teller girl. He was no Prince Charming though, and she was no innocent Princess, and there were buckets of blood in that one"
Cairn was glad to have something to occupy him besides the two lovers. Although the reminder of what the Ragman was doing to children made his heart sink...i can still remember slipping little Gavrin silver pieces when no one was looking and the how he smiled when he learned to juggle...or 'junggle' as he was would say...
I share your concerns M'lady but perhaps we should just celebrate now that we have something to rejoice in for once. My Uncle Jasper always says 'dont cry over spilt milk that hasnt been spilt yet'.
Wait this Pitr ran off with a Sczarni girl? Do you know her name? Sounds like a story to hear over wine.
|DM Zyren/ Heart of Light|
Sasandra is deeply moved by your words and holding back the tears isn't possible for her anymore. With her voice thick of tears, she replies
I would be most honored to take this pendant from you and become your lady.
Then she takes your hand and makes you rise again. A deep and long kiss follows and from the tournament place there are a lot of cheers and good wishes from the people of Karcau
I...I guess we should go back and show everyone what is between us.
Next to Cairn a man wearing a black gugel (funny, didn't know that is something typical for central Europe) comments
Don't they look good together? Pretty bad that she has the plague, eh?
his voice is raspy and emotionless and his posture is hunched. As soon as he has uttered his comment he turns and begins to leave.
Hey now! Hold up my good man!
Cairn will race if need be to catch up to the man pulling Vicky along with him if need be.
Is what you say true...you know; about the Lady Sasandra? Can I ask how you heard such a thing?
"Because the Puppetmaster told him so, or he's another apparition, I knew it was all a trap. Solaric didn't heed my words of caution, and now it could cost him most dearly, some days it is a curse being right. I knew open courtship of the Countess would end in his tears, I just never suspected this outcome though."
|DM Zyren/ Heart of Light|
Could you put a fortitude save in a spoiler and don't look at it? Thx :)
Cairn has nor problem catching the man. As you grab his shoulder and turn him around, he seems drunk for a moment and needs you to support him. His eyes are bleary and for a moment it looks like a veil is lifted from his conscience
I...uh...sorry...do I know you? Where...uh, where am I?
he seems genuinely confused and his voice has also altered, it has lost its chill...
Cairn caught on fast and quickly apologized to the man.
Oh, my bad sir. I thought you were my uncle Flerdro. the resemblance is remarkable but his nose has been broken several times now. Nice to meet you and enjoy the rest of your day.
Bluff: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (19) + 12 = 31
As the man walked away the young Sczarni looked solemn.
Well M'lady. You were right. We need to warn Sir Solaric as soon as possible.
This is very true...but we might be best to err on the side of caution and keep our distance from the lady. You know...just in case.
The thought of catching the plague made Cairn's skin crawl and it might be some time before he ate again.
|DM Zyren/ Heart of Light|
"Prevention is better than cure after all" Victoria agrees.
"Now some thought needs to go into this. If the Countess has been afflicted, then the agency doing so would know that she had access to healers and magic workers - curing a common plague would be trivial. So that means if she has been deliberately infected, then it is more likely a nasty curse of a magical nature as opposed to the mundane. I have seen a similar plague in action before, the one which afflicted a great dragon.... his sickness was remedied, but by sword and spell, not by an apothecary"
"So why afflict the Countess? Done as a matter of spite, most assuredly, but also a tactical play. Once it is revealed she is pox'd, Solaric will lose all sense of perspective like his kind do, and immediately go off on some 'gallant crusade' to save her... being caught up in swinging swords and pretty jousts the last little while, doing even more of the same will be forefront in their minds."
"So why move Solaric? Within these walls we can be got at, just like the Countess, but we can't all be properly got at. If you move him, you move us all, and in this case you move us all outside the City, possibly to a location purported to have a 'cure', which is more likely the site of an ambush... or series of skirmishes at the very least."
"Why do it that way when assassins could be just as 'effective'? Capture the pieces of the Heptagon? Steal Solarics pretty sword? Capture Solaric and play on his dark side and turn him into an Anti-Paladin? Kill his Countess and blame it on Karcau and Sir Aramais the Departed, play on all the injustice done to him, play on his deire for justice againstthose that wronged his family... Indeed now I think of it, he's quite the loose end"
"Much for us to consider obviously"
Victoria continues pleasantries and light banter as they approach Solaric and the Countess. Victoria appears to be talking about something magical, making some small arcane gestures with her hands to Cairn, teaching him a trick perhaps? For a few moments they look deep in polite debate...
Bluff 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (11) + 19 = 30
Casts Detect Magic, aimed towards the Countess.
3 rounds, trying to pick up any magic, and what schools... expecting Necromancy again.
After finishing their chat they move towards the Countess and Solaric.
"Congratulations Sir Zekkaran on your well earned victory, you fought as gallantly as I expected, I am also delighted to say I picked up a bit of coin in a cheeky wager backing you over the oxen. I have much to discuss with the Countess though, so I must insist on stealing her away from you for a moment"
Victoria makes her pleasantries with the Countess, holding her dress fan elegantly, her delicate wrist deftly moving the fan like a butterfly... at first she opens it slowly, one blade at a time, and as she ends her request to speak with the Countess she shuts the fan again slowly and touches it absently to her lips as she politley moves away in waiting.
For those initiatied to the Byzantine ways of the Court and the womens modes of communications, they would have noted the messages were I want to talk to you and don't doubt me respectively. The suggestion to talk is clearly more of a demand to talk of secrets.
Cairn listened intently to Victoria's theories and knew again that Salvatore had chosen wisely...this one could matriarch her own Familia if she so chooses...
The ranger kept as much distance between himself and the countess as politeness would allow without seeming suspicious.
Sir Solaric, congratulations indeed. Karcau is sure to be more prosperous than ever under your and the Countesses reign.
"Congratulations Sir Zekkaran on your well earned victory, you fought as gallantly as I expected, I am also delighted to say I picked up a bit of coin in a cheeky wager backing you over the oxen. "
"Well met, Victoria and Thank you! It is a relief to have won the event and the heart of Sassandra Livvgrace! A wager against the ox, you say? My, you really do have a lot of faith in me! That was an event I probably would have waged on the ox! Well, I'm glad I won some coin for you."
"I have much to discuss with the Countess though, so I must insist on stealing her away from you for a moment."
"Naturally. As you need to. Just kindly do not let her out of your sight. We need to ensure that her safety is foremost on our minds at this time."
"Sir Solaric, congratulations indeed. Karcau is sure to be more prosperous than ever under your and the Countesses reign."
"Well thank you, Mr. Stern. In time, I assure you Karcau will prosper, but I fear there is already a darkness that looms closer from the north not to mention a darkness within her walls that both need to be dealt with before any such prospering can occur! There is much that will demand our time in the days to follow. Well, I hope you have enjoyed the tournament, but your days of relaxing and watching events are nearly at an end. Soon we will be back to the intensity of days that can only happen in this city."
Please, call me Cairn. The tournament has been amazing and the people needed just such a thing to keep their minds off of recent horrors and justifiable sadness.
The young Sczarni bowed his head momentarily in rememberance of the fallen children.
I am quite ready to get to work in service of our beautiful city Karcau. I am very much a man of action Sir.
He waited until Victoria lead the Countess out of earshot before leaning closer.
There is a matter of some importance that I need to discuss with you. It has come to M'lady Vicky and I's attention that your dear love could be...well, she might have the plague. Im sorry to be the bearer of bad news and I really have no proof beyond hearsay but its worth a caution dont you think Sir?
"Please, call me Cairn. The tournament has been amazing and the people needed just such a thing to keep their minds off of recent horrors and justifiable sadness."
"Well, Cairn, these people are good, and I am glad to have given them something to bring them hope and inspire them in dark times, but let's hope that it will still last when the shadows looms closer."
"There is a matter of some importance that I need to discuss with you. It has come to M'lady Vicky and I's attention that your dear love could be...well, she might have the plague. Im sorry to be the bearer of bad news and I really have no proof beyond hearsay but its worth a caution dont you think Sir?"
"What did you say? The plague? How could you be certain? What would make you think such a thing? Let's hope that this is truly just hearsay and nothing substantiated. This would be disastrous for the entire city, especially if war is coming. Either way, it will not hurt to exercise caution. But first we must determine if this is true, what is causing it, and how this sickness spreads. I hate to cause unnecessary panic in already difficult times, but we better answer these questions as soon as possible. Tell me, Cairn, have you met any others who are inflicted with this plague?"
Does Solaric know how the plague is spread, what its symptoms are, and a way to determine if somebody already is infected?
Healing Check 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
It was the strangest thing Solaric. A hooded man approached me and said verbatum 'Don't they look good together? Pretty bad that she has the plague, eh?'
Cairn made a common warding gesture against evil spirits before continuing.
When I caught up to him to ask how he could know such a thing...he staggerd and it was as if a veil had been lifted from behind his eyes and he had no idea what I was saying. Vicky thinks the Puppetmaster was in control of him. I fear the worst Sir and we should all take precautions. If true we might already be infected ourselves.
The man shivered at the horrific thought.
|DM Zyren/ Heart of Light|
ffs...I have this new Imac and somehow the keyboard doesn't want me to type brackets...
There is a strong necromantic aura - dark green in the meta-magic sight. It flows around the countess but focuses on the back of her neck, underneath her thick braid.
The countess only slowly lets Solaric's hand go and reluctantly follows you
"What is it, Victoria? What can be so important that I have to leave my paragon?"
"When I caught up to him to ask how he could know such a thing...he staggerd and it was as if a veil had been lifted from behind his eyes and he had no idea what I was saying. Vicky thinks the Puppetmaster was in control of him. I fear the worst Sir and we should all take precautions. If true we might already be infected ourselves."
"Puppetmaster? Does she refer to our old nemesis the rag man? This may be true, but it may also be a foreshadowing of may he may be trying to do, unless we stop it. I am all for precautions, but we cannot go about living our lives hiding in fear that we will catch the plague. Let me find out what we know about this disease and we can go from there. You know who would be good at this task? Our friend Johenric is very good at acquiring information. He also has the intelligence to do the job right. I wonder if we should appoint him with the task? Unfortunately, we don't have much time whatever we decide to do. My hope is to leave with all of Karcau's Chosen and travel north to Belfurth very soon."
Uttering a quick prayer to his deity, Solaric declares.
"Blessed Inheritor, guide me to do the tasks that need to be done first and open the door to allow us to bring about your kingdom as quickly as possible!"
Solaric glances at Flofer holding his breath and comments, "I still cannot believe you are Narumek the Unforgiving. You must have been able to hide a great deal under that black helmet of yours."
"Solaric, who's this Ragman fellow?"
"The Ragman was a black cloaked entity that plagued Karcau until I killed him with the help of Karcau's Chosen. Although people believe the Rag Man was slain, I believe he was actually controlled by the deity Norgorber and that controller is still in existence. In fact he may even be an aspect of the deity himself. He has haunted our dreams and is likely to still be around causing disruption to all plans for peace. The title of puppet master seems to fit him as well as any other considering how much this entity has controlled others from behind the scenes."
I'm not sure who she meant by Puppetmaster but the title seemed fitting considering the man's reaction. I have...thankfully, no experience of such things and will cede to your and Johenric's knowledge.
Regarding Flofer, Cairn still couldnt believe this was the same man that had nearly won the tournament as the Black Night Narumek but Sczarni knew to hide such surprises in their expressions.
"Now that we are away from tender impressionable ears we can speak plainly, Countess. Your life is in danger, and you are already marked with a necromantic curse. A plague has been placed upon you, I have seen similar magic before as well - it almost killed a Dragon, so you will be no impediment to its power and control."
"So who have you come into contact with? Hmmm at a tournament, possibly hundreds. Either way we have an issue, and this is not going to have an easy solution"
"I need to see if you are marked, or whether the magic is simply connecting to a convenient spot there to target your mind and your soul. Lift your braid please, and turn around."
"You might consider setting your affairs in order immediately, sign what needs to be signed, do what needs to be done, then find your way to rest and recovery, now would be a good time to say you are busy in study and counsel around how to deal with the Goblin menace and save Karcau, the people won't suspect your absence is because of illness. Can you trust your regent? Do you suspect the returned Livgrace might well have her own designs on reclaiming her heritage and taking over Karcau... tell me you didn't get her any of your blood, did you? Victoria just about spits the last as though even the suggestion is horrifying to her.
"Heed my words, its all that stops everything here unravelling. No doubt Solaric will place himself, us, you, and the whole of Karcau in danger as he recklessly disregards the needs of the many to save the few and go about trying to rescue you... which is ironic considering his chasing of you, and your forgetting of your station and proper decorum has made this plot so attractive in the first place"
"I'd urge you to rope Solaric in, don't make any girlish promises and coo like a desprate teenage lover any longer. Think of your people, grow a backbone of steel, and bring his focus back to sense of duty."
Diplomacy 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (17) + 15 = 32
Naga stirs as a few dark thoughts go through Victorias mind, urges of simply taking control.
"I'm not sure who she meant by Puppetmaster but the title seemed fitting considering the man's reaction. I have...thankfully, no experience of such things and will cede to your and Johenric's knowledge."
"Well, Johenric's knowledge is worth ceding to. As for me, I am running on pure and simple faith as well as a little experience and instinct."
"So, is Victoria telling Sassandra the awful news right now? The poor Countess is not going to take that well, especially if she knows that her people will be affected. I have not had much experience dealing with the plague, but if it comes, it will be one of the worst moments in Karcau's history. I am called to be a healer and a channel of blessings, but I see that my skills will be put to the test very soon. Tell me, Cairn, are you afraid of dying? If you are going to be hanging out with Karcau's Chosen, you should know that we always walk a knife's edge battling evil and facing death in the eye at every turn."
Yes, I believe she is breaking the bad news to the Countess.
The young Sczarni looked the new Count in the eye.
Have I given you reason to doubt my commitment Solaric? You've asked me several times if I was sure I wanted to stay the course with you fine people. My Familia owes the Chosen a debt of blood for the children you saved from the Ragman. I had been out of Karcau on business when that all happened...oh little Gavran!..Im so sorry...and I didnt even have a chance to...help...
Sczarni men were unafraid of showing emotion and Cairn made to move to wipe the tears from his cheeks.
I am the first chit on that debt. Paltry I know, compared to the lives of children but it is there none the less. Take it or leave it but my life has already been forfieted for the Chosen's cause. So I beg you to not question my resolve again Sir Solaric else it become a matter of honor.
|DM Zyren/ Heart of Light|
Sasandra seems genuinely shocked and grabs your forearm for support
In the herb garden...I met this man. He looked terribly pale, as if he hadn't slept for weeks and he had some large and badly healed scars. He told me he was one of Karcau's most loyal servants, a man who would especially love the city's children...I allowed him to kiss my hand...nothing special...I...oh...my neck?
Sasandra turns around and lifts her hair - at first you can't notice anything, but then you can make out a tiny red dot - a nearly microscopical bruise or bite.
"I am the first chit on that debt. Paltry I know, compared to the lives of children but it is there none the less. Take it or leave it but my life has already been forfieted for the Chosen's cause. So I beg you to not question my resolve again Sir Solaric else it become a matter of honor."
"Forgive me, Cairn. I did not mean to cause insult or to tread on matters of honor. I was simply making it clear what you could expect in our near future. I sometimes find that talking about it makes it easier to face. Truth be told, I have no doubt that you will be a wonderful addition to the company. Once again, I beg your forgiveness. I assure you, no offense was intended. You have given your word and we need not speak of it again!"
Forgiveness is not needed. You have the weight of a city on your shoulders now and can not take everything for granted nor at face value. This I understand and no offense was taken.
Cairn would respect both his and Solaric's wishes and would speak of it no further and turned to the two women wondering what Vicky had found out...and are they comparing hair styles?..women!...
Shall we attend to the ladies?
"Shall we attend to the ladies?"
"Most certainly! I believe Sassandra will wish to have me at her side as this news is being delivered. It is a shame that there is no time for even small celebrations as dire events start unfold before our eyes!"
Solaric will join Cairn and greet Victoria and Sassandra. "What is the situation, Your Graces? Do we know if Sassandra is indeed infected with this black plague? What can I do to offer my services of healing?"
|DM Zyren/ Heart of Light|
As Solaric approaches Sasandra steps back - everyone realises instantly, that the beautiful ruler of Sinaria is desperatley trying to hold her tears back and to appear as strong as possible.
[b}My love, don't step closer...Victoria has just told me that someone...that Iam...Victoria, please could you explain what has happened.[/b]
"My love, don't step closer...Victoria has just told me that someone...that Iam...Victoria, please could you explain what has happened."
"Is this true? How could this be, my dear Sassandra? How were you infected? Please do not lose hope! We will do everything in our power to heal you, my dear!"
|DM Zyren/ Heart of Light|
In the animal kingdom, there is a certain look that forms in the eye of an alpha predator when it notes that the pack leader has become tired and weak. There is a vague resemblance of that look in Victorias eye.
"I thought we had already discussed what you needed to talk with Solaric about." Offers Victoria, with a perfect courtiers tone.
"What Sassandra meant to tell you is that you must remeber your duty lies first to the Inheritor, and then your loyalty must lie with the citizens of Karcau who look up to you for protection and moral guidance, and that the matter you must remain focused upon is pretty clear, the Heptagon and the Kronstein Ridge, and not placing everyone and everything at risk in the pursuit of personal interests, whims, and fancies. What is completely galling is that the pair of you have completely lost all sense and decorum and chase each other openly like lovestruck fools, and that ridiculous display of lack of personal restraint is precisely why we might now end up with a city in tatters and a dead Countess on our hands. Solaric doesn't even fly his own colours yet, his rank and station is below what would ever be accepted for a marriage, the idea is beyond the ridiculous. Foolish Countess, couldn't you see what was going on, the trials and efforts I went through to get him moved into a rigteous position to be able to achieve justice for the sleights against his family, he needed rank and title, and influence with enough in the Court to perhaps be one day considered a fit and proper candidate to court a Lady of station, YOU PAIR OF FOOLS HAVE UNDONE EVERYTHING!, it all lies in TATTERS because of your childish recklessness and lack of self control!" Victoria spits out with anger "If she was just assassinated then life would go on, but instead we are being maneuvered, we are being played into the hands of our enemy and he clearly wants to make a point... It's a full time job just trying to save you people from yourselves."
"The illness will be investigated, but I suspect we already know the answers. The Countess must withdraw and a regent must be appointed. She must go into quarantine under the care of what agents she may have that may ward the magic as long as possible. She has her job, and we have ours."
"What Sassandra meant to tell you is that you must remeber your duty lies first to the Inheritor, and then your loyalty must lie with the citizens of Karcau who look up to you for protection and moral guidance, and that the matter you must remain focused upon is pretty clear, the Heptagon and the Kronstein Ridge, and not placing everyone and everything at risk in the pursuit of personal interests, whims, and fancies. "
"I beg your pardon, Countess Victoria! Who are you to judge my duty to the Inheritor? This is not a whim or a fancy! At every living breathing moment I ask for her guidance to lead me along the path she has laid out that will bring her kingdom into being! I am following her will at every step and as you can see, the light of my sword has brought me victory! Clearly the Inheritor willed it that I should win the tournament for her glory. I have no doubt that her plan includes the union of Sassandra Livgrace with myself. Why else would I have won the tournament?"
"In fact what other reason was there to compete but to follow the Inheritor's will and be united in holy matrimony so that together we may rule Karcau and guide her to peace and prosperity. Do you not see, the plan was perfect. The miracle of this moment is that it restores my rightful noble heritage as a Count and allow me to be at one with the Countess of Sinaria. The Inheritor works in miraculous ways and through this tournament, it has given us the opportunity that we could only have dreamed of!"
"Once we are united we will be able to bring justice and glory back to this land. I have spoken to her people and I know they will follow me willingly. As the Count of Sinaria, I will be able to lead the armies of our people into battle where we will smite the evil and strike it down at its heart."
"With all due respect, your Grace, you are mistaken to think that we have undone everything! On the contrary, we are in a position that will make this country strong and powerful and will prepare for the coming of Iomedae's kingdom. Granted, we have much left to do, not the least being to cure the plague that has come to infect the people, but as a healer of the House of the Vigilant Flame and as a loyal servant of the almighty Inheritor, I can assure you that we will be victorious against the evil that threatens us from both within and without these walls!"
"Victoria, I do not expect you to understand the will of Iomedae, but I can only ask you to trust me in this matter. Sassandra and I would not have been brought together if it was not meant to be! We have not abandoned our duty and our faith remains as strong as ever! Can you not see that there are greater things at work beyond each of our individual selves and there is a great power for good that surrounds us?! We must simply remain open to the Inheritor's will and recognize that it often comes in forms that we do not expect. However, we cannot doubt that her will shall be done and her realm will come!"
"It will matter very little what the Countess wants, you completely miusnderstand the rules of the game you are playing. She can guarantee her hand in matrimony about as much as you can guarantee her the moon. Do you not realise that her position and power rests in the hands of the Lords who serve her? Do you not realise that by not having power and influence, your own troops and title, that you will simply be seen asn an interloper upon the stage? An upstart who got lucky with a sword? Do you not realise that she has a now 'living' relative who has a legitimate title and claim to the position too? What happens when that Vampire you unleashed decides she isn't that satisfied with her mediocre assignment to an outlying farmetead and decides it woudl be better if SHE was making all the decisions? How hard would it be for her to create enough discontent when some swordswinger with no rightful claim sits where no doubt they feel their sons and heirs would be much more suited?"
"Reckless. Reckless and indulgent. The foundations are built on dreams, whims, and fancies. I suppose all that is left to do now is engage in salvage... this is Karcau, you mistake the words of her people as being graven in stone, as opposed to the way it really is where the words are merely written in the sand and can be gone with the next incoming tide. Temperance Solaric. Do not forget temperance in all things."
"The only 'opportunity' that has now occured is for us to divine a way to save her before she dies and casts Karcau into civil war, right when the armies of darkness are already at our doorstep. Perhaps we can try work out how to stop a plague spreading too, in our spare time. Meanwhile, the real problem is running around getting away with his master plan"
"Where is that Johenric? He's a master at digging through old tomes... I must see him at once in the libraries so we can find some solutions to our problems"
"Unconstrained love, this is where it gets us? It will be the death of us all, read the classics, it always happens. Tragedies are crafted of such tales"
"Very well Solaric, trust it is... best the Countess is out of the public eye for a while, the story can be put out taht she is deep in the books and conferring with the best minds as she tackles how best to deal with the foes that beset Karcau; if her symptoms show and the public sees the Pox there will many devils to pay"
"JOHENRIC! we must attend the library. Cairn, we may have some other duties"
Victoria sighs as though about to undertake a lot of work, meanwhile in her mind she is making a list of nobles who might not be 100% loyal, or unable to be forced into loyalty.
|DM Zyren/ Heart of Light|
While the crowd still cheers at the tournament place drunk with joy desperatley grasping the straw of hope that Solaric's win has brought to them, Karcau's chosen are somber and even a bit at odds with each other...
Victoria is right. Sasandra sighs and takes Solaric's hand, only to let it go instantly once she realizes that she might spread the plague by touching him I only had thoughts for Solaric and pushed everything else away from my mind...we have to act quick now and I think we have to summon everyone we really trust. We must form small task groups so that we can deal with everything that is thrown at us.
"Sanity prevails" Victoria looks suitably satisfied.
"Summon your trusted allies, draw us to council, and let us set to the tasks of defeating the enemies of Karcau"
Solaric waves and smiles to the cheering crowd but continues his dialogue with Victoria.
"It will matter very little what the Countess wants, you completely misunderstand the rules of the game you are playing. She can guarantee her hand in matrimony about as much as you can guarantee her the moon. Do you not realise that her position and power rests in the hands of the Lords who serve her? Do you not realise that by not having power and influence, your own troops and title, that you will simply be seen asn an interloper upon the stage? "
"Victoria, it is clear that you and I have differing opinions on this matter. I do not wish to argue with you, however, you should clearly see that the people love me. They certainly will not see me as an interloper. People from all over the land have stepped forward and pledged their sword to me. Just look at this ecstatic crowd. I bring them hope in a dark world and they welcome it. Your own dark thoughts have become jaded as you look to see the harsh reality. However, what you do not see is the light of the sword at work behind the scenes bringing her realm to pass. Have faith, your Grace, evil shall be overcome and all that is good and just will come to pass."
"What happens when that Vampire you unleashed decides she isn't that satisfied with her mediocre assignment to an outlying farmetead and decides it woudl be better if SHE was making all the decisions? How hard would it be for her to create enough discontent when some swordswinger with no rightful claim sits where no doubt they feel their sons and heirs would be much more suited?"
"I admit, we will need to deal with the Vampire, Lucretia. To permit her to live was a mistake. We will need to deal with her when we have a chance. However, we will take on the woes of the world one creature at a time. Step by step, little by little we will smite down the evil that threatens this land and we will triumph."
"Unconstrained love, this is where it gets us? It will be the death of us all, read the classics, it always happens. Tragedies are crafted of such tales"
"My dear Victoria, you should not underestimate the power of love. It is far more powerful than you realize. It gives hope which is a powerful weapon against evil. I suspect you have read too many of Ustulav's classics. Certainly they enjoy a good tragedy, but you forget the tales of the Acts. For indeed, when Iomedae walked this land, she brought hope and she triumphed against the darkest of evils. Indeed it was not much different than the world we now face. However, now it is time for a new genre of stories to be written in Ustulav. Ones where the light triumphs over the evil, where the Count and the Countess live happily ever after, and the people prosper in peace in a new era of light! This is the Inheritor's way and as long as I live and breath, I will work to see it happen! Trust me!"
"Very well Solaric, trust it is... best the Countess is out of the public eye for a while, the story can be put out that she is deep in the books and conferring with the best minds as she tackles how best to deal with the foes that beset Karcau; if her symptoms show and the public sees the Pox there will many devils to pay"
"Very well! Once we are out of the public eye, we can see what needs to be done to heal her and decided how best to proceed. Let's gather the trusted!"
"I only had thoughts for Solaric and pushed everything else away from my mind...we have to act quick now and I think we have to summon everyone we really trust. We must form small task groups so that we can deal with everything that is thrown at us."
"Sassandra, my dear, know that my love for you is true and that we will overcome this dark evil and heal this land. You have got to trust me! The Inheritor guides us and we will be together and we will bring that new realm to this land! Let hope remain in your heart always!"
Cairn was a bit shocked at Vicky's outburst. Sczarni women were known for their tempers but they never acted in such a way in public. He had to admit to himself that he found it somewhat admirable even if a tad embarrassing...maybe she's jealous of Sassandra?... He stayed out of the argument and once again found himself following the witch.
|DM Zyren/ Heart of Light|
Sasandra nods, gives Solaric a short look of longing and sadness and hurries over to Dumitru and St. Just - soon the mighty of Karcau will be summoned but even until then lots of preparations have to be made.
As you walk back to the scene of Solaric's triumph, Johenric joins you (in DMPC mode)
Wow, I was held up by this horde of Narumek followers who asked me a zillion questions about Flofer - weird, eh? So, I guess everything's fine now that we have a new count?
Victoria says nothing more on the subject, mind clearly ticking about how this will all need to be played.
"No new Counts yet Johenric, no weddings so far today. Solaric doesn't rule Karcau and its lands until that happens"
Before Sassandra leaves, Solaric goes up to her, takes her hand and says to the others, just give us a moment to speak in private before we depart. Solaric takes her aside and speaks to her.
"My dearest Sassandra, please stay strong in the hope that I have given you. I will always be thinking of you and working toward bringing you back to your full health. The pendant I have given you is filled with a blessing and when you need it, you may simply hold it in your hands and call upon its power. It will bless you, help protect you and will also serve as a reminder of myself and all that I am."
"Before we depart, I must ask you. Is it determined, now that I have won the tournament, that I am to marry you and become your husband and the Count of Sinaria? Is there anything left to be done to ensure that we will be united? When will our wedding take place and does it have your blessing and the blessing of your family?"
Meanwhile, Victoria addresses the others.
"At first it was just the Rag Man to deal with and we knew his motives, but now Solaric has won the competition and has made bare his plans for the Countess, we now have any number of agencies who might seek to intervene and have him or her, or even both of them killed. I urged him to simply stay her consort and be content with that for now, such a thing would have been perfectly acceptable and not have upset the aristocracy, but now he stands as a potential rival - if they marry he becomes the ruler. This makes him a danger. His politics are problematic, his views are vastly at odds with the other nobles, and I fear her family will be swift and brutal in their retribution. I had hoped taht by slowly building a platform and working the politics with him we might end up cementing his cause, until the nobles themselves thought the pairing was a most sensible one and with their blessing... but this is too soon. He hasn't title of his own yet, he commands no army, his resources not vast enough. By moving so quickly to this position we go from ONE Aramais to an unknown number who will seek to rush in before it is all too late."
"We need to keep rival suitors off his back now, we must now be twice as vigilant until we can shore up his claim. If her family takes a dim view, and I worry they might, we will see the Countess removed and her Vampire relation ascend, and then we will have countless problems. She might even abdicate... what a mess... so many uncertainties now. Temperance, always in short supply with swordsmen."
"Johenric, your intellect and insight will be highly valuable, do you also possess magic of divination? We must find a way to have Solaric under some form of protection from scrying as well. Cairn, we must speak with our 'friends and family' to ensure that no foreign cutthroats go undetected, Floffer... your fascade was great, now we need you to be his vigilant bodyguard"
|DM Zyren/ Heart of Light|
Sasandra tries a weak smile
Nothing can stand between you and the title of the count now. We should start the wedding preparations as soon as possible. I will send word to relatives in Caliphas and Lepidstadt. You must ask Tanor Veredan if he is willing to help us with the celebration. We should try to receive the Inheritor's and Shelyn's blessings before the war reaches Karcau.
I AM a diviner my dear, and even though defensive spells are not my special talent, I will surely come up with some warding spells.
Then let us proceed with our plans. I am sure that Tanor Veredan would be delighted to perform the ceremony. Most importantly, you need to keep your hope alive. It is the best way to combat evil when the darkness surrounds us! May I kindly ask you to stay at Swansong House until you are healed. I will check on you when I can, but I will think of you always, my dear Sassandra! Now, let us go forth and be strong knowing that the Inheritor watches over us!"
We can certainly speak to me Familia Vicky and Im sure they will assist...but I think it might be best if we can push the marriage of the Sassandra and Solaric along.
Cairn frowned and made sure the loving couple was out of earshot before speaking again.
It pains me to be so frank and cold but we need to entertain the worst case scenario here. Lets say the Countess...doesnt survive her ailment.
he made a common warding gesture against bad spirits.
If this happened it would be best if Sir Solaric was already in place as Count. Else a power vacuum tear this city apart with enemies at the gates. I think we should endorse and assist in moving along the wedding.