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“My fellow members of the Court,
While most of us have not had the pleasure of meeting, my spirits swell as I see the fruits of our efforts across the Inner Sea. In doing my part to forge connections amongst the more ambitious and visionary members of the aristocracy, I at times find myself pleading my cause to beings already swayed by others of our cause. Delightful! From Alkester to Tien Xa, our ranks and influence continue to swell, and soon perhaps our movement will be established enough that we can come out of the shadows and confront the decaying bloat of the current aristocracy head on.
However, I write this not to praise our successes, but to caution that such a time has not yet come. With growing strength comes growing danger, as those who would keep our world stifled under the status quo may perceive us to be a threat worth mobilizing against. Subtlety and subterfuge MUST remain our watchwords, and misplaced trust could undone all we have worked for. I caution that we must fear exposure even amongst our friends within the Society itself; our fellow adventurers may be loyal companions in the field, but we cannot guarantee they understand the nobility of our vision.
To that end, I have had my companion bring you this note to share with you some of the methods I have found eminently useful in conducting Court business, even under the very noses of our fellow Pathfinders. The simplest trick of course is simply communicating in a dialect or language they cannot understand. I myself am versed in nearly a dozen languages, and have made sure to establish myself as a skilled negotiator and “face”, as some of my less refined Society-mates out it, to my party. Thus, volunteering as a translator in distant lands piques no suspicion. And, if in the course of talks, one should happen to discuss the benefits of working alongside the Court, an entire party could be none the wiser.
Still sometimes a potential recruit is as monolingual as the rest of your party, or you are not the only member of your team skilled in tongues. In such situations, I would remind each of us that our training in lying can also be used to craft the appropriate innuendos. With the right skill at stretching the truth, one can pass secret messages to one’s target while the true meaning of your words fly right over the head of your unwitting ‘allies’. And if they by some miracle find anything to be amiss? Well, it was only words wasn’t it, and the ambiguity of this method can easily be denied as misconstrued intent.
Finally, for those of us less eloquent than we would like, there is always the tried and true method of clandestine meeting. Slipping away from the party or slipping a note to a new ally are both methods of sounding out a prospect unseen, though given the naturally suspicious demeanor of most Pathfinders I have found this to be a method of last resort.
I hope that the above methods can aid you as you set about recruiting into our network. Remember: we are laying the foundation for a glorious new dawn for the Inner Sea!
For languages I am stuck in Celestial during combat for some reason. Otherwise I'm apt to follow some of what you speak. But all this sneaking around isn't my game, I'll tilt with our foes readily enough. If our cause is blessed by Iomede, surely we can bask in the daylight rather than skulk amongst the Darkive..I mean shadows.
|Ozymandias the Lion Blade
A well dressed* halfling nobleman walks up to the conversation in process, followed by another halfling who seemed to be wearing a butler's outfit. "Why would you want to show up for a dual? Because you have mastered the art of being untouchable perhaps? Through a mastery of martial training and clarity of the mind?"
The noble halfling pulls out a Chelaxian cigar and sticks one end in his mouth. "Slip, I need a light." With that the servant begins to cast a spell to which the cigar lights up. "Of course, this whole conversation is important. Why, some time ago, I suggested a... Constitution of sorts for our organization. It was folly of course, but I didn't know that at the time. The Court is far too fluid an organization for such strict rules amongst its members. Besides, certain people, like myself, must get their hands far too dirty with certain essential missions to be worried about petty morality and ethics. The shadows we must stick to, until the time is right..."
The halfling exhales, letting a cloud of smoke pour from his mouth. "I've always had a weakness for Chellish goods. Slip, take this." With that, the noble shoves the cigar into his servant's hand. "But of course, where are my manners? I am Marquis Ozymandias... pleasure."
Thats fine Oz, I have dozens of signatures on my version of the accords. Its an informal agreement of course, purely for the risk takers and societal adventurers. It's also fun at parties.
As a matter of coincidence during the wake at Fangwood for one of my brothers and his chosen followers, sad really I do warn them of the dangers of Fangwood. Sigh. Anyway during the wake someone asked me about the muddy fields issue. As if one of station would duel on a sodden field with no consideration to apparrel. I set the matter straight of course, the fellow may have been a little simple but he took right away and signed up after I shot him between the eyes, non leathelly of course...how can one learn if they are dead. SPLENDID Party! Wish you could have been there.
Shaking Ozymandias's hand,"I believe my most recent reports say 'Fata Morgana.' But who can say?"
'Fata' sits down on an ottoman, and unceremoniously puts her feet on a nearby coffee table.
"As far as fancy pieces of paper go, in ten minutes or so I could have three of them. Let's be quite fair. Some of the uppercrust opulence here ought to be a thing of the past. There's nothing wrong with shows of power and wealth and decadence, but the important thing is not the show, it's the power. Taldor is dying...," and glancing toward the insignia on Ozymandias' chest...Cheliax is withering, Andoran is falling apart."
Fata pauses for a moment.
"And we rise."
A man in noble’s livery steps out and pulls out a scroll to read from.
”I present to you the Marquise d'Railford, Lady Jasmine Henderthane. World Renowned, Favored of House Thrune, Respected by the Nail, Hellknight of the Order of the Chain, Student of Scrolls, Savior of the Master of Blades, Scholar of the Gates Ajar, Student of Thassilon, The Evenhanded Investigator, Captor of Tancred Desmire, Captor of the Spider, Honored by the Twilight Talons, Eagle Knight of Andoran, Lion Blade of Taldor, Leidang of the Ulfen Gaurd, Pashsa of Qadira, Bearer of a Mendevian Commendation, Hero of the Five Kings, Exemplar of Falcon's Hollow, Hero of the Fey, Bearer of the Rune of Life, Commander of Fangwood Keep, Honorable Member of the Order of the Coaktrice, and the Pathfinder Society”
He is followed by a woman in deep red hellknight plate that appears to be made mostly of chains, astride a griffon, also wearing deep red hellknight plate of a similar appearance.
When she arrives, she dismounts and taps her armor. The griffon paces back and forth getting smaller and smaller until it walks into the armor. The lady’s hellknight plate, now takes on the appearance of a griffon bound in chains.
Perception: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (3) + 13 = 16
“That is enough Renald, go fetch us some of the Chelish red, we have some things to discuss. Ozymandias and Scaramanga, it is good to see both of you again. While an official constitution was not constructed at your meeting Ozymandias, I do believe there was some great discussion held.
Gnome, I don't believe we have met. You speak true about not be revealing our association as it is, but I do believe that it is not that hard to discuss such things in a manner that can get our point across without being obvious. As far as slipping away from your fellow pathfinders, I find it is not so difficult to request a moment for myself, or to tell them that I have private business with an individual. I don't pry into their affairs, and they tend to return the favor.
Miss, Morgana. Be wary in what you perceive as withering. House Thrune is quite capable of hiding their true strength and goals. It is my belief, and hope that they remain poised to take over the farce that has proven to be Andoran. Though I agree that the real goal of our association is power, over show or wealth, and this is why I have joined. I have already gathered what power I could from association with Paracountess Zarta, and seek to further my influence elsewhere. Show however can be quite useful as well. WIth the proper show it is not hard to cow others to your bidding."
The beautiful, graceful, and unbiased? Chelaxian graces us with her presence. It is not often that I may socialize due to the tragedy of my lineage.
(Scaramanga while dressed in the gentile nature of the aristocracy, also bears a set of eyes seen mostly in the infernal planes.)
I agree on your assessment that courtesy is a form of stealth. However, I have found some obstinance in the "former" followers of Andoran. I can more easily deal with a ghoul, than one who's hunger for an ideal overtakes his mind.
"Perhaps so. But from my life as an Hellknight..who was I then?"
'Fata' stands up, looks up slightly lost in thought, then morphs into a reasonably sized Chelaxian female, dressed complete head to toe in standard armiger's gear, salutes and continues, the previously genderless voice becoming a booming, serious female voice, with a hint of Isgeri accent.
"Armiger Second Class Asmodia Hecauve, reporting for duty. Company line states that House Thrune is stronger than ever and shall reign forevermore. The weak Andorans are begging for the rule of law."
Asmodia salutes, and waves a hand across her body, her form morphing back to 'Fata.' Her voice quickly adjusts itself back to normal.
"But from dealing with the Knights in less-than-public situations, I got the feeling that the Knights follow out of duty, not of belief. I'm sure putting some of our people into the group would work just as well as it does in the Eagle Knights, just as well as it does in the Lion Blades."
Fata pauses, smiles, and returns that standard Hellknight salute.
"So, I suppose, nice to meet you."
|Ozymandias the Lion Blade
Ozymandias smiles as Fata morphs "Ah, you must be one of Sivanah's faithful then. I met a wizard of your kind. Vaarsuvius her name was. Not much was known about her other than the fact that she thought herself the sister of Asmodeus and best friend of Sivanah, not to mention a Goddess in her own right. She ran with the society for some time before
I retired her character for being far too brokenly powerful she went on a power trip and disappeared not long after."
Ozymandias turns to Henderthane and gives a bow. "It is a pleasure to be in good company once again. How fairs good Glorymane in your company? Well, I am certainly sure. The old sport was an excellent conversationalist when we first met, but I think since his time in his new form he has been rather... silent, no?"
As the servant arrives with a tray of the Chelish red, Ozymandias gratefully accepts his goblet and holds it up for his servant to view. "Slip, I need this examined." The servant casts a spell and stares intently at the goblet. After making a brief remark about it being clean, Ozymandias smiles and takes a sip. "Forgive me Henderthane, he was merely attempting to detect any poison within the drink. While I most certainly trust yourself, knowing that anyone else may have tampered with the wine is enough to make me worry. I have had uh... complications back on my private island. First there was contact poison spotted on the beds within my two ships and then as it turns out the entire supply of rice within my storage rooms had traces of wyvern venom. As it seems, I have stepped on the Aspis Consortium's toes once too many times for their liking."
He sits in an appropriately sized chair and shakes his head wearily. "That is part of the reason I can afford to put on public displays of power. The Lion Blades had a breach and now my name is exposed along with countless other agents. Though we can still operate under normal circumstances, I know a few allies who have already been picked off. The more public I am, the less attention is drawn to the other burned agents... and I can handle myself far better than they could."
'Fata' slumps back gracelessly into the overstuffed chair. "The Seventh Veil teaches us all that we can be anything if we simply put our minds to it. While I know not your Vaarsuvius, I certainly could be her, if need be. All in a day's work."
'Fata' continues on, musing, "With everything our little organization now stands for, we ought to be taking over from the insides of factions...planting ideas in those bloodcrazed slaverkillers and singleminded do-gooders alike. Support their agendas when they align with ours and inhibit when it does not. We could own the entire society without anyone even realizing it."
Jasmine while also sipping wine provided from her slave, ”You are correct that Glorymane has unfortunately been quite silent since I brought him forth into the world. He does sometimes impart some of his feelings, and helps warn me of liars, and has been quite marvelous both in battle and in fashion. I take no offence over your precautions; it is wise to guard oneself. I have found that the longer one is with the Society the more enemies that one gathers.
I will gladly join you in putting on public displays of power, as I too handle myself quite well in danger, and would gladly shield other agents with my own displays. I prefer my enemies to know of me that they might quake with fear when I actually encounter them.
Fata, I agree that manipulating the other factions within the society for our own ends could prove quite advantageous for our group, and should help us influence those we wish to add to this group.
Scaramanga, if any wine I provided to a friend proved to be dangerous, I would personally pay for any healing expenses and track down and punish those responsible for it. The punishment for such a thing, would go on for quite some time I would think ... ”
A large Suli quite the physical specimen, wearing little more than some ragged shorts holding an envelope walks in. ”I have filigree for you Lady Henderthane.” He presents the envelope to Jasmine. She takes it, and after examining the seal briefly opens it and reads the letter.
”It is called a letter you idiot, head back to the archives to see what Paracountess Dralneen needs of you, I have other business to attend to.” Jasmine then turns to the others present. ”It appears that Venture Captain Norden Balentiir has need of me in Sothis. I will see what allies I might be able to find for us there while I am away. I was quite successful in my last outing showing our worth to the Way of the Kirin in Tian Xia. Enjoy the rest of the wine.”
Jasmine once again taps her armor in a particular fashion, and the griffon she rode in upon once again appears before everyone.