1227.2t Line of Dimication

((The forum is hiding lots of posts these days - although this thread seems particularly bad for that. They always seem to be visible when we reply to a thread (scrolling down at the bottom), so I'm quoting your reply here to hopefully render it re-visible. (as opposed to revisable, which it's not - perfect as is! :wink: ))

((So, I have Rose and Tranquillina basically departing and Alexei is going to try and chase down Rataxes?))

((No, in my twice-hidden post I said not-so-fast to Rose, and we're still talking - unless she wants to CROSS ME :imp: :wink: ))

((Yay...Certamen!!!! JOKE JOKE!! :smiley: ))

Rose eagerness to scuttle of and please Alexei evaporates as she falls to the side, but slightly behind Tranquillina, her expression dropping to one of contemplation at the question.

Well...I hadn't truly thought about that. She pauses again, looking slightly upward as if seeking inspiration for the perfect answer to impress. I guess one could view their House like their family. Its a bond of loyalty that will never be broken. But a covenant is something more. It is comprised of ones colleagues and in time ones friends. We do not choose our family, though we love them. In our early years, our family is all important. But as we mature, it is those we chose to have around us that we are... if we were honest... more loyal to. She pauses briefly to gauge Tranquillina's reaction, but nevertheless presses on.

I of course don't mean I would abandon my family. Its just... well... one grows up and moves on. Surely that is what is best for our Order. Were it otherwise, we would be little more than Covenants of distinct but flavourless homogeneous groups?

"So, should you be offered a place here, you would declare your loyalty to the Mons Electi council and deem it higher than that to your House?" Tranquillina asks directly; her manner is Socratic rather than confrontational, but Rose senses that she is serious about desiring an answer. "Even if you receive orders from she who holds your sigil that would contradict service you had promised to your covenant?"

The two magae complete their traversal of the impressive stone bridge and walk along a short path to the main entrance of the mansion; Rose feels the charged air of an Aegis once again. Tranquillina opens one of the first doors they come to, leading to a beautifully decorated sitting room in which a servant is diligently dusting. "Choiniere," Tranquillina says in French, "please let us have the room for a few minutes." The servant curtseys and quickly departs.

((Note from player to player: Tranquillina is about to ask about events that happened earlier in this saga ... don't worry, this is about exposition, not trapping you or anything. Feel free to seek info from Jonathan, or even me for that matter.))

"Now then, Rose," she articulates, returning to Latin, "here where I am sure there is nobody scrying on us. Tell me more about this Soldier's Hearth you are able to cast - and remember, I was under the influence of one, four years ago. Do you know a formulaic spell to that end, or did you create the effect spontaneously?"

"And, perhaps most importantly: what has Maris told you about the dangers we have faced, and continue to face, at Mons Electi?"

((I'm retconning those events, a bit. It was cast from a casting tablet. Rose has enough knowledge of it to be able to invent a version without a lab text, if her lab total is high enough.))

((I shall either need to do a bit of reading, or gain some assistance here because I'm not sure how Rose would respond.))

"I hope you don't think me impertinent - Rose's eye's narrow in contradiction to her tone of unease, as if her apprehension of causing offence is competing with her desire to answer clearly. but that is a very open ended question. I would of course honour any oath I made, including to Mons Electi, which in turn would be subordinate to my Hermetic Oath. She ponders for a moment before gently continuing It is hard to envisage why my House would want me to act contrary to the Covenant oath, but even if they were to do so, surely it would contravene the Code of Hermes?

((As it perhaps obvious, Rose can envisage such a scenario but is playing innocent Communication (0) + Guile 2 + (either Simple Die =10 = 12 or Stress 0 (No Botch) = 2. She is however, honest in her thoughts it would likely contravene the Code))

[strike]"Dangers?" Rose looks genuinely concerned I'm afraid I don't know of what you speak.[/strike]

"Well I am aware that what plagues Mons Electi plagues the entire Tribunal. I don't profess to know the finer details, but I have heard a little pf what happened to you fine Princep. Rose's voice softens slightly as if showing genuine sadness. I'm afraid I cannot really discuss the Aegis... not for now at least. I hope if nothing else, that demonstrates I take my promises seriously?

((Yeah, that's understandable. For the first one: Maris had a casting tablet for a spell called Aegis of the Soldier's Hearth, a version of the usual Aegis that can be cast, without vis, using Target: Circle and presumably Duration: Ring. Crazy cool, and very secret. Rose has cast the spell from that tablet - at least once, anyway, in the thread I linked to.))

((As for the dangers, that's basically the saga setup. Very briefly, Valerian ex Guernicus was the Chief Hoplite of the Normandy Tribunal, until a few days before this conversation anyway. He and a couple other magi invaded Mons Electi and murdered its founder Apollodorus in, I think, 1222. House Guernicus is extremely corrupt in this saga, and has orchestrated most or all of the crises within the Order of Hermes, including the Schism War, for the purposes of solidifying its own power. Apollodorus's research had uncovered lots of evidence to this effect, so he was targeted; the information remains at Mons Electi, so we're all targets too.... Maris knows about most of this, I think, and is predisposed to be on Mons Electi's side - although Tranquillina doesn't know that quite yet.)) ((feel free to correct me, fellow players :slight_smile: ))

((We'll be happy to go into further detail, for sure; you'll get the lay of the land soon enough. For the present purposes, you could decide qualitatively what Rose's deal is: does she know about all this? If so, does she reveal what she knows to Tranquillina?))

((Reply edited above))

Tranquillina easily sees through the rhetoric to the side of the issue Rose is avoiding. ((I rate this as a stress die situation. Per 2 + Folk Ken 3 + stress die 7 = 12.)) "That is a very open ended answer," she returns, looking sideways at Rose. "But no need to dwell on it now. Perhaps you will have thought more about the matter at a later date."

Tranquillina raises her eyebrow, but does not respond directly. "And for taking my questions seriously, I thank you. I should not keep you from your errand any longer - I know that Alexei will be grateful. And if you happen to deem my tiny request worthy of attention, I too will be grateful." She stands up and nods her head at Rose. "In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the tournament - we might be cheering for the same entrant in the Joust."

Tranquillina consciously tries to keep her reactions to Rose's responses from showing. ((Pre 2 + Guile 3 + stress die 6 = 11.)) In actuality, she is sort of neutral towards Rose's request to join Mons Electi. Resource-wise she feels rich anyway, so that's not a problem. But by default if nothing else, she has tentatively categorized Rose as not significantly trustworthy, similar to how Isen deemed Tranquillina as not dependable in battle after their first conversation. On a personal basis, Rose actually merits a bit of approval for her willingness to weasel out of the first question, and stand up for herself on the second (not that more information wouldn't have been convenient).

((This is during the summer of 1227; Tranquillina's conversation with Tria and Maris during the winter of 1227 will change her mind markedly towards Maris and Rose, for the better.))

Rose observes Tranquillina intently, realising she has almost certainly overplayed the innocent act. ((Per 2 + Folk Ken (Magi) + 3 + Stress Die 7 = 12)) Her fine complexion contorts into a look of self-admonishment. For a moment her bright red lips open as if about to speak, but she thinks better of it. When in a hole and all that....

Tranquillina's words bring a visible, but momentary flicker of hope to Rose's otherwise dejected posture. Perhaps all is not lost.. "I do hope you understand. Its the strain of trying hard to impress" Her smile some how manages to blend hope, anxiety and warmth all in one. ((In truth she is trying to play a little on how serious Tranquillina has taken her hostess duties in the hope of gaining some sympathy)). I thought you would think me disingenuous if I said I would simply relinquish all bonds in favour of Mons Electi.

She smiles again, nods deferentially and takes her leave, pondering as she goes whether she will better impress Alexei.

((Well that's a relief!))

I guess it wouldn't be too crazy for Tranquillina to try to talk to another one of the Quaesitors who absolved Valerian of guilt in the death of Praxiteles. (She knows if she hits them all up for information, that will be ham-handed and inflammatory. But maybe one more....) Since she's wary of House Guernicus, she'll try to track down the remaining panelist outside that house, namely the Bjornaer Quaesitor.

The Bjornaer Quaesitor will be difficult to find. The crush of people and the urbanization of this environment is not necessarily conducive to the Bjornaer... So, this will be some kind of exercise/mini story in and of itself. How will Tranquillina start?

SCRYMAGEDDON :smiling_imp:

No? All right, let's see.... First, I'm hoping Tranquillina at least knows his/her name, and where he/she* is from? Presumably she could get that info either from Rataxes or from the Dimicatio officials. A physical description would also be helpful.

  • this is annoying. flipping a coin: female

She'll get Loys to run messages for her. ((This is a few days after the "Enter the Kangaroo" thread, at the end of which Loys will boldly ask Tranquillina if he can be her [strike]love bunny[/strike] personal servant, even though it hasn't been written in that thread yet.)) "Loys, I hope to locate ((Name)) ex Bjornaer, one of our visitors. Can you go to the four gates out of this Tribunal city and ask our men if she has passed through the gate?" ((I don't know if a lot of people are coming and going through the various gates. Let's see, there's one gate to the bridge and Mons Electi ... another to the entrance to the regio behind the guard house ... a third leads out to the untamed regio landscape? What about the fourth?))

I guess the next step is to find out where she is staying in the Tribunal (at least nominally). It might be that Henri or someone from Mons Electi has been registering visitors and directing them to quarters, or perhaps the Redcaps have that information. Tranquillina will go to her [strike]hotel[/strike] chambers and greet her if she's there, or inquire as to her whereabouts if not - is she watching the tournament games, or perhaps struck out on her own somewhere?

Where is the portal? In the Tribunal city? Is someone watching it, or is it presumed guarded on the Harco end? And anyone coming through that wasn't a guest would get hit with the level 50 Aegis around the Tribunal. So having it unguarded by ME personnel may be reasonable, and having it guarded by ME personnel might be seen as odd or suspicious.

It's unlikely for any of the magi to leave the Tribunal city, it's presumed that anyone coming to Mons Electi is an approved visitor (name is given to a grog to be let through) and/or is escorted or greeted by the magus....? That's how I understood security would be handled, that no one would be crossing the bridge without some sort of escort/permission. The mechanism for that escort or permission was undefined.

Regardless, Tranquillina doesn't know the name, and her efforts to get the name are pretty important...

I think the fourth "gate" is really the portal to Harco, now that you mention it.
((When you say "guest": do the Tribunal bosses give casting tokens to each of the gazillion magi in attendance?))

Anyway, if Tranquillina doesn't even know the name, then we gotta start there, no gate queries. Let's see. Can she grab a moment with Celeres? Maybe he's happy to not be running the days any more and is just enjoying the tournament as a spectator.

If not that, who are the "Tournament officials" who organize and judge the events? One of them must have been the one to get the ball rolling on an investigation after Praxiteles's death.

The judges are Guernicus Quaesitores not from Normandy. Do you want names, do you want to start digging around with them or Celeres? We'll assume Celeres.

Some inquiries of Celeres, who does receive you, and as to who's giving out tokens, it's any of the magi who were part of the Aegis ritual. Those are: all members of Confluensis and Cunfin, and probably someone or multiple magi from Mons Electi and any and all Redcaps who expected to be at the Tribunal. We never went through the Crowbar thread to solidify that, so it can be anyone or all from Mons Electi.

"Salve, Celeres," Tranquillina greets him respectfully. "I come seeking information about the investigation into the sad matter of Praxiteles's death in the Dimicatio yesterday. I feel as one of the hosts of this Tribunal, and the only such from the Founder's House, that I should be in possession of the best information I can gather in order to field the inevitable questions that will come our way."

"Even though the Tournament officials are most closely involved, I thought you might be able to direct me to the Quaesitors who investigated Praxiteles's death. In particular, I heard that there were two Quaesitors from Houses other than Guernicus. Do you know their identities? It might be that their explanations will be more accessible to me."