1229.3 To Live and Lie in Normandy

"It's simple, the Tratior is responsible for restarting the conflicts should they grow stale. Do you understand how monumental a task that is? Because they've all grown stale. Almost all Tytalus magi look to their challengers from outside the House. And that culture has created the condition where Harpax and Bulliste are supreme at the top of the House, neither able to move against the other decisively, and no one able to stand against them. My intention is that the second traitor would then immediately move against Bulliste or Harpax, then I move against the other. They cannot unite if they are divided in their attention. And as Tratiors, no one else will move against us. But we have to demonstrate to them both that the House has stagnated because of them. Tell me Stultus, have you ever heard of Tytalus magi forming teams against each other? Cabals who keep identities secret, certainly, but teams of supporters for one Prima or a Primus? Such an idea is completely unnecessary as it has been acknowledged that each has beaten all challengers, except the other. And so two must challenge the Prima and Primus, and must restore the culture of the House."

Stultus hmmms. "But the Traitors have already, by definition, lost all conflicts. How can they challenge the Prima and Primus?" (It's not a true objection, it's a rhetorical device, an invitation to Augustina to tell him more.)

Who judges when the conflicts grow stale? Augustina returns.

"Yeah, yeah, that's the Traitor's bailiwick, I know. But what is preventing either of the Primi from pulling what Porphyrion just pulled?"

"Tell me, why do you strive to overcome Cumhachd? Can you see yourself ever stopping? Would you respect a Primus who won the role by default, because the other one decided to stop competing? What happens to Tranquillina when she comes between the two of you? Porphyrion is wise enough to know that anyone who challenges either of them will be confronted by both of them. Dividing their attention is the only way. And you, in no small measure will be picking the next Primus of our House."
She walks to the door without giving Stultus a chance to respond, "And so, on this day, the Jester learns that he must choose the new king. Our contestants are waiting on us. We've been too long discussing things that do not have an impact on the now, only the future. Come, let us get to work."

Stultus smirks and saunters after Augustina. "All right, but we DO need to talk after this challenge is over."

Augustina returns to her place on the table, and Stultus stays close by. He repeats the admonition to clothes their eyes, which everyone does, and Augustina sits quietly for a moment, and then signals for everyone to open their eyes.

Everyone looks around at each other, but no one says a word. Considering the first round saw someone leave by opening their mouth and he got 'marched' immediately, no one seems willing to step out and experience the same.
There are currently 8 participants, and Rose is one of them.

After a minute of silence, Stultus leans towards Augustina, addressing her out of the side of his mouth while staring at the competitors. Or the non-competitors, as the case may be. "Augustina, dearest... you sure you didn't make a mistake in sending out invitations, and tapped a bunch of Bonisagi instead? Or did you perhaps slip some soporifics into their gruel? I don't believe this! Where's the fire I'd expect from, say, an Eristic moot? Where is the passion, where's the drive? I'd ask if you were Tytali or mice, but I swear, the mice in my lab are louder than you lot!"

He sighs. "No roses will be awarded unless the game is played to completion. Also, the beatings will continue until morale improves."

"Then let us outs the Tremere welp." Says one of the unidentified Tytali. Everyone start murmuring their agreement.
Rose speaks up, "That would be unwise."
"Why is that?"
"Isn't it just too obvious?"
"Not at all, you don't understand Tytalus games."
"No, you don't understand your own games. You think in terms of the individual striving towards some elusive goal, where we Tremere understand a collective vision of conflict, the burden shared across many to achieve so much more. Side with me, and we can end this game now. But of course, the Analects demand a triumph of the individual over the collective. And yet, your house has fallen into a collective stalemate."
This sets off the room into a cacophony of yelling and discussion, finally it comes down to Rose and the unnamed Tytalus facing off against each other, as to which one being up for a vote.
"The choice is simple, debate or certamen. I'm well schooled in both, and I have no fear of you in either arena."
He hesitates, contemplating it.
"Oh be done with this fool, and vote him off. He cannot make a decision to save his own neck. I vote we march him, now. All in favor signify by saying aye." The majority sides with Rose.
"The ayes have it." She looks at Stultus and Augustina. Do we need to play another round, or have you discovered the two weakest of the contestants?

Stultus just grins. "The challenge is not yet complete." He waves his fingers airily. "Continue."
(( We can fast-forward through the next several rounds, but Stultus does want to do something once there's 5 left))

The group continues, now with Rose in the nominal control of the group of Tytalus magi and magae, the irony.
The ensigns of command begin to way on her by the end of the two following rounds, when there are only 5 remaining contestants.

Once the contestans' eyes are closed, Stultus repeats the trick with the whisper, subtly indicating two of the remaining Tytalus magi -- the ones who have struck him as being the most willing to go along with the herd. "Ping those two again, please." (He wants to know how they would react to the assumption that someone is 'cheating'. Hah. As if there were such a thing. Rules in a Tytalus contest are more like guidelines, anyway...)

Fiona smiles as she looks at each one in turn, including Stultus and Augustina[sup]1[/sup]. [color=blue]"You didn't expect the traitor...sorry, the Corrupted One to jump to his feet and yell 'March me, I am forsaken!', did you?" she says to the others.

[color=blue]"Sometimes it's not just what they say, or do not say, but the way they speak or keep their silence."

((follow-up pending whether her Folk Ken was good enough to get a good read on who the victim is.))

[sup]1[/sup] Per 0 + Folk Ken (Magi) 2 + 9 = 10.

(( I don't know whether her Folk Ken roll is good enough, but there's something I think the player's missing OOC. Stultus asked Augustina to ping all of them. All of them think they're Corrupted and everyone (or almost everyone) else is innocent. The whole point of the exercise is not who wins and who loses, but who can convince others to follow their lead. ))

((Ah. Yeah, I caught the ping everyone, but I didn't realize that carried over...I thought it was a new ping every turn, and not that Augustina was pinging everyone every round.

Some day I should play a Tytalus, just to try to get my cunning up to snuff.))

(( She's not supposed to. She pinged the corrupted ones once and that carries over from round to round. ))
(( Joke about Stultus supplying his player with an array of cunning stunts deleted as too obvious.))

((I understand it as CR described. ))

((Okay, so, as far as Fiona knows, she and one other magus have been "corrupted." So her task, then, is to avoid being "Marched" herself, while trying to figure out who the other corrupted individual is and to march him or her, or to ensure that she and the one other corrupted individual are the last two remaining. I think what threw me off was this:

I think I interpreted that to mean that the corruption was reset each turn, since it looked to me like we had to close our eyes and the traitor would be pinged in the new round, rather than...whatever it is we were doing here, which doesn't make sense to me if the traitor carries over. I'm still a little confused.))

((I didn't think Fiona was playing.. Of course maybe she should to develop greater insight into Cumhachd.))

((I wasn't planning to, but it looked like she was playing whether she wanted to or not, so she's playing along. She has no intention of winning, which is why she probably has the best chance :laughing: ))