Meeting the Vavel Dragon

[color=red]"Do you know another Sigmund?" Vibria asks with the most faux-innocent smile she can muster.

She listens to Octavian's expository dialogue intently.

[color=red]"Fetillusclaviceps? I thought it was Raxacoricofallapatorius?[size=15]I'm sorry, I'm so very sorry...I just didn't want to resist.[/size]

[color=red]"And which am I?"

[color=red]"To be honest, I know nothing about the situation. I only know that there is a war between the two kinds of dragons."

Vibria pales. [color=red]"Me?"

[color=green]Several. But only one is a dragon in disguise. I admit I am not keen on the idea, but I will leave the matter for Duresca.

[color=green]No, he is up in the Ukraine along with Sufaluppagus.
:laughing:

[color=green]That remains to be seen. I was hoping you would come to the rational conclusion that you are a human being. That dragon wishes he was human. Why would you wish for anything less?

[color=green]And how did you come to that knowledge? What happened in Krakow? Is it true that Smok Valvaski yet lives and rules? Can you confirm that rumor?

[color=green]Yes you. I want a magus in charge, not Dragor or Sebastian. Simimum is of Coeris as am I. So he needs to be the one to take our assets there. I will have my hands full. I do not trust that dragon, I am sorry. You are human and a Hermetic maga. It needs to be you.

[color=red]"Why would I not accept that I am more?"

Vibria debates how much to tell Octavian...mostly out of concern that he might (conceivably) use what she tells him against Sigmundo.

[color=red]"Yes, it's true," she finally says. [color=red]Smok is alive and well, and has reached a bargain with the mortal rulers of Poland, granting them the city but keeping his cave for himself, and only allowed into the city in human guise. As to what happened in Krakow..." She shrugs.

[color=red][strike]Sigmundo brought me there to attend[/strike] We were on our way to a conference of dragons when we stopped in Krakow to rest for the night. He met Smok, they took off, and when they returned Sigmundo told me about the war. I probably know little more than you."

Vibria fights down the urge to panic as she takes a few deep breaths to steady her nerves. [color=red]I am Vibria Nascor Draconem. The blood of dragons runs through my veins. Dragons do not panic, nor do we show weakness. I am dragon-born, and I do not fail.

She looks at Octavian, steel and fire in her eyes. [color=red]"Very well. Where are we evacuating to, how much time do we have, and what must be taken?"

Did Vibria just develop a full name just now? Or was it already there unnoticed and unused?

[color=green]I would say that being a Hermetic maga counts as something more. I had forgotten how incorrigable the disciples of Flambeau can be sometimes.
Octavian listens to your story intently. Now recall, the conference is up in Norway. Krakow was a stop over and gramps appeared to have no idea Smok was alive or that any of this was going on.
But Octavian knows no different. He accepts your story and has no idea what to make of it. He scribbles something in his notebook and moves on.
Vibria inquires about her task. Octavian looks at her, then looks at his ring. A huge nob set with over a dozen tiny gems. He appears to be using it to magically communicate with someone, for he mouths some words then nods and then says [color=green]"Understood..." out loud. Then he looks at Vibria with a stoic serious expression.
[color=green]I need you to lead the students and scholars to safety. The regio here will stay open and the tower stationary as long as the storm rages. Head south through the Bran Pass into Bulgaria. Follow along the Olt River for about thirty-three miles. You will be met by magi of Kezdo Valasz. The will have a redugee village conjured up for you and will cover it over with the Shrouded Glen once you settle in.
My plans have been changed. My orders now are to bring Sigmund to Coeris to consult Prima Poena. Simimum here will secure assets as he sees fit and will probably set fire to the library so that it does not fall into the wrong hands. Sebastian will stand guard against storm riders.
Storm Riders are Storm Wizards that ride Storm Dragons.
Long story. They shouldn't bother you. They want this castle and have made attempts before. They may take advatage of the situation to try again.
You will have Dragor to help you, and your companion Jaksic. You will have four armed guards and three staff members. Seven grogs in all. There are five teachers and ten students. Seven are scholars, two are training as Redcaps, and the tenth is an apprentice.
My apprentice. Tiberius.

Octavian softens his voice, though it is still creepy, and speaks in Catalan.
[color=green][size=70]I am putting great faith and trust in you Vibria. You can do it. You must not fail.[/size]

Simimum, whi has been sitting there the whole time, takes a deep breath and sighs. [color=brown]I must see that the Cask of Infinite Shadows is secured.
He then turns into a huge raven and flutters away.

I used her full Hermetic name earlier in the thread, but a quick search says that was the first time I've gone beyond "Vibria filia Fulminara". I used the "Naming of Magi" page to come up with it. Not sure if it ever made it to Project: Redcap, but a couple blokes managed to find an archived copy for me a while back. Ima add it to her wiki page while I'm thinking about it.

Vibria merely half-smiles and shrugs.

I had forgotten that the conference was in Norway. May I edit to say that she was on her way to a conference of dragons when they stopped in Krakow?

Vibria nods. It seems simple enough to her, although she fully expects...stuff to happen. She does wish she'd brought her armour with her, though. She does some quick figuring and realizes she doesn't have the knowledge to create armour (even simple, shoddy chain) or turn her robes to metal.

Vibria is shocked. [color=red]"You...you would destroy all those books? All those wonderful, valuable...expensive books? Isn't there any way we can take them?"

[color=red]"I won't, Octavian," she replies in the same tongue.

Vibria watches Simimum change and leave, her expression suddenly thoughtful. [color=red]I wonder if they would let my heartbeast be a dragon if I joined Bjornaer?

You can edit if you want. Either way it puts a question mark in Octavian's mind that he puts off until later.
As for the books, he replies "[color=green]The few that are truely valuable will be taken care of. But these are all copies anyway. The originals are all secure elsewhere. Simimum has departed, I will head out when Sigmund finally shows up. How long did you say he would be? That will leave you in charge of organizing the evacuation and exodus.

A few minutes later Sigmund finally shows up with Sebastian.
[color=red]I need to speak with Headmaster Simimum. I...
Where did he go? What's with the expression? What'd I miss?

[color=red]"He should be here any moment, I would think," Vibria says as she continues looking at the window that Simimum left through. She turns to Octavian. [color=red]"I do want to speak with Dragor as soon as possible, so that we can start planning the evacuation."

[color=red]"Quite a bit," Vibria smiles. [color=red]"You're on your way to Coeris to meet with Prima Poena, Simimum is to secure the assets here and destroy the library (which is filled with copies, and the originals someplace safe) so it doesn't fall into the wrong hands, and I'm to get the students and scholars here to safety before the castle falls to the Storm Riders. Oh, and dinner might be a few minutes late."

[color=green]I think dinner is the least of our concerns...
Or was that an attempt at humor?

Sigmund does chuckle though.
Octavian does the same as he did to Vibria, checking down the list of what he knows about him. Which is surprisingly not as much as you would imagine. Basically the fact that he is secretly a dragon, that he has a massive library, and that he had secret dealings with Archmagus Antonio (the previous Pontifex of Andorra).
Then he makes his case why Poena needs his advice and why it is his duty as a magus, if that is what he now truly considers himself to be. Shockingly, the great elder wyrm seems unsettled and humbled by the Tremere magus.
blahblahblah...
Sigmund agrees. But you can tell he is worried.
Before Octavian departs, he sets you up with Dragor.
[color=green]Dragor is stalwart and loyal, and is a dedicated agent trained by House Tremere. There are a few things to keep in mind concerning him. He is a lycanthrope, which is not a worry for the full moon is three weeks away and you should be secure by then. But even as a wolf he knows loyalty. Another is that he is stalwart to the point that he will die for the cause if need be. If that happens, drive a hawthorn stake through his heart and decapitate him, lest he rises as a vampire.
Dragor smirks, for as they say, "it is what it is". He even offers you a hawthorn stake just in case.
Sigmundo takes Vibria aside. [color=red]There is so much I want to say that doesn"t need to be said. Be safe. And don't hesitate to kill any dragons that threaten you. If the have intelligence and can talk, don't get sucked in by guile. It is a perfectly accepted part of draconic tradition to bully or kill other dragons as need be to defend yourself, assert dominance, or to take their treasure.
After Vibria makes her parting comments and says goodbye, Octavian and Sigmund set out for Coeris by broomstick. Sigmund plays along and remains in human guise.
Sebastian organizes the soldiers remaining behind, the refuges pack their $#!+ and get ready to go.
Dragor addresses you. [color=blue]What are your orders Mistress Vibria?
...

A scene you don't witness but you hear about after the fact. Sigmund takes Jaksic aside and chats. [color=red]If anything happens to my granddaughter, I am holding you personably responsible. Smok won't be able to protect you. Got it?
Jaksic gulps and nods affirmatively.

Is Vibria there for that? And, if so, (just out of curiosity), why does Poena need his advice and is it his duty as a magus? (Or am I overthinking, again, and it's just a matter of "You're a dragon, we need your draconic input"?)

[color=red]Tremere, hm? And just what cause are you loyal to, sodalis? she thinks.

Vibria hugs him tightly. [color=red]"Be safe, grandfather, and I will see you soon," she whispers.

[color=red]"Sebastian said four of the turb and three other staff members. What are the turb trained in? Sword, pike, bows, horseback, what? And who are the staff that will be traveling with us? What are their skills?

"How far into his training is Tiberius? What are his hermetic strengths and weaknesses, and what spells does he have?"
[hr][/hr]Basically, depending on what we have to work with, Vibria would like to have the mundanes travel inside basically a box, with the four guards forming the corners of the box. Depending on what Tiberius brings to the table, he will either be up front with Vibria and Jaksic, or with the mundanes. Or, quite possibly (if his talents are of a more [strike]Flambeau[/strike] martial bent, in the back between the rear two men-at-arms. That's my first thought, anyway.

Vibria is present for Octavian's talk to Sigmund. And it is indeed a matter of needing draconic input. But what none of them realize is how mighty he really is. Vibria has a guess, for Carmen has stated how he is abble to pass through Andorra's Aegis unimpeded and Sigmudno has mentioned he is the son of SuGarr (who is practically a deity on par with the Midguard serpent).
And so you know, both Dragor and Octavian are recycled characters. Octavian was a PC in a previous era of this saga, and so his character sheet as of ten years ago is somewhere on this forum and/or the wiki. I have only a vague memory of it, but I know he was not yet ready for an apprentice then. So Tiberius is likely only five years into his training. Figure he is about fifteen or so.
Dragor was a companion character I made in the Novus Mane saga as the companion to the magus of another player, who ditched us after a month. That's how I learned that cross player companions are not as good idea as they seems at first. His stats, as of ten years ago, are in the defunct Novus Mane forum and the wiki (Fixer has links to the Andorra and Novus Mane wiki in his signature line). Again, barely remember all the details. I will brush up.
Jaksic has no stats as of yet. Just a few details that have evolved in play. He has the Judged Unfairly Flaw and Magic Blood, and Gift of Tongues.
Dragor responds in my next post...

Dragor will gladly answer all of Vibria's questions. [color=blue]
Scholomance has never required a large armed contingent. But the guards we have are elite trained by House Tremere. Taditional armaments are sword, shield, and spear. They are also equipped with minor magical items that the SG hasn't put much thought to as of yet. :mrgreen:
I once knew a Flambeau magus back in Normandy, some jackass named Robert, who erroneously claimed that the Flambeau imparted knowledge of military arts to the Tremere during the Schism War. The truth is the opposite. The Flambeau are warrior magi and champions. The Tremere are soldiers and generals, and their discipline reaches beyond just the magi of the House.
I tell you this so you know the quality of soldiers you are dealing with. They are immensely skilled and utterly obedient.
Oh, one of them, Lassitus, he is kennel master and will command three wolf hounds.
Tiberius, he is still young and does not have much to offer in terms of power. But he is capable of taking care of himseld and he has been trained in logistics.
The servants and staff are non-combatant mundanes. A scribe, a cook, and a maid. They have other skills but those are their prime duties.
Of the other students, two are training as Redcaps. They have useful skills. Two are training as Tremere specialists, one is an alchemist and the other a vampire hunter. The other four are academic students of various backgrounds.
I estimate that each individual will be able to carry provisions and supplies to last three days. Just to be safe. There regions is bountiful for forraging and hunting, and there are villages along the river we can obtain goods from as needed. We won't be able to seek shelter in them though. You and Tiberius have the Gift, and the entourage is too large.

Vibria nods as she listens to Dragor, then thinks thoughtfully for a couple of minutes. [color=red]"Two of the guards in the front, with me and Jaksic. The others bringing up the rear. The refugees will be in the middle. If we have any armour that will fit me, and a sword and shield, I can try to pass as 'just' another guard, keeping my maga-ness as a trap.

"I doubt that we'll be able to move very fast, but we'll do the best we can, and forage as much as we can to make our supplies last. I don't suppose one of our items is a manor-in-a-tent[sup]1[/sup], is it?

"And if we need to[sup]2[/sup], I can keep people warm.

"How soon can we leave?"

[sup]1[/sup] This is more-or-less her being facetious, since I would be very surprised if we do have anything like this, basically like a Harry Potter tent or one of those ones from D&D whose name escapes me.
[sup]2[/sup] I have no idea what time of year it is, but I see Vibria as being always cold anyway. And, yes, this is totally a double-entendre (unwitting, on Vibria's part), but she means by using Robes Proof Against the Cold.

The double entendre passes right over Dragor's head and he takes you at face value. The tent is a good idea. I am imagining something humble, like a bit of folded cloth that Muto's into a pavillion tent.

She will mingle with the refugees and the guards while they get what they need ready to go, using her mighty Soldier (Leadership) score of 1 to help keep things moving and organized. (Pre 1 + Soldier 1 + die roll of 7 – The Gift penalty 3 = 6.)

She would like to get going as soon as possible.

The guards impress you with their discipline and ability to cope with your Gift. The scholors, maybe not so much. They are whiney and complain about everything. Dragor and the Slayer don't get along, one scholar is used to being the pampered daughter of a lesser noble and is a royal pain. But the two Redcaps in Training prove to be helpful, and Jaksic goes out of his way to impress you by soothing all the complaints and problems with his language skills.

As you head out on the road, you look back at the Scholomance. The storm is easing, and the castle's image seed to flicker slightly in the wind.
You march on.
You camp after several hours. Next day. Jaksic plays peace maker between the Slayer and Dragor. Her royal pain-in-the-ass won't stop pissing and moaning about every little thing. The kennel master lets the dogs run ahead. They locate a village up ahead and tell him about it (he has Animal Ken). Dragor and Jacsik barter for supplies. You camp nearby
Next day.
You march on. You are going nuts dealing with these scholars. The Alchemist twisted his ankle. The blahblahblah bullshit.
You camp.
And in the midst of the night, Jaksic goes out to take a leak and when he returns he thows open the tent door with a shout.
[color=green]Dragons!!

[color=red]"How many?" Vibria asks as she throws her sleeping furs off and springs to her feet. Her sleeping gown shimmers with the heat of Robes Proof Against the Cold.

[color=red]"If we throw them a maiden, do you think they'll leave us alone?" she quips over her shoulder in Catalan at Jacsik as she looks for her Hermetic robes. When she finds them, she grabs one of the sleeping furs, casting a spontaneous Rego Animal spell to levitate it as a curtain between her and Jacsik as she changes. (Popular opinion to the contrary, she doesn't particular enjoy everybody seeing everything she has...and besides, if things go well he may get a chance to see them down the road somewhere.)

((Base 1 to manipulate an item made from animal products, R: Touch +1, D: Diameter +1, T: Individual, for a Target of 3. Her ReAn is Sta 2 + Re 5 + An 0 ± Aura + die roll of 7 = 14, halved is 7. Well over the target. So, her Chaotic Magic kick in...and the impromptu curtain moves, keeping itself interposed between Vibria and Jacsik (until one or the other grabs it and moves it aside or throws it down).))

Once she's dressed, she will exit the tent and quickly survey the situation.

More than a dozen dragons, various shapes and sizes. You see one soaring high, no larger than a huge eagle, broad wings and tiny legs, and sabre like fangs. It swoops spiraling in to a latge three headed winged dragon wielding a gigantic axe. The smaller dragom sinks corrosive fangs into the neck of the middle head, then the other two heads tear it to shreads.
FA-WOOOSH!!!
A massive jet of flane strikes through the sky knocking the three headed dragon out of the sky.
A pair of drakes clutched in combat strike the ground nearby.
You see flashes of thunder over the next hill. A gout of fire shoots into the air.

What do you do? What are your orders?

Does she recognize any of the dragons? Or at least the type (Azdaja or Zmaj)? Int 1 + Magic Lore (Dragons) 5 + die roll of 6 = 12. (I don't think she'll need to use a Confidence with that roll, but she will if it will make a difference.)