Spring 1221 Chapter 1A: Death and Taxes

"I presume you are ready, then. Take my hands, link hands with those who are accompanying you, hold your breath, and most importantly, don't let go." Liliana takes Cygna's and Heims' hands, and in a moment they find themselves underwater.

Cygna is shocked by the sensation of freezing cold water overtaking her, and struggles to suppress the reflex to gasp. The air in her lungs burns with the shock to her CNS, and she chokes a bit and sucks in cold salt water.

Heims, being naturally cold to the touch, doesn't even notice the temperature of the water. Feels just fine to him-- heated bathwater probably scalds him a bit, but this water feels just right to his body temperature :stuck_out_tongue: (Because he doesn't experience any temperature shock, he doesn't need to make any Swim+Stam rolls to keep his breath held.)

You are underwater for less than half a minute (though to Cygna, it feels like an eternity) before the group re-surfaces. As you look around, it seems that you're still at the covenant-- you're in the marsh, and the lighthouse is just there-- only after a moment it becomes apparent that this is a slightly different lighthouse, and the Great Hall is missing. "Welcome to Flint," Liliana intones emotionlessly. She holds your hands as she walks the group to the shore, and as she releases your hands, everyone except Hiems becomes magically dry. She leans forward, presses something small into his hand, and whispers into Hiems' ear, "Your Parma is formidable; I cannot dry your clothing and hair. Keep this sapphire with you; keep it safe and dry. When you are ready to return, simply wet it with your own water-- if you willingly place your own blood or saliva upon the stone, I will be able to locate you, wherever you are, excepting Heaven or Hell." Without any further ado, she takes a few steps into the marsh, and promptly vanishes as if having dropped into a sinkhole.

Well, Hiems is happy to go out with cygna, but he can't get too happy, or else it'll just crush him.

And he is pleased to see her smile, after seeing her being tormented so many times by Adorjan

Oh. It does seem we're breaking the limit of time, then, because it sure seems like 10 thousand days to me.
But you know what?
Hopefully, either our robes will scare the clouds away, or the weather will be so bad at this outrage that it'll drain the color away out of this.

Hiems feels like a wet duck, and ridiculous... But, due to his virtue and flaw, he's probably incredibly hot, hot enough to bring quite a lot of trouble upon him, although he absolutely can't realize it.

He squeezes his hair, to draw the water out of them. This day began so well, he feels doused already. Well, maybe the robe? Nah, still as hideous as before... And it clings... :unamused:

Liliana... :blush: It is unseemly for a lady to be that close to a man :blush: He doesn't really know what to do, and is a little paralysed. The last time someone was that close... :frowning: :frowning: this single thought cools him, feeling like a rush of cold water.
Taking a light step back, he says very softly
I thank you for this gift, lady liliana. I shall hold it preciously, although I sure hope everything will go well enough that we won't have to use it.

The baron's manor is a couple miles inland from the lighthouse. The walk takes a bit longer than it otherwise would, given the squickiness of the marshy terrain.

At the gates is a squat, swarthy man, who spots the group nearly half a mile from the gates, and shouts out. With Lamentus' sapphire necklace, Cygna hears, " 'alt! 'oo d'you be? An' wot the 'ell is wrong wi' that 'un's 'air?"

Cygna comes up coughing and sputtering, mad at herself for doing something so stupid, especially in front of Liliana and Hiems. Some waterfowl you are, Cygna, she thinks. She resists the urge to yank her hand away from Liliana, but realizes that the Merinita must have a good reason for not releasing them until they've reached the shore.

Cygna says nothing as this witch leans in close and whispers something that she can't make out to Hiems. She merely growls under her breath, overcome with jealousy.

"I see you haven't forgotten everything I'd taught you, child. Embrace it. Let it make you stronger."

Cygna doesn't dignify Adorjan's goading with a reply, but she does breathe a sigh of relief when Liliana makes her exit.

Yes. Yes, he is :smiley:

Won't hear Cygna complaining :wink: , as she (hopefully) discretely checks him out with a smile.

If there's something to stuff her jaundice robes in, she will slip them off. If not, she will sing a spontaneous MuAn spell to change the color to something more aesthetically pleasing...perhaps a light shade of brown. Looks like it should be Base 1 ("Make a superficial change to something made of animal products (like changing its color)"), with either R: Personal, D: Sun (+2), T: Part (+1), since her clothes are considered part of her as far as spells go, or R: Touch (+1), D: Sun (+2), T: Ind. Either way, its Spell Level is 4. Her Spellcasting Total is Mu 6 + An 3 + Int 4 + Aura ? + die roll of 4 = 17÷2=8½±½Aura Modifier. [color=red]♪♫Magic, rid me of this monstrosity/And garb me in something more pleasing to see♫♪"

As they travel, Cygna passes the time by singing an upbeat tune in English. Com 1 + Music (Singing) 2 + die roll of 3 = 6. Adequate.

When she hears the guard, she will look at Hiems. [color=red]"He seems disturbed by your hair...any chance you can make it look more normal so we can blame it on a trick of the light, or should we come up with a convincing tale right quick?"

A slight move forward, a hand almost raised in help, and then, he sees cygna's gaze, and feels stupid and inadequate.

Hiems absolutely doesn't notice this.
Not only is he too embarassed to be conscious of his surroundings, but even if he was, he sees himself too much of a monster to be able to conceive that someone might be interested in him, lest alone recognize jealousy.

If he could, though, he would be a lot more embarassed, and quite pained to hurt cygna, though.

His lady love, inspired by her confessor, had some quite harsh words for him, that shattered what precious trust in his ability to be loved he might have had. So, while he might possibly conceive the notion that a woman might be physically attracted to him (and he has difficulties enough with this that he doesn't manage to recognize flirtation most of the time), like one might wish a statue or picture were real, it is clear to him that he can no more be loved than one might love a sentient elemental. At best, someone as wise and kind as cygna might take pity on him and be a friend, but, in his innermost thoughts, there's always the fear that, once she realizes the monster in human guise he is, even she might flee in repulsion.
Which is also why he's cautious and polite with people, even more so with those he likes: He fears very much to lose them.
(The only reason he has Confidence is that he is confident in his magical and non-social abilities.)

Feeling better now, Hiems says
Awesome idea, lady cygna!
If possible, he'll put the robes away.
If not, he'll cast the same spell as Cygna: "Cast aside the robes of Doom", coloring them blue.
Sta 2 + Mu 4 + An5 + 1d10=5 = 16/2 = 8
(Yes, in 5th, spont uses Sta, just like regular spellcasting)

It sure feels great to be free of those, at least momentarily!

Both will take time to recover, of course.

Oh. Silly me, I forgot to die them. I am sorry, I was so used to people being used to it...
Would cast a spell, but far from book so can't tell. He'll thus raise his hood, or put something on his head.

Except Arya's House Rule 1 says that "Spontaneous Magic uses Intelligence rather than Stamina." But since Hiems's Sta and Int are the same, it doesn't really make a difference.

Muto Corpus Guideline level 3: "Utterly change the appearance or size of a person" (which is the same base used for Disguise of the New Visage). +2 to up it to Sun duration, and +1 for Part (unless you want to slightly change your whole features including your hair), makes it Level 10. Mu 4 + Co 10 + Int 2 + stress die + any aura = ? ÷ 2.

Hair colour changes shouldn't need a modifier for Part. It just doesn't make sense that a spell to make yourself blonde should be harder than a spell to make yourself Matt Damon. Level 5 is sufficient.

No aura here, btw.

Hiems and Cygna are now wearing blue robes, and Hiems has a hood over his matching blue hair.

Any other preparations before approaching the gate?

((Can't think of any offhand, no. Can Cygna tell if the guard was speaking English or another language, presumably Welsh?))

[color=red]"Much better," Cygna says softly, with a sideways smile at Hiems.

Then, to the guard, she calls: [color=red]"I am Cygna, and this is Hiems. We come from Gallus Florensis and require an audience with the Baron de Montalt." (in Latin)

He spoke in English, but it was horribly accented, so the necklace helped :slight_smile:

(I assume you moved closer, rather than shouting at the top of your lungs.) The guard eyes Hiems suspiciously. "Whass wrong wi' that 'un? Summat wrong wi' 'is 'ead, an' pulled up 'is 'ood when I asked, but I ain't so dumb I ain't noticed 'at 'e ain't answered me question."

((I was kind of hoping that Hiems would change his hair color shrug ))

[color=red]"It's a long story...he offended a faerie, who cursed him by turning his hair the colour of the sky. He's somewhat embarrassed about it, so please don't make a fuss about it. And the fact that he doesn't speak English doesn't help any.

Now, would you please let His Lordship's major domo* know that we are here to see him?"

*I'm not sure that's the right term, but it's the closest I can think of atm...basically, the person in charge of the baron's schedule and agenda and whatnot.

A brief, friendly look. It is good to see her smile, for a change, instead of being tortured by that monster adorjan.

Should check my books for it... Although cygna's explanation will hold, at least for now.

The swarthy guard scowls. "Tha' sounds like a right load o' shite," he mutters, "So I guess i' ye were t' make summat up, ye'd come up wi' summat more, wot's th' word, plorsible-like. Th' Baron ain't 'oldin' court t'day, though. Ye want t' have or-dience, ye'll 'ave t' come back on Friday." (The d8 says it's... the eighth day of the week... facepalm ...and the second roll of the d8 says it's Monday.)


Muto Imaginem base 1 (Change one sensation of an object, but not its type) + 2 sun, +1 part = lvl 5
Muto 4, Imaginem 5, sta 2 = (11 + die) /2.
Unless botching, I could have cast this simple illusion :frowning: (this is an effect similar to "Disguise of the Transformed Image", but affecting only the sight, and the hair)

[color=red]"He's saying that the baron won't be holding court until Friday, and won't see us before then," Cygna whispers to Hiems. [color=red]"Oh, and if anyone asks, your hair is blue because you offended a faerie and cursed you with that colour hair...and you're somewhat embarrassed about it."

She looks the guard in the eye as she sings: [color=red]"♪♫Let the baron know that we are here/Such news will surely fill his heart with cheer♫♪"

[i]((Going for a Rego Mentem spont to have the guard tell (or have told) the baron that we're here to see him. ReMe guidelines look a little vague-ish, so I'm thinking Level 10? It's not as powerful as "Control a human being as long as you can see him" (15)...more in the line of "Imbue all of a person's responses with a particular emotion" or "Control an unnatural emotion."

So, assuming Level 10, +1 for R: Eye, no change for D: Momentary and T: Individual. Any overage on the roll will go to penetration. Just in case.

Re 5 + Me 18 + Int 4 + die roll of 6 = 33 ÷ 2 = 16½ (do halves round up or down?) ))[/i]

The guard scowls. "I ain't deaf no more'n I'm blind," he growls.

The spell's duration would need to be long enough for him to complete the task he's given. If you compel him to break the chain of command, only momentarily, he'll inexplicably feel like doing what you've ordered, for only a moment-- once the spell ends, he would just say "No" and wonder why he initially felt like obeying you. :slight_smile:

((Drat. I was hoping he wouldn't hear her whispering.))

((And nowhere near enough oomph to make it Sun or something. Ah well.))

[color=red]"It seems we shall have to wait until Friday to see His Lordship," Cygna says to Hiems, more than a little annoyed.

She then turns to the guard. [color=red]"Where shall we stay until the Baron sees fit to give us an audience?"

Friday? This is not a good news... I don't like waiting around so many people, especially in an unknown and potentially hostile place.

(The guard, IIRC, can't understand what Hiems is saying, since he's speaking Latin and doesn't have the amulet of translation Cygna wears, so we're safe on that. Or I'm wrong, and the amulet only helps the wearer understand what he's told? Not that this changes anything)

The delay, and the guard's attitude, is almost enough to cause Hiems to do something, but the risks are too great, and he need to be cautious. His otherwordly nature can bring enough trouble as it is, he doesn't need to risk exposing it.
(Yes, he also thinks the "jealousy" results of his Envied Beauty flaw comes from him being who he is. Pretty logical, from his POW)

"Back at Mold Castle, place were big enow wot 'ad quarters f' guests an' th' like. 'ere, there's space, but th' risk is too great wot bleedin' Welshmen might try an' infiltrate 'ere.

"There's an inn right on th' t'other side o' th' stables. Not like what ye'd find on th' t'other side o' th' river, nay, but th' straw's dry inside th' mattresses, an' ain't no lice neither."

[color=red]"Thank you," Cygna says to the guard. [color=red]"If you'll excuse us for a couple of minutes?"

Cygna gently guides Hiems far enough away that the guard (hopefully) can't hear their whispered conversation.

[color=red]"If we want to go to Mold Castle, which, I think, is about two or three hours' walk, they have enough room and guest quarters for us...but it's likely to be housing quite a few others waiting for an audience with the Baron. We can stay here, but he says it's risky and there might be Welshman trying to infiltrate the place. There's an inn on the other side of the stables, if you want. We can stay in the room, out of sight, until we see the baron."