After a night’s sleep at the Kwon monastery, I pray and would have regained Inner Force if I had used any.
The book’s attempts to make sure I am at full strength leave me full of dread for the struggles which are about to ensure.
Just to really get me nervous, the High Grandmaster is now apparently ‘racked with doubt’ and concerned that I will being disaster to his Temple. I’m sure he’s also worried about me dying, but is manfully concealing those concerns.
He gives me a map of the city, which really only serves to indicate where the four major temples are, along with the Palace and Barracks. Just to really demonstrate how little he’s prepared to stick his neck out, he ‘requests’ that I come and go from the Temple in disguise. Again, although the Usurper apparently knows I’m coming, I haven’t exactly seen ‘Wanted’ posters with my face plastered all over town.
Its not like I’m James Bond, who constantly introduces himself, without any disguise, as ‘James Bond’ and is subsequently then perpetually astonished that his enemies knew he was coming.
I decide to do a little reconnaissance, and can go to one of three taverns, being the Cleansing Flame, the Hostel from the Edge or the River of Beasts.
The Cleansing Flame sounds ominous, as that, unless I miss my guess, is the symbol of Nemesis, the chief evil god. But I suppose that is a key place where I should go to learn information.
I enter, and suffer a moment’s nervousness when I realise that every person present is wearing Nemesis garb. Feeling like a football supporter during an away game, I quietly sit at a chess table and check out the surrounds. A young man, Radziwik, buys me a drink and offers to play a game, while a nearby woman chats with both of us. After a conversation where they mention the prowess (military) of the shieldmaidens of Dama, Radziwik asks me if I agree that Irsmuncast needs a new ruler. I can see this attempt to get me to commit treason for what it is, and I, instead of betraying myself, rather mouth the expected platitudes. I manage to draw the chess game, and leave, settling for the information which i have gained.
The Hostel from the Edge is the next stop on my pub crawl, and I note many non-humans, including orcs, halvorcs, wolfen and other assorted lovelies. I feel like I just walked into the Mos Eisley cantina, but without Obi-Wan to back me up.
I take a seat next to some intoxicated youngsters, who express their dislike of the Usurper’s rule. They also do me the favour of pointing out a tramp by the door and mentioning that he, and others like him, serve as the secret police and informers for the Usurper, always on the look out for treasonous comments. I change the subject and ask about how the merchants remain prosperous, given the difficulties in the city. They express their dislike for the merchants’ lack of morals, and mention that the most prominent merchant, Golspiel, is particularly good at obtaining rare objects which the Usurper desires. I leave when they do, just as the tramp / informer starts taking an interest in us.
The final bar is the River of Beasts, and it is made extremely clear that this is the working man’s place to drink. A nearby red-bearded man is obviously the owner, and he reprimands a serving-lad for mistakenly giving me a drink. Luckily, he doesn’t confiscate it, and we chat, as I finally get to sip a single-malt scotch. It becomes clear that the ‘common men’ are waiting for any excuse to rebel, but they need a leader. While a man known as the ‘Demagogue’ is well known as an orator, he cannot inspire rebellion as he is not a dashing warrior. I imagine this Demagogue in the Victor Laszlo role, and then refrain from mentioning that many of the finest leaders of rebellions were orators rather than fighters, as I don’t want to interrupt the red-bearded chap’s soliloquy.
He is non-committal as to his thoughts on either the priests of Time or the swordswomen (hang on, I thought they were shieldmaidens?) of Dama.
In any event, I call it a night.
When I return to the temple, the High Grandmaster is a little more optimistic (heck, he couldn’t have gotten less optimistic since we last spoke) and tells of a soothsayer when mentioned that if I entered through the dungeons beneath the palace, I would find something to aid me in the tomb of past Overlord Telmain III.
My next decision will be who to approach for help in my revolution.
Stats : Endurance : 20, Punch Modifier : +2, Kick Modifier: +3, Throw Modifier : 0, Fate Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 5
Awesome names : The River of Beasts certainly let’s you know that it ain’t no cocktail bar.