I’m into the final stretch of interviews, and I need to pick two of the remaining three candidates.
Foxglove walks in, and I can tell you newbies that she is certainly one of the more, ahem, divisive figures in Way of the Tiger fandom.
Foxglove enters dressed and made up like a courtesan (I believe some peacock feathers are involved) and I am aware that she was also the head of the Usurper’s secret police, known as the Order of the Yellow Lotus. Essentially a blend of Mata Hari and Heinrich Himmler.
Take a moment, so the mental image of that combination can sink into your brain, never to be removed.
She is also a priestess of Nemesis, and mentions that she and the Lord High Steward know the most of this city, and that her secret informers will keep me, well, informed.
Given that I’ve risen to power through popular acclaim and the support of a Lawful Good goddess’ followers, I’m thinking that appointing the head of a network of shadowy informers (who is a priestess of an evil God) to my inner council won’t go down too well.
I politely tell Foxglove to, well, rack off, and she curtsies ‘elegantly’ and stalks off ‘nose in the air’. I am sure that I am too restrained to casually catch a glimpse of the rear portion of her anatomy as she leaves the room.
But then, you can never be too certain of these things.
Solstice appears as if from thin air and states that “Time is on your side”. Resisting the urge to compare notes on Rolling Stones songs that may or not be better than the one mentioned, I save time and appoint him to my Council, vowing to ignore him at all chances.
Aside : One of the limited things that I remember from my youth about this series of books is that Solstice literally NEVER helps you. The guy either maintains a suitably inscrutable approach or gives traitorous advice. I resolve to listen to him, so that I know to do the exact opposite. Sort of like taking Presidential advice from George W. Bush.
As I imagine you can all guess, I appoint Parsifal to the council. As the Grandmaster of the Kwon temple, his advice will presumably be helpful, although I remind myself that I practically had to grab the guy in a headlock to secure his support for the revolution.
So my counsellors are : Gwyneth, the Demagogue, Solstice and Parsifal.
The followers of Nemesis who live in Irsmuncast will need to be satisfied, for the time being, with making nasty comments about me on Twitter and starting anti-government Facebook groups.
As I am about to join my new counsellors, a royal messenger informs me that there is unrest in the streets, due to no group of people being appointed as the Watch (basically the city’s police force).
I enter the Star Chamber and invite my advisers to earn their keep by, you know, advising.
I receive their thoughts as follows :
- Both Parsifal and Gwyneth suggest that the shieldmaidens of Dama should be given this role, as they had during my father’s rule. (I try really hard to restrain myself from mentioning to them that, during my father’s rule, he was assassinated and a rebellion removed the forces of Good from power).
- The Demagogue delightfully recommends that there is no need of a law-keeping force, as the appointment of one is merely a sign of oppression. Under his advice, I should rather appeal to the goodwill of the people to police themselves.
Well, that second solution was…..interesting (if not crazy).
Crazy, I hear you say?? Maybe just crazy enough to work!
I’ve being trying to work that sentence into conversation for ages.
I take his advice and allow the Demagogue to make a passionate appeal for the people to restrain themselves from looting and to voluntarily restore order.
It goes about as well as may be expected.
However, due to my ‘popular but misguided’ strategy, I can add one to my Popularity rating! Hey – populism works!
At any rate, I then return to the previous options and make the obvious choice for the shieldmaidens of Dama to restore order.
The shieldmaidens promptly start patrolling the streets, and I am pleased to hear that their fairness and impartiality increases my standing with the people. Another +1 to the Popularity rating!
In a development which may prove important, Gwyneth proposes a quid pro quo – she will meet the salary of the watchkeepers from her own resources, in exchange for which the temple of Dama will be exempt from tax.
I have a sneaking suspicion that her accountant must have been working overtime ever since the revolution to come up with that nifty scheme.
Given that the royal treasury is empty, I don’t really have a choice and agree to her offer.
I retire for the day to the royal bedroom, and hope that those damn paintings have been changed.
Stats : Endurance : 20, Punch Modifier : +2, Kick Modifier: +3, Throw Modifier : 0, Fate Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 5, Popularity Rating : 4