Well, I can tell my readers have a degree of intelligence, because no-one was stupid enough to suggest that I rely on the help of Solstice and attempt the long journey to Upanishad.
Notwithstanding the recommendation to the contrary, I think Wargrave Abbas may also be too far (not even being on the map is a significant contributing factor here!)
So its between the Spires of Foreshadowing and Serakub. I know there are vultures in the reading audience hoping I get killed so that I end up checking both of them out, but I’ll do my best to rise above the wishes of such bloodthirsty individuals.
I (just) lean towards the Spires, mainly because the enemy of my enemy is my friend, or some such cliche.
Spires of Foreshadowing it is! (The atmospheric name didn’t hurt either).
The citizens initially panic as I (again) mention, immediately before a battle, that I will be leaving the city until further notice, although there is some calm after it is confirmed that, after retrieving the Orb, I’m not going on some mystical quest for a magic nose or ear. I am rather seeking an ally to help protect the city.
In a disturbingly brief comment, it is confirmed that I institute martial law (!) and leave Gwyneth in charge.
Aside : The population are nervous when their ruler of about five minutes is leaving the city, but martial law? Hey, no sweat dude!
I attempt to placate Lackland (Nemesis priest, and obvious ancestor of Prince John Lackland of Robin Hood fame) by assuring him that the followers of Nemesis will not suffer under my rule. Which is a ridiculous promise, because we’re about to be attacked by a clearly superior army, and it would be a fair assumption that almost every citizen and soldier will do a fair bit of suffering.
This assurance by me is related to an important point, because the army commanded by Lackland outnumbers Gwyneth’s two to one, so I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that they stay sensible and that I’m still ruler if I return.
When! I meant when!!
Aside : Although no mention of it is made in the text, I’m making an executive decision that Avenger before this trip can restore Endurance to 20 and Inner Force to 4 (remember, I can’t go to 5 because of my dealings with the Amulet of Nullaq). If the healers can work their magic in the heat of battle (see the initial sequence) they are certainly going to do so over the days prior to me leaving on this trip. And I’m sure that my daily (!) prayers at the Kwon temple would have had the same restorative effect on my Inner Force.
I take my Sceptre with me, which apparently has the power of increasing my charisma. How on earth did I test this? Take it with me on a night out, and see if my batting average with the ladies improved? Or just have it casually in my hand when asking for ‘help’ from my warrior woman bodyguards?
I reach the Spires without incident (surprising, I would have thought some kind of wolf attack would have been inevitable) and notice as I wander through the city that I am being followed by an ‘innocent-looking old scribe’.
Aside : I never understood what ‘innocent-looking’ meant. Adam Sandler was probably ‘innocent looking’ at one stage, and look at the devastation that he’s wreaked on the globe.
It can hardly be a surprise that as I start zeroing in on the palace, the ‘old scribe’ reveals himself to be a follower of Torremalku the Slayer, god of assassins. Memories of Mandrake, anyone?
He mentions that I appear to be seeking entry to the palace, and that he serves the ruler, asking to know my business. I can either tell the truth, or state that I wish employment in the palace kitchens (!)
This is an interesting choice. He obviously hasn’t been given orders to kill me no matter what, as the attack would have happened without him revealing his identity. However, he may have standing orders to kill Avenger, and seeks for me to reveal my true name before attacking. However, again, if I try to maintain my anonymity, that may ruin my chances of obtaining a timely audience with the ruler.
On balance, I decide to be truthful. He doesn’t have the element of surprise, so if he turns hostile I will presumably at least have the opportunity for a fair fight.
I don’t know how the other choice would have gone, but I am promptly escorted to a side chamber of the palace, before being escorted into the royal presence.
And while I await entering…the presence….I shall leave my readers in suspense.
Stats: Endurance : 20, Punch Modifier : +2, Kick Modifier: +3, Throw Modifier : 0, Fate Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 4