Aside : Yes, I missed a day yesterday. Apologies to all my loyal fans, but I had clients with matters that involved assaults on children, alleged assaults on children, Affidavits for final trials, and the normal back-and-forth of my day. You know what that equals? – 16 hour work day for the win!
Avenger makes it to the Temple of Kwon and is escorted, with some inquiring glances, into the Inner Sanctum, where I ask to see Grandmaster Hengist.
I’m informed that he is at the Temple of Time. Someone else who wants to be a receptionist!
A confusing conversation follows, where it becomes apparent that someone is pretending to be Avenger at the Palace, and has warned against ‘imposters’ such as myself. Presumably they are enjoying the benefits of rulership, including shieldmaiden bodyguards and free massages.
I mention the names of the monks here that I know personally, due to my previous attempts to train them in unarmed combat.
A monk whom I do not know makes his presence known and calls himself Xlatoc (try saying that five times quickly) and challenges me to unarmed combat, essentially to prove my skill.
Guys, I could have just broken a couple of bricks or something, but here we are.
I have to pick a move from my arsenal. Absent other options, I go for a kick (specifically Kwon’s Flail), given my high kick modifier.
Xlatoc’s defence is such that I only need a 3 on two dice to hit (a 35/36 chance). Apparently I need to hit him 3 times to ‘convince’ him of my bona fides.
In the process of striking him 3 times, he hits me once, doing 4 damage (Endurance 13).
He and the other monks are now apparently convinced of my martial arts mastery. I’m treated as an ‘honoured guest’ (and not an Overlord?) and allowed to pray to Kwon in their chapel.
Greystaff (remember him?) visits me and accepts unquestioningly my identity. Because of course he does. More importantly he does the whole ‘laying of hands’ thing, and restores my Endurance to a new maximum of 22!
Greystaff, you have done something useful! Let that singular moment be your legacy!
And finally, after 3 books, the effect of picking up the Amulet of Nullaq are removed, as my Inner Force is taken back up to the level of…5!!
OK – now I’m just waiting for the other ninja shoe to drop.
Well, not yet, because that spider passenger I’ve been carrying for way too long is expunged from my brain and Greystaff crushes it underfoot. Except for preventing me from taking personal revenge on that little beastie, that is a great development.
My brain is now spider-free!
Aside : I dare you to find another work of fiction where that is a sentence that makes any reasonable sense.
OK, MASSIVE info-dump follows. In summary, the high points are :
- Someone purporting to be Avenger (ahem, sorry, ‘Avenger I’) returned to the city, shortly after my departure;
- The faux-Avenger (FA hereafter) restricted access to the palace and mobilised the army
- FA implied that Glaivas and Dore were dead, and ordered the army on a ‘punitive’ expedition to the Rift, and by ‘army’ they mean both the shieldmaidens of Dama and the soldiers of Nemesis.
- In other words, if the army of Irsmuncast gets slaughtered by the Rift forces, the city will be defenceless;
- Hengist went to ask Solstice of the Temple of Time for assistance. In a completely surprising development, they were unhelpful. More importantly, Hengist never returned.
- In another surprising development, the request for help from the Temple of Nemesis has gone unanswered.
- Essentially we need to retake the city, but until the imposter (I nearly said ‘usurper’!) is exposed, my allies would face the combined forces of Dama, Nemesis and Time.
Aside : Forces of Time?? Since when have they ever done anything??
There is some anonymous thief who has apparently found a secret way into the palace. Has my original path into the palace from Book 3 been bricked up??
I now have a multitude of choices, the benefits of which shall be considered on the morrow.
Stats : Endurance : 22, Punch Modifier : +2, Kick Modifier: +3, Throw Modifier : 0, Fate Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 5