As I flagged in the previous post, a significant choice now lies before Avenger. In summary, the available choices are as follows :
- Personally visit the Temple to Dama to ask them to stand down the army of shieldmaidens. No doubt, certain levels of ninja charm would be required here.
- Visit Antocidas, and invite him, as he should, to serve the rightful Overlord of Irsmuncast;
- Visit the Temple of Time to firstly learn what happened to Hengist (the Kwon Grandmaster) and to find information generally as to what happened to Irsmuncast
- Sneak into the Temple of Nemesis and essentially force their High Priest (Lackland) to join with me, by force if necessary;
- Undertake some daytime reconnaissance of the Palace to see what forces I face.
To be honest (and I’m open to looking like an idiot in five minutes) the reconnaissance option seems to clearly be the best one, in that (in theory) all other options still remain available, while I will have the benefit of further (scouting) information.
Assuming, of course, I don’t get captured, tortured and killed. Hopefully, if that does happen, it won’t be in that order.
The book casually informs me that I now dress as an ‘everyday citizen’, cover my (emerald) eye with a patch and leave for my scouting mission. I take a covering bunch of flowers, and casually stroll into the area surrounding the tomb of Lord Kalmon.
Unfortunately, I am disappointed to then learn that the secret passages accessed via the tomb, and beneath the palace (as used in Book 3), are now flooded and useless.
I knew (in a meta-fiction sense) that it wouldn’t be that easy.
In terms of scouting, I can now either watch the guards near the palace, observing their routine and patterns, or otherwise climb a convenient windmill in the north-east of the city to get an elevated (yet distant!) view of the city’s defences.
It is actually quite a difficult decision, but the description of ‘elevated yet distant’ tips the balance towards getting a more intimate (!) view.
I ‘saunter’ (and there’s a delightful word) around the defences, while casting an auspicious eye over the palace fortifications. Essentially, I commit the guard routines and schedules to memory, recording this on a ‘Charcoal Map’ which takes its place in my backpack.
I return to the Kwon Temple, presumably cheered by the information obtained on my little jaunt.
After snacking on some porridge, I get another chance to take a different approach to reclaiming the city.
Given a lack of other decent options, I elect to visit Antocidas, to confirm that, as Ted Dibiase says, everybody has their price.
After various preliminaries, I attain a personal audience with Antocidas, and have the following options
- Ask him to stand / bow before the rightful Overlord of Irsmuncast;
- Ask his intended course of action regarding the Imposter (not Usurper !?) on the throne;
- Make a snide comment regarding his personal welfare as compared to the armies of Irsmuncast apparently now riding to their doom.
Given that Antocidas did very little the last time there was a false ruler in Irsmuncast, I’m reluctant to follow the second option. I therefore, as arrogant as it may be, follow option 1 and ask Antocidas to follow the due deference to the Overlord of Irsmuncast.
Antocidas mouths some platitudes about his loyalty to Avenger being unquestioned (his attempt to extort me on the battlefield in Book 5 passes without comment). My choices are :
- Wonder how he cannot recognise me after our joint wartime victory;
- Indicate that, if in doubt, he should side generally with the city of Irsmuncst;
- Remind him that his loyalty was without question as long as he was paid?
Although it isn’t mentioned specifically in the text, I do remember that I stiffed Antocidas on his ‘extra’ talent of gold (as described in Book 5), given that a contract made under duress is no contact at all. Therefore, option 3 isn’t a realistic option. I ask the reasonable question as to Antocidas’ lack of recognition in light of our joint battle.
I tell my (frankly, ridiculous) story, and Antocidas starts to cross-examine me on the method by which I escaped the Rift.
And I shall answer this question (after some suitable thinking music) on the morrow.
Stats : Endurance : 22, Punch Modifier : +2, Kick Modifier: +3, Throw Modifier : 0, Fate Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 5