Our last quasi-cliffhanger left us with Avenger being asked (well, more interrogated) by Antocidas to explain how he (Avenger) escaped from the Rift.
While being tempted to just say “Because I’m the main character, idiot!” I have two less metafictional choices. I can either tell the truth about being transported through a Fate-controlled cave, or make up a more believable (!) story about how I disguised myself and snuck out.
Since I live in a fantasy world where it is universally acknowledged that the Gods (plural) exist and that magic works, I don’t necessarily accept that the real explanation is that much less believable that an invented story, and there’s always the chance that Antocidas knows more than he’s telling. I therefore relate the true story.
Aha! Antocidas mutters something about how he wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t heard it from elsewhere, and Glaivas (yay!) emerges from outside the tent. We greet each other ‘warmly’ and shake hands (?!)
That’s all?? Doesn’t Glaivas know that….
Glaivas apparently surfaced from the Rift at a different point to me, made it to the city and was surprisingly (to him) barred entry to the palace. The temple of his goddess (the All-Mother, for those that don’t remember) directed him here, since Antocidas was neutral enough to give him true advice (!) I assume Antocidas charged the proverbial arm and a leg for his assistance.
In any event, Antocidas now drops to his knees and pledges his support to me although (shock horror!) he demands payment (to keep his men for three months) in return.
Sure, mate. My fingers may or may not be crossed behind my back.
I am also gifted some flash powder.
As I return, the Demagogue, being suitably melodramatic, cries that Dore has been arrested trying to ‘force his way’ into the palace and will be executed tonight (!)
Now that is the kind of speedy Court system we could use more of in Australia.
Except for the execution part.
And the lack of trial part.
Apart from that – awesome.
The thief waiting inside the temple to Kwon is a young woman, who claims to be the daughter of the Loremaster of Serakub (wait, that sounds familiar…) and my cousin!
The daughter of my father’s brother to be exact!
Aside : Seriously, what is with Avenger’s mother? Was she like some one-night stand that was never heard from again? Or a noblewoman slumming it with a bad boy? I guess we’ll never know.
Csaky (my cousin) advises that :
- Her father was a worshipper of Kwon;
- He showed her a secret way into the palace via the roof;
- Only a true member of the ‘Szeged’ bloodline can pass through the secret way, meaning that my ability or otherwise to use this route will demonstrate (to Csaky) my true identity.
I guess the word of my closest friends and advisors isn’t enough. But they apparently blindly accept who she is.
As we approach the Palace, Csaky recommends waiting until nightfall to assist with our ninja sneaking.
Weren’t you listening five minutes ago?? Dore’s going to be executed!! We must make haste!
I get asked as to whether I have the support of Antocidas, and whether I have the Charcoal Map. I have both, and there’s no indication as to which option is actually preferable. As its the choice that’s presented first, I go with Antocidas’ support, with a certain level of trepidation.
Antocidas leads a detachment of men to cause a distraction at the front gate of the palace. In the meantime, Csaky and I climb (via grappling hook) to the roof, as a handy arrow as fired by Glaivas takes out an inconvenient Orc soldier.
Avenger suffers a pang of conscience for the death of a citizen of his city before moving forwards.
In the hope Orcish screams won’t haunt Avenger’s dreams, I’ll leave the next step for another time.
Stats : Endurance : 22, Punch Modifier : +2, Kick Modifier: +3, Throw Modifier : 0, Fate Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 5