The Nykur musters a last attempt to psychically drag me underwater with what seems to a psychic blast. I shrug it off with ease, since it seems you’re talking about the psyche of a guy who can spirit walk to the gate of the Seven Heavens every day and twice on Sunday.
I’m moving to the final challenge, I’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark… and I’m (presumably) wearing sunglasses. What’s that, Jake?
Jake : Hit it.
The three of us (Csaky, Dore and myself) leave the flooded dungeon, as it becomes apparent that Dore will need to lean heavily on Csaky, rendering the two of them unable to render significant combat assistance.
I cough lightly, and make some subtle hints to Dore about ‘healing hands’ and ‘massive wounds taken to rescue you’ but these seem to have little impact.
Thanks a lot, mate.
Dore does mention his thought that, to summon such a monstrosity, it would take an awesome amount of power, and therefore the exertions of a significant number of priests of Nemesis.
I find a quiet area of (comparative) safety, and assure them that it will be alright if I proceed alone, since ‘I am ninja’. Well, that makes is easy then (?!)
I reach the vestibule immediately outside the Throne Room, and find a restless Gwyneth, pacing back and forth and using provocative words like ‘charlatan’. She states that the ‘real’ Avenger is in the throne room behind her, wearing the city’s crown.
Hmm, how to convince her?
OK, before I turn the page to review the options, one of the options had better be ‘show her the birthmark on my thigh’ since that was literally the way I confirmed my identity to her in Book 4, and it was obviously recognised in that book by her and others as adequate evidence of the truth of my claim.
Alas, no. The options are :
- Mention that the ‘real’ Avenger would never have ordered troops to the Rift, and then left the city vulnerable.
- Demand that she bend the knee to me or that I will ‘make’ her do it;
- State that she has no way of telling whether I or the inhabitant of the throne room is the real article, so she should back away and let us fight it out, presumably then supporting the winner (?!)
- Plead with her, stating that ‘after all we have been through’ she must know me.
These each have their problems. (1) seems a good argument, until you remember that I basically ordered almost the whole army away from the city in Book 5. (2) is a non-option, as being not only morally wrong, but contrary to the Avenger she has dealt with previously. (3) sounds like a cop-out, and asking her to, one way or the other, betray her oath of service. (4) just sounds wishy-washy, and like the conclusion of a bad (ie. Kate Hudson-starring) romantic comedy.
I guess (4) is at least the least bad option, as it may lead to a logical person (such as Gwyneth) asking a personalised question which only the actual Avenger could answer.
Alright, I’m not proud. Let’s go for the soulful look and the plea based on our shared history.
She makes a suitably non-committal response, stating that the ‘other’ Overlord has not actively ‘harmed’ the city since his appearance. She asks about my intentions, and I can :
- Query why the current ruler has barred the Palace to Hengist, the Demagogue and Greystaff.
- State that I intend to restore the rules and customs of my father.
- Offer to favour her and her temple in return for safe passage.
This one isn’t difficult. (3) and its clear attempt at bribery will never fly. (1) may well just get the response that between the Demagogue and Greystaff, they’d probably burn the palace down by lunchtime. (2) is an echo of my speech as made when recruiting her in Book 4 and is the clear way to go.
Gwyneth acknowledges that this is an echo of the promises made in our numerous private (!) conversations, and states that I am ‘as much’ Avenger as my counterpart in the throne room. She agrees to stand the army down, and promises to return at dawn, in the expectation that there is only one ‘Avenger’ remaining.
Two men enter, one man leaves, anyone?
Stats : Endurance : 7, Punch Modifier : +2, Kick Modifier: +3, Throw Modifier : 0, Fate Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 4