The Pirate Finale!

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Varlum
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Re: The Pirate Finale!


15th, Ralaith's domain
"Come on...what the hell does this even mean!?" Varlum spoke aloud in frustration, midway through his book on the Centipede. The words meshed together in a swirling vortex of headache and confusion as he tried his hardest to take them in, to understand. But he wasn't a citizen of Scalvoris. Everything about this was new to him, like putting together a puzzle with half the pieces blacked out and hidden. Half of the picture made sense, but the other half...not so much. Chrien's motives, for example, were clear. But where that tied into all these factions that Kura had asked about, these people that seemed anti-government. And the explosive below the island?

So many mysteries to solve, and he was barely partway through. When he heard a loud, exasperated voice.

"Varlum. The island, it..." Ivarn, his spirit of Lovalus, spoke in a tone that Varlum had never heard before. Panic? Ivarn was a calm, calculated mentor that often gave advice just as Varlum needed an unwavering hand to be there at his side. Yet the tone was clear, even to Varlum. As he looked away from his book to the serpentine spirit before him Varlum extended his hand out, allowing Ivarn to land on him, imparting Great Minds - a power that showed him something of Ivarn's memory.

It was there that he saw exactly what caused the terror in the Diri. Explosions. Starting nearby in Scalvoris town, spreading like wildfire, bursting through the entire island. Screams cut short by loud, ear-shattering sound and flames. The touch was just for a moment before Varlum pulled his hand away, heart racing in his chest as he gasped for a moment of breath, watching such an intense memory causing him a wave of adrenaline as if he had just sat in the explosion himself and seen it all.

"How much of the Island is gone?" he asked after a moment, the Diri shaking his head. "I don't know" Ivarn admitted with a slow, almost trembling tone to his voice. Varlum had seen horrors beyond belief. Gods had beaten him within an inch of his life, slashed his face wide open and left him near-dead. But nothing compared to what he saw through Ivarn's gaze. There was an unshakeable adrenaline as he looked forward at the room in front of him. He had no choice. It wasn't as if he could do anything else. Ralaith had warned him greatly of the power he was given, as he likely did for all his Champions - however many were out there. It was a risk, a risk that could end in Varlum's own downfall.

But what was the downfall of one man compared to the death of an entire island?

"Ivarn. Listen to me" he spoke through a clear voice. "I don't know if you'll remember any of this. But...if my idea fails, and if something happens to me, you do what you can. You get anyone that can help and you tell them I sent you. You understand me?" he spoke in his soldiers voice, trembling but firm as he did so. The Diri seemed to pause, as if contemplating whether he should argue, before letting out a soft sigh. "Nothing will happen to you. You come back to me, whatever insane plan you have, and you save them yourself."

With that warning, Varlum spoke the ancient tongue.


15th, hours earlier, Scalvoris town
As quickly as he had spoke the words he found himself in Scalvoris town. The streets were bustling, people roaming. Riots seemed to have quelled, the Ithecal hoped in part because of his help. It wasn't as if life was normal for these people. Odds were, after something like this, life wouldn't be normal for a while. But they were alive. Scalvoris town still stood. Everything still stood. Which meant he had time. Reading his books and talking to Kura had given him plenty of information about Scalvoris. Enough that he could find where the tunnels were, how to enter them. But to be safe, knowing he had some time, Varlum approached Kura's office.

When he had first arrived he had waited patiently for anyone that had to talk to her. But this was different. As quickly as he entered her offices he spoke to anyone he could that worked for her, pulling them aside. "I need to speak to the Alberach, regarding a potential attack, and I need to speak to her now" he emphasised the end of his sentence, ensuring they understood it was the utmost urgency. Varlum was no stranger to intimidating people, but combined with his message he was seen to quickly, finding Kura in her office.

Without any hesitation, as soon as the person left the room, Varlum looked to the Alberach with an expression far more grim than he'd worn in their first talk. "I need you to trust me when I tell you that Scalvoris is not safe, and I need you to tell me where the tunnel entrance is and make sure they let me, and NOBODY else, in. Not a single soul." he spoke in a clear, almost terrifyingly focused tone. He didn't want to tell Kura the truth, not until he knew it all at least. But he would if he had to. "There is somebody about to try and blow up the island and we don't have time to evacuate. I don't know who. I don't know why. But I need you to trust me. And if you can't, then..." he spoke with a sigh, offering his hand forward.

"See for yourself."

Varlum's word, however, proved enough for Kura who gave him full permission and directions to where he had to go, insisting that he hurry if what he said was true. "Thank you. Put the Elements on high alert, have everybody on standby. I don't know who did this, but as soon as I do, you'll have them - dead or alive." the Mortalborn vowed. Whoever was responsible for this would know Varlum's wrath, one way or another.

Without a moment to breathe the Ithecal found his way to the tunnel entrance, greeted by two elements at the door. He told them the Alberach sent him and that nobody else was permitted to enter. As he went to enter one stopped him, telling him somebody had already gone in ahead of him, just a while before. Rapidly, Varlum pushed past the guards and told them to follow along, that whoever was in there was to be arrested immediately - killed if they so much as resisted.

It was in there, moments later, that he found Nir'wei.

The man was a familiar face, though not at the level of a close friend. They had fought side by side against Kata, seen one another on a number of occasions. But now, he stood watching him, two guards at his side. "Nir'wei" Varlum spoke in a harsh, firm voice. "I need you come with me. Whatever you are about to do, whatever you are about to try - you're about to kill a lot of people." he spoke. From what Varlum recalled of these explosives, they made spirits uncomfortable, which made Varlum optimistic that if Nir'wei decided he was threatened that his wolves wouldn't join the fray. "I need you to step away from the jars - and I need you to come with me. And if you don't believe it, trust me enough to let me show you."

But his word alone was enough for Nir'wei, the man seeming to come along compliently. The Ithecal nodded to the guards, informing Nir'wei that for the time being he was under arrest, until he could at least find out what happened and why. When Nir pointed out that, if he had been trying to cause harm then the ability had potentially infinite range and the cuffs wouldn't stop him, Varlum sighed. "Then do it as a show of trust. It's all I ask, until we know more."

The mention of the deaths seemed enough to sway the man, the two guards cuffing Nir'wei, neither being particularly rough. Nothing about the situation was hostile, after all. Though it did nothing to keep Varlum from being on edge. He still knew little to nothing of what had happened below the city had he not been here. It was only thanks to Ralaith that somebody had been. The notion of what could have happened elsewise, how many people could have died, lingered overhead like a crushing weight. What would he tell people? Would he even? It seemed an unfair secret, and of course anyone involved in investigating would need to know the truth - especially Kura. After he'd come to her and questioned her lack of honesty, he couldn't hide something like this. But Nir'wei, as far as Varlum knew, was no pirate lord. He wasn't some hostile entity trying to destroy everything.

Was he?

Once they were done Varlum came back to Kura with Nir and the guards, breathing heavy for a moment as he sent out a prayer to Ralaith, looking at the Alberach before him. Both Ralaith and Kura would hear the same words as Varlum spoke to them both simultaneously, almost hoping one of the two had an answer for what came next.

"So what now?"
Off Topic

The Breach - Rewind: Too long to copy paste, but Varlum can go back in time and try and fix something so long as the thread is ongoing. Got Peg permission to use it and such, of course.

Great Minds: With a touch, the user and the touched individual can link their past experiences and share a detailed array of events with one another, from childhood experiences to great findings in the world. In this link time flows stagnantly on the outside world, and so while others may perceive this as two individuals merely meeting with a handshake, a great deal of information could be shared, the user and the one they contact able to look through the lens of time passed to share knowledge of previous events. This can be overwhelming to those who are not Shirvain and caution is warned in attempting to share too much information. (Used on Ivarn, offered to Kura but declined for now)

Thank you Nir and Kura's writers for giving me permission to include what your PC's would do!
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Re: The Pirate Finale!

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The Pirates Finale ......

Welcome to the Scalvoris seasonal event for Rebirth 724!

It's going to be done in a way that's heavily influenced by Pigs' awesome Fire event in Rharne - first things first, massive thanks to him! Then, without further ado, lets get going!


The 15th onwards......


"You need to deal with him," Ralaith said. "He's like his father. All about the freedom, all about the personal choice. Even when his freedom kills hundreds of thousands and despite his personal choice harming his pack. You should deal with him."

Karem nodded. "I will."

Ralaith looked at her and he raised an eyebrow. He said no more than that. If there was wisdom to come from their youngest member, then it would need to come from her.

But then, his attention turned to his Champion. An unusual choice for Champion, so he'd been told, but Ralaith did not care for the opinions of others and he saw Varlum for who he was. Turning his head a fraction, his gaze swept over miles.

And Varlum manipulated time, playing it like a musical instrument and changing the tune it created as he did.

Scalvoris (All PCs)
Time ran backwards, knitting and knotting before moving forward once more in the way that it always did.

For those involved, a few things happened. The moment where the world turned white and the fires started to burn never happened. Instead, a few moments before that happened, they became aware of a strange feeling. A moment of almost-anxiety and the feeling of pressure, physical pressure, pressing down on them. The weight of time, perhaps, or of what might-have-been.

And everything happened as it had been going to before that crisis (except for Nir'wei being led out in manacles, of course - he and Varlum acted differently). In the moment that they would have died, in the moment where Scalvoris would have burned, they saw. They saw what would have been and they saw the actions that led to it. They saw what Nir'wei had done, of course, but they also saw everything else. Everything else As of this moment, all PCs know everything that happened in this thread and all the intelligence / information etc. It's a moment of full disclosure of everything involved in this and around it (so it includes solos etc)

That meant that they heard the roar of the Induk Faldrass as it reverberated around the island. Everyone on Scalvoris saw what had happened. Everyone on Scalvoris knew their actions and movements.

Or, almost everyone. Those very few who were left to make sure that the plans would go ahead? They didn't know.

Forged (All Forged PCs)
Those who were Forged, though, they felt and saw and heard something else. As they experiencedremembered? felt? resonated in harmony with the sound of Faldrass' voice also knew something else. They saw what happened on Faldrass - they knew it. Of course, only those on Faldrass experienced it close up but all the Forged ~ especially those on Faldrass and especially the Fire ForgedIf you're a Fire Forged on Faldrass you get a double whammy. The basic experience for Fire Forged and for those on Faldrass is what's described in the "Faldrass" section below ~ experienced what the Faldrass Induk channelled that day.

Faldrass (All Forged PCs)
In the moment that it had done so, even though there was not a dome or the sight of Scalvoris burning. The sound of the Induk roared out and they felt the reverberation physically. They also felt a change. A physical but not entirely physical change. The sound of Faldrass that everyone heard was joined by Sweetwine, by Ishallr, by Scaltoth. Four Induk voices raising together in a single note.

It was uncomfortable, to the point of setting teeth on edge. But it was beautiful beyond compare and in the way that the wildfire had spread out, so too did this. Briefly, momentarily, and only above the surface, not underground at all the voices of the four Induks combined in one beautiful harmony for those who could hear it.

And when the note ended, some among them had changedOk so - those of you who have 100+ Forged points now activate your Life / Death forged abilities. I need you, in your next post, to write the experience of hearing that note, of knowing what it asked you and of choosing. Life Forged or Death Forged. Which will you be. When you have chosen, I will PM you the abilities you have - once you've used them, they'll go into the Forged Tracker

All PCs
With this new information, would the tea party still go ahead? Any meetings etc that are needed, Saoire will accommodate travel for you. Don't push it, but she will.


Your Posts..... .


Please post by Monday 26th February. I will then close this up and IF I need to get responses from anyone (like I did from Kura in my last post) I'll speak to you. I'll then post on or around the 27th.

In your post:
  • Give the narrative of what you're doing between 15th and 20th Cylus ~ note that what you did until 15th is "locked in" - but you can either just refer me to your old post or change what you're doing for the 15th onwards)
  • Unless someone does something unexpected, my next post will be the tea party, so if you want to focus on that you could split your post into "Reacting to finding out", "Tea Party Discussion and Prep" and "Everything Else".
  • If you want to assume that you've made a point in a discussion, please say so in your post. So, for example, "My PC says that they think <X> and will argue for <Y, Z>" etc.
  • A list of actions at the end of your post is great. Thank you all.
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~~Red in hoof and claw... ~~


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Woe
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Re: The Pirate Finale!

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15th of Cylus

Ancillary, lateral, sideways. All at once it came clear as Woe collected information on the road. Information about the people who'd either been murdered or disappeared. They were none of them of particular importance, but connected in some way to the greater functions of the island. A warehouse quartermaster here, a harbourmaster, a mine boss. A lumberyard foreman. It was an assembly of incidentals. There was no great mastermind of the Pirates, no dark lord nor Warden nor monstrous Girl or dark Immortal. Just folk who were on the cusp of authority, but ever a few steps short of achieving it.

In the absence of a figurehead, the centipede crawled, doing its deeds in secret with a hundred little hands. Woe saw the spiderweb, and dismissed it as Sintra's machination, although doubtless she had as much a part in it as she did in most schemes. She would know, but Woe knew better than to ask.

He'd received the message from Kura, summoning him to be the central communicator and intelligence person in one stroke. How he would be able to spread his word and communicate with the Island as a whole he didn't quite know, but then he knew who might have an answer to that problem. He thought instantly of Winston and his device that allowed instant communication.

Soz, I need your speed. He said, and within a few breaks the dragonling landed at his side, softly as a Kutzeldaur tended to. He was in Darbyton when the fires drew back, spared by an unfurling of time's process. Nir'wei's reckless actions had been thwarted by the wise Ithecal giant, and he was now in Scalvoristown. That was where Woe realized he had to be, and he would send word out immediately on his findings that he'd written down already. He copied his findings, and sent it out to Balthazar via his echo scroll they shared, urging him to share the findings with the rest of the Network, including an invitation for Winston to please be present in Scalvoristown on the evening of the 15th. Then he rode Soz hard through the night sky toward Scalvoristown.

Evening of 15th Cylus (because his dragonling is that fast, to make it from Darbyton before the evening is done)

Woe arrived at the offices of the Albarech, expecting to find her at the very least, perhaps even the culprit and Varlum as well. Woe hadn't met Varlum outside of a very tense situation that required they not take time to get to know each other, but knew him to be a person of great consequence. A Champion of two Immortals, and a warrior of renown, and now one-time savior of Scalvoris.

He arrived there, and began assuming his new duties right away. The first message he sent out was to the Gunvorton head, Shania. He assured her, based on information that Winston had gathered from Sotong, that the Mer trusted her above all other Scalvorites, still. Woe told her that she should try to establish contact with the great Leviathan. He would give her any and all treasure he could muster for that purpose, in tribute to the Akktava and Sotong, to appease them. On the 20th trial of Cylus, he would join her where she found them, to present the gifts and open up negotiations with the Akktava and their Leviathan.

Next he wrote Winston, and if he hadn't received word from Balthazar to be present in Scalvoristown on that night, that he ought to come on the earliest convenience on the 16th. When and if he arrived there, Woe would gift him the echo box, the echo scroll, and the vial of remembrance from the feast held by Saoire after the Forging. So that he would have as much back information on the issue as possible.

Woe would urge Kura to assign some researchers to join Varlum in his studies (if it were possible) in Ralaith's library, or at the very least allow them communication with him via echo scroll or holocom, to more efficiently divulge the secrets of Ralaith's library related to this mystery.

He would write Balthazar again, and urge him at the earliest convenience to investigate the Court of Miracles lead. He sent Wraps' contact details to him, telling him to assure him that 'Erebus' had sent the mage, and that he could be trusted to meet with Cobra wherever she was recruiting. Should he succeed in getting in and bringing them into the fold, he should beware of pirate moles.

The Mortalborn shared all of the pertinent information on his initial missive of six points to every receipient of an echo scroll, including Darius Baer. As a final point, he suggested the formation of a task force to investigate the research team at the Vault, and see if any of the researcher remained there, or where their findings might've gone.

He suggested Vega appoint someone for such an expedition, as she knew the mountains well and knew well who'd be up to such a task, perhaps take some scholars with the strike force. Woe would emphasize his hunch that the Warden had something to do with what's going on now, and that there may be information to be had from the Vault.

Finally, Once he had an answer from everyone, either in the form of consensus or confirmation of what they'd be doing, he'd share that information with Shania and ask again that she join him in petitioning Sotong for information, giving gifts to appease him and joining the Tea Party with Chrien on the 21st, if it was still taking place.

Once all the plans were laid for the next few missives, and confirmations were either had or at least confirmed to have gone through, Woe set about the rest of the business of the next four days.

He also sends the following letter to Vega: Letter, with all associated actions observed in that letter considered executed.

16th of Cylus

He assigned his diri of Commerce,
Radburn
Salvatore, to deliver a general
aid fund
, collecting from those willing to pitch in around the Island to empower the government with further funding. These funds were largely set to shore up the security and order of the island, and to do whatever was necessary to placate the island's inhabitants and ensure their needs were being met.

Next, he began spreading information and rumours around Scalvoristown, that the Council and Albarecht were working on something big to solve the current crisis, and that it would take widespread communication and cooperation from the populace to ensure its success. He set up a informal network of information sharing, if someone saw something suspicious to report it to one of Woe's contacts, who would be marked with a Green Letter 'E' on their clothing or armor.

Via Woe's ability to gather information by
word of mouth
. Also any findings they returned would be understandable as if Woe had witnessed them himself.

The rest of the time of the sixteenth, he spent sharing information necessary to the continued functions of the cities and government bodies, and through all of this he used what charm he had to calm the populace. Although Woe was more effective at person to person communication than as an Orator.

17th of Cylus

Woe prepared much of his liquidity to purchase and gain various treasures from the markets, infusing a large amount of currency into the pockets of the Merchant's Guild, as well as assorted people who were busy selling off their treasures in case of emergencies.

He did this to prepare a gift for Sotong, Akktava, and Chrien even perhaps, if she was amenable to gifts at all.

From the Glassblower's Union, he asked the guild mistress to create a glass statue of Fei, as an offering to Chrien. If at all possible, he would try to exploit any Immortal connections the Scalvorians had to gather references to Fei's true appearance, so that the statue resembled her as closely as possible.

This he would make as a personal offering to Chrien, for the Tea Party, if it was still going on. He also sent an echo scroll missive to Perdita:



Dear Perdita,

There's a crisis in Scalvoris that threatens the entire island. We've all seen it, the entire Island going up in flames in an instant.

There is a substance that is responsible for this potentiality. We cannot identify it, and do not know where it comes from, or who put it there. We believe the Warehouse in Gunvorton may be one of the places where this substance is hidden, but cannot be sure.

The substance reacts to those bearing the marks of immortals, magic, or other beings. This rules out much and many of those who defend Scalvoris.

I need your eyes in the Warehouse, if you're willing, to investigate what is going on. I will be in communication with the Gunvorton Leader, Shania, to arrange an investigation into that warehouse.

I wouldn't ask you if I didn't have the utmost trust in your abilities to take notes and render good visual evidence, as well as your ability to appraise things. If you should accept, I've given authorization for you to pass through the Ecliipse Portal in Rharne to Scalvoris.

Sincerely,
Woe.


Shortly afterward, he sent a quick note to Shania apprising her of the situation and the need to investigate the Warehouse. And that he'd be bringing in someone from the outside potentially to investigate what is going on in there.

Woe made known his plans and intelligence gathered to all his echo-scroll connections, including the network, Winston, and Balthazar. He also accepted Balthazar's invitation to investigate Slag's Deep, and with a heavy heart informed Winston that it might be best for himself not to be at the Tea Party, as Chrien might be enraged by his very presence, as he was the one who gave Kura shelter when Chrien attacked last time.

18th-20th of Cylus:

Whatever information Balthazar was able to gain from the Court of Miracles would be shared with the network, as well as any other information trickling in all the time from around the island. WOe did his best to filter the less credible accounts and sources, to form a more complete idea of what the Centipede was. On the nineteenth, he shared his findings on the Centipede as of present, that they were mostly made up of ancillary figures to people of power, servants and attaches and advisors. No one in a figurehead position as far as he could tell. Toward the end of this period, he joins Balthazar in Slag's Deep
Actions

Woe sends out lots of letters on the 15th and communicates with those located in Scalvtown.

He asks Kura to set up research help for Varlum, and communication through HOlocom or echo scroll.

He asks Vega to send someone to check out the Vault.

He gives an echo box and scroll, and vial of remembering the forging to Winston. He will accept a holocom if it is offered.

He sends Balthazar to investigate and find info on the Court of Miracles, using his own connections to Wraps as 'Erebus'. He also wants him to bring them on side if possible, but beware of spies among them.

He arranges a fund for shoring up the security of the island, and fixing problems where they pop up, riots and crime and relief efforts and the like with the 200 wp he's spending. His Diri of Commerce is facilitating this.

He spends much of his liquid wealth to purchase treasures, roughly 200 wp of it. Including a statue in Fei's likeness if such likeness can be procured from the memory of an Immortal who knew her well. This statue is meant as a gift for Chrien.

He sends word to Shania of what is going on, and that he needs her at the Tea Party, to Parlay with Sotong, the Akktava, and Chrien possibly.

At the last few days, he shares all the information that is collected through these methods, with the rest of the Network, and gives only pertinent information to any tangentially involved government agencies or entities besides.

He spends the final days of this period witih balthazar in Slag's Deep

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Last edited by Woe on Sun Feb 25, 2024 5:44 pm, edited 2 times in total. word count: 2085
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Often Woe will travel in disguise.
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Rorom
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Re: The Pirate Finale!

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15th of Cylus

In the wake of instant revelation, foreknowledge of what must never be, to the current moment pulled back from the brink of disaster, Rorom had an idea of how he could help the overall situation, beyond just running the supply of fish and goods of the sea to the rest of the Island. Mastrel could handle that much, he was as good a leader as Rorom, and with a much better head for logistics and moving resources. Rorom's strength was on the hunt, on the seas, chasing his quarry.

In this moment, his quarry was the answer to a question. Why hadn't Ishalir burned?

So he started preparing an expedition, gathering as much rations and long-range supplies as he could, leaving the rest of the bounty for Havardr to sustain itself. He had been accepted as Ishalir, in the moment where the island had burned, and he was now Ice-Forged. Although he'd only come to a tangential understanding of exactly what that mean, it was a commitment he took seriously. He would serve Havardr, Ishalir, and Scalvoris now, this was now his home berth. He'd found crew here, a home for his clan here, and his clan had its colors flying proudly above the Onyx Cascade, which had since been repaired from its tangle with the black whale.

Now he was ready to fulfill that promise. He sent a note via echo scroll to Kura with his intentions, to launch an expedition into Ishalir with his hardiest crew members, and some of the Havardreens. He was well supplied, but could benefit from picking up a University Scholar or two who could help with the study of Ishalir, when he swung by Scalvoristown.

That was the jist of his message. From there, he joined in the preparations and hauling luggage for their expedition.

Dana troubled him along the way. He'd already resolved to leave her on shore, where he deemed it was safe.

"It's no pleasure cruise, lass. This is a dangerous expedition, into a dungeon full of monsters, animals, perhaps ghosts and who knows what else." He muttered to her, as she chased at his heel.

"I can help! I'm not weak!" Dana growled.

Rorom couldn't help but smirk, "Aye and I intend to keep you strong, sos you be good and stay here with Mastrel."

"That old peg leg won't be able to handle me. Besides..." She said, her voice cracking, "You said you'd watch over me."

Rorom felt his disposition soften immediately, and she did have a point. He did promise to protect her. "Fine" He sighed, "But you'll be pullin' yer weight same as all."

Dana wiped away her tears, and threw her arms around his hip in a quick hug, before moving toward the Onyx Cascade, to help load up the ship as best she could.

Mastrel eyed her as he came up on Rorom, his good eye fixing Rorom in their green gaze. "Yer sure about tha'?"

Rorom shrugged, "I made a promise." He said, as he hefted the last of the supplies over his shoulder. "You sure you can run things well here?"

"Aye." Mastrel said, a twinkle in his good eye, "Jes don't let the island burn us up."

Rorom smirked, and shot back, "Les hope there aren't more torch-happy tunnel delvers about. That's all we need." Then he was off to help the rest of his crew disembark from the pier.

15-17th of Cylus

Not a lot to say here, Rorom sails from Havardr to Scalvoristown. He only stays a few breaks in Scalvoristown before setting off to Ishalir. He stays long enough to allow any researchers that have been found for the expedition to accompany them. If there was no word of any, he'd depart almost within a few breaks.

17-20th of Cylus

Rorom arrives at the Ishalir shores, and begins making base camp.

He unloads much of the goods they'll need, while leaving Mirq Zy'Azour in charge of the Onyx Cascade and the skeletal flavor crew that is keeping her moored off the shore.

The rest of his crew, the named folks from his clan are with him, the ones that have fighting skills mostly. Dana is also with him, but Rorom is cautious as they prepare to set off into the caves, to explore them.
Actions

15th of Cylus: Rorom is getting ready for an expedition to Ishalir. He leaves his first mate, Mastrel Ryj'Enaq in charge of Havardr while he's gone. He sends a message to Kura asking for researchers to be made available to his expedition after informing her of it.

15-17 Cylus: Mostly boat travel, as he goes to Scavloristown as his first port of call to pick up any researchers that Kura has provided him.

17-20 Cylus: Travel and then arrival and setting up of base camp at Ishalir. They've yet to delve the caves, and are just approaching them with a few armed members of his company.
NPCs taken with him

Specifically the npcs taken with him and their assignments are as follows:

Malmada: Guarding base camp.
Dana: Following Rorom into the Caves.
"Bones": Guarding Base camp.
Oreq D'jryn: Following Rorom into the caves.
Packy FIsher: Guarding base camp.
Craus: Following Rorom into the caves.
Parleg Fancy: Following Rorom into the caves.
Mirq Zy'azour: Commanding the Onyx Cascade at its moorings, with a skeletal crew of flavor crewmen.

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Winston
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Race: Cadouri
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Re: The Pirate Finale!

CHOOSE LIFE


15th Cylus (as the great event occurs)

Falling to his knees, he placed his hand on his chest as he received the full brunt of the impact of the memories and emotions of trying to push Angela through a Gateway to Saoire's Dream, in a panic, as his skin pealed off in the heat of the destruction of everything he knew and loved. The emotion of the Induks and pain, loss and shock of what could (so easily) happen, at any moment...

Joe
appeared beside him, his face more ghostly than it usually was, even for him. Winston looked up, nodded and panted with the effort of absorbing the new reality in which they would continue to exist.
"Me know... Me can't believe et."


"What will we do?"
Asked the Diri, not in a panic, but certainly desperate for direction from his forged partner-in-crime.

The ferret took a moment to solidify his resolve, swallowing hard and clearing his mind, throat and brushing down his outfit.
"We choose Life, Joe. We choose life and continue to choose life ontil et es no longa an option."


The two companions smiled at one another, happy to share in their resolve to press forward.
"De explosives are still, clearly a problem we don't know how to solve... but dem ar still jost a symptom af someting else. Someting else we will deal with ourselves."


And so, he continued to press on with his party planning. There were additional people to invite, on Vega's wise recommendation. This was a family affair and so the entire family should indeed be invited. As such, he sent out invitations to Ziell (via Bao) and Xiur (via Vega), Qylios (via Vega), and U'frek and Treid, by way of letters to the temples or people he could fine. Contacting Vega, Woe and anyone else he could to get in touch with the right people, he focused on making sure they were informed... Whether they came, would be up to them.

16th - 20th Cylus

On receipt of the news that Woe was commissioning a status in Fei's honor, Winston messaged him without delay.
Dear Mr Woe Sir,

Please refrain from building a statue of Fei. I believe it will be met very badly by Chrien. Based on what the Mer have told me about her history, such things, even built around Scalvaris in general, were a source of very great anguish for her, leading to her violent destruction of such things to try and remove the painful memories.

In truth, me don't really know her reasons, but the results were clear.

Regards,

Winston Miller.

Further to this, he included a communication to Kura, via Woe and others, to ensure the message being sent was heard. He didn't want to create a coe, but if people in charge were not making good choices, they were all doomed.

Dear Kura Mam,

Please excuse the impertinence of addressing you in this way, but I'm sure you are aware of the situation with Nir'wie and Varlum and the destruction that was so narrowly averted.

If not, please be aware, that we all died. In a timeline that Varlum diverted us from, the entire island was destroyed and everyone killed due to the poor management of the investigation process and careless meddling of Nir'wie. Blame is irrelevant at this point, as the only important thing is that it does not happen again.

I petition you, to the point of laying out that with the power of the Scanvaris Induks behind me, this cannot happen again.

Please ensure no one is working with these explosives unless they are working in teams and specialists in the outermost fringes of their fields of expertise... Or not at all. If you require assistance in this matter, please contact my team at the Lab in Rharne, they will be happy to assist.

Regards,

Winston Miller.
It was a kurt letter and might even be perceived as a threat, but there was genuinely no room to be unequivocally on the matter and the purpose of the Forged was to protect Scavalruis... even from itself.
"Dere. Et's done."
He said, placing his pen down. He was not really any good a writing letters, or at talking the lingo of politics, but he hoped the messages was clear enough to buy them the time they so sorely needed.

"What now?"
Queried the Forged Diri floating over his shoulder.

"Now we look at som af dis infarmashun dat Woe 'as been sharin' wid os. Dis glass es very interestin' an' dere may be sometin' we cun doh about dis chaos stoff... Me don't know yet."
He said as he sifted through the reports and scratched his head.
Action Summery
Winston's actions after the narrative and actions listed in this post have changed a little from his previous post. He is still running the tea party, but with a slightly different attendance and is also reviewing the explosives research done so far.

Timeline

15th: There is a slight change to the invitations sent out. The following are now invited:
  • The siblings of Chrien are now being invited:
    • Ziell (via Bao)
    • Xiur (via Vega)
    • Qylios (via Vega)
    • U'frek
    • Treid
  • Saiore
  • Ol'Tuck and the other Induks
  • The PCs from the 'brain trust' as before, i.e. Vega, Woe, Balth, Kura, Varlum, etc.
16th: Tell Woe not to make a status of Chrien's mother as it will likely enrage her.
16th -20th:
  • Arranges a slight change in direction for the party.
  • Reviews the information and research currently found on the explosives, their containers and what he now knows of the history of the Forging.
  • Continues with his preparations as per his previous post.
  • Writes to Kura with a petition/demand that experimentation on the explosives be halted.
  • Will provide Vega (and anyone else) any information he can on anything they ask for.
  • Offers Isonomia’s fleet of six ships to Vega for the evacuation efforts.
Thanks goes to Pyrre Ej'qy for inspiring this template
word count: 1016

Appearance

When standing at his full height, Winston towers a full 1 foot and one blueberry tall. A fact he will happily demonstrate before flicking said blue orb into the air with his nose and then eating it with a snappy grin.

His eyes are dark and sharp, ringed by dark brown fur upon the bright white fur that sets off across the rest of his face.

Equipement

Winston usually carries the following on his person:
  • Cassion's Locket hangs snugly around his neck.
  • Winston's Fairy Bell hangs from his tool-belt attached to his hip. It's 'ringer' is often bound by a small piece of cloth to prevent it giving away his position while in the wilderness.
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Balthazar Black
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Re: The Pirate Finale!


Cylus 724
15 Cylus 724 - Berlwin's Bow Out Boom!
Balthazar targeted Berlwin's Brews on the fifteenth because of the poisons he had found in the stockpiles under The Kennels. Berlwin was one of the more renowned poison makers- or had been before his untimely demise. It couldn't be a coincidence. When he arrived it was a lot like Dukahrn's. The building was locked up but it looked like the rioting had still hit hard. The windows were smashed and a quick portal into the building revealed that the interior wasn't much better off. The shelves of reagents and poisons had been stripped but it was strange. Not everything was gone. Balthazar's experience with alchemy helped him identify a few reagents in various bottles which had been knocked over and either broken or been abandoned on the floor.

Remus, Berlwin's 'replacement' had fled in a hurry. He must have only taken was most important to him which might of included-

Yep. When Balthazar checked the stockpile beneath Berlwin's he found a few dozen empty crates. If everything tracked the same that meant barrels had weapons, marked barrels had the explosive, and crates had an assortment of poisons. It seemed that Remus kept most of his supply down in his stockpile. Perhaps that was why he'd been unable to take more. No. Balthazar returned to the main room of the shop and looked around again. Things had been knocked over while moving them. That didn't indicate he had no space. It indicated that he'd been in a rush to gather everything before leaving. Balthazar looked around for any sign of a necklace with a charm like the one he'd found at the inn but he found nothing. If Remus had one it was likely on the poisoner.

He didn't find a necklace. Instead he found a strange coin laying beneath some inanimate debris. Balthazar knelt down and pulled the plate piece of metal free. He'd mistaken it for a nel at first glance and- why not take a free nel? However as soon as he felt the cold, smooth metal on each side of the coin he realized it wasn't a nel at all. It wasn't even like that strange enchanted coin he had. As his eyes washed over each corner he noticed that the only details on this coin were on the edges. He let his fingers trace the shape first and then looked over it with his eyes. It was a... many legged creature. Not a dragon. No. A bug maybe? Was he projecting that thought because the coin was small. No. It was definitely a bug. The problem was that Balthazar had very little experience with bugs. The only reason he came to the conclusion he did come to, was because he had already heard the name in his time.

Centipede.

Then it happened. Balthazar felt the wind surge around him and he had to forcefully stop flames from erupting near him. Something was changed. The elements surged forward to protect him from some destruction he hadn't seen coming but stopped. The danger was delayed. That was when the visions pierced his mind. It was wildly disorienting and uncomfortable. Balthazar gained more information in a few trills than he had throughout trials of investigation. He saw his own work but also the work of others all across the island. He saw the scope of a doom they were failing to prevent. He saw all of the land turned to cinders in a breath. It was too much, but being overwhelmed was not unfamiliar to the mage. He took a breath and looked at the world around him.

The abandoned poison shop still stood. Time continued to trek forward and they had not stopped the enemy behind all this. He would need more time to consider all he had seen but for the moment he forced his mind back to the questions he had been considering before the vision. If he lost that train of thought he would never get it back. The rest could be pondered later thanks to the gift that Vri kept giving.

Earlier questions being: Where had everyone gone in such a hurry? Where was the safe place that these criminals were going to hide? Was there one? There had to be some sanctuary that they were using... but where? Well now he had some idea where they might have gone. Where was it, exactly, that hadn't been turned to ashes in a trill? If the enemy had not gone to further shores, they must have been somewhere near the places which hadn't been destroyed.

Balthazar pondered that for the rest of the trial while he wrote out his report to Kura. He had an uncomfortable thought brewing now. If time was running out they were going to need someone who knew better than them. In his heart he wanted to turn to Vri, or Ilaren, or even Qylios for some guidance- but if they turned to the immortals to solve everything they had failed to see coming, they would never be ready for the next time.

No. They needed someone who'd been around for a while... but Balthazar wasn't convinced yet. Kura was making her own moves to restore stability and introducing an old Element might cause problems.

Balthazar returned to his office and found a letter from Winston with a plan that seemed... optimistic given the terrible vision that had just shaken the island. He had to remind himself that if anyone could do it, it would be Winston. The genius ferret had survived Yaralon according to his own claims, he could survive a lot... but Balthazar would consider lending any help he could. He collected his captains to talk about what they'd seen and what they wanted to do next. While they had learned things that were worth investigating, Balthazar was not blind to mortality. If the fate they saw had come to pass, all of the Black Cats would have perished. Balthazar wanted to give them the choice to run. He would do what he could on his own. He would take the risk but he wouldn't command them to. It was a very, very complicated and heated meeting.

Not all of The Black Cats had been born in Scalvoris but that was where the mass of their numbers came from. Lyanna was the only one really born in this land and she had few ties left to it. She hadn't been opposed to finding safety. Robin and Croft had insisted on seeing the work through- but Balthazar felt like that was only because they wanted to seem brave. It was hard to know how others would react to the knowledge they could have been killed. Even harder when those people were acting under your leadership.

Only a short while after, Balthazar realized he had a message from Woe as well. An urgent dispatch to investigate an organized group of thieves. Since Woe felt it was urgent, he wouldn't wait for the next trial to investigate into it. He could let the politics of survival sit until he had no enemies left to hunt down.

Unfortunately they had no way to know that their enemy had not shared the same vision that they had. Their enemy didn't see the destruction. Why not?
15 Cylus 724 - Looking For A Miracle
In another time Balthazar might not have followed up the leads Woe discovered about this mysterious 'Court of Miracles' for a few more trials. However his friend had reached out with an urgent request. Given the visions they'd all seen, Balthazar acted the same trial he'd received the request. He and the rest of the Black Cats decided that it was more important to track down what Woe thought was an active recruiting site than it was to look into another, probably abandoned, building. Croft had suggested using the journal again but Balthazar shot the idea down. They only had one more use of it this season and he wanted to save it for whatever 'sanctuary' they thought they could find. Faldrass and Ishallr had secrets which had protected them from the blast. The journal would be able to lay those secrets bare if they had no other choice.

For now, they knew their enemies were moving and the stockpiles were being cleared. Kura, or Vega now, had the Elements working on the tunnels and maintaining order, Balthazar would focus on the businesses. They seemed to be the root of much discontent.

'The Lost Prospect Inn' was a business and fell under the umbrella of The Merchant Guild's responsibility. He could have gone to give them a 'check up' but it didn't seem fitting given the intelligence they had about the location. Balthazar knew very little about The Court of Miracles so when he found out that they were operating out of Almund and they had dealings with the pirates, he was surprised it had slipped his notice. He wanted to find out what they were about and that was just something 'Balthazar Black' couldn't do. Nor could Robin, Croft, or even Lyanna. Any familiar face would have been recognized by a collective of thieves. He could make the argument through Lyanna that he was amenable to their side- but that sort of negotiation and persuasion would take too long.

Fortunately, Balthazar didn't need to wear a familiar face. He went into one of the many abandoned buildings that he had visited in the prior trials as 'Balthazar Black' and he came out as 'Orik'. He was both Balthazar and not. The same man but instead now a tan, bald headed, thick bearded biqaj who stood half a foot shorter than Balthazar with a wider build. He still had the dim glowing band around his arm but he covered his other marks with a thick shirt and gloves.

Orik was the face that would seek out the leads Woe had provided using the skills Balthazar had developed.

In truth, Balthazar had very little faith that he'd find anything investigating The Court of Miracles. He suspected he would only find what he had found everywhere else- fleeing figures of power who sat either on or behind the throne for their businesses. However, if there were people to talk to he wanted to be ready- hence he was now Orik. He set out for this 'Lost Prospect Inn' to try and make contact with Cobra and her larger group using his overwhelming, and often unexpected/unused charisma.

He'd keep an eye out for strange things. The little things other people wouldn't have noticed because they hadn't walked the same path. He knew these groups had identifying trinkets now and he had a decent ability to detect them- but that would only get him so far. The rest would depend on his other abilities. The first step was to make contact with this 'Wraps' figure as Orik. Finding him, if he was in Almund, would be trivial. After that he needed to convinced Wraps to connect him with Cobra and Cobra to connect him with the rest of the Court. He had a feeling it was going to be a long endeavor.
16 Cylus 724 - The Merchant Guild Mishap
Someone in the building was guilty and Balthazar knew it. This was the trial he would investigate those who he worked closest with in the guild. It was one way to keep his mind on the investigation he'd begun and not on the looming questions the vision presented. Faldrass... he needed to go back to Faldrass... but not yet. First, The Merchant's Guild. He sent out what he had discovered the trial before in the early hours of the current trial so that no one fell far behind in communication. It was in those early breaks that he also considered the temporary Militant's suggestion. He'd never been so Slag's Deep. Egilrun didn't strike him as the most mage friendly place but given the circumstances, no where was safe regardless. He had to wrap up the Merchant Guild work first. The information about who was missing from there would be needed for Vega.

The moment he walked into the headquarters for the Merchant's Guild where his secondary office resided, he could feel eyes shift towards him. They always did because of the mutations but this time they lingered. Maybe he just looked good on the trial but Balthazar doubted that. He hadn't been as subtle about his investigating the abandoned businesses. By the sixteenth word had certainly gone around that the 'Officer of Bars' was checking in on everyone. The riots gave the criminals a cover to escape and Balthazar a cover to investigate. He went to his office first and shut the door. It was important that people think he was just paying a normal visit to the office.

After a few bits of going through the letters that hadn't been redirected to the Black Cat's yet, Balthazar went out to 'socialize with his coworkers.' It was honestly a relief to have people to talk to. The girls at Nellies had been traumatized so he had been delicate in questioning them but around the proverbial 'water cooler' Balthazar was able to be a bit more coy and charismatic. He wouldn't say he was 'having fun with it' but he was enjoying it more than walking around abandoned buildings that had been pillaged in the riots. Balthazar ended up spending the whole trial in his office at the Guild Headquarters but the time was used much like a stake out.

After his first trip out to talk with others, he left his door open so he could see out into the headquarters throughout the trial. He tried not to think about what was directly beneath all their feet while he worked. Instead he thought about the idea he had the night before. It might not work. It might do more harm than good. It never had before but he seemed to keep getting things wrong. He wished Elisabeth was there. He wanted her opinion. He wanted to talk to her. He- he was actually glad she was missing in some ways. If Scalvoris had been reduced to ash- at least she might have survived it. That was... something.

Balthazar stood abruptly and left his office so he could focus on the investigation. A few local merchants were passing through and he spoke with them about the 'wild rumors' and strange difficulties facing their businesses but it was difficult to pin anything down for certain. Every person he spoke too, he looked at carefully to see if they were wearing a hidden necklaceAll-Seeing: Balthazar's senses have been refined so thoroughly that they allow him the ability to perceive the presence of sentient beings, creatures and objects hidden by any sort of mundane barrier (hollow floors, shadows, buildings, boxes, concealed weapons, etc). When actively focusing his senses to search his surroundings Balthazar gains a perfect sense of anything concealed through conventional/non-magic means within his range of perception. Using all of his senses he can gather basic information about hidden subjects (size, person or animal, etc.) but overcoming the concealment and interacting with whatever is hidden would require other abilities.

It is important to note that this ability works to counter passive concealment the majority of the time. If someone or something were to actively attempt to hide from Balthazar it would require a Tier 2 level ability or skill to match his level of detection
like those he'd found in Nellies and the Scalvoris Sapphire Inn. He couldn't assume anything based on the presence of similar necklace alone but- it would still be useful to get an estimate of who had them and who didn't. Most of the smaller business owners didn't seem to be wearing them. Really, most of the people he saw didn't seem to be wearing them.

Over the course of the trial Balthazar began to notice things that were unusual for how the Merchant's Guild normally functioned- even in Cylus. Unusual in a way that even the recent rioting didn't justify. Everyone should have been more busy, like he was, but instead certain people were missing. He didn't know their names but he remembered their faces. He always saw them going into and come out of their offices. He made sure to ask around about the missing members when he made his next social trip through the offices.

It seemed that a large number of people with very particular viewpoints had taken a trip to 'get away from it all' or 'spend some time with family.' No one wanted to explain what 'particular viewpoints' meant to the Officer of Bars but Balthazar was able to grind them down with brief but valid points about why he was the best person to tell. When it finally came out, he recognized some of the sentiments. They aligned with the factions Kura had mentioned. Two of which Balthazar had personal experience with. The Church of Eternal Mercies had tried to kill a friend of his. The Crafter's had kidnapped Anton Callipo and put him in- oh... Oh, you're an idiot Balthazar Black.

He was disappointed but never showed it. The other merchants didn't notice or at least they didn't seem to. After a while of two parts subtle prying, and one part otherwise idle chat about gossip, Balthazar returned to his office with a vague idea of the Merchant Guild's involvement. He was going to have to spend the rest of the trial at the headquarters to find out more. He had to make sure not to ask the same people the same questions twice. Anyone who came in would get added to the mental list. Eventually, everyone would be questioned. It would just take time to confirm his suspicions.

It was very possible that members of the guild were in factions. The Merchant's Guild was arguably a faction. That wouldn't have been unusual. The usual thing was that they were all leaving the island at the same time. They'd coordinated. These groups were coming together somehow and he could suspect why. He knew certain parts of the ideology for the groups overlapped but he'd never have considered it would be enough.

One of the groups just happened to believe the best way to do that was to burn it all and rise from the ashes. Balthazar found himself back in his office staring at the necklace with the phoenix charm. He took a breath and began to work out a report for Kura with what he had found and with his peculiar request. If these groups were so mad about change and the Albarech's efforts to enforce control, let them be hunted by the Militant they wanted.

Once that was done he'd spend the rest of trial continuing his investigation at the Merchant Guild Headquarters and doing his best not to empathize with the people of Scalvoris who had prepared their island for doom.
16 Cylus 724 - My Precious
Sitting around at the headquarter of the Merchant Guild and spying on the activities of the members left Balthazar with significant time to catch up on his writing and letters. He spent a portion of his time that trial getting all that he knew down into several copies of the same report for Croft to send out once he returned to the Black Cat's building. The messages that could be delivered immediately were (via echo scrolls or diri who could find the way) but all of them were sent out sooner or later.

The basic premise of the information was the same as anyone who'd seen the visions would have known but now it was in writing. Since word seemed to be out about the explosives already, Balthazar was becoming less concerned about his message security. He didn't let any safety measures slip yet because there had to be a leak somewhere. As soon as his journal told him about the bombs, he told Kura and ten trials later all of Almund was in a panic. All and all it seemed information got out as soon as it was sent out. Funny how that worked.

He didn't feel it was his place to make suggestions but when he found out that current thought was to have Viden look into the explosives. He didn't like it but he understood that they needed to so something. He wrote a quick message and had it sent to Kura.
'Albarech,

You are no stranger to the damage that was done when I attempted to move the explosive. I was lucky it was not worse. However unless the explosive was made in the tunnels, it should be possible to move some. We've learned more about it than we knew when I tried. I will trust your judgement. We know what could go wrong.

Alternatively, while I understand the importance of finding a way to disable these explosives, I'm unsure that it is safe to let Viden study it. Who knows where that knowledge will go after they help us- if they are able to find a way to help. I understand no option looks perfect regarding the explosives.

I will be investigating Slag's Deep or the Vault in the coming trials. If I discover anything related to the explosives there I will let you and the temporary Militant know as quickly as possible.

Balthazar Black'


That done, he wrote a message to Woe. While he wrote he considered the progress they'd made so far. There were so many little pieces coming to light that it was hard to see it all. The further out he pulled, the more he saw the big picture but he couldn't seem to get far enough away to see it all clearly. Everywhere he went he just found more ransacked and looted buildings. Their enemy was ahead of them. They needed a shortcut to get back in the lead but it seemed the last shortcut nearly ended them all. Wait-

Looted.

He sat forward in his office chair and tilted his head slightly. Did that qualify? It wasn't kidnapping but... technically the rioters had stolen from the places they broke into? Assuming it wasn't all cleaned out by the owners. Wait- no!

Balthazar almost banged his knees standing at his desk. It didn't have to be a recent crime. It only had to be a crime he knew about. Any victim. Even those who were trying to destroy them all now. Any suspect who owned a business that had ever been burgled or otherwise had a crime commit to them could be tracked down with the ring. He didn't have to wonder where they were going to hide- he could generate a line directly to them.

He just needed to get his ring and try.
17 Cylus 724 - Burn The Poison Out
It had been approved on the sixteenth but Balthazar needed the rest of the trial to finish following his leads and preparing for his trip to Slag's Deep. He wanted his vague image to become clearer and the Warden was clearly a part of it. He had one outstanding appointment to keep so early on the seventeenth, Balthazar went to where Rand was being monitored. He had a single goal and only one method of achieving it. He wasn't sure it would work but they needed the Militant back. They needed another set of eyes on what they were doing. Another voice of reason. Balthazar was the only one with the particular power that he had. It wasn't domain magic. It wasn't a mark. It wasn't granted to him through his forging. Whatever was keeping Rand in a coma shouldn't have been able to get worse... but Balthazar thought the explosives wouldn't go off on him.

Ironic, Nir'wei probably thought the same. The only difference was the scale.

Regardless of his doubt, he would attempt to wake Rand from his coma.Flames of Lovalus - Lovalus has granted Balthazar the ability to conjure and manipulate a stream of purple flames which can encompass an individual or a large building (up to tier 4 in size, meaning three average rooms and a small room worth of space) in need of healing/repair. This purple flame is nothing like any conventional form of fire. Rather than give off heat, it seems to emit a cooling sensation like water and rather than burn it repairs damage done to whatever in surrounds slowly. This can be used to heal mortal wounds but it can not be used to restore life. Alternatively the flames can restore whatever building they encompass to immaculate condition, repairing damage done to foundations, windows, walls, etc. The purple flames leave a slightly damp sensation that lingers for a few bits after use and do not spread like normal flames would, they only spread as directed by Balthazar. These flames can only be conjured once a trial and require concentration to maintain, which in combination with their slow progress makes them ineffective in combat If it worked, the Elements would regain a useful ally for Vega to utilize or assist in her temporary role. If not, shame.

Either way Balthazar would attempt to use his magic ring again on another business owner to generate a second trail. If the two trails pointed the same direction he could infer they were close together. If they went diverging directions... he was going to need to look at a map for some ideas.
17 Cylus 724 - We're Going On A Trip
He often forgot the benefit of living in Scalvoris. It was one of the initial things that had drawn him to the islands- apart from his old flame Isabella. The island was, in the grand scheme, fairly small. Travel that took others two trials by boat could be achieved in mere breaks by a mage like him. He couldn't get everywhere alone, for example Slag's Deep itself was a little beyond his immediate range, but he didn't need to do it himself.

He had a steed.

He was bringing Lyanna with him because he thought she had skills he'd need in the prison. She was less thrilled about riding on back of Simula than she was about the idea of seeing the prison. After sufficiently packing a bag with the items he thought he would need and a bag with comfortable, dark clothing, Balthazar took to the skies on his winged horse, Simula. The bone-like pattern across her body almost made it look like the mage was riding a skeletal horse from a distance.

Slag's Deep, prepare for boarding.
18-20 Cylus 724 - Deep Troubles
The fortress that was Slag's Deep was far more foreboding than The Tower- and the Tower was pretty bad. The Tower stopped marks and magic the last time Balthazar had seen it. Hopefully Slag's Deep wasn't as equip. They had a section for magic criminals which, Balthazar felt, would imply that not all of the fortress was designed to stop magic. Maybe it was haunted like the Sentry had been before they purged it with the Zuuda... Balthazar's mind traced back slightly to the Tower. He was going to be busy with Slag's Deep but someone really ought to look into the mysterious tower just looming over the islands.

He had brought Lyanna with him because he thought that her experience with locks might come in handy. She seemed excited. All of her life she thought the only way she was going to see the inside of Slag's Deep was if she got arrested. Now she was going to get a free tour! Balthazar also expected to meet with Woe inside the facility, per their prior communications. He had to admit he liked the idea of having Woe with him on the trip rather than having Woe look into the Vault while he looked into the prison- or vice versa. Strength in numbers.

The only concern was that their number was three. It was hard to get three people out of a collapsing situation. It was easy to get yourself out.

He brought Simula down a short walk from the fortress Lyanna squeezed him on the landing. He was still not the best at landing but Simula knew what to do. They went the rest of the way on foot. Even the Scalvwing seemed uneasy as they came nearer to the prison but she was trained better than to abandon Balthazar due to simple unease. The prison was sat on one of the highest peaks, Shatter Peak. Ironically named given how sturdy the fortress seemed. There were Elements standing guard outside the building who shifted to attention when Balthazar came closer. At first they saw a threat, but as he came into view they recognized him.

Most Element's recognized him sooner or later. The tricky part was working with whether they seemed happy or disappointed when they did recognize him. These two seemed relieved. They'd been waiting for him. That was an unusual reaction. He'd have to adapt to that. How long had they been standing guard waiting while the world around them could burn at any moment? That took discipline the mage diverted to other focuses.

Balthazar introduced Lyanna as one of the experts working with his team and said nothing more about her qualifications. They didn't need to know why she was there. They knew enough to do their job. Once the greetings and official business was behind them, they brought Balthazar to the Egg who was waiting for him.

Actions / Abilities
Actions:
15 Cylus 724 - Investigates Berlwin's Brews and discovers it was been cleared out, but oddly enough, it seems it was cleared out in a hurry. Useful reagents are gone but not everything. The stockpile of weapons/poisons has been cleared out. He discovers a coin implicating Centipede's involvement before being struck with the visions of Scalvoris blowing up and all the stuff around it.
- Exchanged messages with various other individuals. (Woe/Court of Miracles, Winston/ Tea Party, Vega/Slags Deep and Vault watch, etc.)
-He attempts to follow up on Woe's lead about the Court of Miracles for the rest of that trial.

16 Cylus 724 - Investigates The Merchant Guild and determines that various members had beliefs lining up with factions like The Crafters, Church of Eternal Mercies, and what he assumes the Phoenix faction believe based on their mascot. Everyone of substantial influence/power has fled to safety. He reports this to everyone relevant and asks for permission to try and wake Rand from his coma.
- He also compiles everything he knows/has found into reports and has them delivered to the relevant groups.
- For Kura and Vega, he will point out that it feels very much like they are following a trail but not preventing the enemy's plan's execution based on what he has found at all the abandoned businesses.
- Attempts to use his Magic Ring (listed below) to create a path leading him to any one of the suspicious business owners. The crime they are the victim of is assumed to be looting (since the rioting just happened) so Balth will start by trying to find any one of the people who vanished with their stockpile of weapons. However, if looting doesn't apply, he would use his role as Office of Bars to try and find information on other crimes. The ring has no limit on when the crime was commit and all of the business were in Almund- in his mind someone had crime happen to them. (Berlwin, if not him, Nellie 2.0, if not her, the Scalvoris Sapphire people- etc. )

17 Cylus 724 - Attempts to heal Rand from his coma. If successful, he'll fill Rand in on what if happening. If not, now they know that the damage to Rand isn't physical. So, someone needs to look at non-physical coma causes.
- He also attempts to use his magic ring again on a second missing business owner to narrow down possible locations before following the trails. (Two trails going one way says one thing, two trails going two ways says another)
- Sets off for Slag's Deep using portals and a flying horse to get there as fast as he can (should be pretty fast).

18 - 20 Cylus 724 - Investigating Slag's Deep with Woe. Will report everything he discovers to Kura, Woe (if he didn't see it too), Vega, and his NPCs.
- It is worth noting that he will still have the ring actively tracking the movements of the two missing people he targets. So he will know the direction they are, relative to Slag's Deep and Almund.
- Checks messages and items as usual for information.

Abilities / Items Used:
Tier 2
- All SeeingBalthazar's senses have been refined so thoroughly that they allow him the ability to perceive the presence of sentient beings, creatures and objects hidden by any sort of mundane barrier (hollow floors, shadows, buildings, boxes, concealed weapons, etc). When actively focusing his senses to search his surroundings Balthazar gains a perfect sense of anything concealed through conventional/non-magic means within his range of perception. Using all of his senses he can gather basic information about hidden subjects (size, person or animal, etc.) but overcoming the concealment and interacting with whatever is hidden would require other abilities.

It is important to note that this ability works to counter passive concealment the majority of the time. If someone or something were to actively attempt to hide from Balthazar it would require a Tier 2 level ability or skill to match his level of detection.

Capstones
Intelligence:
- C.S.IBalthazar has investigated so many crime scenes and explored so much criminal behavior that he has learned to very easily identify the signs of organized criminal activity. After being in a city for 20 trials or more, he will have collected sufficient information from his sources to know about the organized crime groups and notorious individuals there. He may not know individual member names without further investigation, but he knows where to look. In role-play terms, this means that he has access to information about criminal organization / gangs which is usually restricted and gets it without risk to himself or his own identity being discovered unless he does something very stupid.
- Cracks in the FoundationBalthazar has traveled to so many different cities and worked with their respective governments while gathering intelligence that he had learned how to easily identify the signs of corruption. After being in a city for 20 trials or more, he will have collected sufficient information from his sources to know about the corrupt military officials and politicians there. He may not know the details of their corruption without further investigation, but he knows where to look. In role-play terms, this means that he has access to information about corrupt politicians, guards, and other prominent figures within the organizations he knows about which would usually be restricted and he gets it without risk to himself or his own identity being discovered unless he does something very stupid.
Investigation:
- Well Aimed BrickBalthazar has carried out a number of investigations where things have gone awry and / or have turned out to be much more than what he thought he was investigating. While it has gotten him into trouble in the past, he has learned to use it to his advantage. Now, should he happen across something unexpected in his investigation, he somehow manages to work it to his advantage - even if he should find himself in a completely unexpected situation during an investigation, he is able to turn it around. It does not guarantee success in all situations, but gives Balthazar the prognostication to see when the situation is getting out of hand and attempt to fix it before others of his skill would.

This is a story-focused capstone and allows for plot twists both in solos, collaborative threads and in moderated threads.

- Beyond the VeilArcs of working cases as a detective have given Balthazar ample experience with liars, cheats, and criminals who seem to frequently perform similar tells when fibbing. As a result Balthazar has become so adept at recognizing the signs of deception during interrogation that he has learned how to tell the difference between the truth and lies when questioning individuals, be it one or multiple. While this ability does not give him a sense of how much a suspect or suspects know, it allows him to discern whether or not they are responding to him truthfully. When faced with individuals who are as good at deceiving as he is at investigating (individuals with capstones to counter it), Balthazar would be unable to tell perfectly whether they speak the truth or not.
- The Exchange PrincipleIn forensic science there is a principle which indicates, in simple terms, that any two things which come into contact leave an impression on each other. Forensic evidence is crucial to all investigations and Balthazar has worked so many crime scenes that his skills in the field have developed to the point that he is able to identify any forensic evidence in a crime scene that would be able to link the investigation to a suspect. With this capstone, if there is evidence to find that has been left behind from a crime, Balthazar will find it the first time he visits the scene.
Socialization/Persuasion:
- Criminal IntentWhile he is widely known as a private investigator and former Element, Balthazar has learned to flip his reputation to persuade criminals and those who would be otherwise deterred by his history in law enforcement to speak as openly with him as they would with anyone they could trust. He has learned how to convincingly persuade criminals and others performing illegal deeds that his experience with the law makes him an asset and not a threat, given how it ended for him. With this ability Balthazar is able to insert himself peacefully into criminal or illegal environments as easily as anyone else of his skill level without his reputation would be able to. While this ability focuses on NPCs, PC characters should take this into account as well- though their reaction to him ultimately depends on the PC.
- Magnetic PersonalityBalthazar has attempted and failed enough efforts in negotiation that he has developed a subtle but useful counter to his failure. By leaning on his supernatural and mundane abilities, Balthazar has learned to convince whoever he attempts to negotiate with that even if they do not want what he is offering them specifically, he is an asset that they do want. This ability ensures that even if initial negotiations fail, the party opposite of Balthazar will present a few other options in an attempt to convince him to work with them rather than simply being willing to let him leave empty-handed. While the opposite party may not present terms Balthazar finds agreeable, they will present terms with the intent to convince him to join them.

This ability focuses specifically on NPCs and would not change how a PC feels about Balthazar, however it would hopefully be taken into account.

- For A Few Words LessBalthazar has always had a habit of choosing to strike first and strike hard in combat which has slowly bled into his social habits. Rather than learn to speak endless volumes to persuade people to act according to his will, he has learned how to effectively target and attack the arguments and stances of others to convince them that his idea is best while using remarkably few words. While using this ability Balthazar comes across as far more convincing by slowly dismantling the opposing arguments of those around him rather than reinforcing his own idea. The longer someone of lesser social skill attempts to debate an issue with him, the more effective Balthazar's persuasion becomes as the vice of Balthazar's 'logic' tightens around the debate.

While this ability allows Balthazar to succeed in short term socialization, it is less effective in the long term when individuals have had time to consider and affirm their positions on issues. This means that while Balthazar could persuade an individual to agree with his view on a topic or subject, he could not convince them to betray anything that they valued with long term commitments. For example he might be able to convince a pro-slavery ruler that slavery was bad in the moment, but he could not convince them to outlaw it entirely on the spot.

This ability is focused on NPC and will not impact how a PC perceives Balthazar, but it should be taken into consideration.

- Poison TongueThe proper words, if said at the right time in the right ears, can be as damaging to a relationship as a dagger in the back. Balthazar has learned, through his own social failures, what the right words are in most situations to turn an individual or group against another individual or group. With this ability Balthazar can more easily persuade individuals to exclude, ignore, and distrust others through a subtle application of rumors, facts and his social charisma. Individuals targeted by this ability will find Balthazar and those he vouches for more reliable and trustworthy than those he speaks ill of, opening new opportunities to him. In the short term, this can make Balthazar seem more fit for tasks than others he speaks poorly of in his group. In the long term, this could make Balthazar's seem more trustworthy than other established institutions.

This ability is focused on NPCs though PCs would hopefully take it into account.

Detection:
- Reverse Reading (For if someone tries to write a message around him)Throughout arcs of watching people write reports and a few of having to write reports himself, Balthazar has honed his sense of sight and muscle memory to interpret handwriting he can see no matter what angle he sees it from. In practice this ability allows Balthazar to know what someone is writing, as they are writing it, based on the movements of their hands while they are writing, regardless of the angle he sees it from. This ability only works when Balthazar can see the subject's hands or writing utensil moving as it requires him to at least see his target for it to function. Additionally, if it is being written in a language he does not know or a code, he would need applicable skills to understand it since this ability only allows him to know what is being written down.
- It Really Feels Like (For if someone tries to spy on him)Throughout arcs under the eye of governments concerned about mages and criminals looking to set up ambushes, Balthazar has developed a general sense of when he is being watched. When being observed through mundane or arcane means that he can perceive, Balthazar feels a strange sensation like an itch on the scars across his body. The location of sensation felt on the scars is specific enough that Balthazar can tell, in general, the direction and distance from which he is being watched.
Abilities
- Flames of Lovalus (to try and heal Rand)Lovalus has granted Balthazar the ability to conjure and manipulate a stream of purple flames which can encompass an individual or a large building (up to tier 4 in size, meaning three average rooms and a small room worth of space) in need of healing/repair. This purple flame is nothing like any conventional form of fire. Rather than give off heat, it seems to emit a cooling sensation like water and rather than burn it repairs damage done to whatever in surrounds slowly. This can be used to heal mortal wounds but it can not be used to restore life. Alternatively the flames can restore whatever building they encompass to immaculate condition, repairing damage done to foundations, windows, walls, etc. The purple flames leave a slightly damp sensation that lingers for a few bits after use and do not spread like normal flames would, they only spread as directed by Balthazar. These flames can only be conjured once a trial and require concentration to maintain, which in combination with their slow progress makes them ineffective in combat.
- Eidetic (Cause he is using his big brain for a lot)Those marked by Vri aren’t able to forget anything they have been exposed to or seen within their lifetime. The marked can recall events, conversations, and picture moments with perfect clarity, no matter what time frame within their life they draw the memory from.

Items
- Transformer's Timepiece (Used to become someone else to infiltrate The Court of Miracles/Larger Villain Group)A Sorelian Steel pocket watch that is ornately designed and twice a season turns the wearer into a true sorcerer of shapes for a full trial, allowing them to shift their bodies into most anything they can imagine that is humanoid in nature, including any native Idalosian race. The user has complete control of what they look like, within the extent of the mortal sentient races of Idalos. More complex transformations will show signs of reversal within seven breaks or half a trial but if the transformation is reversed within the trial of opening the watch, the user can assume a different transformation.
- Ring of Renown (Attempts to find the victim of looting- order of investigations in the post)A a silver ring that when worn on his finger, imbues the wearer, with an ability similar to Gwelliph's Show Yourself. When worn on his finger, Balthazar gains the ability to meditate on a crime he knows information about. After adequately thinking about the crime Balthazar's eyes begin to glow a bright blue and he is able to see a glowing, blue, mist-like trail leading to either the victim of the crime or the last place they were. The trail does not take into account the environment and therefore moves straight through obstacles rather than around them. This ability works no matter how long ago the crime was committed. The ring can only be activated once per trial and lasts until the victim is found or the search is consciously abandoned. Balthazar can only maintain two trails at a time.
- The Liberator's Journal (Since it updates if people are killed by violence and it is attuned to Scalvoris Town)A blooded leather bound notebook, intricately decorated and enchanted with an ability similar to the Krorros' Eternal Dominion. Four times a Cycle, or twice a season, this ability allows the owner (Balthazar) to become aware of the exact resources, strength, weaknesses, and defenses of any city he stands within. This information presents itself as writing within the tome when it is opened that only the owner can interpret. If this is a city under his control, he can never be lost (the journal will construct a map to guide him) and will always be aware of when life is taken by violence within his area (also presented as writing in the tome). This allows Balthazar to be a terrifying sovereign in any city, town, or village he takes and additionally a spy of unprecedented ability. The owner must spent at least a trial in the city they wish to evaluate and when they leave the journal will have the measure of strength, defenses, and weaknesses of that military. While the details are not precise, the owner can learn a general approach to conquering the city, if it is even possible with the resources they have. While standing in the midst of an army after standing in another army or city, the journal will show… in a general sense, how a confrontation between those two forces might go. While this is not exactly what will occur (as many factors decide the course of an occupation or battle), this information itself is valuable.
Last edited by Balthazar Black on Tue Mar 05, 2024 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 8095

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Darius Baer Bottom
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Re: The Pirate Finale!

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Arc 724, 11th of Cylus
"I predict a riot."

Darius was reading a missive he had received from Red, his contact in Almund. There were rumours of explosives beneath the city where she resided, and those rumours had since grown to include Scalvoris Town.

"Do you think there's any truth to it?"


"I don't know if there are really explosives, but the people clearly think there are. Fear spreads quickly, even if it isn't based on reality."

"Wasn't there a missive from the Albarech?"


Darius and Astra had been somewhat removed from the settlement following their harrowing time in Sweetwine, and were still playing a bit of catchup.

The settlement leader unfurled the document from Kura. He had read it before, but had been distracted.

"I wonder if this is what the Albarech was referring to when she wrote 'infiltration'," he muttered under his breath, before another aspect of the earlier message caught his eye. "But why isn't she having the Elements look into it?"

The Elements had already lost some respect for their perceived inactivity during the pirate attacks, and this unusual revelation did nothing to earn any of it back.

Darius immediately sat down and wrote a return missive to Red, asking her to investigate further.

Keep your ear to the ground, he wrote, and let me know what you hear.

Shortly after that, he received a note from Kura to confirm that explosives had indeed been found. And then he received the first knock on his door from a worried settler. It would be the first of many, and he would spend much of the trial allaying the fears of concerned Hopetounians.


Arc 724, 15th of Cylus
The mood in Hopetoun had calmed somewhat over the previous few trials. The shock of the discovery of explosives had begun to wear off, and though the settlers had concerns, the dust was settling. Some had reached out to family members, and Darius was among their number, having asked his father to visit the settlement. While he was hopeful that the danger of the explosives would be dealt with, it still felt better to know Josef was no longer in Scalvoris Town.

Several more messages arrived that trial, including updates from Kura and Woe. One was from Winston, although it took a while for Darius to realise who had authored it, as the cadouri's writing was a lot more formal - and a lot easier to understand - than when he spoke.

In the middle of writing his reply, Darius felt a shudder. It felt like a hot wind running through him, and then a familiar voice wrapped around him like a shroud. For the briefest of moments, he was taken back to his recent audience with Faldrass and the other Induks.

"Can you feel it, youngling?"


Katara's voice, inaudible to anyone else, seemed louder and clearer than ever before. Darius nodded silently.

"This is your rebirth,"
the diri added.
"Stepping through flame and dancing upon DeathTaken from the lyrics of the bridge from Walk by Foo Fighters:

I never wanna die
I never wanna die
I'm on my knees, I never wanna die
I'm dancing on my grave
I'm running through the fire
Forever, whenever
I never wanna die
I never wanna leave
I'll never say goodbye
Forever, whenever
Forever, whenever
]
, you have become LifeForged."


He had been confirming his willingness to hear out the cadouri's idea when a flash of information shot across his eyes. It wasn't visible to anyone else, but what Darius saw was enough to cause him to hesitate, his quill hovering just above the parchment.

He was shocked. That much was clear, and it was enough to catch Astra's attention. The half-biqaj rested a comforting hand on Darius' shoulder, but the settlement leader was slow to respond. He eventually placed the quill down flat, his missive incomplete. His fingers were trembling, and it was only by wrapping Astra's own that he was able to find some calm.

The activities beneath Scalvoris Town were what had shocked him. The thought of losing his father, had Josef not left the city amidst the earlier rumours, was but one of many concerns running through his mind. Another, which he would reflect upon later, was the lack of surprise he felt when he saw who had almost set off the explosion. And that lack of surprise certainly came as a shock.

After a few moments, and just as many deep breaths, Darius was able to regain his composure. His hand, now steadily calm, picked up the quill and finished his note to Winston - accepting the invitation but eager to hear from the others - before he began to write a new one to Kura.

Darius wanted the Albarech to know he didn't think Nir'wei had any malicious intent, but that he was immediately reminded of his encounter with the councillor after the pirate attack. Nir'wei's demeanour had been unusual that trial, and it was clear that both he and Darius had been in shock. It was apparent to the bearded blond that his guest had the best of intentions - and, indeed, he had certainly provided aid to Hopetoun - but Darius was now wondering if the stress had distracted him when he attempted to investigate the explosives. Even so, it was probably best that Nir'wei was under arrest for the time being.

It was this information that he compiled in his message to Kura before he received another missive. This one was from Vega, where she used the title of Acting Militant of Scalvoris. Darius raised an eyebrow at that, but also allowed himself a little smile. He imagined Vega wouldn't enjoy the role, but he had no doubt she would excel in it.

The writing of the letter itself was not in the same tone that Darius was used to receiving from Vega. It seemed...formal, ,with better spelling, and fewer 'Vegaisms' than usual. It was only when he read the note at the very end that Darius understood what was going on.

Still grinning, he responded to his friend...or, at least, to the scribe who was writing on behalf of his friend. No, there was no desire to evacuate Hopetoun, but a handful of settlers would be eager to help establish the tent community. And he would offer up his own ship, the Libertalia, and the former pirate sloop, the Sunburst. Each had its own crew, though he and Astra would remain ashore.


One of the other notes was a reply from Red. She had received word that whoever was behind the explosives had not kept themselves to Almund and Scalvoris Town. They were in other locations, too, and it was believed even Hopetoun was not immune. There was a spy in their midst!

Darius then sent instructions to a small group of hand-picked individuals; settlers he trusted implicitly. They would search the settlement for anyone unfamiliar: perhaps someone new to Hopetoun, whose backgrounds were not so well-known; possibly those who kept to themselves rather than involving themselves fully in the activities of other settlers; maybe someone whose whereabouts was not always known.


Arc 724, 20th of Cylus
The tunnels beneath Faldrass were widely known to exist. The eruption had sent hot lava beneath the island and given birth to the Hoeptpun Hole. What was not so well-known was just how extensive the tunnel network was. Many tunnels had yet to be explored, and where many led was a mystery.

Ever curious, Lars had taken it upon himself to explore them, and in doing so, had made a most unexpected discovery.

"I found a stockpile of weapons and tools," the wilderness man was briefing Darius, even as he tried to catch his breath. "Swords, spears, bows...but that wasn't all. Pickaxes and shovels. They've been mining."

"They?" Darius responded, taking in the news.

"It's too much work for one person. There's nobody there now, but they've dug a hollow cavern and supported it with wooden beams. If they were to set those beams alight..."

Darius nodded. He could picture it. The beams would collapse, causing a cave-in, and bringing down part of the structure that stood above ground, if there was one.

"Whoever they are, the aren't there now," Lars continued. "I expect they go there at night, so that their absence from the settlement isn't so noticeable."

Lars' discovery meant that although their efforts to find a spy had been unsuccessful, they had identified where he - they - would likely return to sooner or later.

"Where is it?" asked Darius.

"Under the Barony. I think they mean to collapse the manor."



When the miners returned that night, Darius was waiting. Lars had guided him and half a dozen soldiers to where the mining had taken place. Darius and the soldiers had taken up positions. Some hid in the shadows gifted to them by the sprawling network of tunnels that surrounded where the mining had taken place, while others crouched behind barrels.

But - crucially - Astra had given her small wooden carving to Darius. The small bear totem was much easier to hide than people, and it now rested in a particularly dark spot several yards away from the mining site, in the direction of the cave entrance. Nestled against the base of a cave wall, it would serve as a sentinel for Darius and the soldiers when the time came.

And that was precisely what it did. After darkness had fallen, and the soldiers were trying to relax as best they could in the uncomfortable environment, when Darius signalled to them to return to their hidden positions. The wait had been long since , but Darius could sense figures moving past the bear. Those who were approaching didn't bother to conceal themselves. Presumably unaware that they had been discovered, they carried with them an air of confidence that came with the assumption of being out of anyone's earshot.

Soon, their shadows appeared, and then their silhouettes, as they rounded the corner. But as they arrived at the hollow cavern that they had no doubt spent much toil in creating, Darius stepped out of the shadows.

"Welcome to the Hopetoun Hole!" he announced, the shadows hiding the smirk on his face. "Which one of you wants to leave here alive?"

The miners, who were in the process of picking up their tools, immediately dropped them and scrambled for weapons from one of the nearby barrels.

The half-dozen soldiers of Hopetoun then stepped out, armed with a mix of bows and polearms. Outnumbered, one of the miners lost his nerve, and attempted to flee...but a deep growl back towards the entrance brought him reluctantly back to the group. Another silhouette appeared from the tunnel, and Rua appeared.

"Best you surrender now," Darius said, brandishing his longsword, "before I can't stop the bear from ripping you to shreds."

With the trap sprung, and realising there was no escape, the miners cursed their misfortune and readied themselves for a fight.
ACTIONS TAKEN

Arc 724, 11th of Cylus: Darius received a letter from his contact in Almund to let him know about the riots and the explosives, confirming the rumours. He sent a letter back to ask her to find out any more information he can. Then he went to deal with the worried settlers.

Arc 724, 15th of Cylus: Darius received Winston's letter and accepted his invitation. He sent a letter to Kura to tell her of Nir'wei's behaviour after the pirate attack - out of concern, more than anything. He also replied to Vega's letter, offering a handful of settlers to help establish the tent city, and offering two ships, (the brig Libertalia and the sloop Sunburst), and their crews to the cause. At the same time, his informant in Almund advised that the issue was more widespread than Almund and Scalvoris Town, and that even Hopetoun had traitors in their midst! (Gasp!) He rallied the (particularly reliable and trustworthy) troops in the hopes of finding the rumoured spy. Prior to this trial, he also arranged for his father to leave Scalvoris Town and join him in Hopetoun.

Arc 724, 20th of Cylus: Lars discovered that someone was attempting to sabotage Smooglenuff Manor by tunnelling beneath it, and Darius rallies the troops to set a trap!
TEXT COLOUR
Please note that text in blue, (and Katara's dialogue), is additional to the previous post. All other text has been copied directly from the previous post.
word count: 2111
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Kura Wolfsdotter
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Re: The Pirate Finale!

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Kura collapses in her chair as the vision passed, holding one hand over her mouth as she shook and fought down the urge to vomit. She had held it together until after the meeting with Varlum and Nir'wei, but she was shaken to realize how insanely close she had come to getting everyone she was supposed to protect, her family, her familiars, what few friends she had left, the entire population of the island, all killed. All because she was still letting herself fall victim to every bit of blind overconfidence she had managed to avoid when she had been acting so superior to everyone else. Still, that didn't mean she was going to let herself regress or, even worse, keep being an idiot. She had a chance to learn from her mistakes and to move forward. Nir'wei, thankfully, hadn't been acting maliciously, but apparently needed lessons in slowing down. They'd work on that later.

For now, though, her immediate course of action was clear. She had to make sure evactuation channels were open. She wasn't going to declare a mandatory one yet, though part of her wondered if that was a foolish choice but she would start work on getting things set up for a voluntary one. She also had to get her family off of the main island. It was probably selfish, and someone later down the line might try to use it as political weight against her, but she didn't really care. So, with all that decided, she steeled herself and began to write the order to test the most obvious evactuation method and to get it underway if it succeeded, as well as other orders that would need to be done during the day.



15th: Briefly berate herself for being so recklessly overconfident.

Issue orders that no further examination of the explosives is to be attempted except by trained researchers with authorization, the latter of which won't be given unless someone has something more than a hunch.

Kura issues orders to do a test in both Almund and Scalvoris Town to see if ships can leave without being struck by lightning. Pegasus confirmed that this will work with single, non-magical ships, at least so far. Kura orders that ships be set up for evacuation, one ship leaving every hour.

She announces, publicly, that she has given this order to make sure that evactuation by ship is possible. If it is, evacuation will begin as soon as possible for those that wish it. She will be staying to try and save Scalvoris and if they are successfully able to defuse the bombs, the evacuation ships will be notified. She will also explain that what caused Scalvoris to explode in the vision (if I'm interpreting it correctly that the whole island saw that) was an attempt to disarm that went awry and has already been stopped.

She has letters sent to the governments of Viden, Rharne, and The Eternal Empire (and Desnind if we gave them the other Portal Stone but I don't think we did) detailing the situation on Scalvoris and everything they know about the explosives. She asks if there's anything any government knows about how to defuse them or what they're called. She also informs them of the possibility of treating with Chrien.

Exchange Diris with Vega for better communication.

Sets up research help for Varlum (if that can even be done what with his power)

Briefly returns home and explains to her family that they'll need to evacuate. She uses Tekla to send them to Saoire's school for the time being.

She'll ask Rorom why he's going to Ishallr and what he wants investigators for.

16th: Kura approves the attempt to wake Rand from his coma.

Kura will send word to the Iron Maiden requesting information on any Pirate Lord hangouts.

Kura responds to Darius's letter and thanks him for the information. She is certain that Nir'wei does not mean deliberate harm towards Scalvoris or its people, but she will discuss his methodology with him after the current crisis has passed.

She thanks Winston for the offer of researchers, though she will not ask him to order anyone to come given the current precarious state of Scalvoris, and states that she's already ordered all experimentation on the explosives halted unless it's done by actual researchers and with a concrete hypothesis.

Kura will be seen out and about and around trying to convince people to evacuate in an orderly fashion so as not cause any additional injury and panic. This continues until the 20th and she uses the Gateway Bracelet to get around to different towns during this period.

17th: According to responses received from the letters she sent on the 15th, Kura will accept offer of research aid from Rharne and the EE. Viden declined to send anyone and instead asked for a sample. Kura will inform them that the bombs are too unstable to move with current knowledge. She will also note that interim, she was informed of black market deals between one of her former, now believed deceased, Councilors and several glass dealers in Viden, as well as that several special glass types were found in Slags Deep after the Forging. She requests information about any special glasses that would be sold on the black market, with special consideration to something referred to as "Drain Glass".

18th: Kura gets Woe's information and passes it around the Echo Scroll Network, including non-council city leaders, and Balthazar. She'll order non-Blessed, non-Forged, non-mage Elements to investigate the warehouse, with instructions to assume there's bombs and that no one so much as opens a door without checking to make sure it's not booby trapped. How exactly the investigation is handled is up for Vega to decide as acting Element.
word count: 992
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Nir'wei
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Re: The Pirate Finale!

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It had become an all-too-familiar scene. A disaster, of proportions large enough to potentially wipe out most of Scalvoris and everyone in it. A moment of blind faith and hope, where he'd stepped in, involved himself where he could have looked aside, and put willingly placed himself in danger, for the safety of others.

Sometimes, he won. He'd helped save the world. Sometimes, he'd died. This was his fourth death, by the current tally. Sometimes, people died because of him. Sometimes, it was a lot of people.

As Varlum led him away from the jars, manacles around his wrists, the knowledge of what could have happened, what had happened, settled on his shoulders, and he knew. Sometimes, it was everyone.

Kura was right outside, and there were words to be had; ultimately he had been acting on her permission, and hadn't committed a crime, so there was little reason to send him to a prison cell, and the restraints were released shortly afterwards. There would be more stern words to follow, he was certain; Kura would want answers, the rest of the Council would likely call for his Office and possibly further punishment, considering his less-than-stellar public record after arcs of service and mismanagement; having felt the roar of Faldrass, he was as surprised as Gaddwin to see the Forged Diri still at his side, and not stripped along with the rest of his rank and reputation following the mass destruction.

The weight slammed into him again, and he stumbled, half-way clear of the underground tunnels. He'd escaped with his life, and the lives of his family, but they very well may have lost whatever life they could have had on Scalvoris through him.

Then he straightened. Drew every last bit of whatever he had left for courage, and marched. It wasn't the first time he'd taken a risk, nor was it the first time it'd gone poorly. Varlum had decided he'd live long enough to learn from it. He'd put that time to better use than sitting in a corner and crying for the choices he'd made.




He didn't return to the Office of Natural Affairs, only sending a curt letter via one of his smaller messenger birds that he would be beyond contact for some time, and for all operations to continue as normal, under his second-in-command. This meant what it usually meant, however; that he'd returned to the wilderness of the northern Faldrass forests, to convene an audience of himself and his own.

In short, he was back to square one, with even less than when he'd started to work from. The riots had been stopped, but whoever had been behind them had escaped before he'd arrived, and there'd been no chance to apprehend the instigators. The explosives were of Miasma origin, that much he could have no doubt, but he still had no clue just how someone could have conjured its powers, where the Great Beneath was, what connection it could have to the Miasma, nor how any of it related to the stupid Orb stuck inside his stupid chest!

He almost used it again. Just a little, just to test how to use it, how to control it.

Some small, gut-feeling said that there was an answer locked away there. Thetros, in his first introductions to the Miasma, had spoken of how it was almost impossible to determine where it would appear next, that he'd been lucky to find where it would appear next, and that their window for entering was short. Though all voices said it was nothing but chaos, wrong and unnatural to the animals of the world and the spirits of its land, how could its origins come from nature itself as well? Was the Great Beneath even a place that one could visit? Neither Archailist, nor Cyshe, nor Gaddwin had answers; if Faldrass himself could not figure it out, what hope did he have?




Day 15-19.

Nir'wei reviewed the information he'd received from Kura on the scattered remains of the pirate ships following the pirate attacks, selected one on the coast of Faldrass, and flew Traveller out beyond the coastline to reach the spot of the wreckage. To be frank, he had no idea what he'd find, nor what he was specifically looking for; but the yellow mist had only appeared during the attack, and whatever had caused it could very well still be down in the remains of the ship, or burrowed nearby. Once he'd reached the spot he recalled from that night of the attack, he dropped from Traveller's back and straight into the water, activating his Breathing Necklace to create a bubble of breathable air, and dove as deep as he dared with only thirty bits of capacity to work with.

The fish weren't very talkative, but nevertheless he asked them for strange things that had sunk into the ocean floor on that day, and for things that matched the same descriptions he'd picked up from the other animals on the surface. Things that felt off, unnatural, or otherwise out of the ordinary.

Day 20.

In the end, there was only so long he could hold off on doing something... extreme.

"Back when Faldrass was alive," he spoke softly to not-quite himself, "there was a plot, of sorts. Faldrass had turned someone into a spy, by implanting them with a deal... a portion of his power, that allowed him to see what they saw and hear what they heard. It tied them to him somehow. We thought it made them a liability. But you turned them into an opportunity." He fiddled with a bracelet on his wrist and bit his lip, reconsidering his options. This was a very powerful bargaining chip that he'd always intended to save for only the most dire of circumstances, especially considering just who it was that owed him. Then again, what could be more dire than this? He'd already doomed everyone to an instant death, and been saved from the precipice by another Immortal's intervention. What point would there be in sitting by and letting the island be destroyed all over again, through his paralysis of inaction?

"Qylios. I'm afraid that I need you now, and I ask a favour. To do the same as you did to Faldrass, and tap into the connection between the Orb in my chest and its point of origin, the Misty Miasma." It wasn't a small ask, but it wasn't the only one he'd considered in a very short amount of time. "To allow me to know where it is, and enter it."
Actions
15th-19th: Nir'wei uses information gained from Kura's records of salvaged ships (and his memory from the events of the Pirate Attack) to identify the places that ships had been sunk around the coast of northern Faldrass, and scavenge the ocean floor for items of importance relating to the Misty Miasma. He also continues interrogating fish for information on what might have fallen off the boats around the time of the attack, where they might have fallen, if they can be retrieved, or any other unusual activity in the days following the pirate attacks.

20th: Nir'wei uses the thanks of Qylios to ask her a favour; to tap into the connection between the Forest Orb and the Misty Miasma, creating an item that would allow him to find where to enter it, or open a portal that allows him access to the Miasma.
word count: 1283
We return to where we started, and pass onwards into history.
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Kisaik
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Race: Tunawa
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Sweetwine's Call


Kisaik was deep asleep, in slumber beneath the Sweetesong tree, having decided to let the frost take him to a state of relative torpor, slowing him down just shy of ending his bodily functions, but slowly them so that the passage of time barely registered. Yet as he slumbered in a well-kept partition of the Sweetstone Tree, he was disturbed by the vision of what was to occur on the fifteenth of Cylus.

He saw the fire, and was incredulous that Nir'wei had, however unintentionally, set off a large explosion that threatened to undermine the ground they stood on, to turn it into a burning boiling pit of sand and glass. He knew deep inside his bark taht Nir'wei couldn't have meant to do that, and so was relieved that he wasn't immediately punished for the blunder. Yet he saw the danger that threatened the island, and in an instant where it was pulled back by the hands of time, by Varlum's doing, Kisaik knew it was time to act.

He called weakly from his mind for his diri, his Lalia. The owlish fairy landed down upon the ground where he lay in torpor. "Fetch my cavani cloak, and a dollop of hot sauce from the larder!" Kisaik entreated her. She nodded, and shrugged, darting off to fetch what he wanted.

As she did, he tried, fought to wrestle out of the torpor and dream state he was in. It took all of his will, but eventually his limbs began to slough off some of the dead leaves, and bark that collected frost from the surrounding ambient cold. By the time he'd done all he could to prepare to come out of the sleep, Lalia landed next to him, and draped him with a warming cavani cloak, and then tilted his head upward to receive the hot sauce. Immediately, the Nashaki cactus in the sauce began to boil his sap, loosening it, bringing it to near room temperature from where it'd been nearly frozen. He began moving with slow deliberation, as an elderly tunawa almost.

"My steed, where is Slate?" Slate perked up, where he'd been resting nearby. Of course he had not undergone the same hibernation as his rider, but took to his side when the tunawa began to stir. "Aquarius will stay and guard Sweetsong, while I figure out where everyone is at, and what they're up to! I must away to aid them!"

So saying, he spurred his steed after climbing into his saddle. There, Lalia was close at his side, riding the same plantified cat as her bonded.

All along the way, Kisaik knew something was ill with the spirits among the Sweetwine, and otherplaces. He rode for the heart of Sweetwine, beyond the Orchard Walk and Oasis. There he found a place that resonated most strongly with Ol Tuck's energies. Kisaik was well in tune with the spiritual world, ,by dint of his connection to Ashan, as well as his advanced status among the forged. So as he opened the portal to the Beneath, a grand revelation occurred to him. He heard, saw, and felt the song of the four Induks crying in unison, their power unleashing something in Kisaik as well as several other forged. He felt a choice was before him. One between life and death. It was not an easy one, even for him. Death promised justice, remembrance for the dead, and vengeance against the wicked. Yet Life promised perseverance, protection of the living, and above all growth of those who've yet to reach their full measure. In light of that, the Mortalborn of Growth had little conflict.

"I choose life!" Kisaik shouted at the top of his volume, singing for all the forest to hear and letting the echo serve as his instrument, a choir of Kisaik's raising their voice above the canopy.

Then he was settled, and he knew more or less what the others had been doing in that time. He would ensure that he could help along, and he felt the best way for that to go forward was to serve Sweetsong, and investigate the spiritual disturbances directly.

16th

Kisaik enters the Beneaeth through a self-created vergeance. Using the Loshova Power Vergeance Walk. Through his adventures there, he ropes a Spirit of Storms and a Spirit of Luck to join his spirit cloak. He has plans for them, vis a vis Chrien's Tea Party.

17th - 18th

He searches the Beneath continuallly, looking for a shred of a spirit of hope.

19th-20th

Once he'd gathered enough insight into the spiritual situation in Sweetwine, after visiting several sites of importance including the Weaver's Wood, the Bird Tree where the fairies didn't like going, and finally the Oasis, he and Slate mounted Aquarius and made for Scalvoristown. He'd known through the visions entrusted from the time-slip that Winston would be holding a Tea Party for Chrien, to get to the bottom of things. Kisaik would need to help him, help all of them. At the very least he could bring his indefatigable spirit to the proceedings, and maybe even inspire some hope in Chrien into the bargain.
Actions

15th: Kisaik awakes, to the visions of destruction and such. He chooses life forged for himself. And subsequently gets ready to wake himself up and bring himself up to full health from his torpor-state.

16th

Kisaik enters the Beneaeth through a self-created vergeance. Using the Loshova Power Vergeance Walk. Through his adventures there, he ropes a Spirit of Storms and a Spirit of Luck to join his spirit cloak. He has plans for them, vis a vis Chrien's Tea Party.

17th - 18th

He searches the Beneath continuallly, looking for a shred of a spirit of hope.

19th:

He searches extensively with his
Peer through the pool
ability. Trying to find more information on the spirit side of things from several sites around Sweetsong. The Weaver's Wood, to the Bird Tree, to the Oasis in Sweetsong.

20th: He begins flying Aquarius to the Tea Party that Winston is having.
word count: 1033
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