Deconstructing a Fictional Girl

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Contents

Summary

GM: Andrew W
Session: Summer 809 wk
Night: Tuesdays
Location: Avondale - At Chez Martin
Level: Very High

Party
Employer
Clarissa.
Pay
Salvage, but Clarissa has vouched sweeten the pot up to 150,000sp (GV) in items and provide as much Courtier training as anyone can stomach. This includes access to information about the Sanctuary/Ranke political scene and her investigations into the slave trade over the past three years.
Game Summary
In sooth, I know not why I am so mad: It wearies me; you say it wearies you; But how I caught it, found it, or came by it, What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born, I am to learn; And such a want-wit madness makes of me, That I have much ado to know myself.
Mission
Clarissa's life has been plagued by mysteries, and she'd like a few of them resolved. These include:
  • Who was the overly familiar Elf that was reduced to dust in the Palace of Ranke? And where did he think he was going with Clarissa?
  • What is Chenaya up to, apart from daring to depose Merry? What do the political manoeuvrings in the region have to do with it?
  • Why, when she's hardly been at the Prince's Palace recently, are the other Concubines so afraid of her? Before she was accused of melting one, naturally.
  • Who or what murdered and "melted" Taya? And just what have they been putting into the Krrf to make you see things like that?
  • Are these events part of a vast conspiracy, or is that just the Rune Curse talking?

Events

Pre-History

Once upon a time (Clarissa to add appropriate public history, if any).

Recent Events

In mid spring 808, Clarissa returned from Alfheim to find things had changed in Sanctuary while she was away.

Event One

Having returned to the guild for de-briefing, Clarissa rapidly turned to her responsibilities, arriving first at Sanctuary, and then being directed to Ranke by a rather absent-minded or distracted, although complementary, Kadakithis. He did mention that he’d recently heard good things about her from a surprising source - the (elven) Establishment of Sanctuary, who have to date had little time for his ‘painted’ minx / whore to humans / out-world (non-Alfheim) trash. While in Sanctuary, she also found out the currently circulating rumours, for what they were worth.

Extra Notes
Kadakithis was more distracted than usual, and he didn’t seem too bothered by her extended absence. On the other hand, this seemed to explain why Princess was taking over more of her role – rather than disciplining her, maybe he’s just edging her out? Clarissa attempted to quickly confirm how much of a tattered state her already stressed "spy network" around the palace was in, with particular emphasis on backgrounding her "replacement", and finding out what the hell she did to get into people’s good books. The spy network appeared to be in a compromised state – she got the usual gossip, although people need a little more than the usual encouragement. However, no one would talk about Princess, and just looked blank and scared when asked – oddly, scared of Clarissa, not of someone else. She didn’t have time to take someone away and *make* them tell before she was called away to Ranke.

Event Two

At Ranke city, Clarissa reported to her mistress, Duchess Meredithis. She was being driven crazy by the pettiness of Chenaya, who has been getting more and more petulant and rebellious as the end of her two year service nears (it finishes on 15 Meadow 809). The spring taxes have been prompt, including a token amount from southern Ranke, from the withdrawing Sister Grace; apparently that region will be paying full taxes from next year, giving her a political debt to Mordeaux. She’s also been receiving rather some odd messages on Clarissa's behalf. A ‘family friend’ had been asking after her rather insistently, and doesn’t seem to recognise precedence or the human hierarchy – e.g. in a public audience at Open Court, he told Merry to get off her fat human behind and go looking for her patroness, before he unleashed the fires of Beltane on her. Clarissa realised that Merry was playing it up a little, and was amused rather than scared, but Chenaya was pissed at having her charge threatened because of her (actually, she’s just pissed in general, but it’s an excuse to yell at Clarissa).

Extra Notes
  • Clarissa talked to Merry about the affront, and she was not concerned - on a personal level it helped her to connect with her protector, as an otherwise implacable, perfect, mysterious guardian and really cool role model (Merry’s now about 15). She likes the idea of Clarissa being surprised, and having older family trying to keep her in line, which she can relate to quite strongly.
  • Chenaya has taken a personal dislike to Clarissa, mainly because (i) she is part of the Prince’s conspiracy that set her up as a babysitter; (ii) Clarissa gets to come and go; (iii) Merry likes Clarissa way more than her; (iv) at worst, she is supposed to be the implacable, perfect, mysterious guardian, not this Elf bint; it’s not fair! She also believes the world revolves around her and her family, and Clarissa is not part of that world, being an enemy combatant that she isn’t allowed to take down.
  • Clarissa has also been winding her up for some time, partially just for fun, and partially to test her limits. Chenaya has an icy-cold temper, and believes revenge is best served cold. Lowen seems less than convinced about a broader political role, but that isn’t stopping his daughter. The family friend was some oddly-dressed elf. No good descriptions from otherwise reliable witnesses – ‘non-descript’ is the best she can get.
  • There are a range of customs involving fire and the holiday of Beltane; for instance a local human custom is to get married by jumping through a fire on Beltane. This is different from the Beltan elves (no final ‘e’).
  • The church forces had seized Southern Ranke in the aftermath of the Dark Circle, and has always promised it was just short-term – looks like they meant it. It is like brokering deals with a polite fanatic though – they nod and smile, and the Rankene diplomats have no idea if the ideas got through, let alone were agreed to.

Event Three

On the morning of the 16th Blossom; a few days back into the Palace routines, and Clarissa was already bored senseless (OK, the krrf might explain the senseless part, but it helped with the boredom). Shortly after 10am, during a particularly dull Open Court, the guards let some elven guy jump the queue of senior merchants & petty nobles waiting their turn. Clarissa started to come out of her daydreaming. Once he is out of the antechamber, he suddenly ran towards the throne. Not that Merry’s twitchy about her bastard half-brothers, but half a dozen guards were between him and the throne in no time flat, while a couple of officials & clerks started chanting. Chenaya leapt in front of the throne, as he seemed to spin & blur for a second and slipped past the guards. He leapt up the steps of the throne, and dodged right past Chenaya and Merry, heading straight for Clarissa. She made as to dodge, as she hear some crossbows firing and saw Chenaya’s rather large sword come down on his back. He ignored these attacks, took Clarissa's straight-arm jab, which should have kept him at range, and stepped in, lifting her around her waist and tilting her nearly horizontal. He turned to face the hall, as he said “You stupid little girl, your grandfather’s worried sick about …” while urgently rubbing a baroquely carved bracelet looped through his belt, a few inches from her eyes. Clarissa twisted and struggled, then fell to the floor, just managing to get her feet under her in time to avoid the pile of ash on the marble. Apparently he was not indifferent to a decent Whitefire. Chenaya scattered his ashes with her boots, incidentally getting a cloud of them to rise up and ruin Clarissa's dress. Guards shielded Clarissa from the courtiers and hustled her out of the court, in a different direction from Merry.

Extra Notes
Clarissa managed to grab the bracelet as she “recovered” from her fall – explaining some of the ash on the dress. No chance to fix the face of the assailant to memory in any useful magical way – it was seen for a second or two at best. The general feeling is: Elvish, lean long face, harsh lines around his mouth, black hair, arched eyebrows, look of concentration, and disdain, and a serious tone of annoyance when he addressed her that as a governess she wished she had available – the voice is perhaps more memorable than the face. She had enough ash to have a couple of Detect Fumes/Snort Magic attempts over the next day or two, and got Moon Magic as the nearest thing to a college/type. She had to breathe in a few grams of the ash, and her dreams over the next night or two are particularly vivid and disturbing.

Event Four

Clarissa was promptly banished from the Ranke court. Well, not so much banished, as advised that the best thing she could do for Merry’s safety is to spend more time away from her. She did get to attend the post-attack debrief, where she learnt that only one guard was killed, with a lucky shot across the throat – the others were just nicked as he deflected himself past them using his daggers, and chose not to engage them. The kidnapper was apparently *not* the elf that had been looking for you. Nor had the person who whitefired him been identified – it wasn’t the palace guards or court mages, and no one saw anyone else casting. The court mages take the attacker’s remains away for investigation. Merry did let her know (through a maid – Clarissa was not allowed to be in the same room as her!) that if she can do anything to help, to let her know, and that she hopes that Clarissa will sort it all out before the Coronation ball (the second anniversary of her ascension), wishing her godspeed. Chenaya then escorted her to the edge of the city, and gleefully let her know she had given ‘a fire on sight’ order to the guards if Clarissa isn’t accompanied by her.

Extra Notes
Clarissa used Whispering Wind to dutifully notify the Prince and then alert Dalran to step up the recruitment as things have clearly come to a head. She also used Whispering Wind to ask her most trusted agent in Ranke City to monitor the goings on in the Palace and findings from the court mages. She flew back to Sanctuary via an indirect, low-level route, quietly fuming to herself and plotting.

Event Five

Ever the dutiful concubine, Clarissa returned to her master to report on the events in person, hopefully before anyone got to put their spin on it. He was a little surprised, but not as concerned as she would have expected, telling her that her old room should be available, and patting her on the posterior, before returning to a council with Alar, Walegrin, Zalbar, and the new concubine Princess. Clarissa returned to the seraglio, where she found that the rest of the concubines are buzzing with the news of impending war. They had no idea with whom, but the Third Command had returned, and the city of Ilsig was apparently sending some troops. ( Clarissa didn’t even know that Ilsig had an army, let alone that they would put it under someone else’s command. ) Gula also doesn’t know why the Ilsigi would help a Rankene Prince, and was concerned that she was out of the loop. Even Sophie-Claire didn’t know the political reasons, but Lirain guessed that someone, possibly Dalmakithis, was about to move into Southern Ranke to fill the political void left by Sister’s Grace’s exit. A Vigeles plot is also possible (but that’s always a safe second choice). Lirain’s had kindly already filled the girls in on Clarissa's expulsion from the Capital, and Taya had told ‘only her closest friends’.

Clarissa got the feeling that all is not right with the girls – they were nervous & on edge, not just because of the political shifts that could see them discredited/discarded, but also on a personal, physical level. Finally Taya can’t bear it any longer, and asked her whether she was coming back for good, and Clarissa could see in her eyes that she’s scared she’ll say yes. The general consensus is that the seraglio has been feeling a little crowded lately – a conclusion that Clarissa had been refusing to acknowledge in the infrequent visits she had made in the last year or so. Her reaction to the rather sudden open fragility of the other concubines -- by giving them one of those slow, barely upturned, Elfin smiles that extend entirely too far across the face, and shows the points of many tiny, perfect teeth -- didn't really help. Nor did her saying "Oh really, Ladies. You didn't imagine this could last forever, did you?" before stalking off. There was whispering in her wake.

Extra Notes
Later that night, she paid a visit to Taya and had nice, quiet, chat about what as actually been happening around the Palace. She was to be convinced to be terrified, although the threats were to be couched in the most ambiguous of terms and out of earshot of any assistance, as terror is rather more difficult to fake than simple fear. Clarissa saw no advantage in hurting these women, but she was very sick of people flaking out on her, and her hardened adversaries of the past few years weren't going to get a bye either. She know that she would have to lean quite hard to reduce one of the concubines to terror. Taya was a fine choice, and probably the easiest to break. Princess turned up just as Clarissa started to apply pressure, and leant in the doorway for a while, amused and watching. She offered to help, and that’s when Taya broke completely, telling Clarissa whatever she wanted to know. Terror was something that she know won’t be able to undo – she knew she was burning bridges here. There was a lot of babble from Taya, and not a lot of useful information. She seemed to get Princess and Princess Daphne confused, to the Dark One’s amusement. It seems that while Clarissa was away, the seraglio is a back-stabbing, vicious nest of asps, but whenever she was back, they all give room to the cobra – to paraphrase her very careful circumlocutions, Clarissa had become unpredictable, lethal, and impossible to read, which she didn’t use to be. Apart from that, politics continue as always. She thinks that maybe the troops were heading north, as the sailors were south over winter, and why else would they come back to Sanctuary? There was a fair bit of begging for her life, and so on. She pressed some of her jewellery on Clarissa who, on her way out, contemptuously tossed a bauble to "Princess" for her assistance.

Event Six

Clarissa had been home a few days, renewed her acquaintance with her krrf dealers and other important contacts, and settled in. Whatever military planning was going on was keeping Princess, and now Sophie-Claire, very busy, and they weren’t saying anything when they returned to the seraglio to sleep. The others were still very nervous around both Clarissa and Princess, but she didn’t seem to be hostile, just tired and withdrawn – she didn’t talk to the rest of the girls at all, although she did acknowledge Clarissa. The 26th of Blossom was a hot spring morning. Around two o’clock Clarissa was daydreaming to herself and playing with sending reflections of the candles all over the room, when she heard a girlish scream, which echoed around in an odd manner. She went running out into the corridor, where she bumped into Princess, who was also running the same way. Clarissa slipped over in some blood, and pulled herself up to her feet again, using the dagger sticking out of Princess's neck. She was finding it tricky to stand up, because the corridor is bending and twisting like it was in a high gale.

The screaming was now shouting, and it was kind of disorienting, but Clarissa headed towards the sound of trouble, to find half a dozen guards standing over the body of Taya on a sun-divan in the solar, which had stretched to over a hundred foot long. She was covered with blood, and looked to be the victim of a frenzied attack, with many stab wounds to her torso and arms. Her face was fixed in a rictus of terror and pain, but it started to melt and liquefy while she watched. The guards saw her, and backed off, shape-shifting while calling something out. Their voices now seemed to be coming from a really long way away, and it was hard to hear them, but she thought they are saying ‘pease-pot yore, whip hands tao’ to someone behind her. Clarissa leant forward to catch their words while spinning to defend herself from a rear attack, and then the floor buckled. There was a lot of movement in her peripheral vision and the taste of iron in her mouth as the world spun around and got noticeably blurry, and then she was floating for a while. It was kind of peaceful, apart from a repeated vision of Taya’s face dissolving away, the distant screaming and shouting and a numb feeling in your wrists. As she started to fall asleep, Quag’s face sprung into sharp focus – he looked worried.

Rhians Story

As told to Kilroy in the Sanctuary markets on the morning of 6th Meadow, seemingly well rehearsed, or perhaps just repeated many times.

I was near the Seraglio when I heard screams and saw guards running towards them, naturally I followed.

There was a knife wielding fiend standing over a blood covered body, it killed the guards with one knife, waving the other over its head.

Bourne came in wearing nothing but a towel, he threw a dagger at the fiend but missed, the fiend threw a dagger back at Bourne and struck him through the eye.

I was about to seek more guards when Quag arrived. He fenced with the fiend for a while then got in a "lucky" blow with the hilt of his sword.

The fiend must have stolen the appearance of its first victim as it looked similar to Clarissa, though it's tattoos were writhing weirdly and it was surrounded by a odd "grey-ish" glow (described akin to Witchsight glow, though she was not personally familiar with that magic).

NB This matches fairly well with the official story and the dagger's testimony. Which could indicate that Rhian is faithfully repeating the cover story, or that the cover story is mostly true (the notable exception being that Clarissa was not killed).

Event Seven

Suddenly it was really sunny and bright. She was out in a garden behind the palace, and the light hurt Clarissa's eyes. She tried to shade them, but her hands still didn’t work. There was a moment of panic, and then hearing a deep soothing voice calms her down; it was her close, personal friend, whose name was on the tip of her tongue – let's call him "Whatsisname" for now. He told her not to worry, that this was all standard procedure and normal routine, that they respect her and what she can do, and she was safe here. She looked around – the blindfold was still covering the very top part of her vision, but it had been pushed back so she could see. There was the Prince, old Kittykat, looking like he was about to have kittens. Kittens for Kittykat - she could picture the entire litter – the one who waddles carefully to protect her dignity that’s Sophie-Claire; the one buried in Kittykat’s side suckling on him (a little south for milk) is Thalia; the one lying in the sun is Taya; Lirain is mewling and trying to get his attention; Gula is the one exploring the rose garden; and Cassia is sitting up straight, purring harmoniously, and swiping at Lirain occasionally, while her shadow stalks off on its own toward Clarissa, hissing and spitting. It looked so self-important and tiny, Clarissa giggled and the shadow kitten arched it's back, then leapt for her. She tried to defend herself, but her arms and legs don’t work, and her struggles merely threw her off-balance and onto the stone paving, where she banged her head slightly. As the stars clear, she could see the little shadow cat waltzing off through the garden, tail held high, and walking through the wall. She had a tangle of black wool or something wrapped around a paw and dangling behind her.


Notes
  • The descriptions of the concubines match very nicely with Clarissa's experience of them, though the Cassia/"shadow kitten" reference is a huge mystery.
  • It's possible there was a Rune of Truth on the forehead already (though there was also a blindfold above her eyes?) and maybe it was able nuance the random free-associating in something useful?
  • ’‘Sigh.’‘ Another blow to the head and missing period of time.
Revelations
  • "Whatsisname" is almost certainly the Stepson, Randal, based on the divination timeline and smell of dog, his usual transformation choice.

Event Eight

Good old Whatsisname helped Clarissa up again, while she listened to the wind whispering to itself. Suddenly she realised something was not right – Taya couldn’t have been sunbathing, she was dead; someone must have been messing with her mind for her not to realise that. And she can’t turn into a cat! She was much less trusting of the situation now – if Whatsisname wasn’t here she’d have been really worried. She quietly studied the garden – it’s the nursery where Prince Kadakithis potters with breeding varietals and grafting hybrids. The Prince was sitting on an upturned flowerpot a few feet away, with dour Coricidius standing beside him, displaying his perpetual disdain for proceedings, along with Lady Kurrekai’s companion Vanda and her maid Rhian, which was a little odd. They are flanked by Zalbar and Quag. Hmm, Whatsisname smells of dog; that’s what must have driven off the little shadowkit. Clarissa checked herself out carefully – she was just wearing a chemise, and by the Thousand Eyes of Ils, her tattoos were missing! That cat wasn’t playing with wool – it had stolen her tattoos!

While she was thinking all this through, they asked her a bunch of routine questions about where she have been and who she had talked to. Clarissa realised that they are trying to be tricky and interrogate her, and that one of the best techniques to resist interrogation was to simply tell the truth, at least when you are innocent, and so Clarissa kept to the truth as much as possible. They didn’t go near any sensitive areas at all, presumably because most of that stuff was sensitive to Kadakithis too. They mainly ask about where she was and what she had heard that morning, so she told the truth. Rhian told a different story, about seeing Clarissa bending over Taya and stabbing her repeatedly, before rushing out the door, and rushing back in, still with drawn and bloody dagger, a minute later. She was obviously lying because Clarissa didn’t see her in the room either time, but no one else could see it, and they seemed to believe her, with her human face with those grey elven eyes and that auburn hair that had to be a throw-back to an Autumn dalliance in Alfheim. It became clear that, despite the help of Whatsisname, it was rapidly becoming a show trial. Clarissa tried to explained what was happening, and offered the proof of her tattoos being stolen, but part-way through she realised that Rhian’s shadow was sneaking up on the Prince. Clarissa screamed out to warn him, and lunged towards the shade, throwing herself off the bench, and rolling on the ground towards the evil fiend while yelling to drive it off, until Quag stopped Clarissa with a firm boot to the head.

Notes;

  • More head trauma. Oh, and inspired work by the counsel for the defence there.
  • What is Rhian doing there? Or in the Seraglio in the first place? Has someone simply paid to say these terrible things, or did they really happen? And what's with the eyes? And the shadow?

Event Nine

Clarissa came to, being shaken and feeling beaten and bruised. Her hands were still bound in their bandages, and sensation had returned to her wrists, which ached like they might have been recently broken and half healed. Her head was pounding, and Zalbar was holding her too tight; she could feel his fingers digging in, while holding her still and at arm’s length. He whispered fiercely ‘listen to the prince, girl’, and shook her again. Her tattoos had returned, and were twining protectively around her, but that was the only thing that seemed right. Even Whatsisname had wandered off – a fair-weather friend, then – she had always suspected so. Kittykat was standing by the garden, holding a trowel and a rose cutting, and looked sad.

GEAS 
Rank 10 given by Prince Kadakithis: “You know that I need peace in my home – I can’t have my girls fighting and hurting each other; particularly not with what’s afoot. I know that Taya could be difficult at times, but you really have to be more tolerant. Melting your rivals is simply unacceptable under my roof. I want you to go away and think about what you’ve done, until you can accept responsibility for your actions; and then if you wish to come back, you will have to publicly throw yourself at my mercy in open court. And take your time about it – if you come back to the palace before this plant blooms, I’ll have to name it after you”.

She was helped into a loose over-robe with a deep hood, presented with a small satchel containing some of the things from her rooms, and escorted from the Palace grounds by Zalbar and Quag, one of whom was holding her at all times. They pushed her out of the main gates, and told the guards that target practice started in two minutes. Clarissa held her head up high, and wove her way down the street to the nearest corner, and then to a café, where she could take something to clear the fuzziness from her head, and then planned her next move. Her forehead itched where the Truth rune had been painted, her arms hurt just from carrying the bag only a few tens of yards, and her bare feet were oddly blistered.

Notes
  • Clarissa was either able to take better stock of her injuries, or something weird and violent happened in the interim between this memory and the previous one. It also appears to have put both (both!?!) Hellhounds slightly on edge.
  • It appears that Kadakithis let loose onto the world either;
    1. A completely insane woman who has had privileged access to his courts for three years.
    2. A drug-addled murderer with many, many personal problems.
    3. See 1 or 2, but one that is also possessed to boot.
    4. Any other guesses? It seems odd that just letting her go seemed like a good plan.
  • His remarks in the Geas regarding "with what's afoot" and "think about what you've done" either imply he didn't anticipate or know about Clarissa's memory holes or that he wanted her to be compelled to investigate the issues in spite of those. Or he's got an sadistic streak a mile wide.
  • On top of that, he's allowed it to be known that she's dead. Maybe the rope just had to be long enough?

Event Ten

It was now mid afternoon on the 27th of Blossom – she'd managed to lose an entire day somewhere. The satchel contained thirty silver pennies, a change of cheap clothes (no shoes), some of her paste jewellery and one piece of Taya’s good jewellery, a cold iron dagger covered with dried blood, most of her krrf supply (they missed the more carefully-hidden stashes), a crushed cream or white lilac blossom, and precious little else. She had no magic items, a serious headache and dehydration from whatever she had been on for the last couple of days (and the repeated head trauma) – but knew there was no way that uncut krrf took her on that ride. While she was taking stock of her resources, Clarissa picked up the latest edition of the Silberton Bugle, a folded-broadsheet that is usually on top of the latest events.


MIDNIGHT MASSACRE

AT THE PALACE

More than a Dozen people have been Slaughtered in
the Governor’s Palace overnight by a Foul Being from
the Lower Planes. Servants working at the time of the
Butchery attest to Blood-Curdling Screams coming
from the Forbidden Grounds of the Seraglio in the
Wee Hours of the morning. Several Steadfast Guards
rushed to the Scene of the Disturbance, following a
trail of Blood and Corpses. They found a Fiendish
Succubus ‘allegedly’ stabbing the Ravishing Beauty
Taya, while Howling Mindlessly into the Night Sky.
When they attempted to restrain her, she Casually
Killed or Incapacitated them. The Hellhound Bourne
was next on the Scene, probably fresh from Sultry
Lirain’s warm bed, for he was without Armour or
Trews. The Murderess put a dagger in his eye, and
then returned to her Dark Handiwork, Licking the
Face of her victim until it Dissolved in her Saliva. It
took the Battle-Proven Hellhound Quag to defeat the
Assassin in pitched battle. Our current information is
that two of Kitty-Kat’s Concubines were Killed, along
with three Guards, a senior Eunuch, and six luscious
Maidservants. Sadly, Bourne will recover completely.

The Palace had no comment to make on the incident.



Buy the Silberton Bugle, 3 c.f. per edition.


Shocking pictures of the Bloodbath – Page 3

Ormond Press gangs roam the Docks – Page 4

Obituaries & Etchings: Taya and Clarissa – Page 6


Notes; In the language of flowers the Lilac means either 'Beauty, Pride', or in a more subtle way 'Consequences', however White Lilacs are supposed to reflect 'Youthful innocence', but can send the message "They suspect nothing." The 30 pieces of silver seems a bit ominous as well.

Clarissa used the few coins she had to take a sedan chair to the docks and get a tiny cabin on a slow barge headed upriver to the Capital. She hid herself in her cabin, sleeping fitfully and waking frequently. Once she felt confident enough to cast and survive a Flying spell, she abandoned it in darkness and arrived back at the Guild early on the 30th.

Much of the following two days was a blur of worried Guild healers and fascinated Namers, as they attempted to tease apart Clarissa's tangled magical and chemical state.

The Armada

By 26 Blossom, the docks are full to overflowing with ships, from ocean-going hulks and cogs to coastal cutters and fishing smacks. Food prices are much higher than usual. There is a higher edge of violence and brutality in the air than is usual for Sanctuary, particularly near the waterfront. This may be because of the hardened presence of the Third Command, or due to the thousands of sullen press-ganged recruits they are standing over. The city guards (and Pilf, Hawkmasks, etc) have been excluded from the docks to prevent incidents. The ships appear to be taking on large quantities of supplies. Some are taking limes and lemons, hard-tack and jerky, while others are taking on much more perishable foods. Even some of the Riverside and Fishtown vessels are involved. On the 29th of Blossom, the whole port is filled to overflowing, as a flotilla of 40-50 river craft arrive from Ranke city, packed full with heavily armoured troops. These troops are not divvied up between the larger ocean-going ships, but stay with the barges, as the giant armada heads out to sea on the 30th, powered by every water mage that the entire coastline can spare. Perhaps 150 boats and ships, each with between 5 and 250 people, leave Sanctuary.

Objectives

Ashen Stranger

  • The stranger has left relatively little behind to identify himself. There was another Elf that attempted to make contact with Clarissa before she returned from Alfheim, but they appeared to be slightly more au fait with human culture, i.e. that humans use enough language to be talked down to, even if they are the local ruler. He might be able to be tracked down.
  • Confirm if there is a link between the disappearances of the Lil'rissas and the attempted abduction in Ranke. This follows the speculation that someone looking for Clarissa had a general description and location, but no knack/taste for blending with human-ish society and was using a random sampling techniques rather than questions.
  • Make contact with Clarissa's remaining resources (and any others) in Ranke and see if they have progressed their investigation into him further. At the same time, get updates on Merry's well-being and Chenaya's further antics.

Lil'rissa Disappearances

Six Lil'rissas are known to have disappeared during Winter. Using the services of a very grabby and distracted Astrologer to determine the minute by minute location of Moon we can try and fit them to the modus operandi of the Ashen Stranger and use of the Lunar Teleport bracelet. If the abduction times and circumstances match, we might be able to use them as other points of reference. If they have just all been grounded in their rooms, Clarissa will at least feel a bit better.


Sanctuary Location (Decimal) Latitude : 38.88 Longitude : 19.17

Disappearance Local(?) Time that Moon > 54°
*7th Snow 18:55 - 22:10
*9th Snow 19:50 - 00:10
*10th Snow 20:30 - 01:10
*11th Snow It was now obviously no longer safe or hip to be a Lil'rissa. The devotees started to get their tattoos removed and to dress sensibly.
* 12th Snow x 2 (cousins) Late on the 11th: 21:10 - 02:00
Or on the 12th: 21:55 - 02:45
* 17th Snow 02:25 - 05:00


If we can get a few of these we can triangulate the location of possible common teleport sources based on the dates and times (note that map overlay is wonky in Firefox, but fine in IE6). If it's too anomalous, we can break the connection between these two facets.

Information

This information revolves around Clarissa’s concerns and information sources, including Palace gossip, and general Sanctuary events. It is unclear whether it is relevant to the mission, whatever that proves to be.

Sanctuary Rumours

  • The Lil’rissas have started disappearing from Sanctuary. Initially it was possible that fashion had moved on, but a rumour has recently swept the streets that many of the rissas just weren’t around any more. The trend disappeared overnight, but at least one more ex-rissa went missing in subsequent days.
  • The Third Command has finished clearing out the pirates in the Scavenger Isles, and rather than just overwintering in Southern Ranke, apparently they are replacing the Mordeaux Church knights as they pull back. There must be some sort of deal between Xerxes and the Merry Duchess, for the church to be giving land away after they stole it so cleanly.
  • More disturbances in the Sanctuary Underworld. The ripples have reached the surface, which means that something big is happening. The Hawkmasks have been seen arguing amongst themselves, and have starting retreating again from ground recently wrestled from those snot-nosed Ilsigi gangsters. Maybe their new boss, the Blue Diamond, is slipping, or she might just be luring out rivals. Jubal is apparently still laying low, but there won't be ripples when he moves, just the water turning red...
  • The Art Bubble has burst in Sanctuary. The last few package tours from the Kingdom and further west didn't have a high enough survival rate, and the novelty seems to have worn off. This hasn't been helped by the number of fires in the recent galleries, or the rising cost of union membership, as many people have to get a second job to afford the fees or medical bills.
  • Clarissa doesn’t work at the Palace any more.
    • Update - Clarissa and Taya don't work at the Palace any more - they have both been killed and melted by a Succubus attack on the last Wensday of Blossom. Bourne the Hellhound is recovering from a knife to the brain. Ten others palace staff are dead. Palace Security has been doubled, and the army mobilised.
  • The Prince appears to still be supporting his niece from behind the throne. Sanctuary sent in its full tax levy for the second year in a row, and turning the Third Command into marines has helped to collect record customs duty. The grumbling northern provinces have been chivvied into line by senior Sanctuary Ilsigi, and the central provinces are still afraid of Chenaya.
  • Speaking of which, Chenaya is stuck in her second year-and-a-day oath to protect the Merry Duchess. She shouldn't have gone double-or-nothing with the Governor to get out of her first oath.
  • Sanctuary is definitely invading someone by sea. No one knows for sure, but it seems most likely that ‘we’ are invading Ormond, or possibly Aladar as Ormond is a peaceful penny-stamp, and has a long land border with Ranke. There are rumours about almost every conceivable target however, including Terra Nova, the Lunar Empire, and Hindia, and of course ‘them Calamar Dagos from down south’ from the less informed. The palace staff know even less than everyone else, and the Prince and his top officials haven’t been seen by anyone since the 27th.

Regional Rumours

  • The Rankene armies of the ruthless child-Princess Meredith, are preparing for a Summer campaign, destination unknown. Press gangs have been operating in Sanctuary, Ilsig and Tainsfield, and the Sanctuary 'merchant' navy has finished refitting after its anti-pirate operations. There should be no problem in paying for an expansionist campaign, as the tax take from Sanctuary and the north have been prompt and delivered in full for the first time in several generations.
  • Recent assassination attempts on Miss soldier-girl Meredith have been dismissed as 'a misunderstanding' by Palace officials, who also have no comment on the related dismissal of her bodyguard, who is also one of her Uncle's concubines. Lady Chenaya Vigeles, her chatelaine and chief advisor says: "Duchess Meredithis' popularity remains as high with her loyal subjects as ever, and this will continue as we usher in a period of rapid growth and stabilisation for all of Ranke. We have no fears for her Grace's safety." Rumours of an imminent Vigeles coup are also hotly denied by the Palace.
  • The Church Knights of Mordeaux have withdrawn from Southern Ranke, having completed their post-Dark Circle pacification programme. Sister Grace has claimed Victory for the forces of Justice after three hard-fought years, and says that the last of the undead, bandits, and rebel Barons have been brought into line.
  • County Ormond is calling upon all its Knights and men-at-arms to provide their 40 days of annual service in person, on the southern border, from the start of Summer, and for as long as necessary. It is calling in political favours, and requesting that its allies vigorously support its internationally recognised and rightful independence from Ranke, promising provisioning for as many foreign troops as will take to the field in support.
  • AnteCarzala is nervously awaiting the outcome of the Church retreat from Southern Ranke, with their Musselman religious orders expecting increased border raids of the relatively prosperous border province. Lord Prudence has requested that the more militant orders move to the town of Silverdrake.

Theories

Seraglio Rampage Reports

  • Theory A: Clarissa's Suppressed/Possessed/Obsessed Personality(ies)
  • Supporting Information: The Dagger's Testimony, Clarissa's Wounds, Divination Timeline of Magic and Quasi-Magical effects, Fact that she's Obviously Nuts

  • Theory B: Elaborate Hoax
  • Supporting Information: Prince's Blasé Reaction and that he released Clarissa to kill again.

  • Ambiguous Information: The Accused/Eyewitnesses Testimony, Statements to the Press, General Confusion
  • Notes: Currently the party has yet to speak to a semi-reliable witness to the events.


The Ashen Stranger's Purpose

  • Theory A: Clarissa's lost paternal family come to get her back.
  • Supporting Information: Megildur's Testimony.

  • Theory B: Sent to extracted malfunction sleeper agent. But this might still be an aspect of Theory A.
  • Supporting Information: Lil'rissas disappearing to cover trail?

  • Theory C: Random Elf Collector (or Very Poorly Informed Abductors)
  • Supporting Information: Lil'rissas disappearing in Winter
  • Counter Information: Paused for months until Clarissa was back in the area, then she got grabbed on the same day as the Rune Curse was applied.Megildur's description of "Princess'" reaction seems to imply that she and the Ashen stranger are close in some way.

  • Ambiguous Information: Reference to a grandfather (which one?)


The Ashen Stranger's (Lunar) White-firing

  • Theory A: Ranke Court anti-teleport defence magics.
  • Supporting Information: Timing of Events
  • Counter Information: What defence rates a Teleport out as bad and Whitefire as okay? Also, he could not have triggered it on himself and carried Clarissa, and was thus planning to place it on her and then trigger it. The bracelet survived, when it should have been targeted with him.

  • Theory B: Automatic Reflex from Clarissa/"Princess"
  • Supporting Information: She's just that creepy.

  • Theory C: Random Bystander AKA Megildur AKA "Beady-eyes"
  • Supporting Information: Megildur's admission.

  • Ambiguous Information:

Princess' Relationship to the Ashen Stranger

  • Theory A: Formless as yet, but Megildur believed that she welcomed his arrival, was moving to meet him, and juggled several guards and Chenaya to get there.
  • Supporting Information: Other witnesses?

The Lunar Teleport Bracelet Destination

  • Theory A: Target Ranke
  • Supporting Information:?
  • Counter Information: This spell has massive range, but a strict timing component. Other spells could have sufficed.

  • Theory B: Target Darkest Azuria/Where-ever
  • Supporting Information: Megildur's stories of "The Corruptor", the spells has adequate range for those locations.

  • Ambiguous Information: A charged used that day, either for his arrival or used by messenger alerting Ash? The usable range on the important times covers Ranke and points south.

The Rune Curse's Purpose

  • Theory A: Chenaya's Revenge
  • Supporting Information: Happened immediately before Clarissa was nearly abducted, a situation that Chenaya could have easily engineered.

  • Theory B: A trigger condition for hidden memories or personality.
  • Supporting Information: ??
  • Counter Information: Lousy, slow, dangerous spell to use for this.

  • Theory C: Accidental side effect of Megildur's apparently ineffectual Amnesia Curse targeting Clarissa's 'tweenage years.
  • Supporting Information: Supposition from Cousin Megildur AKA "Beady-eyes"
  • Counter Information: The memory blanking was a dodgy move to start with, but accidentally engendering paranoia and (prompt) madness? Also the Divination revealed it was a genuine Rune Curse.

  • Ambiguous Information: The amnesia curse was not apparent in the original divinations, caught later by Kilroy.

Speculation

  • Something to do with the tats? krrf? offended elves? rival concubines? a complex plot by the Prince? the previous demon-summoning concubine? Princess Daphne? the chambermaids?

Background on Clarissa

Astrology

A life-changing decision awaits you during the rebirth of the next Phoenix, while both it and you are still wearing flowers. Your best Gem Friend is Opal.

‘‘Offered by the Astrology department as one of their occasional pieces of free "advice". It appears to place a limit the our effort for the six weeks until the 12th of Heat, or 1st day of "Falling Blossoms in the Month of the Phoenix" to give it it's full Elven flummery.’‘

‘‘And a "Gem Friend!?" Puh-lease.’‘

Research

Divinations

Guild Divination Report – 30 Blossom 808

The Guild divination went back 11 weeks, but magics before 11th Blossom relate to a previous adventure and are excluded:

12th, 13th, 16th, 17th, 19th, 22nd, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th: Alchemical quasi-magic.
25th and 26th: complex cocktail of Alchemical and Herbal quasi-magic.
12th: Empathy Rk 14 [MA 26, WP 23].
15th: Empathy Rk 14 [MA 26, WP 23].
16th: Rune Curse Rk 17 (ritual cast) [MA 24], Armour of Earth Rk 17 during this time [MA 23]; Flying Rk 12 [Clarissa].
26th: Trollskin Rk 6 [MA 19], Trollskin Rk 20 [MA 30], Healer quasi-magic, Teleport Rk 9 [MA 30, WP 26], Earth Healing Rk 20 [MA 30], Interregnum Rk 6 [MA 12], Greater Summoning SCS and GCS Rk 6 [MA 12], True Form Rk 8 [No MA]. Possible traces of Binder / E&E ritual magic.
27th: E&E Charm Rk 6 [MA 30], Rune of Truth Rk 15 [MA 27], Healer quasi-magic, Geas Rk 10 [No MA].
29th: Non-colleged Minor Curse [Clarissa], Flying Rk 12 [Clarissa].
30th: Flying Rk 12 [Clarissa]. After the divination, curse removal, Healer quasi-magic.

All magics belonged to the expected college.

Dates

These dates are either relevant historical dates, or imminent Rankene events:

  • early 1995AP (Summer 796WK?) - Clarissa stumbles into the Guild.
  • The Lil'rissa known disappearances were on the:
    • 7th Snow
    • 9th Snow
    • 10th Snow
    • 12th Snow x 2 (cousins)
    • 17th Snow
      • 6 Lil’rissas in total. The rapid disappearance of the fashion trend started around the 11th of Snow
  • 16 Blossom 808, 10:27am - death of Ashen Stranger in Ranke city
  • 26 Blossom 808, 2-ish am - Demon kills Clarissa, Taya
  • Beltane 809 - High Holiday, Full Moon
  • 5 Meadow - White Lotus Day
  • 7-10 Meadow - Festival of the Arts, Sanctuary
  • 14 Meadow - New Moon
  • 15 Meadow - Chenaya's oath to protect Meredithis ends
  • 22 Meadow - Duchess Meredithis' Coronation Ball
  • 28 Meadow - Full Moon
  • 12 Heat - New Moon
  • 15 Heat - Summer Solstice
  • 26 Heat - Full Moon
  • 3 Breeze - Day of Death

Previous Season's Calendar

The dates of the start of each of the 28 day Old Elven Calendar Season Months have been marked to help keep track of ominous prophecies. All of these dates fall within the Long Month of the Phoenix.

Spring 808wk: Thaw
Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Moon3.jpg Candlemansa 1 Guild Meeting 2 3 4 5 6
Moon0.jpg 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Moon1.jpg 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Moon2.jpg 21 1st day of Entrancing Spirit 22 23 24 25 26 27
Moon3.jpg 28 29 30 1 2 3 4
Spring 808wk: Seedtime
Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Moon0.jpg 5 6 7 8 Rites of Thunor 9 10 11
Moon1.jpg 12 13 14 15 Equinox 16 17 Eostre 18
Moon2.jpg 19 1st day in the Forest Heart 20 21 22 23 24 25
Moon3.jpg 26 27 28 29 30 1 2
Spring 808wk: Blossom
Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Moon0.jpg 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Moon1.jpg 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 An Ashen Stranger

assaults Clarissa in Ranke

Moon2.jpg 17 1st day of Radiant Blooms 18 19 20 21 Floralia 22 23
Moon3.jpg 24 25 26 Demon kills Concubines in Sanctuary 27 28 29 30 Walpurgisnacht

Current Season's Calendar

Summer 809wk: Meadow
Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Moon0.jpg Beltane

Full Moon

1 Guild Meeting 2 3 4 Street Fighting in R 5 White Lotus

M caught

A killed

6
Moon1.jpg 7 Start of the Festival of the Arts 8 SMG => W 9 S: C meets B

T&D Mtg.

R attacks W

M. => home

10 Festival of the Arts Ends

W Palace falls

11 12 13
Moon2.jpg 14 1st day of Vibrant Growth

New Moon

15 Chenaya's oath to protect Meredithis ends 16 17 18 19 20
Moon3.jpg 21 22 Duchess Meredithis' Coronation Ball 23 24 25 26 Ecliptic New Year 27
Moon0.jpg 28 Full Moon 29 30 1 2 3 4
Summer 809wk: Heat
Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Moon1.jpg 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Moon2.jpg 12 1st day of Falling Blossoms

New Moon

13 14 Midsummer Eve

(Faerie Day)

15 Solstice 16 17 18
Moon3.jpg 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Moon0.jpg 26 Full Moon 27 28 29 30 1 2
Summer 808wk: Breeze
Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Moon1.jpg 3 Day of Death 4 5 6 7 8 9
Moon2.jpg 10 1st day of Waving Grass

New Moon

11 12 13 14 15 16
Moon3.jpg 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Moon0.jpg 24 Full Moon 25 26 27 28 29 30

People and Places

Feovar Garavheron

Clarissa's maternal grandfather. Head of Arandil clan. Lives in Elfheim. 'White' Lunar Celestial mage.

Calimë Tiadana Arandil

Clarissa's mother. Lives in Elfheim.

Megildur

Young Elven ranger/hunter. Cousin to Clarissa on her maternal side. 'White' Lunar Celestial mage.

Maetharanel Arandil

Trans: "Warrior Princess King-Friend" Birth name of Clarissa.

Grandfather

Clarissa's maternal grandfather is Feovar. Clarissa's paternal grandfather is Morohtar.

Morohtar

Morohtar, Clarissa's paternal grandfather. 'Dark' Lunar Celestial Mage. (TBC)

The Corrupter

Beriogelir, Clarissa's father. Megildur described him as "a Drow in all but name." 'Dark' Lunar Celestial Mage.

Scribe Notes

These bits are extracts from the actual scribe notes included here to make it easier for players & GM.

NB These are the official scribe notes as may be found in the guild library.

Day 1 - 1st of Meadow 809

Very early on this guild meeting day, before most guild adventurers had even started regretting the previous nights 'celebration', we 5 met in the secret room between 5A and 5C.

C., S., and D. provide briefings on politics and events in Sanctuary. C. wants to know what's really going on and wants it resolved. Guild Mind Mages requested to check C.'s memories, find anything hidden, expand relevant details. Rituals of Anti-Scrying, Linking Lifeforce, GE, Divination. Guild Namers requested to recheck their Divs when we find un-revealed details. Talking to bloody dagger reveals C. hand held the dagger when the blood was splattered over it. It wasn't C.'s dagger before then, belonged to a human male (later shown to be Bourne).

In these small cramped (but secure) rooms we discussed many things, most of which revolved around Clarissa being 4 cream buns short of a picnic and looking dreadful. We continued discussions over some fine fresh produce and excellent red wine until just after lunch when the first of the guild parties started flying off to various locations.

We decided that the Guild Mind Mage's were to be consulted to try to recover some of Clarissa's fragmented, confused, befuddled and missing memories - and off she went. We then undertook some rituals and the like until she was returned.

It was mid afternoon before we received Clarissa back into our company and we then found out ... That Clarissa is as nutty as a fruit cake with special additives for flavour and inconsistency.

Sneak into Seraglio and recover equipment. Only hidden stuff is left, the rest has been taken somewhere un-locatable.

Late afternoon sees us take a short trip to a nearby seaside resort and in the early evening recover some of Clarissa’s equipment she had left behind in her hasty departure. We all spend a quiet and delightful night camped under the stars.

Day 2 - 2nd of Meadow 809

Fly to and setup base at Godrock. Another locate attempt on C.'s equipment reveals palace is protected by potentially lethal backlash against anti-scrying.

We rise early at 5am and decide that having a roof over our heads would be best. We will take up the offer of nearby coastal accommodation from a friend of ours and thus we travel there and make ourselves at home. Clarissa mentions her lost wardrobe again, but the topic pains Dalran too much to pursue any further. Dalran heads into the resort to see some associates and the rest of the party take part in some camp activities.

C cuts her own wrists with sharpened pumice but has no memory of it. K.O. does not release a hidden persona, neither does immersion. K attempts Curse Removal on Amnesia on C. T makes a clay golem duplicate of C.

Clarissa has her bath cut short by a freak soap and pumice accident. Thaeuss and Serendipity's Phrenology enrichment and deep rinse tire Clarissa again but reveal no more about the nature of the accident. Clarissa then decides to try Kilroy's cleansing treatment which turns out to be equally unsuccessful but she does catch a nap while he goes through the motions.

Inspired, Thaeuss sculpts a statue of Clarissa to commemorate the occasion. While Serendipity occupies a lounger by the pool.

Dalran returns with the dinner time buffet, relieving the others from the tedium of exquisite sweet and savoury pastries. Dinner conversation is most convivial, following Dalran's camp stories everyone retires early.

Day 3 - 3rd of Meadow 809

Back at the guild by mid morning. Multiple divinations & DAs of Clarissa.

  • The Amnesia curse effect affected some time in her second Long Year (her tweens).
  • The Amnesia and Paranoia curses were both cast in the same Rune Curse ritual on the 16th. Both have been removed, although it will take some time for the Paranoia curse to fully fade - it currently counts as being hag-ridden and paranoid.
  • The tattoos have no magical component, and have never been affected by magic, ever. The inks are formerly living plant matter, which were killed between 784 and 791 WK. Probably rules out being tattooed for 100 years, but makes a 7 year tattooing likely.
  • Clarissa is 53 years old, not the 130+ she thought.
  • Records show that Clarissa arrived at the Guild on 19 Seed 795WK (1 Silver Bear by the old elven calendar).
  • Clarissa is BeeAyTee-EssAitchAyeTee SeeAreAyZeeWhy.
Information from Logan
The Lunar branch of the Celestial College is news to people in the Lunar empire. Someone knows an old sage who thinks that some crepuscular southern race did moon magic instead of sun magic. Maybe it was the mole people of the southern continent? Or one of the long-lost ocean-going peoples, because of the tides? Logan gains some brownie points with allies for warning them of the possible re-emergence of an ancient branch of magic - they will keep an eye on the branch of any unusual celestial magics for the next few months.
Clarissa d'Ornay is known as a trade representative from the Rankene Empire. They are interested to confirm her membership of the Seagate Guild. Some minor contracts had been drawn up with Sanctuary for additional trade in spices and slaves due to her presence, but the amounts are inconsequential (hundreds of thousands) - the contracts will be ripped up, as a gesture of goodwill to Logan.
The Ivory Bracelet looks like some work pulled from a jungle dig a few years back, probably a religious artefact from one of those Drow or Lizardman stepped temples, but much more delicate. Collectors now know Logan is in the market for such a piece, and a discrete word will be spread to appropriate finders of such items.

Mid afternoon at the Guild.

Fly to Ranke, set up fake C (C2) in a loft in an empty warehouse, wander town to spread rumours and hints of Cs return and location. Elven hunter ambushes us, fails to kill C but gets away. K is accidentally killed. Pack up and fly back to guild to get K resurrected.

After much discussion we decide to travel to a place of elevated status and enjoy some time relaxing alongside its delightful river in a roomy abode we have managed to lease for a time - We also plan to show off our upmarket fine lady to see what sort of attention she attracts. We make plans for some visitors who may come by unexpectedly and then decided to partake in some local cuisine and beverages. After an hour and a half we decided that an early night was called for and headed back towards our roomy abode. We came across a hunter pursuing his quarry and unfortunately disrupted his sport. We tried to make amends and explain but he disappeared into the urban wilderness. Once back together again we noticed that Kilroy had disappeared so we searched and searched for him but his game of hide and seek was very very good - we did find him in the end but he appeared to have suffered an accident involving an unlucky foot and we decide to take his corpse back to the guild for attention.

Day 4 - 4th of Meadow 809

We depart our abode and fly to the guild arriving there around 2am. We get a good nights sleep at the guild and awake again at 10am when we will decide our new activities for the day
When we awake from our well deserved slumber we breakfast and then head over to discuss research topics with the librarians who have discovered some information for Kilroy. Kilroy also puts on a show for us that showcases a lot of his outfits he might wear in the future. Late in the afternoon at 4pm we decide to leave the guild and return to our previous location.

Warehouse has been warded against tattooed female elves with Whitefire. Hunter shows up again but we lose him. Re-set trap across the road, C2 as bait while we watch.

We get there by 630pm and then we enjoy some sightseeing through the wonderful urban environs and then settle in for a quiet night.

Day 5 - 5th of Meadow 809

Hunter kills C2, we pursue and catch him outside town. Turns out to be C's cousin (M) on maternal side sent by maternal Grandfather to stop C from meddling with Elven politics and disgracing family. M reveals tattooist (aka The Corrupter) is C's father, who is seen to have had to much influence over C and corrupted her. Amdusias told M where to find C and who was with her. D & T recover C2 from Chenaya who is investigating warehouse.

Midnight turns out to be quite exciting and we have some fun with the arrival of Clarissa’s relative who pops by and nearly kills Clarissa with his high-jinks. We follow along with his fun and games by heading off into the nearby countryside until finally we then sit down with him to have a chat about some of Clarissa's family matters deep into the night.
Leaving the rest to keep chatting Thaeuss and I head back to our previous location and recover some goods we had left there, much to the chagrin of the people looking to relieve us of our goods. We return to the group and some proper familial introductions are made and then the talking continues yet again.

We summon Amdusias, S chats with him till he becomes substantial, then we kill him and several of his Hellhounds and Devils. M is badly burned.

Decisions are finally made and getting rid of an annoying influence over our planning options is our first priority so we decide on another picnic on a nearby hill, well apart from other influences and beings - and after some well deserved sleep. The midday picnic is a stunning success and our guest departs in a puff, leaving us to plan our next steps in peace.

M's view of the fight is blinkered/biased, he credits all kills to C (and believes this completely).

When Dalran brings Megildur back from his intense tanning session, he is impressed at how his cousin dealt with the interlopers all on her own.

With time pressing, we decide to split up to gather information rapidly before finalising the next leg of our journey. Seren to drop some luggage at home then visit some friends in Bergelfen, Thaeuss and Clarissa back into town to catch up with some old friends, Dalran and Kilroy back to the resort to chat up some girls.

5th - 6th of Meadow 809

Serendipity

Flies to Seagate, leaves M with the healers, portals to Bergelfen.

The Burgraf requests a full report on the Garavheron/Arandil families and the Corrupter.

Aubrey knows of the family as the only known practitioners of the Lunar Branch of Celestial since the War of Tears. He does not know of the Corrupter but suggests he may be a follower of the Wanderer branch as they used to do things like the tattoos.

Clarissa & Thaeuss

With C disguised, walk into Ranke city openly. Visit Lady Selma Tainsfield as concerned friends of C (carrying a letter of introduction). She catches us up on local gossip and her account of the events at Ranke court match C's memory.

Then sneak into palace, wait for Camille Laticia, C has a private unofficial chat. Her meticulous records also match to C's version of events, reclaiming southern Ranke and the troop movements have been the main topics in court for the past month.

Dalran & Kilroy

Fly to Sanctuary, sneak in and meet with D's contacts.

Enas Yorl does not know anything of the Lunar Branch but is interested in anything we learn.

All of the (most trusted) Hazard Class mages will be on holiday in Arabie from the 8th to the 23rd, Black Viktor and Ischade are expected to mind affairs while they are gone.

K is regaled by Rhian's version of the Seraglio Massacre.

Meet up again back at Seagate. Clarissa has no memory of her cousin or family. Divinations of Megildur and Clarissa reveal nothing new. Megildur believes that if we approach Feovar Garavheron (Maternal Grandfather) seeking the location of the corrupter so that we can remove his influence, that he would probably tell us. We decide to try this once we are armed with the full report from Seren's people.

Jharn Alden wishes to buy Jaelle out of the family business. Seren requests a full report of all current assets and contracts before she can provide appropriate advice.

While in Seagate we meet with a girl from the resort who wishes to discuss some business related to an acquaintance of Seren's.

Day 7-8 - 7th & 8th of Meadow 809

Establish rune portals to the south east edge of the Sea of Grass and down to the Five Sisters so that we can travel quickly to where we suspect the Corrupter is once we have his location confirmed. Late afternoon on the 8th sees us back at the guild where after some discussion involving new facts we decide to return to the seaside resort where we arrive in mid evening and then settle in for a good nights sleep (with watches)

Day 9 - 9th of Meadow 809

Bourne sees straight through C's disguise, he wants a report for the prince and he wants C to 'give him an excuse'. His (abrupt) account of events matches what we know, his eye will not heal, it has been replaced with a small crystal permanently tracking on C.

Renn wishes to acknowledge a favour owed to C for her contribution last spring in Alfheim. He can arrange meetings with our persons of interest but will only do so if we agree all parties would survive the meeting.

S advises T&D to gift all current and future shares that Jaelle Alden holds in the family business to the Silberton Arts Council.

The financial report indicates that Manon is in Wasyrat, D reports that is where the navy and Hazard Mages have gone to 'stamp out the slave trade'.

We visit Renn the Banker as the result of an invitation after we were accosted by a Disguised man who enquired as to our progress resolving certain matters for Clarissa's boyfriend.

We get little from Renn and later Seren decided to rid herself of some troubling investments and thus we visit some Low Life to get things sorted out. Once this is done we decide that the weather is not warm enough to continue our vacation here and so we set off for the SE.

Megildur starts flying back home to report to grandfather and hopefully speak positively for Clarissa.

We fly and portal to Tycho City and fly and fly and fly..

Day 10 - 10th of Meadow 809

The Rankene army has breached the northern walls, fighting in that quarter of the city. Elementals, Djinn, and other fliers are in the region. Some Hazard Mages are invading from the west.

We fly into the SE corner of the city, sneak into the palace, get directions to Manon, enter the court where he and every other VIP is meeting with the Queen to oversee the war, trip intrusion alerts, and then the fun begins. Entire palace gets shrouded in darkness, dozens of courtiers and guards die in cross-fire of solar flare, blackfire, air storms, etc. VIPs retreat and activate their room-clearing sun storm, we split just before the fatal tanning session starts.

S follows the Queen and advisers, spots Manon and extracts him with some collateral damage and leaves town. K keeps the guards running, eventually finds his way to the corridor of carnage and starts looting. T tails the generals for a while, fuels the chaos with a few stone-faced friends, then finds his way to the CoC and pockets the Chancellor and remains of the queen. D & C flirt with the tanning room then reach the CoC shortly before reinforcements arrive.

D observes that S has collected the primary target, K & T delay the reinforcements, C & D open a new exit and we all leave.

We finally arrive at a new holiday spot and we enter the city avoiding a nasty looking domestic dispute on the beach nearby.

We look for some decent accommodation and decide to stay at the best accommodation in town.

A small case of overbooking results in small fracas in the courtyard which leads to the demise of an important local lady and some close associates. We do not want to be linked to this unfortunate event and so we quickly depart for a nearby beach where we all catch up.

Rendezvous at next cove east as per pre-arranged plans. Brief interrogation of Manon reveals that he was the child-broker, but by the third swap (father to mother) the disputes about the length of custody periods and the communication between them had broken down so badly that the pick up was missed. Manon had left the tranfers to trusted agents and the squabbling to lawyers, but seems certain that no "valuable merchandise" would have been abandoned or "embezzeled".

He is able to give the both the C's fathers location at that time, a volcano some thousands miles and slightly east of our current location, and guess at S's D.O.D whereabouts (near the front of the shop in Wyserat). He also helps us by indicating that the Wyserat treasury is off-plane in care of a Djinn and that there are still an amount of operating capital and works of art in the Palace that we might "save" from the seige.

He goes back in the box, we re-prioritise and head back to the Palace and find the looting in full swing - it is revealed to be an bucket chain to deposit goods in a pentacle in the basement and whisk them away. Blending righteous indignation and avarice we scatter the help and load up miniaturised chests and the Greater Summoner in charge.


Hit the Al-Den scriptorium and naughty scroll shop, bursting in before the proprietor disappears into the back rooms, a mind-bending maze comprising of two horribly mislabelled doors. After removing much magic from the wizened human cleaning lady we find S's D.O.D underneath and load up another body. Bravely yell at the doors until we discover the likely exits (bedroom, wardrobe, stairs (to a nearby, but quite different, roof), a house in sanctuary, and a scriptorium/school-room).

Brief pause to hand over the apprehended parts of the Wsyerat command structure to the Rankene and help C's political profile, then fly south and pause to make sure that cargo isn't going anywhere.

As bodies are being Petrified, Gremory arrives in response to D.O.D's predicament and patiently requests that he be handed over. Somewhere between S's assurance that he would not be harmed and the Duke Duchess of Songs of playing with C's hair, a months breathing space is negotiated and she leaves amicably and empty handed.



Once we have a chance to talk to the local guide, we stop in town to collect a few knick-knacks and postcards, deliver a peace offering to the aggrieved party on the beach to sooth ruffled feelings and decamp for some real, "off-the-beaten" trail sightseeing.

A fascinating traveller on one of the fabled "ships of the the desert" approaches us as we are admiring the desolate beauty of the dunes, shares our humble meal and haggles with us for a recovery of a statuette. It's status as an heirloom decides the matter, but our new friend seems determined to re-open the barginning later.

Day 11 - 11th of Meadow 809

We fly all day long with a some airbourne rest breaks

Day 12 - 12th of Meadow 809

Dawn (6am) sees us coming up to a huge mountain rising up from the jungle. We probably travelled around a 1000miles yesterday and we are glad of the distance between us and that nasty little city. We estimate that we are some 30 miles away from Bandorion which appears to be a collection of White marble ruins just above the tree line around 13,000ft. Below we see figures that we take to be elves showing their age and we head in for a meeting with C's dad. Perhaps 'the Corrupter' title given her father was a reflection of the difference between Alfheim elven court life and living in a more pristine and wild area such as this mountain, 100's of Miles away from civilisation and its veneer of civility.

Scout and spy for a couple of hours. Confirm our suspicions that this is a colony of fanatical nature-loving artists. The 'Lunatic Fringe' of Alfheim society.

Thaeuss and his bodyguard/flesh-golem/illusion Kilroy go in, approach Lothroniel and then talk to Beriogelir about Clarissa and her past.

Then bring in Clarissa for a 'family reunion', consult with Grand Father about change/damage to the tattoos. After examination, he declares he needs to consult with his muse.

Seren, Thaeuss and Clarissa join Beriogelir and Morohtar in a 'power circle', Balanidhren leads the invocation. Seren is briefly assaulted by a spirit-form imp or something like that, presumably because of her protective tattoos. Clarissa's spirit is briefly taken away for a long talk with Orias about her options.

Clarissa takes angst to a whole new level as she discusses and considers the options the demon gave her. Eventually we can take no more and rest for the night - sleeping in the ground for the first time in several days.

Day 13 - 13th of Meadow 809

In the morning Clarissa diverts conversation away from her choice by having us Lunar Teleported to a 'garden' where the Lil'rissas were killed (blood and bone for the garden).

The garden is about 5 miles from Sanctuary and it is early morning when we arrive there.

Discretely leaving through a hole in their wall, we make our way to Sanctuary. Black Victor checks up on his responsibilities, judges a few matters and then organises a field trip for the 18 political students.

Victor and his pet spectre escort the 21 students to Ranke to observe the end of Chenaya's vow and how that affects the politics of Ranke. The guards at Ranke look exceptionally unimpressed to see us all descend on them, but honour the usual arrangements the the Mages Guild. After checking in at the usual Inns, Victor takes the group to observe the tail end of open court, then sends them off to make observations and complete their assignment.

Clarissa visits a few friends to catch up on recent events and the mood of the town. Chenaya has organised a stacked meeting of the regents council for the afternoon of the 15th.

Later that night Kilroy and Chenaya share some dreams which makes us suspect that we can cut a deal with Chenaya.

Day 14 - 14th of Meadow 809

Clarissa has breakfast with Merry to co-ordinate efforts, and get her new orders (to return to Ranke and resume her duties).

Clarissa, Seren, and Thaeuss invite the absentee members of the regents council to the meeting tomorrow.

Clarissa bumps into Chenaya in the evening and has a chat. Chenaya decides not to deal with Clarissa and chooses instead to deal to her. After a bit more banter and some confusion over projected images, Chenaya kills Clarissa and leaves her lifeless clay with the guards to be disposed.

Day 15 - 15th of Meadow 809

Some of the regents are escorted into town. The students all gather outside of the regents council to take notes. Clarissa arrives with a friendly majority of the council and quickly sets things to order again.

Chenaya leaves the council not long afterwards, attempting to aerate some walls as she goes.

Ranke politics return to normal.

Day 17 - 17th of Meadow 809

A private meeting is held in Khatovar. The party leaves the meeting light two statuettes and one nasty curse.

Nobody is too unhappy.

Loot

Total value 180,520sp, I think.

Some of these items are valuables from Manon or Aristo, or Magical Ornaments and Knicknacks from Manon's bedroom. They have all been covered with dense script and sigils (except for the labels). The sigils include ownership, warning, and fireproofing. Also they have all been labelled as documents, but only for the purposes of spell targeting.

Returned

Elven Clothyard Arrows
Cleaned and returned to Megildur.
Lower Third of the Queen of Wasyrat
Delivered to the generals of the Rankene army
Chancellor of Wasyrat
Delivered to the generals of the Rankene army, presumably resurrectable.
Aristo Alden
Petrified and Itemised, 1 month grace before release-to or renegotiation with Gremory. Released on his own recognizance in Khatovar.
Manon Alden
Petrified and Itemised, gifted to Aristo on his release.

Claimed

Credit for destroying the command structure of Wasyrat
Credit from the generals of the Rankene army. Valuation: none. Look on Chenaya's face: Priceless. Clarissa
A Favour fromHashim ibn Khulus, Greater Summoner of Wasyrat
Archmage Hashim ibn Khulus is a wise and powerful Greater Summoner who works for the current Wasyrat royalty. He was captured by a guild party and ransomed back to the Wasyrat palace in exchange for one favour for each of the party, including <insert name>. He can summon Djinn, Efreet, Angels, lesser Demons, and lesser Elementals. He will not summon Named Powers (ArchAngels, Demon Lords), nor anything that can’t be bound. He does not like <insert name>. , but will undertake any reasonable, safe task to be rid of his debt. Valuation: none. Nominal worth for GM to rate size of favour: 5,000sp Everyone
Lunar Teleport Bracelet
The bracelet from the Ashen Stranger is an invested item containing 3 charges of Rank 12 Lunar Teleport, which teleports the wearer (only) to a pre-determined location that is currently in moonlight, BC 94%. The spell is of a Lunar branch of Celestial. If the Adept knows the Lunar Teleport spell, they can select a different destination for the wearer. There is some cost to the wearer in using the teleport – temporary to medium term WP loss. The Teleport is on-plane, and range is limited by the destination and origin both needing to be in at least (90-3/Rank)° moonlight. The Ivory bracelet is covered with minute complex patterns (of interlocking animals frolicking in moonlight) burnt into the surface. It is rechargeable to a maximum of 5 charges, requiring a combination of two of: A full moon, Lunar New Year; High Holiday. Weight 2 oz. Valuation: 9,900sp. Clarissa
Inscribed Brace of Magical Daggers
SC+10%, Cure Infection on any wound they cause (costs 1 FT for wielder). Their blood runnels make them good for drawing in blood. Inscribed with Scriptmancy Sigils of ownership, warning. Valuation: 2x200sp. Claimed
Vial of Virility
As per Wicca spell, Rank 15. Duration x 50, Effect/50. Inscribed with Scriptmancy Sigils of ownership, warning, fireproofing. Valuation: 1,000sp. Claimed
Pretty Scrolls
Several less-than-tasteful etchings of slavegirls. Some poems and religious works. All fireproofed by Scriptomancy. All in Arabique. Valuation: 1,000sp. Dalran
Literary Scrolls
A number of illuminated stories from the Thousand and One Arabian Nights. All fireproofed by Scriptomancy. All in Arabique. Valuation: 1,000sp. Seren
Amulet of Reversal
All magic targeted at the wearer by a single named entity will reverse back and apply to the targeting entity as well. The ITN of the entity must be spoken aloud by the wearer on the night of the Full Moon, and the reversal effect will then apply whenever worn by that person (only), until the next Full Moon. Shaped Scriptomancy item inscribed with Scriptmancy Sigils of ownership and warning. Valuation: 7,500sp. Thaeuss
Quill of Dictation and Transcription
Anything said in Elven by the writer will be written in beautiful Arabique cursive script, regardless of the writer's rank in spoken or written Arabique. Shaped Scriptomancy item inscribed with Scriptmancy Sigils of ownership, dictation, tranlation, and warning. Valuation: 1,000sp. Dalran
Quill of Enchantment
Any written magic performed with this quill will gain a 5% bonus (this does not stack with any bonuses from the ink/blood). This will usually only affect the chance to Invest Scrolls, cast any Runes that can be drawn with a quill rather than inscribed, such as Runes of Doom, and most Scriptomancy magic. Shaped Scriptomancy item inscribed with Scriptmancy Sigils of ownership and warning. Valuation: 5,000sp. Dalran


Sold

10 Chests and a couple of sacks saved from looters of Wasyrat
Itemised and stored. 4 hundredweight of miscellany, worth half its weight in silver. Total 71,680sp.
Wasyrat Petty Cash
3 bags of coin. 20 pounds, 90% silver, 10% gold. Total 13,440sp.
Valuables from Chancellor, Queen, Greater Summoner
Valuable looking or magical items removed from the Chancellor, the bottom third of the Queen, the Greater Summoner. 18,000sp of jewellery. Small amounts of Myrrh, Frankincense, Sandlewood, Antimony, Ambergris 1,000sp. Censor of silver and gems 3,000sp. Silver Shields of protection against Backfiring when summoning Djinn & Efreet, Valuation: 2,000sp + 3,000sp. Amulets of Luck, Iron, Aquilegius, Amethyst (Hashim), Elderflowers (Chancellor) Valuation: 12,200sp. Total: 39,200sp
Inscribed Amulets
Amulets of Luck, Carbuncle, Beryl, Elderflowers x2, Hypericum. Valuation: 17,600sp.
Inscribed Signet Ring of Authentication
This ornate signet ring, used to seal documents, casts an Authentication magic on every document sealed. If the document is inauthentic (forged, or sealed not by a rightful owner), there is a 50% chance the ring will destroy itself in a spectacular manner, likely involving serious injury to its wearer. The signet shape can be changed to that of the appropriate owner. Shaped Scriptomancy item. Valuation: 4,000sp

Items To Be Resolved

Quill of Re-Writing History
History is written by the victors. This quill allows the historian to write about recent events, shading peoples' memories of motivations, intentions and understandings to change their spin on events; this is effectively retrospective propaganda. The rewrite of history MAY NOT change memories of the actual events that occurred. The writer must have sufficient WP to rewrite history: 1 WP per witness (all present must be targetted) + 1 WP per 5 minutes elapsed since the event. The player must also write the new history, within appropriate time constraints. Those witnesses with Mind Cloak or similar defences and more WP than the historian may make a MR check to avoid having their memories altered. Too much use of this item may start causing memory gaps or localised amnesia in the targets. Shaped Scriptomancy item inscribed with Scriptmancy Sigils of ownership and warning. Valuation: 6,000sp
EOI from Clarissa - Clarissa's eyes keep wandering towards this, despite being short the several trillion WP needed to fix her reputation with it.
EOI from Dalran
EOI from Kilroy
Labels
These fire-proof water-proof paper labels contain one charge each of Scriptomancy Relabeling. When affixed, tied, wedged or attached to an object and triggered (BC 99%), that object will permanently seem to be as per the label to all observers (including the triggerer), and spells (for targeting purposes) until the label is removed or destroyed (one use per label). The actual weight, size, fragility, etc will not change. The labels are (in elvish) “spittoon”, “harpoon”, “egg spoon”, “bassoon”, “macaroon”, “balloon”. You are sure that they had other labels when you first got them. Invested Scriptomancy items inscribed with Scriptmancy Sigils of fireproofing. Valuation: 6x300sp
Duration once labeled and triggered? Until removed/destroyed.
Is the labeler affected by the relabeling?. Yes, but they can remember that the macaroon is poisonous, the eggspoon effective, etc. Encumbrance, PS/MD requirements, etc remain the same, so you can figure out "oh, that macaroon" easily enough, although people (incl yourself) might wonder why you are carrying a 10 pound macaroon in a shoulder-sheath. Relabelling a weapon could be tricky, as you will fight as if it's a macaroon. Probably neither side will get weapon or warrior ranks in a macaroon fight - I'd unlabel a weapon/macaroon before hitting people in most situations, but not an anvil/macaroon before dropping it on someone's foot.
EOI from Kilroy, one or more (label your favourite nasty assassin weapon, and nobody will ever suspect you just cut that persons throat with your egg spoon. Don't label your poison pouch with macaroon and get forgetful though :-))
EOI from Dalran Sounds interesting then ;)

Nominations and SGT Snippets

Nominations

Best Death
Kilroy - flew into a wall then was stepped on by his would-be rescuers because he was too well disguised.
Smartest
Bravest

Quotes

Kilroy: "I've been thinking..."

Hot and Not

Hot
Bunny Boiling
Not
Serial Amnesia

Possible Articles

Ranke abolishes Slavery
Ormond and Ranke tussle over border
Ranke attacks Arabie
Royal Wedding Bells?
Yet Another Concubine charged with Murder
More Branches found on Celestial Tree


Getting Organised

Standard Buffs

* indicates Duration is Enhanced

Three armour/defence options:

Rk 20 Shadow Form from Seren 42% Def for 20.5 Hrs*
Rk 20 Rune Shield from Kilroy 25% Def +5 AP for 41 Hrs*
Rk 20 Enchant Armour from Dalran 42% Def +1 AP for 20.5 Hrs*

Strength of Darkness +11 PS for 390 Mins* (6.5 Hrs)

Witchsight Rk 14 from Seren 14.5 Hrs*

Vapour Breathing from Clarissa 6.5 Hrs*

Anti-Scrying from Dalran

For Travel we have:

Air Flight from Clarissa 42 MPH for 6.5 Hrs / 12.5 Hrs*
Shadow Wings from Seren 40 MPH for 5.5 Hrs / 10.5 Hrs*
Instill Flight - Thaeuss 40 MPH for 5.5 Hrs / 10.5 Hrs* - may carry up to 650 lbs
Karreyhun – Kilroy 18 MPH
Winged Elf – Dalran 56 MPH
Rune Portals - Kilroy

Itemisation from Thaeuss - objects reduced to 1/10th weight and 1/12th size for up to 15 Days*

Modify Aura +/- 3 levels for 13 Hrs*

Also for melee combat Dalran grants:

+10 IV, +10 SC, +10 Def, +1 Pass Action at end of pulse (Engaged only)

Weapons Spells:

Smite Rk 20 - Res or D+21 + Prone & Stun on first hit - 41 Hrs* (on person, not weapon specific)
Rune Weapon Rk 20 - Acid/Poison D-5 + 8 for D pulses - 25 mins / 45 mins*
Enchant Weapon Rk 20 - +21 SC +7 Dam for 25 mins / 45 mins*

Playing Nights

  1. 16th Dec
  2. 23rd Dec
  3. 30th Dec - Chris Away
    No game on the 6th Jan due to holidays
  4. 13th Jan onwards

12. Extra Wednesday session 4 March. In Total: 12 sessions in a 12 session season. Chris & Lisa each missed 1.5 sessions.