(Told by Victor Taur’on)
Well, adventuring done for the moment. we all settled back for our week of chilling in La’kola. As we got back on the 1st day of the month of the Crane, which is called “The Day of Beauty,” I decided to take Mel out to dinner. Other than that, we goofed off a bit, and came to the decision that we were going to go talk to Stasia’s chief rival in town, Cornelius Hawthorne, the next day.
“Why would you do that,” you might ask? Simple; we had just REALLY pissed off his eldest son and heir apparent, Ian, at the Great Insane Mage Escape. Ian is known to have a CRITICALLY SHORT fuse, and to be a bit duel and grudge happy. Cornelius controls a sizable portion of La’kola’s underworld; he’s kinda like their Tony Soprano, just hopefully with a better ending.Not only is he the kind of guy we don’t want pissed at us, but Ian stands to inherit his job. Having a pissed off mob boss in a town we need to have as a retreat point is bad for business. And getting to Cornelius first before Ian gets home means we can tell our side of the story with no interruptions.
We head over to his bar for breakfast the next morning, and its what you would think; Cornelius is holding court in a bar full of his peeps. After a few people are let to his table to talk to him, he comes over to our table to chat. Of course he knows we are staying with Stasia, and he also knows that Stasia has recently purchased land back home for a summer villa. Gotta love information gathering. We tell him that we were up investigating around Amos’s place because of the explosion, and had used Ian’s larger crew as a diversion as we rolled in to rescue Amos, leaving all the goodies and a few rooms of combat for Ian an Co. Cornelius then made a GREAT (and thoroughly WRONG) deduction; since we were checking on a mage and not adventuring, and since we got home SO fast, we must be doing it as a favor to Phineas Tanglestaff (archmage of the La’kola Library), not Stasia. Sounds good here, why not!
We inform him that, while we are friends of Stasia, we don’t take sides in local politics. We wanted to meet him as well, and though Stasia and he may not see eye-to-eye, she obviously respects him enough to say it is a good idea for us to meet him. He is a genuinely nice guy (for a mob boss), buys us breakfast, and we roll on out.
We move on to go to the Library. Notice the capital “L” in that; it is the biggest public-access library in the Valley. We all peruse the shelves for a while, noticing that there are marker-blanks for books that are stored ‘upstairs’ in the restricted-access area. When we ask to get in there (dropping Phineas’s name as we do), we are told that he has time to escort us through a couple days from now. Shibby!
Long story short, we hang out in La’kola a few days. We shop, Conner goes a-whorin’ for the first time (while Haven finds it EXTREMELY distasteful, he was learning skills that, as a diplomat, he may need to have), Aldric finds some great earring settings for the two matching sapphires we confiscated from some cultists (our enemies du jour these days!), and I get to cook a bit. Fun was had!
We eventually get to roll into the restricted area of the Library with Phineas, who we try to convince to tell us more about godmarks. He is VERY reluctant at first, guarding this knowledge so strenuously that I ascertain that he must be an expert in the field. I let him know that I am an ‘ascetic’ (monk), and also godmarked, like the legendary Bart was. He mentions that, to his knowledge, Bart was the only godmarked ascetic he has ever found evidence of, although as godmarks are usually kept SUPER secret and ascetics are also generally rare AND secretive, he might have missed a few. Haven also shows her godmark to him, and eventually he shares a bit of info; he keeps a record of every godmarked individual he finds out about after their death. He is somewhat of an expert on the subject, and it is that reason that he does not let us peruse the books on the subject.
Evidentally, one of the books is a legend that states that at some time, someone will gather all the godmarked people together for a battle against ‘The Darkness,’ bringing the world into a better place upon its defeat. As every time this has been attempted it has ended in spectacular tragedy, he believes it to be false at best, and a trap for godmarked people at worst. He goes on to tell us that there was a person not too long ago that set out to ‘take’ godmarks from people, thereby bringing all of them together (in him) and fulfilling the prophecy. As these stories go, he went all Darth on folks, and it ended BAD. Phineas refuses to let us look at the book; I can definitely dig that. We find that the other book he has is a copy of Fess’s godmark treatise, and, upon his letting us see it, realize that he has a beaten, edited, and in some cases (specifically the whole section on ‘transferred’ godmarks) defaced copy. I tell him that I’ll ask Mom if she can have a real copy made for him, since he was nice and helped us out.
After this meeting, we all go back and chill at Stasia’s. The next day, my big ‘surprise package’ arrives; its Gwen (my guard from before)! She announces to Uncle Charlie that she has been made his new official guard, with orders to do as she sees fit and take no order that she deems unnecessary. Charlie seems to be perfectly OK with this; he and Gwen kinda grew up together, and he has mad respect for her. As I tell him later, I figured he needed a friend for when his path eventually diverges from ours, and Gwen is a great friend, and one who won’t take crap from him wile at the same time always work for the betterment of Charlie’s goals. Since she was currently without a charge, it made sense to me; Charlie agrees.
Remember way back when Conner caused Gwen to split from us? A few episodes back (Episode Four), Conner and Gwen tied into it, and it was never resolved. Well, the second Gwen stepped off the airship, Conner faded into the background, obviously rattled. After a bit of cajoling, and a warning from Gwen that it would be better for them to just resolve this shit and Conner get the ‘blue letter’ from his sister than for him to stay obstinate and get the ‘red letter’ from Caroline, Conner and Gwen made up to both of their satisfaction. The red letter went into the fireplace, we finished packing, and boarded the airship to Reneaux.
We were itching to get there, as Felix had gotten a strange letter from Aunt Blair asking him to investigate a guy while there. When Gwen mentioned that apparently our cousin Allison had met a boy there, it became apparent as to this fella’s identity. We make it to town, set up in our estate there (which, as we feared, was unbelievably spartan due to Allison’s paladinistic urges), and sent people off to buy stuff for dinner. A bit after we get in, the doorbell dings, with Conner making it to the door first (Haven, Felix, and I were too busy fighting to get to the door first to beat Conner there!).
At the door is a very pretty human gal, all bare-shoulder outfit and sashaying sexiness. Shana shows us some art representing her; she’s a looker. We roll some Diplomacy and History rolls to see if we can figure out who she is, which most of us do; she’s Adelaide, the sister to the King of Mordova, Sebastian (Haven’s dance partner and dress-buyer). Also, according to all accounts, shes a notorious man-eater and arch political player; she’s Sebastian’s political hit-girl.
Conner immediately FALLS IN LOVE. Not a little, peeps; Conner’s player plays it PERFECTLY. He falls in love the way only a 15-year-old teenager can; after she leaves to get ready for the dinner party she going to have catered for us here, Conner FLIPS OUT! “She’s perfect! Everything has to be PERFECT for her!” The whole shebang, peeps; it was hilarious, fun to be a part of, and virtually GUARANTEES a future train-wreck! When she does show up later, he is in his BEST clothes, and all twitter-patted over it. So much so that when Allison flies into the house, crying her eyes out as she runs upstairs, Conner barely notices…
Yep, you guessed it; her beau broke up with her. While Allison is our age, this is her first real boyfriend, too. Using fresh-baked cookies to lure her out of her room, we hear the story; he basically wanted her to forswear her military rank, move here, and manage his household. To Allison, that is impossible; she has our family’s deeply-seated need to protect our home. The fact that he refused to really try to see things from her angle made it even worse. I mentioned to her that his family (minor nobility) probably have raised him in the culture that states that a woman’s best place is at home, and that the problem they have is a cultural one, at best, and something that can be overcome if both parties really want to do so. Haven disagreed at first, but then sat and thought about it a second and, as we realized that our country was the only one that really let women rise to the same heights as a man, there was probably some truth to that.
Well, that is where we left off. Conner wants to DUEL the guy (which is like Don Knotts wanting to duel Darth Maul), Felix has intel to get on him, Aldric, Haven, and I want to meet him and see what we can discern about him. We still have a desk to procure and get sent on its way, and then we get to have our first cross-country trip on horseback to meet up with King Luther en route to the Big Parties at the Unification Day festival. All this, plus Conner is smitten with a mutha-farkin’ succubus.
Good times, good times.