Zomaris:Khanate Rising/Chapter 14
Chapter #14: New Paradigm, New Quest
<Iethloc> As we join our heroes, they have been summoned to the throne room by the new Khan, Nergui. She sits on the throne, looking a bit tired but resolute. Standing on either side of her are Kiyomi and Amirith, in their respective human forms. Kiyomi's expression is a mystery under her mask, while Amirith looks bored.
<Iethloc> The old party is not there alone, however. Surrounding Fir, Magwitch, and Mercy are a motley bunch of people, of varying races, level of equipment, and degrees of apparent competence. Most faces there are new, but trying not to be too visible is a familiar-looking man with a longbow, looking more and more uncomfortable as the moments pass. On the sidelines are a group of servants, holding generously large bags of what is probably coin.
<Iethloc> Standing out in the crowd is an odd orc woman (or possibly half-orc). Her skin is gray-ish, with a sickly green tint. Her face is mostly a collection of tattoos, depicting eyes, feathers, flames, and other angelic iconography. Drawing the eye as much as the tattoos is the enormous scar sprawling across her left temple, where no hair grows. The rest of her hair is long and black. She wears a simple peasant's dress, stained with blood, and has an ominously shiny sword at her side.
<Iethloc> Standing a proud six feet tall, the turquoise Zoma in the deep purple catsuit catches everyone's eye. She strides in with the grace and elegance of a Lady, the rapier strapped at her hip the merest of hints that she is more than simply an impressive form. A strange juxtaposition of one that seems to well-belong in the corridors of power, and yet, it is a forced belonging: this is one who has placed herself here, not one expected to be.
<Iethloc> “Now,” Nergui says, “we may begin.” She waves a hand, and a trio of servants bring their bags of gold to Fir, Magwitch, and Mercy, then depart. “I owe you a lot more than that for the help you've given, but this will have to do for now.”
<Iethloc> She leans forward. “I'm not just here to reward you, though. I won't be going out adventuring anymore, but I still need things done by people who I know are...at least vaguely competent. Thus, I'm offering you three positions as official adventurers, of a sort. Your first job, if you accept it, will be as a security detail for our new Grand Diplomat as she heads to Mylgate, then Deladar,” Nergui says, and nods towards Kiyomi. Nergui then pauses.
<Magwitch> "So when's the 'freedom for all Races, especially previously outcast ones' coming into vogue?"
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy eyes the man with the longbow meaningfully.
- Magwitch casts Detect Evil in the room, and eyes up the Orc.
<Iethloc> The orc stares back at Magwitch, an odd gleam in what is presumably one of her actual eyes. However, she does not detect as evil.
- Fir looks around the room to see if there are any potted plants or ivy-shaped decorations or the like.
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy then speaks to Nergui. "Well, we usually go around doing stuff for money. If your stuff needs doing and you've got money, I don't see why not. We're not on retainer or anything though, are we?"
<Iethloc> "It'll, unfortunately, take time for the people to learn to be accepting, but it will be one of my priorities," Nergui says to Magwitch.
- Magwitch is satisfied Nergui's Social Engineering movement is at least... moving... and proceeds to scan everyone else in the room. Never know - there might be an assassin they can vanquish before it attempts a coup!
<Iethloc> Nergui then turns to Mercy. "No, not on retainer. I'll just be paying you to do stuff when stuff needs to be done, assuming you stick around."
<Capn_Mercy> "Do we get rooms in the palace?"
<Magwitch> "More importantly, do we get room-service?"
<Iethloc> "Yes and yes."
- Magwitch grins disconcertingly and giggles unnervingly.
<Capn_Mercy> "I heard the word 'concubine' thrown around earlier. Do we get one of those?"
<Fir> "What's a concuvine? A vine that knocks you out?"
<Iethloc> The orc stares at Fir, jaw slack. "Duuuude! A talking plant!"
<Iethloc> Nergui facepalms
<Iethloc> "If you find someone who wants to be your concubine, then yes, you can have one," Nergui says
<Iethloc> Nergui takes a breath to regain her composure.
<Iethloc> “You may be wondering about all these other...fine folk,” Nergui says, straining to finish that sentence. She fails to suppress a small sigh before continuing. “It'll take more than just the three of you. The rest of you are candidates for additional security. It would be unfair to simply pick people without running them by the three of you first, so you'll be getting a voice in who is sent with you. Normally, I'd set up a series of interviews, but time is short. Pick at least two people here.”
<Iethloc> Nergui gestures vaguely at the orc-y woman. “I would suggest starting with Narangerel. She and I have some history, and I can personally attest to her skill.”
<Iethloc> “Oh, hey, Nergui, my dudette! It's been months, hasn't it?” Narangerel blurts out.
<Iethloc> “We’ve already had our reunion, Gerel. Focus,” Nergui says with surprising gentleness.
<Iethloc> Gerel touches a hand to the scar on her head. “Umm...focus on what?” Nergui turns to the party. “Just start talking with people,” she says.
<Magwitch> At the mention of Fine folk, Magwitch looks around the room to see if there really are people smaller than itself.
<Emilia> Emilia spots Mercy and walks up to her boldly. "You certainly know how to attract attention. And kill things. I think I like you already."
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy immediately goes on the defensive as she's accosted by a stranger. "And I should care, why?"
<Iethloc> "Kill things? Whooa, can't we just all be friends?" Gerel says
<Emilia> "The new Khan literally just said to find people to help," Emilia gives the rest of the room a bit of a disdainful look. "Do you want someone that like fool?" she indicates a random elf that seems to be completely unarmed. "Or him?" she points at the now very-nervous longbowman.
<Fir> "I'll be your friend," Fir tells Gerel.
<Iethloc> "Yeah! Gimme five!" Gerel says, holding out a hand within high-fiving range of Fir
<Magwitch> "Hey! I thought you're /my/ friend?"
<Magwitch> "I like the look of that Catfolk over there. Now there's a cat who takes pride in its appearance."
- Fir looks at Gerel's hand with a touch of confusion, then picks five berries off where they've been growing on her shoulder and puts them in Gerel's outstretched hand.
<Emilia> Teresa waves at Magwitch. "Yeah, but I'm needed here. Sorry."
<Fir> "Of course I'm your friend, too, Mags," Fir says.
- Magwitch is overjoyed.
- Magwitch likes Fir.
<Iethloc> "Groovy!" Gerel places the berries in her haversack for later
<Capn_Mercy> "You're right about the bowman - he sucks at killing people." She flashes him a a seemingly-friendly-but-secretly-dont-forget-I-know-where-you-live grin.
<Magwitch> "Whatcha upto, Teresa?"
<Iethloc> The longbowman slowly inches towards the door, avoiding eye contact
<Emilia> "Exactly. And well, when you look like I do, you have to learn fast how to... handle people," Emilia replies.
<Emilia> Teresa shrugs. "As one of the leaders of the former Resistance, I'm still around to make sure things actually... you know, change."
- Capn_Mercy eyes the newcomer. She seems to be trying to decide if that was an innuendo or not. "So how *do* you handle people? What's your adventuring skillset?"
<Iethloc> "Handle people? Were you making one of those double entree things?" Gerel asks
- Magwitch thinks Teresa's job description is much like the party's and looks forward to collaboration.
<Emilia> "I'm pretty good at avoiding fights, but if I need to fight," Emilia pulls out her rapier. "With power and... panache, I can quickly dispatch any opponent."
<Iethloc> "And I can do that thing! The, uh..." Gerel puts a hand on the back of her head. "Umm..."
<Fir> "Hit them with your fists?" Fir suggests.
<Magwitch> "The tango?" Magwitch suggests.
<Iethloc> Gerel squeezes her eyes shut. "I need to remember."
- Magwitch blesses the poor Orc with Fortune.
<Iethloc> "I'm a paladin. Or...I was, at least," Gerel says, suddenly sounding a lot more articulate
<Capn_Mercy> "Was? What happened to you? You seem...scattered."
- Magwitch Chants to keep the pseudoPaladin's roll on a roll.
<Iethloc> "What happened? What do you mean?"
<Iethloc> "I learned to, like, relax. That's all."
<Magwitch> Twinkle says, "Profound", and goes to hang out with the dragons. They probably have positive Intelligence modifiers.
<Fir> "Relaxing is good," Fir says approvingly.
<Capn_Mercy> "Uh huh..." Mercy eyes the sizable scar, but decides not to press the issue.
<Fir> "Just soaking in the sun, yep."
<Fir> "Speaking of which, we should hurry up and pick someone so we can get out of this building and back into that sun. I pick Gerel here."
<Emilia> Emilia refrains from sighing. "In any case, the Khan will probably be sending you on missions that involve dealing with other leaders. No offense, but I'm not sure you have anyone that can do that. I can."
<Iethloc> "Hey, I can talk, too!" Gerel blurts out
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy frowns. "Are you insinuating that none of us have any people--" *BRAAAP* A loud belch resonates throughout the room, eminating from Mercy's mouth. ".....point taken."
<Emilia> Emilia looks at Gerel. "Sure you can. Once you figure out what you want to say."
- Fir points at Emilia. "This one wants to come more than all the others here. Let's pick her as our second and head out, yeah?"
<Iethloc> Gerel looks down at the bloodstains on her dress. "Duuude...when did that happen?"
- Magwitch looks longingly at Teresa.
<Emilia> Teresa shakes her head at Magwitch.
<Iethloc> "That was from the guard that arrested you, Gerel. Just go with these people. They'll take care of you," Nergui says
<Iethloc> Gerel puffs up. "Like I need taking care of! Oh...when did I eat last?"
<Fir> "If you eat one of those berries I gave you, it will fill you up."
<Iethloc> "Nice!" Gerel says, pulling one out and nomming down
<Iethloc> "If you've made your selections, you may take some time to spend that money and prepare for the trip," Nergui announces
<Magwitch> "And partake in room-service."
<Magwitch> "And I have a saddle and some armour I plan to Craft now we've got some finance and some time."
<Capn_Mercy> "A saddle for what?"
<Capn_Mercy> "We don't have camels. Wait, *do* we have camels?"
<Iethloc> "That will be arranged," Nergui says
<Magwitch> "A saddle for a faerie dragon. That faerie dragon, in particular." Magwitch points at Twinkle.
<Magwitch> "Poor Meep-meep bit the dust in that last encounter with the fireballs and Cinder-ella."
<Iethloc> "Okay, the rest of you can go, but Mercy, Magwitch, Fir, I have one more thing to talk about with you all. Please keep an eye on Gerel, Emilia," Nergui says
<Emilia> Emilia nods. "Will do, Nergui," she confirms, bowing gracefully.
<Iethloc> Gerel is already wandering towards one of the non-exit doors
<Emilia> Emilia sighs and steps in front of Gerel. "Let's not bother these good people too much, okay? Please stay with me until their business is concluded." She pats Gerel on the arm.
<Capn_Mercy> "Hoo, boy."
<Iethloc> After a few minutes of people shuffling around, it's just Nergui, the three party members, and most of the council in the throne room.
<Iethloc> Nergui lets out another sigh. "Okay, so there's a few vacancies on the council. Kiyomi is going to be the grand diplomat, unless one of you has an objection. But there are other roles that need to be filled."
<Capn_Mercy> "Wait, you want to give us cabinet positions?"
<Iethloc> "I am offering them, but you are in no way obligated."
<Iethloc> "The two positions I am looking to fill in the short term are Marshal and Warden, both related to law enforcement and security."
<Magwitch> "Is there one where I can Vanquish Evil? If so, I can't turn it down."
<Fir> "Warden? I know all about Wardens! They take care of us leshies."
<Fir> "Do you need leshies to guard your roads? Is that what the Warden's for?"
<Iethloc> "Um...it's not specifically related to leshies. It's almost like a bodyguard position."
<Capn_Mercy> "I can guard things. And I have a body!"
<Iethloc> "You certainly do."
<Fir> "Oh. That...doesn't sound as fun."
<Iethloc> "Do recognize that you will be less able to, well, go out and adventure if you do this, because you'll have to spend at least part of your time here doing bureaucratic stuff."
<Iethloc> Nergui holds her head in one hand. "That part isn't as fun as adventuring was."
<Capn_Mercy> "Wait, what!?" She looks horrified. "Oh, *hell* no, you are *not* sticking me with a desk job. I'll pass."
<Fir> "Yeah, that still doesn't sound fun."
- Magwitch watches Nergui hold her head in only one hand. Funny. Thought it had been much bigger than previously when she'd taken her helmet off...
<Iethloc> "I don't blame you. If you don't want either role yourselves, then I'd appreciate it if you had anyone else you think would fit."
<Magwitch> "Is there one where I can Vanquish Evil? If so, I can't turn it down."
<Iethloc> "Uh, either could involve that, I suppose. I think you'd be more the Marshal type."
<Fir> "Is there anything about either job that IS fun?" Fir asks doubtfully.
<Magwitch> "Vanquishing Evil." That was easy.
<Magwitch> "Is anything more fun?"
<Iethloc> Nergui starts spouting off some boring, technical stuff, and makes sure that everyone is listening. Man, some people really change for the worse when they get power.
<Magwitch> "If I can get a name badge called 'Mathers' I really like the sound of the Marshall job."
<Iethloc> "That could be done, yes."
- Magwitch rubs its enormous hands together vigorously.
<Iethloc> "Well, if none of the rest of you are interested in being warden, I have someone who could fill the role, at least temporarily," Nergui says
<Magwitch> "In that case, I'll have to add a set of Dull Grey Ioun Stones to my Crafting list for this week, and some red- and blue- tinted Continual Flame spells to my preparation plans."
<Iethloc> "Well, if we're going to be eccentric, we may as well be very eccentric."
<Magwitch> "Good idea! I'll need to search the Monster dungeons for a Siren too!"
<Iethloc> Nergui calls for a servant, who after a few moments brings in Amirith
<Iethloc> "I guess I did say I'd do it if you couldn't find anyone else..." Amirith half-mutters
<Iethloc> Nergui looks at the council for a moment, then back to Amirith. "They were worried earlier, so I think it's only right they knew."
<Iethloc> Amirith hestitates, but Nergui shoots her a glare. Amirith then erupts into a mountain of blue scales, claws, wings, the whole draconic deal.
<Magwitch> Twinkle purrs.
<Magwitch> "I'm looking forward to Law Enforcement on the same team with this one!"
- Fir gazes admiringly at the dragon, as usual.
<Emilia> The council all takes a step back, except for Claire and Corrine. "Well, good to know," Brittany sighs, as she instinctively backs away. "Um, are you sure about this, Khan. No offense... ma'am... but I don't want the city... um, shot with lightning," she quails a bit.
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy warily eyes the dragon, as usual.
<Emilia> Luther just shakes his head sadly.
<Iethloc> "Yes, many people are afraid of dragons. It's understandable, given their size and might. But what about a dragon makes them not a person? Nothing, I would say. I talked to her, and she agreed to work with me. She responds to words, like any person. She is not a walking lightning storm," Nergui says
<Emilia> Brittany nods carefully. "Okay. We'll try it. You are correct, of course, Nergui. We'll do our best, as always. Just... I might recommend the average citizen be led to believe she's human. I fear a panic, otherwise."
<Magwitch> "Times are a'changing!"
<Iethloc> "Well, if everyone's afraid of me...I suppose I can show restraint," Amirith says, smirking. She shrinks back down into her human form.
<Magwitch> Twinkle's purring subsides.
<Iethloc> "That leaves only the...consort position open. I believe that is good enough, for now," Nergui says
- Magwitch thinks to itself, "But Kiyomi is right there?"
<Iethloc> "The spouse or lover of the ruler."
<Fir> "Does that have to be part dragon, too?"
<Capn_Mercy> "So you're already on the market? Heh. At least you don't have to worry about anyone marrying you for your power."
<Capn_Mercy> "'Cause, you know...nobody knows who the hell you are."
<Magwitch> "So, do I have an office? And if so, where do I need to go to sign up for and take up my office? And just as a heads-up, if anyone has cast Animate Object on my paperclip so that it tells me, 'It looks like you're trying to write a list!' the moment I pick up my pen, it's going to be the first victim to fall under this new regime!"
<Iethloc> "Yes, you'll have an office. We can work on the logistics later, and...I guess I can make sure no one animates your paperclip?"
<Magwitch> "Paperclips are my favoured enemy."
<Fir> "So are we ready for our mission yet?"
<Capn_Mercy> "I sure hope so. All this talking is getting boring."
<Iethloc> (ENGAGING FAST FORWARD)
<Iethloc> Later, the party meets up with the crew of a riverboat. The riverboat is large, well-kept, all official and stuff. The captain of the boat greets the party personally before escoring them on board to their cushy room. Before long, everyone's in nice, comfy chairs, a couple servants bringing refreshments as needed. A pair of performers play music, and Kiyomi idly hums along. Isn't that the life? All you had to do was risk your lives
<Iethloc> to help someone you didn't know take over a city you had never been to before!
- Magwitch whips out its Panpipes and earplugs and looks like getting ready to contribute to the musical accompaniment.
- Magwitch is non-proficient. Quite clearly.
<Emilia> Emilia covers her ears, just in time.
<Iethloc> Kiyomi clears her throat awkwardly.
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy raises a fist threateningly.
- Magwitch looks around at the others' reactions in bewilderment. "Did... did I do something wrong?"
<Capn_Mercy> "You were about to."
- Magwitch carefully puts away the panpipes for next time, pondering their odd reactions. Then indulges in the refreshments.
<Iethloc> (END SESSION)