Zomaris:Khanate Rising/Chapter 18

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Note: This log is still in IRC format, and may be awkward to read as a result.

Chapter #18: The Princess is in Another Castle

<Iethloc> As the party moves on from the site of the battle, the surrounding stone in the region becomes more and more obviously worked. Eventually, there is a large gate set in the side of a rising slope, with fortified walkways carved into the stone around it. It obviously took a lot of work, and you probably didn't bring a big enough hammer to knock it all down. You know, in case that becomes necessary.

<Emilia> "Shall we, you know, knock?"

<Iethloc> Dotting the walkways are figures, some short like dwarves and others taller (maybe humans?). One of the most-likely-human figures points at the group and says something to a dwarf next to them. Once the group is within shouting range, that dwarf begins shouting.

<Iethloc> “You're entering the official territory of Deladar! State yer business!” he yells at the top of his lungs. His voice is REALLY loud and carries well, so much so that it might even be the result of magic.

<Fir> "If we need to, I have some potions that'll let us burrow under the walls," Fir says quietly to the others.

<Emilia> "Think this one's you, Kiyomi," Emilia mutters to Kiyomi.

  • Magwitch and Twinkle gain a bit of altitude to get a birds eye view of the fortifications beyond the front wall. Is it well populated? Or is there only a skeleton crew running it?

<Iethloc> There aren't a whole lot of people out in the open on the walkways, but given how shiny and decorated some of their stuff is, they are probably veteran soldiers with at least some magic equipment. Almost certainly not a casual fight, especially since they have crossbows and plentiful cover. They do not seem hostile at all, though. Just wary.

<Iethloc> Kiyomi, who had been following at a distance until after the obvious threats were dispatched, steps out in front of the group. “We are here on a diplomatic mission from the Meterrian Khanate!” she shouts as loud as she can, hoping her usually-quiet voice reaches the distant dwarf.

<Iethloc> “Meterrian Khanate? What happened to the empire?” the dwarf shouts back

  • Fir idly wishes she knew how to brew a potion that could make Kiyomi's voice louder.

<Iethloc> “Eh, never mind, I'm coming down there!” the dwarf shouts. Then he...jumps? No, false alarm, he's just riding a flying carpet up over the walkways and down onto the ground in front of the group.

<Capn_Mercy> "A flying carpet? Ooh, I want one."

<Iethloc> The heavily armored dwarf before you is definitely one of the dwarf-ier dwarves you've ever seen, stout and squat build barely under four and a half feet tall, but almost as wide. His blond beard is thoroughly braided, but his mane of hair runs wild in all the places where it pokes out from under his helmet. His skin is modestly tanned, with scars here and there. He has a crossbow and a hammer strapped to his back, and around his neck is a glimmering amulet with musical notes carved into it.

<Fir> "Me too. Right after I get my own dragon," Fir says.

<Capn_Mercy> "Don't be ridiculous. How would you train it?"

<Fir> "I dunno. Life goals."

<Iethloc> "Dude...a talking - nevermind! The name's Hognem Silverblot, captain of the Wall Guard! Let's have a proper talk, now."

  • Fir quietly whispers, "sehrli" and points a finger at her eye and then at the dwarf's amulet.

<Magwitch> "Are you a bard? I mean, as well as Captain of the Wall Guard."

<Iethloc> Hognem shakes his head. "Nah, though most Deladar dwarves can carry a tune."

<Fir> "Does your magic amulet play music?" Fir asks directly.

<Iethloc> "Let's not get distracted, here. You said something about a Khanate?"

<Capn_Mercy> "The Empire has fallen. Long live her Royal Awesomeness Nergui. Or something to that effect."

<Iethloc> Kiyomi sighs. "The Empire still exists. The Khanate just split off from it."

<Iethloc> Hognem rubs his chin. "Huh. I guess King Bradmost will need to know the story behind that."

<Fir> "The Dragon Princess is AWESOME. Or maybe she's a queen now. Dragon Empress? Anyhow, you should def'ly be on her side."

<Iethloc> Hognem blinks. "Normally I wouldn't be letting people in, but if there's big political stuff going on, I guess I have to, especially if dragons are involved. We'll be keeping an eye on you lot, though."

<Capn_Mercy> "No hard feelings. We *are* pretty suspicious-looking."

  • Fir perks up. "Oooh, do I get to be suspicious-looking, too?"

<Iethloc> "That's...not normally a good thing?"

<Capn_Mercy> "Totally. In fact, Fir, when we first met I was convinced that you were some sort of puppet."

  • Fir looks confused. "Puppets are suspicious?"

<Iethloc> "If you lot are the best this Dragon Princess has to represent her..." Hognem shakes his head instead of finishing that sentence.

<Capn_Mercy> "It's called 'obfuscating stupidity'."

<Emilia> Emilia sighs. "We came here directly after the change in leadership. Organizational matters are no doubt proceeding."

<Magwitch> "She's instantly recognisable as the one in charge. Can't mistake her. She's unforgettable."

<Iethloc> He turns around, making a couple gestures and shouting something in Dwarven. The gates slowly swing open, creaking and scraping all the way. Hognem starts walking in without waiting.

  • Magwitch watches a dwarf of a flying carpet walking, and wonders why he doesn't just fly.
  • Emilia quickly follows

<Iethloc> Gerel and Kiyomi tag along

<Magwitch> "You know, if you've finished using that magic carpet, some of us had our eyes on it..."

  • Fir follows too, keeping an eye out to see what kind of plant life the city has.

<Iethloc> Hognem fixes a glare at Magwitch and clutches the flying carpet close to himself.

<Emilia> Emilia shoots a like glare at Magwitch.

  • Magwitch shrugs and flies along after the party.

<Iethloc> The halls inside are all gray-ish stone, walls lit by abundant everburning torches. Echoing from the distance are the songs of dwarves and humans working side by side, most likely on maintaining the halls. The halls twist here and there, opening out into side passages, but Hognem rarely makes a turn. “You'll probably end up talking with one of the King's advisers, rather than the King himself. He is currently grieving the death of his husband,” Hognem explains.

<Capn_Mercy> "It's like some kind of...dwarf fortress."

<Fir> "How long ago did he die?"

<Magwitch> "Why not just resurrect him?"

<Iethloc> "Ol' Muzbul died just a couple weeks ago. I don't know all the details," Hognem says and shrugs

  • Fir sighs. "Too late for me to Reincarnate him, then, even if the King was willing to settle for a different species."

<Magwitch> "Well they do say that absinthe makes the fond grow harder, so maybe he's just waiting a while before resurrecting him to make the most of the opportunity."

<Capn_Mercy> "Sometimes...dead is better."

<Magwitch> "Oh definitely. I can think of many cases where dead is better."

  • Magwitch re-evaluates the earlier estimate of the dwarf fortress's population based on the throngs of voices echoing down the halls they pass.

<Iethloc> Eventually, the group is led into a big, circular chamber with a bunch of dwarves in non-armor-y clothing sitting at desks, along with the occasional human. The gentle scratching of inkpen against paper accompanies the sound of distant song. A couple of the pencil-pushers look up at the group, but only one dwarf woman in particular seems to notice. She's dressed in somewhat fancy clothing, with some shiny badge affixed to her tunic. “Hognem? I assume these people are important, else you wouldn't be escorting them yourself,” she says.

<Iethloc> Hognem shrugs. "We'll see how important they end up being, Banhilda."

<Iethloc> Banhilda turns to the group. "Well, I might be able to get one of you in to see someone higher ranked than I am. Just one, though."

<Iethloc> Kiyomi looks back at the group. "Just one? Well, I'm the diplomat here, so it shall have to be me."

<Emilia> Emilia nods. "Yes ma'am. Orders for us while we're here?"

<Iethloc> "Try not to wreck the place."

<Emilia> "Don't let Mercy be in charge. Got it."

<Capn_Mercy> "Hey!"

<Capn_Mercy> "I resemble that remark."

<Iethloc> Banhilda stands up. "Right. There's paperwork to sign, and other red tape. Come with me," she says. Banhilda then leads Kiyomi off into one of the side passages.

<Emilia> "Yes. You do."

<Fir> "You all should make some windows in the stone so you can get sunshine and bring in some potted plants," Fir suggests to the room of dwarves.

<Emilia> Emilia turns to Hognem, unconcerned for the moment. "So, got a store? I've got some stuff to sell. For that matter, got an inn? We could use a place to stay here."

<Iethloc> One of the dwarves looks up quizzically at the talking plant, returning to their paperwork after some staring

<Iethloc> Hognem sighs. "I guess I'm stuck escorting you lot for a while. There's guest quarters for official-type guests around here, with stores not too far. Follow me."

  • Magwitch is unsure the motley crew count as officials but follows the fellow.
  • Emilia does the following thing

<Iethloc> After what feels like forever walking, the group is led into a big cavern with assorted buildings here and there, seemingly plopped down on the floor or carved into the walls. Hognem leads the group to one of the larger, fancier buildings. Inside is much nicer than most of the stone hallways, with wood paneling and potted plants and everything! Hognem speaks briefly with the receptionist, then the group is led to one of the larger rooms. Hognem is eventually accompanied by a couple other guards, allowing no one in the group to be unescorted as they go about their business. Eventually, someone new walks into the room...

<Iethloc> She is tall and thin, for a dwarf, with reddish hair and pale skin. She's dressed in all sorts of colors, clearly someone who's important or at least things they're important. She also wears a shiny tiara. There are no obvious weapons on her person, but she walks with excessive confidence. Standing just behind her are a couple more guards. “I heard a diplomat was sent here. These are the bodyguards, eh?” she says. As soonas Hognem notices her, he gives a quick bow.

<Iethloc> Magwitch notices her eye hovering over them a bit too much. They, along with Gerel, catch the slightest sneer on this new person's face. Something about her immediately puts Magwitch on guard, but Gerel just seems to be staring absently at her. “Ilki Titansbane, adopted daughter of King Bradmost, and heir to the throne!” Hognem announces.

<Emilia> Emilia drops into a curtsy. "Your Highness," she acknowledges.

  • Fir , busy examining the potted plants for a possible light source, finally looks up when Hognem speaks.

<Fir> "Cool, another princess!"

<Capn_Mercy> Mercy glances at the newcomer, then returns to examining her nails for what can safely be assumed to be something vastly important.

<Iethloc> Gerel tilts her head slightly, doing nothing else and saying nothing

<Magwitch> Via Twinkle's telepaty, Magwitch relays to the rest of the team, "This adopted princess does not respect us. Might be a source of danger or trouble, past or future."

  • Fir 's eyes narrow and she decides not to ask the princess who does her colors after all.

<Capn_Mercy> Mercy is not surprised, as distrust is generally her reaction to any sort of authority figure.

<Emilia> Emilia resists the temptation to react to Magwitch's commentary in any visible way. Internally, she's thinking, 'No shit. She's a Princess. Why would she respect mere commoners like us? We're insects beneath her heel.'

<Magwitch> o O (I wonder if her being heir to the throne may have had anything to do with the death in the family. Might be unrelated, but, hey, I'm suspicious now.)

<Fir> {I am not an insect} Fir objects on the telepathic linkway that Twinkly is providing. {A peanut, if you must have something small, but not an insect.}

<Capn_Mercy> [How is she in line for the throne if she's adopted?]

<Emilia> [Well, she was probably adopted specifically to be the heir. It's not like the king was going to have his own, was he?]

  • Emilia erases this

<Emilia> [Because the people chose her. Dwarves don't change dynasties often, but the monarchy is technically elected. And it's not like the King has his own children.]

<Magwitch> o O (Doesn't he? How do we know that?)

<Iethloc> (Everyone deserves respect) Gerel thinks, against a background of mental static

<Emilia> [It is a special individual indeed that respects their social inferiors.]

<Fir> {There is no such thing as a social inferior.}

<Capn_Mercy> Mercy mentally fistbumps Fir.

<Fir> {Just every plant trying to make room for itself.}

<Iethloc> Ilki glances over at Hognem. "I kind of expected you all to be...taller. But I suppose outsiders can be very diverse," she says.

<Emilia> [Heheh. I wish I had some of your thought processes sometimes.]

<Emilia> "Indeed we can, Your Highness," Emilia confirms softly.

<Magwitch> "Do you say that to the dwarves too?"

<Iethloc> "Wait..." Gerel says, placing a hand on the scarred side of her head.

<Fir> "Insiders can be diverse, too. You are WAY more colorful than that guy," Fir says, pointing at Hognem.

<Iethloc> "Well, I only have so much time. I've never really met outsiders before, and I'd love to chat, but I have so much to do," Ilki says.

<Iethloc> "...stop!" Gerel says

<Magwitch> "Well, although we may /look/ like Outsiders, I believe that none of us are, in fact, Outsiders at all."

<Magwitch> "More like Humanoids, really."

<Iethloc> "Is something wrong with...uh, is she an orc or a half-orc?" Ilki asks.

<Magwitch> o O (I only wanted to know if she criticises dwarven stature too because if she happens to despise anyone who's different to herself, well, that'd be good to know. But she dodged the question.)

<Fir> "Gelly baby, you ok?"

<Iethloc> "I know what you are!" Gerel suddenly shouts, hand heading towards the hilt of her sword as she steps towards Ilki

<Emilia> Emilia frowns and steps in front of Gerel. "Gerel, what the hell?"

<Iethloc> Ilki steps back. "Calm her down, will you?"

<Iethloc> "LOOK AT HER!" Gerel shouts at the top of her lungs

<Fir> "What is she?" Fir asks calmly.

<Iethloc> "I don't know, but it hurts my head!"

<Iethloc> Ilki shakes her head. "Perhaps I should get a cleric?"

  • Fir takes a really close look at the princessy lady with her goggles.
  • Magwitch fist-pumps a Detect Evil into being and scans around the room, starting with Ilki.

<Iethloc> Magwitch: UNHOLY CRAP! That is the strongest evil aura you've ever seen!

  • Magwitch fishes a couple of Dull Grey Ioun Stones from its pocketses and tosses them into orbit. One glows red; one glows blue with Continual Flame.

<Emilia> Emilia spots Magwitch and sighs. "Okay, seriously, clue the blue lady in, please?"

<Magwitch> "By the power vested in Marshal Mathers, I declare you to be Strongly Evil and under arrest for crimes against morality!"

<Emilia> Emilia facepalms.

<Iethloc> "What," Hognem declares.

<Emilia> "What the hell are you on about?" Emilia yells.

<Magwitch> "I'm the marshal. Aren't I? Wasn't that my job?"

<Iethloc> Ilki's two bodyguards step in front of her

  • Magwitch is suddenly crestfallen and a tad confused.

<Magwitch> "I'm a bit new to this, I admit. But I know Evil when I sense it!"

<Emilia> Emilia sighs. "Yes, the Khan appointed you Marshal. But this isn't the Khanate. You don't have jurisdiction here. You can't just go around accusing people of being evil! Especially royalty!"

<Magwitch> "I wish I had a Siren."

<Fir> "You *sensed* Evil? How do you *sense* evil?"

<Fir> "I mean, I know how to sense magic, but who ever heard of sensing evil?"

<Iethloc> "I think that's what I did. The evil-sensing thing. I'm a paladin!" Gerel says

<Magwitch> "How do you *sense* sunlight?"

<Magwitch> "It's not something I've really questioned before. I've always just been able to do it."

<Emilia> Emilia sighs. "Magwitch, even if she has an Evil aura, that's not our remit here, and people have the right to be idiots in their elections if they wish. Unfortunately."

<Iethloc> "Look, as long as you don't take any untoward action here, I'll let this slide. Just be careful with those two," Ilki says

<Fir> "That's...crazy. But ok."

<Capn_Mercy> "Mag..." Mercy is very deliberate in her tone. "How strong an aura are we talking here?"

<Magwitch> Magwitch stretches its hands as far apart as it can. And for a Kval with huge hands, that's really far. "Further than this, by about /that/ much."

<Emilia> "Look at the bright side. They could've elected an orange windbag that's incapable of telling the truth."

<Magwitch> "Fir would like an Orange to be in charge, I'm sure."

<Capn_Mercy> "And what's the approximate strength of your average evil type? Let's say a serial killer, or a comitter of war crimes, or the like."

<Fir> "Well, a green windbag would be even better."

  • Magwitch narrows its hands to about 2/3 of its current stretch.

<Magwitch> "But an orange is a fruit tree. A green is just a colour."

<Emilia> "Mercy. It doesn't matter. Even if she has committed, what would be, for normal people, crimes. She is a *Princess*. She, and her adoptive father, *are* the law. She can do as she pleases."

<Capn_Mercy> Mercy nods, ignoring Emilia. "So what would someone have to be to have an aura as strong as what you're suggesting?"

  • Fir makes her green leaves wave stridently around. "Green is a very. good. color."

<Magwitch> "I disagree. It doesn't really matter that she's a princess. She's Evil, and I have arrested her."

<Magwitch> "Oh Mercy - they'd need to have trained in a profession intricately tied to evil deities. Perhaps a cleric. Perhaps an unpaladin. Maybe a necromancer!"

  • Fir 's eyes widen. "Can you make a skeleton?" she asks the princess.


<Magwitch> "Antipaladin. Yeah. I'm not religious, just spiritual, so I forgot the word."

<Capn_Mercy> "So...you're saying that, to have an aura that strong, she'd have to be channeling a higher evil power?"

<Emilia> Emilia glares at Magwitch. "Again, Magwitch, you can't arrest someone outside of your jurisdiction."

<Fir> "Then she's probably only really a little evil herself, and most of the Evil Mag sees is from the Big Evil behind her."

<Emilia> Emilia then looks at the Princess. "*Are* you channeling a higher power that is commonly understood to be evil? Truth would probably help here."

<Capn_Mercy> "Mmm hmm. And who do we know who's in the habit of being a Big Evil behind people in power?"

<Iethloc> "I WILL SLAY THE BIG EVIL!" Gerel shouts, tumbling past the guards and a surprised Ilki

<Magwitch> "Hognem, are you aware of Ilke being a servant of evil deities or does this come as a surprise to you?"

<Iethloc> Hognem's jaw is far too dropped for him to be able to speak

<Emilia> Emilia mentally winces at her teammate, yet again, addressing the Princess in a familiar way that they have most definitely not earned right now.

<Iethloc> "I can honestly say I do not channel any sort of higher power. I am not any sort of cleric or...antipaladin," Ilki explains

<Magwitch> "Do you confess to being Evil? Strongly Evil? Are you perhaps of a race which is Always Evil?"

<Emilia> "There is only one race on Zomaris that is 'Always Evil', Magwitch, and it is most definitely not dwarf."

<Magwitch> "Are you that race, Ilke? Are you that Evil?"

<Iethloc> Gerel slashes at the empty air behind Ilki. Startled, Ilki stumbles forward into her two bodyguards. "Please restrain that one!" she shouts

<Iethloc> "This doesn't make sense..." Hognem mumbles

<Emilia> Emilia sighs. "Can we *please* discuss this rationally? I feel like I'm the only sane one in the room right now. Well, outside of the dwarves, who have done *nothing* to deserve *any* of this."

  • Fir looks at Gerel. "Ger. Gerry. Calm down. What are you looking for? What exactly is it you want?"

<Iethloc> "...Ilki had a reputation for being kind. She can't be evil," Hognem finishes.

<Emilia> "I don't care what their auras look like, I care about their actions!"

<Iethloc> "Oh, gods, unless..." Hognem continues mumbling

<Iethloc> "Hold up, I know what you're about to suggest," Ilki interrupts

  • Magwitch begins flying around the room in arcs concentric on Ilke, even up in the ceiling looking down at Ilke, to test what Fir alluded to about something nasty /behind/ Ilke's which's Evil aura is bleeding through her. If there's nothing else behind her she's obscuring, the Kval remains convinced Evil Ilke Must Die.

<Iethloc> "...you're not Ilki. You're one of the rakshasa," Hognem finishes.

<Capn_Mercy> "A what?"

<Emilia> Emilia frowns. "Well that's easy enough to prove. Dispel Magic on the area, Fir, please? If you can?"

<Magwitch> Assuming the Evil Aura truly is unambiguously "Ilke"s, and before Ilke can attempt to Bluff her way out of the predicament, Magwitch dumps a Misfortune on her. It. Whatever.

<Fir> "Err...I didn't prep that one. Umm..."

<Fir> "But I have some higher spell slots I haven't prepped yet. If you give me, like, 15 minutes, and some quiet space, I can prep that?"

<Capn_Mercy> "Hognem, don't you have any people who can handle a dispel?"

<Emilia> "If our friends are willing to give us that time."

<Iethloc> "We have a gem of true seeing somewhere to check for rakshasa," Hognem says

<Iethloc> "Hognem, I suggest you go find that gem as quickly as you can," Ilki suddenly says

<Iethloc> Hognem's eyes glaze over, and then he snaps a salute at Ilki. "Yes, ma'am!" he says and runs off

<Magwitch> "So you can attack us in his absence?"

  • Fir eyes Ilki suspiciously.

<Iethloc> "You ruined everything, paladin," Ilki mumbles

<Emilia> Emilia nods her head, acknowledging the possibility, and puts her hand on her blade. "We'll be ready if she does."

<Capn_Mercy> Mercy stands up. "We'll take that as a confession."

  • Magwitch maintains a chant while Hognem is looking for his detector.

<Emilia> Emilia looks at the remaining guards. "If she's going to try something, you may want to stay out of this. I'd prefer not to be accused of murder."

<Emilia> Emilia pauses a beat, then nods. "Unfortunately, I have to agree with Mercy, here." She pulls out her rapier.

<Fir> "Now you can hit her, Ger," Fir points out as she prepares for battle.