The Church of Luminosita in Clovius

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Re: The Church of Luminosita in Clovius

Postby Graybeard » January 30th, 2018, 11:14 am

[OOC: OK, then. There is precedent here for the magically adept, which Tim is, to "notice" many but not all forms of magic almost casually, without resorting to anything as focused as Sister Rose's Empathy spell or Brother Miguel's Divination magic. Let's assume Tim is automatically doing the former, and stopping for more diagnostic spellcraft if something unexpected pops up. So on to some intrigue, with the usual few obvious words put in Tim's mouth:]

The staff of Chateau Dragonslayer knew Tim by now, at least by sight if not deeply. They were used to him asking questions about Clovius, reasonably enough; how else was a new priest going to lead his flock without making a fool of himself? [OOC: Real-world story about a priest who didn't take these precautions, and did make a fool of himself and enemies of some of his people, some other time if you're interested. /OOC:] So at first, when he visited the mansion this day, they responded to his inquiries pleasantly enough, with generalities that basically revealed nothing he didn't already know. As he stayed longer, though, he noticed a change in this behavior. His interviewees became more uncomfortable, their answers more halting, their departures on "urgent business" more hurried.

He also noticed something else. There had always been little bits of magic around the house -- light globes (those had even been adopted in upper-class houses in Veracia, much to the consternation of some religious conservatives who weren't well enough off to have them), something beneath the kitchen sink that disposed of uneaten scraps of food while emitting a "GRRRRR" that had startled Tim the first time he heard it, filmy magic in the trophy room on the Gornch-lizard head, which Tovah had told him would stink to high heaven without it, and so on. This time, however, there was also very distinct magic around two doors. One, Tim knew, led to a small sitting room off the trophy room; he'd been in there previously and seen (and detected) nothing out of the ordinary. The other, more distant and inaccessible but at the same time stronger and more obvious, he sensed briefly at the end of the hall to the servants' quarters, but he could not approach it to learn more. The sitting-room magic yielded to his diagnostic magic easily enough: it was an obvious, and apparently very strong, Ward spell and magical lock -- on a door, note, that he'd passed through several times without incident.

He was standing outside the servants' quarters, pondering whether he dare ask one of the servants what the magic was and whether (all in Luminosita's Service, of course) they'd let him do some diagnostics on it, when he was startled by a sharp "Ahem" from behind him. The speaker had approached silently enough that he had no idea the man (presumably) was there until he spoke. "Father Timothy, beware."

Turning to face this unexpected interruption, Tim saw a man he hadn't seen at Chateau Dragonslayer before. He was tall, at least six feet four, and powerfully built. He wore the uniform of the chamberlain, a button-down tunic, trousers and wide hat, but it scarcely fit him; the chamberlain, Tim knew, was a rather short man. And there was something else about him that Tim couldn't put his finger on, a magical aura that shouldn't have been there. He blinked and remembered his manners. "Luminosita's Peace be with you, good brother," he said. "I was just wondering about possible unholy magic that has --"

He got no further before magic flared in the man's eyes. The tall stranger spoke a single word: "Don't." And Tim found himself unable to finish his sentence.

Worse was to come, or at least it appeared worse at the moment. Tim's military training took over, and he was just starting to assume a ready position when the stranger extended a long arm, so fast that it seemed almost invisible, and touched Tim's forehead. There was a BZZZT of magic ... and Tim knew no more, until he woke up comfortably arranged on a couch in the trophy room, without the slightest idea of how he got there. And looking at him in shocked surprise was Joash, the short, immaculately dressed chamberlain of Chateau Dragonslayer.
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Re: The Church of Luminosita in Clovius

Postby Alberich » February 5th, 2018, 2:01 am

Father Tim held up a hand for quiet, and did a quick diagnostic on himself. He knew it was possible for magic to alter a man's mind or twist his soul -- much more so if it was of a devilish nature -- and it was important to know whether the stranger had taken anything from him, or left anything with him that wasn't there before. Only when he was sure of that would he think further.

[OOC: I'm assuming that he didn't find anything--and that the "bzzt!" wasn't a mind-wipe like the one Sarine does on Jon later on; glad to fix if it isn't as I think. I also love stories so feel extra-free to tell me yours!]

The attacker hadn't murdered him, obviously, but that he'd been attacked at all was an outrage. He'd taken more than enough care to avoid prying into things that weren't his business--indeed his only goal had been to avoid stirring up trouble for the Faithful--and yet some creature in the livery of Lady Tovah had the arrogance to treat him this way. Either this fellow was an intruder (which would explain the ill-fitting livery) or someone in Lady Tovah's household was acting intolerably. Either way, Tim was justified in wanting to know more.

He smiled at Brother-in-Faith Joash, a little more thinly than before. "Good afternoon, brother," he said. "I'm not sure how long I've been out. Is your mistress available? Some tall fellow, wearing livery like yours, has been acting in a way she ought to know." If Joash knew more and could explain it, well and good. If he was scared to talk about it, then it was time to have speech with Tovah. And if it was an intruder...if Joash was utterly puzzled...then the all-powerful Lady Tovah might be in need of help herself. In which case she would get it.
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Re: The Church of Luminosita in Clovius

Postby Graybeard » February 5th, 2018, 8:49 pm

"Brother?" Joash answered, puzzled; he was not one of the Luminositans in the Dragonslayer coterie. Indeed, as Tim would eventually discover, he was, if anything, a follower of the Mountain King, although a rather diffident one who knew little or nothing about the sect other than that he was supposed to leave an occasional offering in a grove or other shrine. [OOC: Incidentally, his religious affiliation, such as it is, was not particularly planned, but rather, the result of a random number given me by my wife. /OOC:]

Then the light dawned, and he recovered smoothly from his initial shock, as a chamberlain should. "Ah. Yes, I remember. You are the priest of milady's church, no? Milady says he is entitled to wear my uniform if he wishes -- 'he can wear whatever he damn well wants to while he's here' are her exact words." He wasn't about to say who "he" was, and no amount of questioning by Tim, subtle or otherwise, would change that.

"So did you have a pleasant nap?" he inquired agreeably. "He made sure you were nice and comfortable. You must have been very tired." Tim could see the conversational barriers going up on Joash's face even as he spoke.

[OOC: More like what Sarine did to the guy at the shipping company that I referenced in the last post; Tim's memories would be entirely intact up to the BZZZT. As for the priest, here's the story: for years one of the Catholic churches in Santa Fe had been used for concerts and similar functions. I performed there often enough to have an appreciation for it: fantastic acoustics and far easier access than the downtown sites. Then this new priest came in and announced peremptorily that it was going to be used for church functions, period, no exceptions. The congregation did NOT like that .. and since that congregation includes a guy who's likely to be the next mayor of Santa Fe (and is a good friend of mine), there may be some ... repercussions.]
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Re: The Church of Luminosita in Clovius

Postby Alberich » February 14th, 2018, 2:22 am

Further questions were getting him nowhere--such as whether the mystery "he" did this kind of thing all the time, or only on special occasions. Tim had no leverage with this servant, obviously, so the thing to do was to try to have a word with "milady." Yes, Tim was a sojourner in this land. Yes, she was a power in the local Faithful. No, the Veracian Theocracy did not operate here; he could not issue orders as he could at home (though he had always preferred quiet village diplomacy--well he remembered his successful efforts to stop the arrogance of certain adventurers from starting a riot). But if he was going to be misused in this way, he was entitled to more than he'd been told.

"Do you know where your lady is now?" he asked. "I should like a word with her." Tim's intent was not to be secretive or rude, but to say exactly what he'd been doing here (trying to get some background on tomorrow's guest, and what to watch for), and to ask politely but firmly what was going on with this stranger, who seemed to feel entitled to do this strange magical attack on Tim. He couldn't detect any harm or even serious humiliation--the Good Lord be thanked--but he'd been helpless as a babe before this stranger. Today a small embarrassment; tomorrow a knife in the heart. He had a right to know.

Of course, if Joash was absolutely adamant that he couldn't or wouldn't find Her Ladyship, he'd be facing a stone wall, and would simply try to find her tomorrow well before the dinner.

[OOC: Thanks for the story!]
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Re: The Church of Luminosita in Clovius

Postby Graybeard » February 15th, 2018, 8:22 pm

"I truly do not know, good sir," Joash responded to Tim's questioning, looking both more pained and more adamant than before. "When milady goes -- out, she does not always confide in me as to where she is going." Tim caught the hesitation before the word "out," but Joash merely flushed slightly and continued. "Rest assured, not a soul in Clovius durst harm her. If they did, the Mountain King --" he made a strange little hand gesture, not unlike a Veracian making the Sign of Luminosita, but quite different in detail -- "he would scoop them up in a net, and that would be the end of them. Or so they say."

Tim might, or might not, have been about to say something about the man's odd figure of speech and questionable malapropism; "durst" wasn't exactly a common verb in the Veracian language, even laying aside the incongruity of it for a woman who was, to all appearances, very much alive. However, before either man could say anything more, there was a long, piercing scream from back in the direction of the servants' quarters. Joash's normally swarthy face went pale. "By the King's Beard," he swore, "that sounds like Golda." Tim had met Golda before, a maid of no obvious distinction. "We better investigate. I hope you have magic, sir; I do not, and we may need it." Without waiting for a reply, he sped off toward the servant wing, as the scream subsided and was replaced by loud sobbing.
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Re: The Church of Luminosita in Clovius

Postby Alberich » March 1st, 2018, 7:55 pm

Tim was still young and a good runner -- he had no trouble keeping up with Joash, and nothing loath to run towards a screaming woman in the hopes of rendering help. Based on Joash's warning about magic, he threw up a minor shield around the pair of them as they ran. Any sudden blows from the likes of "Mister Don't" would at least meet some resistance, and Tim could drop the shield in an instant if that proved necessary.

[OOC: I've had an awesome but very busy couple of weeks...but I think I'm sailing into calmer waters for the moment.]
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Re: The Church of Luminosita in Clovius

Postby Graybeard » March 3rd, 2018, 12:15 pm

[OOC: Good timing, as I was also out of pocket for a week; back now. "Awesome but very busy" sounds good ...]

It didn't require any sensitivity to magic to note that the door in the servants' quarters that had had strong magic on it earlier did not now, and was standing open. Kneeling in front of it was the small, middle-aged, plump form of Golda, and beneath her was a much larger, prostrate shape that could only be a body. A smell of singed flesh wafted down the hall from it; apparently the magic had been a powerful Ward that the man on the floor had triggered.

"It's Ehud," Golda sobbed, naming another of Lady Dragonslayer's servants as Tim and Joash drew near. "He's ... he's ..." She couldn't finish the sentence.

Someone, however, did, rather unnecessarily. "... Dead."

And indeed, the head the short, somewhat pointed (and singed) ears were attached to wasn't moving nor breathing.
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Re: The Church of Luminosita in Clovius

Postby Alberich » March 8th, 2018, 11:28 pm

A living man would've drawn Tim's immediate attention. Rites for the dead could wait. Tim strengthened his shield and looked to see who had spoken.

Gentle Lillith had explained to Tim what happened to men with ears like Ehud's. The child-slaying elves hunted them down. In Port Lorrel he had helped to save Eli from just such a monster (though he'd had to trust another elf to do so, and hoped never to be driven to that extremity again). The thought brought an immediate fear to his heart. Brother Yona. He was one of this kind, and if an elf was on the prowl, he was none too safe. And now that Tim thought of it, the tall man in chamberlain's clothes who'd attacked him had been quite tall...perhaps his strange magic aura had been a disguise, or another unholy magic the elves used, such as made them near invincible in battle. The arrogance with which he'd knocked Tim unconscious, without so much as a by-your-leave, fit perfectly what Tim believed he knew about those creatures of darkness. Tim was alert, now, and afraid.

Tim didn't fool himself that he was up to fighting an elf alone. He'd played his part in several battles since leaving home, and knew his limitations. The Good Lord's favor would be needed to carry him through this. And for preference some strong assistance from the powers of this earth--which in this place, meant only one person: Tovah Dragonslayer herself. If it was humanly possible, he'd speak with her, that was job one. If not, he couldn't appear to rush--the elf might be watching--but he'd have to get out of here soon, and find a way to get Yona out of sight. Meantime, whoever'd said the word "dead" might know more; and Tim was keen to learn.
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Re: The Church of Luminosita in Clovius

Postby Graybeard » March 9th, 2018, 10:37 pm

"Dead," Tovah Dragonslayer repeated from behind the group, startling all present (except, of course, Ehud, who was dead). "The damn fool," she added, but she did not elaborate on who the damn fool, in her estimation, was.

Joash ventured, "Milady --", but got no further before the look in Tovah's eyes stopped him. "Not now, Joash," she said, raising a hand. "See that he gets a decent burial, and comfort --" the raised hand inflected slightly toward Golda for a moment, then resumed its position -- "all of those who need comforting. The damn fool," she swore again.

Seeing Tim's discomfort, she turned slightly in his direction. "All will be clear at dinner tomorrow, but I must say, not until then. This man was not a follower of Our Lord Luminosita, and his burial rites need concern you only if you specifically wish them to. Meanwhile, I have an errand I must do."

"E-errand, milady?" Joash sputtered, but the fierce Dragonslayer glare returned. "An errand that does not concern you either, any of you." The glare grew more fierce. "An errand to prevent any more idiotic deaths. Now please excuse me." She turned and headed up the hall, remarkably quickly -- almost unnaturally quickly -- for a woman of a certain age.
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Re: The Church of Luminosita in Clovius

Postby Alberich » March 17th, 2018, 10:04 am

Tim would be glad to take part in a Rite of Repose for the dead man -- perhaps he'd picked up this habit from Sister Rose, who seemed to do them even for the most wicked of the dead. But top priority was making sure that the elf, if elf it was, did not endanger the one "errant" he knew in his own community. He didn't demonstrate haste--not while he didn't know who might be watching--but he made his way back to Enoch the Stonemason, Yona's friend and protector. As he went he used what magical senses he had to make sure he wasn't being followed by the disguised or the invisible, and his eyes to make sure he wasn't being followed any other way.

If the elves walked here, seeking to kill such of their own children as walked among men, Tim was going to have to teach the congregation about this matter, and soon. All men should be grateful that the Good Lord had led them forth from the Elven Captivity, and that great triumph would never be reversed, but it was important not to let the Dark Powers and their elven agents take their wretched revenge on their own children...their bodies might be deformed by the Curse of the Elves, but their souls could be as noble as any man's.

For now, however, the important thing was to make sure Brother Yona was out of sight and under watchful eyes for at least a couple of days. Tim did not think he could learn more before the dinner with Tovah. Who and what she was must await the fulness of time.
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