Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

As we play, occasionally we'll close a thread and open a new one to keep the size of threads (and relative complexity) down to a dull roar. Here's where we store the closed posts from the history of Errant Road.
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Alberich
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Post by Alberich »

"None of us was there for it," said Tim. "He was apparently staying with these dirty barbarian outlaws. The adventurer we met boasted that she had hidden nearby with her rifle until he came out to answer the, ah, call of nature. And then shot him dead."

Tim hadn't been there when the body was found, but didn't care to mention that - as it would lead to awkward questions about where he had been, and he saw no reason whatsoever to talk about Therese's hidey-hole if he could help it. It would be up to someone else to mention how the body looked in death, and in particular the way age had finely started catching up with the ageless black magician.
Last edited by Alberich on October 20th, 2012, 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Post by Graybeard »

That definitely caught the panel's attention, to the point that Father Amalric had another hurried conversation with the Luminositan Scientist, whose nodding was clearer this time. "Well, then, that is very interesting," he finally said, getting additional nods from other panelists. "Tell us more, please, about this 'adventurer' you met. Perhaps we should arrange to interview her as well."
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Alberich
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Post by Alberich »

Tim wondered why they hadn't paid attention the first time he'd told them that, but it wouldn't do to be insolent.

"A skinny girl, Farrelian as far as I could tell, went by the name of Jamie," he said. "Very brash, very rude, but apparently very skilled with her rifle. She said she was being paid to kill Inquisitor Blaise, but we don't know who paid her to do it, or where she might be now. Judging by what we heard from her, though, I doubt she'd have much useful to say - since she killed him at a distance and his hosts were still alive to fight us the next day, that means she wouldn't have seen anything interesting up close from his dying moments.

"The Gibazovs were apparently hunting for her also, for whatever she did at their mine where Blaise wasn't, so for all I know they found her and killed her themselves."

If they'd paid attention when he told them about Blaise's death-worshipping hosts being led by a half-elf black magician who was very hard to slay, then he hoped they'd see it as he did - that the Good Lord was able to aid the faithful even in the most benighted heathen lands, and that he did so through whatever tools were at hand.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Post by Graybeard »

Father Amalric cocked a not-altogether-friendly eye at Tim. "I asked you to tell us more about this assassin, not the same thing over and over. It is hardly credible that a paid murderer is going to simply waltz up to total strangers and brag about her kill -- a kill who, as it happens, is exactly the same man that the total strangers are looking for. Our Truth spell, as you undoubtedly realize is in use, can detect falsehoods, but only reasoning can detect evasions. Reasoning, however, is a skill that we do possess. Now tell us the rest of the story. All of you." His voice had hardened by the end of that, to the point that it had a distinct edge on it.
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Alberich
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Post by Alberich »

"There's not much more to tell, Father," said Tim, though his answer had in fact already added something to his earlier account. He thought it a little foolish of them to say that the truth spell was in effect or to admit its limits. The better practice was either to keep it secret (to catch lies) or to exaggerate its abilities (to encourage more truth). But he continued, extremely respectful in tone as always.

"She and her companions, that I mentioned before, were travelling off the road, probably because the Gibazovs were hunting them. We'd met them briefly in Port Lorrel but hadn't learned anything about where they were going or what they were after. Just violent drifters, far as I can tell, the kind you'd see in a place like that. They came to our campsite looking for shelter and they got it - I wouldn't hand anyone over to Gorielian justice if I could help it, especially not any woman, even one as unwomanly as that. They asked about Inquisitor Blaise. This 'Jamie' said she was trying to kill him. Sister Rose said we were trying to take him alive. Jamie ran off by herself. Later on she came back alone, boasting that she'd killed him with a rifle shot, and that she was going to get rich from it. Then she took off again."

He paused. "Actually, now I think of it, another woman ran up and was yelling at her, and they both ran off, the one chasing the other. But we didn't get a good look at that one. Except she was carrying a rope, and what looked like a baby on her back. Her companions ended up going off a different way, and good riddance, too." Tim was mildly glad the truth spell was up, because while he hadn't much experience with the high weirdness that attended Jamie wherever she went, he had a hard time believing some of this himself, even though he'd seen it.

"Inquisitor Blaise's body, later on, seemed to show he'd died the way she said."

He'd taken the last from Rose's account, since he hadn't been there himself when it was found. He'd forgotten being told about how Blaise had unnaturally aged, but perhaps someone else would remember that and mention it - maybe someone who had actually seen him up close while he was alive.

"But if you're asking how to find her, to question her about Inquisitor Blaise's death, I don't think any of us could begin to say where she is, how long she'll live, or what she could tell, and I think the answer is 'nothing' or 'next to nothing' - beyond what she already told us. How she found Blaise, or those outlaws that were sheltering him, we've none of us any idea. But it's a small country without many roads, and they'd been close enough to the city to provide assassins for the feast, so maybe it's not too surprising that they were nearby."

He'd left out the fact that Jamie's companions had gone off with Drusia, the fact that Drusia was there at all, the fact that she was hunting the Ralkin, the Ralkin themselves, the way Therese had shown some of them her "Sisterhood" shelter - all things having nothing to do with Blaise or this hearing. And as he'd been doing, he didn't even think about what he was leaving out - just let the words flow. When he'd said there was not much more to tell, he'd meant about the question he'd been asked - about Blaise's death and how finding Jamie might provide more information about it.

[OOC: And before you have Amalric start telling Tim off for "not mentioning her companions" before, this is what he said in the earlier post: On the road, we met some adventurers, not Gorielians. They told us they'd just come from the mine, and Blaise wasn't there. And one of them was an assassin who'd was trying to kill Blaise. Sister Rose told her we wanted him alive. She ran off. The next night, while we were camped and scouting the countryside for clues, this assassin came back. She said she'd killed him with a rifle shot.]
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Post by Graybeard »

Father Amalric was rather obviously clenching his teeth, and Sister Rose winced as she waited for the explosion that she'd seen the man to be capable of. However, it didn't come, at least not completely. Instead he took a deep breath and tried again.

"Let me try to -- clarify my question," he said, spelling it all out slowly and methodically. "An assassin does not simply kill for pleasure, although many derive a perverse pleasure from the act. They kill because they are paid to kill. The question is: who paid this assassin? Not --"

The plump archbishop interrupted, with a look of horror in his eyes. "Yes! Any who threaten one senior official of the church are a threat to all of us! We must root out this evil, maybe even send Luminosita Himself to strike down the enemies of our faith!"

The general rolling of eyes at this eruption wasn't confined to Rose and the party. Amalric waited him out, then resumed. "Yes, the level of thread needs to be understood. But who posed the threat, and paid the killer? Not those who were traveling with her; if they were willing to expose themselves to that kind of risk, they wouldn't have bothered paying for someone to do the job. But then who did? Any information bearing on that question would be -- crucial. So one more time I ask: do you have such information?"
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Alberich
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Post by Alberich »

Mere seconds ago, Tim had spoken the words - Very brash, very rude, but apparently very skilled with her rifle. She said she was being paid to kill Inquisitor Blaise, but we don't know who paid her to do it, or where she might be now.... Father Amalric had seemed upset with that answer because he thought Tim was saying "the same thing over and over." Now he seemed upset that Tim wasn't saying the same thing over and over. Or maybe, despite his sharp looks, he was fading with age and not paying attention to what Tim said before responding to it. Had he been watching the other members carefully, he might've detected a subtle eye-roll at Father Amalric's obtuseness.

But he wasn't. He didn't even let himself think about this and he certainly wasn't going to be petulant and point it out. These men had a lot of information to absorb, especially if the Elite Battle Angels had been keeping them in the dark until now, and it wasn't to be supposed they'd get everything at once. The transcript would show it, if need be, how open he'd been. He kept his tone respectful as he gave the information again.

"No, Father, we don't know who paid her or why. She didn't tell us a thing about it, just how happy she was to have done it, and to get paid. Neither did her companions tell us anything about it." Which to the best of Tim's memory was the absolute truth. He'd say it twelve more times if he had to.

He wanted to allay the pudgy archbishop's fears as well by pointing out that all the evil Inquisitor Blaise had gotten himself into was of foreign origin - from whatever his mystery encounter on the Southern Continent had been, to having a picture of a Tsuirakuan mage with a strong interest in such things, to being killed by a Farrelian assassin who caught him in Goriel. None of this indicated any kind of threat to the Church in Veracia itself, so long as it purged itself of such evils. But if Father Amalric was not listening closely to his answers, and was just looking for chances to be offended, it was better to keep his words to a minimum. The smarter board members would pick up on this, doubtless, and explain it to him in private.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Post by Graybeard »

Sister Rose watched the exchange between Father Amalric and Tim with growing alarm. The martial old priest was beginning to get red in the face, and an eruption couldn't be too far in the future. However, Tim was right. They couldn't give the panel information they didn't have. Amalric was right, she thought, to be skeptical about an assassin bragging about a kill to near-complete strangers, while giving no hints as to who was behind the hit. And yet, that was exactly what had happened.

Unless...

She fired a quick thought to Argus, wishing she could use telepathy with Therese as well. <"Think we should tell him about this 'Convergence' thing at this point? Only connection I can see, and it's a bit of a reach ... and I'm not sure I want to raise that subject with him voluntarily.">
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Post by Alberich »

If Rose was using empathy, she might note that Tim was far more tranquil than Father Amalric's growing wrath would justify him being. The truth was that Tim was glad to be taking point in facing it. On this issue, in this forum, in this country, he didn't think anyone else should be stuck out in front. Not his foreign companions, because this really wasn't their business. Not Rose, because she was a woman. In fact, it was just a little bit thrilling to be trusted to be the man on the spot.

The transcript and the truth spell would save him from any formal charges -- though the hierarchy was powerful, there was enough "due process" to ensure a priest couldn't be too easily defrocked or given lasting punishment. (A little penance or a scourging, like the one he'd taken this morning? The pain was soon over. The night of anticipation had been far worse than the thing itself.) If this Father Amalric decided to speak evil words about Tim's career -- well, the worst thing he could do was ensure that Tim spent the rest of his life as a local priest and junior officer in rural Veracia somewhere. Which was exactly what Tim liked being. No, he did not think he needed rescuing from anything he was facing here.

The "Convergence" angle hadn't occurred to him, and if it had, he would've dismissed it outright as an employer for Blaise's assassin. For all he knew, Blaise and the crazed half-elf wizard they'd killed were all part of that, and the notion that Hell might be divided against itself came nowhere near his mind. No, he thought, Blaise had had dealings with heathens in the Southern Continent, Farrel, Tsuiraku, and the Northern Confederacy in doing whatever black magic he'd practiced. In doing so, he'd doubtless made enemies, or made friends with people who'd made enemies, more than he could count. Speculating on how many enemies he had, or which one decided to put the bullet in him, this seemed idle to Tim without knowing more. And Father Amalric's attitude was strongly discouraging idle speculation.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Post by Graybeard »

Sister Rose was getting worried. Father Amalric looked like he might blow a fuse at any moment, and the other priest in the room was starting to get restless too. This heretofore polite debriefing could deteriorate into shouting and recriminations soon, and with Anfisa and Desiree in the room, that could turn out badly.

Argus seemed to be lost in thought [OOC: hint, hint... ;) ], so she racked her own brain, looking for something, anything that might provide insights into where the mysterious assassin "Jamie" had come from ... and then she found something.

"There is one thing," she said, hesitation in her voice. "Just as Tim says, we know nothing more of the assassin herself. However, we had an earlier encounter with the people who were traveling with her, back in Port Lorrel when we were still hoping to catch up with Blaise there."

That got Amalric's attention. "Go on," he prompted.

I hope I remember this right. "When we first got there," she said, "we spent some time poking around the waterfront, which is a rather rough place, trying to find out whether Blaise had come in through there, and whether he was trying to get passage on to somewhere else." I'm not ready to talk about what happened to Eli yet, but... "While we were there, some violence broke out that looked like a turf war between the mercenary outfits -- I'd say 'gangs' -- that seem to run the waterfront, and we blundered into the middle of it. That's a whole separate story, included a kidnapping of Desiree here and some other things, but as far as we could tell, it never had anything to do with Blaise. But--" she held up a hand -- "the pair of adventurers that were with the assassin were in on that turf war too."

She was going to say more, but the plump Archbishop didn't give her the chance. "Aha!" he shouted, slamming a hand down on the table. "I knew it all along! So there has been Farrelian interference in our affairs!" He turned to the other panelists with an insufferably smug look on his face. "I never did trust those godless criminals, and I was right! Thank you, Sister, this is exactly the kind of information we can act on. I must head back to the Patriarch's office and --"

Rose cursed silently and interrupted. "Excuse me, Your Eminence, but there's more to our story than that. I don't think --"

The Archbishop cut her off. "You are not here to get involved in our dealings with Farrel, Sister," he scolded. "Yes, yes, that's what it must be. I must notify the Patriarch at once." He started to rise from his chair.

Now Amalric was looking alarmed. "Your Eminence, I agree with Major Nuria-Lucas here," he said. (Rose would wonder for some time about the man's sudden change from using her churchly title to her military one.) "We need to hear more about--"

It was Amalric's turn to be cut off, and the look that the Archbishop gave him was one of pure venom. "You are not to meddle in the affairs of state, Father," he hissed. "Why do you think you got exiled to that shithole of a parish in the south? You will hold your tongue on this matter, or you'll be sorry. Now I must be off." He strode out of the briefing room without another word, and the one priest who had maintained silence throughout went with him.

[OOC: In case there was any doubt who was carrying the Idiot Ball in this little episode, I trust that's now resolved...]
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