Turn 1 Thread

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Re: Turn 1 Thread

Post by The GM on Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:48 pm

Do Laval or Vex prepare the ritual site further in order to meet the rule of sympathy?

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Re: Turn 1 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:32 pm

On Laval's instruction, Vex catches maggots from the carnage, gathers them in one of the braziers to be burned as a symbol of the triumph of magic over decay. Laval asks the villagers for ropes or chains that can be laid around the tree and then cut or broken during the ritual to symbolise the breaking of the curse. She inscribes symbols in a pattern of seven such that with a single stroke delivered at an opportune moment she can transform the seven into nine.

Finally, apprehensive, she is ready to begin the instructions given by the daemon.

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Re: Turn 1 Thread

Post by The GM on Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:33 pm

There are fewer villagers to witness this ritual. Though it is arguably the greatest moment in Imani for hundreds of years, the people are tired and the hour is late. Their resolve has been tested bitterly in the last few days, and many return to their homes. They are herded by Gracious, directed to a place where they can be safe, and they can begin to rebuild their will.
 
Faruha steps forward, knife in hand. She smiles to Laval, giving the wych the confidence she needs. Laval begins the ritual.
 
The baobab tree is lit, and the fires spread quickly across the old, dry bark. Sensing the growing power of Vex's magics, Laval harnesses it and channels her own energies into the words of power. Branded into her mind, she does not stumble over the delivery, but speaks with confidence and authority over the winds of magic. The maggots begin to squeal like wounded rats, popping one by one in the fiery braziers. The mutant kids scream like human children as the villagers fall upon them, pitifully trying to escape their heavy binds. Soon, their throats are cut, and black blood begins to pool around the exposed roots of the baobab. Faruha and a few others cut down the binds of the tree, symbolising the triumph of hope over the Emperor and Death.
 
Laval makes the stroke, marking the change from Nurgle's number to Tzeentch's. She speaks the last words of power. The mutant kids fall silent, finally dead. A great, silver fire flares up the baobab tree, magnificent and terrible to behold. From opening buds form golden fruits, round and tantalising, promising eternal sustenance to those that might eat them. The tree grows in stature, its old bark glistening with moisture as it finds life anew. With that, the silver fires go out with the braziers, plunging the scene into the pale moonlight. The curse is lifted, but should those fruits be eaten, it shall return thrice-fold.
 
[Laval gains 3 Corruption Points and Vex gains 1 Corruption Point.]
 
Faruha steps forward, as to embrace Laval, but she falls short when she sees the ash that has collected on the wych's robes. A look of disgust passes across her face, but she collects herself and instead simply smiles a warm smile. "You have saved us," she tells the ritualists.
 
Laval feels a sharp pain in her gut as an unbidden thought crosses her mind. 
 
At what cost?
 
Night falls on Imani. With the new sun comes a new morning for the village. Word spreads quickly of Laval and Vex's success, and many villagers (though it may be placebo) report feeling healthier and more energetic. Farmers in the fields find that the goats too seem less sickly, with fuller coats, and that their bloated stomachs have gone. Even the air seems fresher. Grateful, the people of Imani are fully converted to the glory of Chaos, and will support Laval and Vex in any way that they can.
 
[Laval and Vex have completed the Secondary Objective to build a force of local converts. They have also both assisted in another heretic’s Secondary Objective. They therefore both gain 4 Infamy.]
 
Faruha approaches Laval in the late morning. Her father, Mkuu Tendaji, has still not returned, and she asks what they should do. 

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Re: Turn 1 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:53 pm

Laval makes sure that all the villagers - and Gracious - know that to eat of the fruit is death and horror.

When Faruha approaches, it is not a surprise. The Mkuu's return, or failure to do so, has been prominent in her mind.

"You are safe for now," she muses, "So Vex and I could follow the route your father would have taken and try to find him. If need be we can go all the way to Kidofini and ask after him. Although... we may no longer be welcome there." She gestures with a smile, warp-smoke trailing from beneath her fingernails, to indicate the obvious mark of corruption that hangs about her. "We'll sort something out."

"We'll find him."

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Re: Turn 1 Thread

Post by The GM on Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:31 pm

Faruha notes that her father would have taken the dirt path towards Kifodini - an easy track to follow, and one that her father would never stray from without good reason. Furthermore, if the Mkuu has been making his way back home, then he should be close to Imani by now - though, as Faruha notes, he should be back by now.

Laval and Vex make their way along the dirt track towards Kifodini, leaving Faruha behind to maintain a presence in the village. It is a path formed of the erosion of human feet, rather than paving, but the way is easy going over the arid plains of the Swaadi wilds. The pair plan to trek for a couple of hours, and, if they do not find Tendaji by then, to consider again their options before pressing on towards Kifodini.

They are not walking for more than half an hour when they see the body.

It is hard to identify the corpse as the elderly Mkuu. He has been struck by a single las-round to the heart, and his robes have caught ablaze from the vicious heat. He is nothing but ash and skeleton, but his travelling staff and medical supplies have fallen out of reach of the flames. It is incomprehensible, senseless. It didn't have to be this way. 

Yet, with the vial of deadly poison still snug in Laval's pocket, perhaps someone has simply saved the pair a job.

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Re: Turn 1 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:46 pm

Laval weeps over the remains. Vex watches, unimpressed. She finds herself less saddened than she expected to, and the tears do not flow for long, barely stinging her eyes. The cynical half of her is glad. This is, as Gracious' mind might term it, very neat.

After the initial surprise comes curiosity. Who did this and why? To what end, pursuing what scheme? She examines the remains in detail, trying to estimate whether this death occurred yesterday, or a few days ago on the way out. She doesn't expect to glean much from the seared bones, but perhaps some sign - or perhaps the remaining stock of medicines can tell her whether his mission had been completed or not.

Gracious is an obvious suspect, but she does not recall seeing such on his mind. Unless it was a more recent idea. One of his new converts is the next most likely, nursing a grudge. Need she fear for Faruha's safety? Perhaps it's necessary to cement better ties between the two fledgeling cults...

Not long after, she recalls that there was meant to be a goat. If he died on the way back, it may be worth searching in a small radius around the site of the death in case the animal didn't stray too far.

When they've done all they can achieve at the scene, the pair gather up the remains to bring them back to the village. Faruha will be heartbroken, but at least this time perhaps they can give the man a proper funeral and find some closure.

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Re: Turn 1 Thread

Post by The GM on Wed Aug 17, 2016 11:17 pm

It is hard to put together what has happened here, little to determine when this happened and why. There are no goat tracks nearby, and the Mkuu's medicine bag is mostly full, but, assuming he fell backwards (and indeed the charred skeleton is on its back), he was heading towards Imani - and was very close. It's possible that the shot sent him spinning, but, given it evidently struck his heart, it is not obvious how this would have been achieved. But, if he was heading towards Imani, that leaves the mystery of the absent goat and the mostly full medicine bag.

When they bring the remains back to Faruha, she immediately breaks down in tears. She is devastated, and, perhaps cruelly of all, she seems mentally incapable of approaching the remains due to a sudden phobia of dirt and ash. She suffers a panic attack, and it takes a good hour of Laval's careful comfort to calm her down. 

"We have no elders left," she says, once the tears have finally dried. "We are a young village. I do not know who can lead this tribe. What do we do?"

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Re: Turn 1 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Wed Aug 17, 2016 11:55 pm

"You are the natural choice. It's a heavy burden to bear and I cannot force you, but you have learned much from your father. The people respect you, I've seen it.

"I'm most concerned about Kubwa and his friends, but I think we can come to some amicable conclusion. We've all been through a lot, and it's time to pull together and heal old disagreements."

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Re: Turn 1 Thread

Post by The GM on Wed Aug 17, 2016 11:59 pm

Faruha considers Laval's words carefully. The young Swaad woman has changed over the last week. Different things scare her, and though it is still soon to be thrust into the spotlight of leadership, she has been a calming influence on her village in some of the most desperate of times. She stands taller, and, when prompted by this new necessity, she rises further.

"Tzeentch willing, we will prevail."

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