Turn 3 Thread

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 04, 2016 11:39 am

Choni absorbs Laval's words. To Vex's eye, he looks scared. He has shied away from resisting the changes of Kifodini, and even this plotting feels like... something. And yet, there is a glimmer of pride: that he finally is doing something, and conquering his cowardice.

"It may work," he finally responds, "But the evidence will have to be strong. She is beloved by the lynch mobs, and false rumours will not get very far." He thinks. "She will eat of the local goat. I think that she is gifted food from the Mkuu's own herd."

The sounds of the mob outside begin to fade. Vex hoists himself up to his feet, and peers from behind a curtain. He observes that the mob has found their erstwhile campsite, but they are turning back to where the gunshots were heard. They seem angrier than before: if there is not yet bloodshed today, Vex will be surprised.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 04, 2016 11:40 am

The information is bolstered by Gracious' thoughts. He warns the pair of what is coming, but, of course, the two wyches already know. He adds that Nuru Haki is the one to fear: again, this is not new information to Laval and Vex. But perhaps it is nice that he takes the trouble to keep them in the loop.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Sep 04, 2016 11:50 am

This is stupid, Vex complains, What are you doing?

We have to help these people, Laval responds. Gracious can hear their conversation of course, but it doesn't bother the wyches. For his sake, they keep their shared thoughts... muted. Bare scraps of meaning, not the flood of emotion and impression that usually arcs between their minds.

"Thank you, Choni," she says out loud, "With the help you're giving us, I think we can manage something."

Have to? Vex queries, Are these people psykers? They don't look like psykers to me. We don't owe them anything.

Vex, they're children. We can't not help.

"Tell me," she continues, "Do you know the names of any of her strongest supporters? Those who are most enamoured of her message of hate? And the Mkuu, tell me about them..."

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:17 pm

Choni smiles, glad to be of assistance. But Laval is not used to canvassing information about an entire town, and she only receives the barest of information about the individuals she is after.

Mkuu Mosi Wakili is the elder of Kifodini. He is a powerful figure in virtue of being (comparatively) rich: he owns the largest goat herd and never has to worry about going hungry. This, to the Swaad, is an extravagance. He supported Nuru Haki when she started to gain momentum, and has even suggested targets for their lynch mobs from suspected heretics native to Kifodini. 

Nuru also finds support from the Church. A devout member of the Makuu's congregation, Mchumba Jengo, lives in Kifodini (even though she often camps outside the cathedral walls). She has been known to implicitly encourage lynch mobs of her own, but is well-liked for her optimism and earnestness. She is a devotee of the Makuu Preacher Elias Hasek, a young man from Juno well-known for his shrieking redemptionist spirit. Ultimately, the rise of Nuru Haki stems back to Elias Hasek, the primary giver of sermons at the cathedral.

Closer to home, the activities of the mob are at least tolerated by Preacher Nia Upendo. Choni thinks that she does this because she has lost authority with the people, and must work through Nuru to maintain her position. Nuru also has devotees and sycophants of her own. A notable recruiter for the mob is the fanatic Kele, whilst the brute Mtumwa is well-feared by the refugees from Sadaka.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:30 pm

Laval exhales, nodding. She is not particularly aware of her own lack of skill in this field - it feels like an absolute wealth of information compared to the vague sketch of a briefing she has been working with so far. She thanks Choni again, promises to do all she can for the refugees, regales him with a list of herbal teas that would do himself and the children good, if Faraji can find them.

"We have work to do, Laval," Vex declares quietly. At first Laval wonders why he speaks aloud. Presumably he distrusts Gracious more than he distrusts the refugees.

"With the mob on the prowl?"

"They're moving on. If we stay out of their way, the darkness ought to cover us... people rarely sweep back across where they've already searched."

Laval sighs again. The work never ends.

[How plausible is it, given the size of the village, the size of the mob, the lay of the land, etc, that I could paint a circle round the village without attracting attention, provided I try to keep the village between me and the mob?]

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:49 pm

[It will require a Challenging (+0) Stealth Test, opposed by an Awareness Test with positive modifiers (or negative for the Awareness Tests) for the darkness and distance. We're probably looking at +30. Do Laval and Vex proceed?]

Gracious' thoughts now feel calmer in the pair's mind, and he notes that they are starting to make their way back across the town to the place where Ari presumably was. It gives opportunity to begin the circle on the other side of the town without risk, and Gracious believes that - despite Nuru Haki's incitement - the mob must soon be losing steam.

He is wrong.

Gracious stops communicating with the wyches approximately twenty minutes in. At the same time, something seems to happen on the other side of the town to Laval and Vex. They hear screams of terror, roars of anger, and the stomping of many feet. They see flames on the other side of the village, and a rampaging mob. Thankfully, they do not reach as far as Faraji's farmstead. As one, collective beast, the hordes are somewhat terrifying, and Laval's blood runs cold. Whoever first raises their ire will die tonight: this cannot end without violence. 

Eventually, Gracious' thoughts return. He seems to have been thrown to the floor when the mob got started, and trampled on by many feet. He is making his way back to the town. The mob was triggered by finding mutilated bodies: the combination of fear, hate and bloodlust fueling one, terrible stampede of panic and violence.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Sep 04, 2016 3:05 pm

Laval and Vex do indeed start, decking themselves out in the primitive camo and beginning to paint the circle. They share a look of concern when Gracious falls silent, but it would be stupid to stop this task partway through. The paint is invisible, after all.

As soon as Gracious communicates his situation, Laval responds with a flood of empathy and concern. She gives him her location, urges him to come to her if he needs healing.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 04, 2016 3:22 pm

Giving the town a wide berth, the pair get to work with their brushes, charting out the invisible ritual circle that, unbeknownst to the residents, places Kifodini in the centre of a dark ritual to Tzeentch. It is dark, and though there are flickering lights from the embers of a burned down hut, and fanatics prowling the streets, the wyches work quickly and subtly. They are not noticed by the town, and the first stage of the ritual is complete.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Sep 04, 2016 3:27 pm

When it is done, Laval hugs Vex and the pair take a moment just to breathe.

"What next?" Vex asks.

"I don't know," Laval confesses, "I'm not sure how to approach our victim. And the streets are still full of armed lunatics. I'm tired, but I'm afraid to sleep."

"We can sleep at Faraji's, so long as we're gone by morning. Let's check our campsite carefully, make sure they haven't left us any nasty surprises. Then we need to speak to Gracious, I reckon. Then we can think about sleep."

Laval nods. It sounds like a plan.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 04, 2016 3:38 pm

The mob seems to have slaked its thirst for violence one way or another, and the town of Kifodini is beginning to wind down. It is quite late, and people are heading to their huts to sleep off the events of the day. Laval and Vex can make their way safely to the campsite, where they find nothing out of the ordinary. Dozens of footsteps have left tracks in the dusty ground, anything the pair left behind has been ransacked - even the remains of the campfire have been scattered - but they have not left traps or anything else to worry about.

[Should the conversation with Gracious be an Interaction?]

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 04, 2016 4:46 pm

The hour is late on the outskirts of Kifodini.  Darkness has fallen, and the mobs led by Nuru Haki, finally slated, are beginning to wind down. Communicating by thoughts to locate one another, Laval, Vex and Gracious find one another. Gracious has stopped for a breather on a tree stump. He looks badly bruised, achy, and exhausted.
 
There you are. Laval thought-sends.
 
Gracious looks up, weakly. He nods.
 
Do you need help?
 
“Yeah.”
 
Let me see.
 
She kneels beside him to examine him for serious injuries.
 
“It's not... too bad,” Gracious remarks, “Just... eh... fucking knackered.”
 
Laval gingerly removes Gracious' mesh vest and undershirt. He is badly bruised, but the armour has taken the worst of it, and just undoing the armour allows Gracious to breathe a little easier. She holds ice to the wounds, rubbing in a herb compound that helps the bruising go down. Gracious sits up.
 
[Gracious is fully healed, but still fatigued.]
 
"Right. Fuck. Well, I've never liked mobs I wasn't at the front of, at that wasn't any different. How much of my squawking did you get about what was going on?"
 
"Very little,” Eleanor admits, “How hard is it to think at me?"
 
"I was?" Gracious objects. "Gave you a description of the ringleader and all?"
 
"Yes,” Laval accepts, “Do you have a plan to deal with her yet?"
 
"There's another - a priest in the town. She's clearly not happy with all this; might be a route in."
 
Laval nods. "Nia Upendo."
 
"You met her?" Gracious asks.
 
“No, I've just been appraising myself of the situation." Laval pauses. "Turn the mob against Nuru and Nia will be able to pull things back to sanity round here."
 
"Did you talk to someone?" Gracious presses, "Or..." He taps his head.
 
"A bit of both,” Laval shrugs, "Oh, not from you yet though."
 
"Well, I could barely stop you," Gracious admits. “Fuck. Ugh.Just got swept up into danger with no way out. Fucking Ari."
 
"Gosh, did getting stepped on temporarily grant you a more realistic appraisal of your own capabilities?" Laval chides.
 
“Gods, you're pissed at me?” Gracious exclaims. “Why? You're fine."
 
"Of course I'm pissed! Near as I can tell you tried to set a lynch mob on me."
 
"What?" Gracious frowns.
 
“You wanted a distraction for your out-of-control murder cult, no?" Laval complains, "And before you start with 'they're not my murder cult' like hell they're not."
 
"Sure, I figured you could set some stuff on fire with your mind, give them something to get excited about, and be off,” Gracious tells her. “The murder cult would just have been messy."
 
"I can't set things on fire with my mind, Gracious."
 
"Whatever it is Vex does, you know."
 
Laval looks at Vex. He shrugs. She sighs. "I'm not a pawn in your games, Gracious. Maybe most people you meet are happy to take orders from you without explanation…"
 
"Gods,” Gracious responds, “No, but I thought you could..."
 
"… But I don't know what hold you think you have over me that would make me risk my life for your convenience.”
 
"I thought I was serving both our goals," Gracious explains. "Open war between Imani and Kifodini's no good. I assumed you'd get away before they got there whatever.”
 
Laval sighs. "Well can't you keep your cult in line?"
 
"No, I can't. Not since that fucker got them all hyped up on murder."
 
"Vex has one leg and I'm a fucking telepath. We're not great at making fast getaways."
 
"Yeah. No. Sorry."
 
Laval pauses for a moment. "... me too. I'm glad you're alive."
 
"I made the wrong fucking call, OK?"
 
Laval nods. "Alright. I'm sorry."
 
"Yeah... but I knew you'd be fine." He smiles. "You aren't a pawn. You don't get taken that easily. Just glad you did get away..."
 
"Listen, if I thought you actually needed me to save your sorry life, I would risk myself,” Laval assures him, “Okay? But not just to make things smoother for your cult."
 
"It was my life I was worried for, I'll be honest. I don't care for my cult - at all. Fuck 'em. But I thought they were going to tear me apart."
 
Laval sighs. "We need to practice telepathy, then. I can barely catch one thought in three that you send me. I tried to ask if you were in danger and got something about directions..."
 
"Sure."
 
"If it helps, I've got the outline of a plan for taking this Nuru down..."
 
"Go for it."
 
"We frame her for heresy. Everyone hates a hypocrite. Turn the mobs on her."
 
"Yes, sensible," Gracious nods. "Matches with my next suggestion."
 
"We're going to need more than rumours - plant heretical symbols, spin some really convincing lies…"
 
"But who do you know who's a good liar? You see, plan failed at first hurdle."
 
"Pfft." Laval shakes her head.
 
Gracious grins, some of his normal energy returning. "If we can get Kifodini to believe that the Makuu is corrupt, maybe we can get them even to turn on that. Do you think Nuru is on the level?"
 
"Mm, that's a dangerous line,” Laval muses. “Nuru? I'm guessing redemptionist, but she could be a provocateur. Haven't made up my mind yet."
 
"It is dangerous;” Gracious agrees, “Something to build on."
 
"I thought you could put your little coterie of murderers to good use once you've done a little groundwork,” Laval suggests. “Have them take out someone else popular with the mob - maybe Mchumba Jengo - and lay them out ritual-wise in Nuru's place, frame her."
 
"You're making assumptions about their basic fucking competence.” He pauses. "Not sure I met Mchumba."
 
"I've seen Ari work, she's quick and lethal, if an idiot."
 
"Oh, Ari I trust, and can at least talk to."
 
"Mchumba's one of the fanatics,” Laval explains “She's well-liked, good target for raising hell."
 
"You have been busy."
 
"Yeah, well. This is not what I came here for." She sighs.
 
"Can you still run your original plan?"
 
"Yes, if this doesn't blow sky-high too soon. Other names I picked up are Kele and Mtumwa, but I thnk Mchumba is the best bet. Kele's a recruiter, Mtumwa's a thug, both in with the mob. Nuru gets her food direct from Mkuu Mosi Wakili. Poison that with something to sap the will and... well, I might be able to force her to put her foot in her mouth at a key moment."
 
"Alright. I feel like I should head into the village, then, spend some time getting a feel for things. I slipped a note to Nia in the mob," Gracious adds. "Said I was afraid of it all."
 
Laval nods thoughtfully.
 
"...not really a lie, even," Gracious notes. "Unfortunately, there's still my fucking incompetents." He gestures outwards to the plains.
 
"I find myself pretty short of sympathy." Laval shakes her head, forces a slight smile. "But I suppose you've made them both of our problems now."
 
"Feel free to kill them if you see them," Gracious offers. "If need be, anyway. Not sure that includes Ari. See how she is." He shakes his head. "Feral fucks."
 
"How did you not foresee this?" Laval softens the complaint with a smile. "You introduce thugs to Slaanesh, and soon we're all up to our eyeballs in mutilated corpses."
 
"Normally they just do it to each other. Burns out easily enough. Or it takes longer."
 
"Well. I don't have any ideas for dealing with them yet. Other than tip some soldiers off and let them go at each other... which seems hazardous to our health."
 
Gracious tosses her a wrapped bundle. Inside are needles and vials of liquids. "If you meet them, that's an obscura dose for the lot."
 
"Ah. Cunning. Thank you."
 
"Problems that can be solved with drugs or lying: my sort of thing." He pauses for a moment, in thought. "When I was younger, I had a cat, her name was Princess, and she was a ruthless murderer. Used to climb and jump across roofs and parapets. One day I saw her try to jump further than normal, across to the high balcony; she fell, hit half the roofs on the way down. Survived, though. Licked her wounds something precious for days afterwards, bless."
 
There is a brief silence, before Gracious ends it. "Anyway, that's me right now. But, uh, eh, no time to lick wounds."
 
Laval nods. "We're all overreaching ourselves a bit, I think. Gods, Gracious. What a fucking mess."
 
"The gods are a fucking mess!" Gracious grins.
 
"Hah."
 
"That's what we signed up for, right," Gracious adds.
 
"I suppose."
 
"I'll see you around: talk tonight?" He taps his head. "I'll be in bed, we can practice quick response?"
 
Laval nods. "Good plan. I've not got much more to do before turning in. I might bounce some ideas off you if I haven't solved my problems myself by then."
 
"Feel, uh, free." Gracious looks at Vex, who states back blankly. "Hey, Vex. You, uh, you alright there? Sorry to bother you with the affairs of lesser mortals, eh."
 
"Yeah? I'm fine. You jerks are the ones with the fancy plans. I just try to keep up." Vex shrugs.
 
"Sure. Well..." Gracious picks himself up off the ground, dusts himself down, and slopes off without another word, carrying his travelling case on his back.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:11 pm

"Weirdo." Vex comments. "Both of you, actually. Crazy." Laval just shakes her head. "Sleep now, or more work?"

"I suppose we've spent most of the day kicking our heels," Laval muses, "We're going to need to work at night a lot, to avoid too many prying eyes. But on the other hand, we need to be up early to avoid upsetting Faraji and I do need sleep.

"Let's swing by Matu in case he's still up and about and we can make first contact - casually bump into him - and if he's already turned in then we can do likewise."

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:45 pm

The streets of Kifodini are fairly deserted, and indeed Matu seems to have turned in. Laval and Vex decide to do likewise. Faraji suggests that, given they are both white and there is no reason to think they are in much danger, they might as well sleep comfortably rather than underground. The pair dream of plans and schemes, the vestiges of their mind-link blending visions and - on rare occasions, allowing them to communicate while sleeping in whatever worlds their psyches have jointly created.

The pair get up early, thank Faraji, and eat the goat stew he has cooked for them. Choni's infection is getting better, and the farmer is noticeably more cheerful now that the mob has temporarily quietened down. He does not ask questions of them, nor does he talk much at all - but he doesn't snap in the same way he did on their first meeting. 

It is easy to bump into Matu. He works as a goatherd, so the pair do not have to travel into town to find him. Moreover, he also rises early, giving Laval and Vex the chance to talk to him before all the town is awake. Giving the impression of being on a chance stroll, the pair bump into him. The goats bleat warily at the coils of dark energies streaming from Laval's pores, backing off and throwing their heads up and down, but to the young man's eyes, it is simply the black fumes of a malfunctioning censer. 

"Whoa, whoa!" he shouts at the goats, smiling apologetically at the pair. "Morning, preacher," he says, talking to Laval. He seems to have mistaken her white skin and censer for the garb of a priest. "Out for a stroll? Sorry for the goats, not sure what's got into them."

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:21 pm

Overnight, before sleeping, Laval does indeed make some attempt to communicate with Gracious, just swapping small talk and giving the chymist a chance to practice formulating his thoughts clearly. Vex remains quiet, but his vaguely disapproving presence keeps Laval from getting too flirty over the mind-link.

Listen, she mentions at one point, The scheme I gave you - it's your business to make it work, or not, as you please. Let me know when you need me and I'll help, but this isn't my game to run.

****

Later, Laval smiles easily at Matu's greeting. "I imagine they're just nervous of strangers," she suggests. "You are up early. Does nobody help you with the goats?"

She does nothing to dispel the notion that she is a preacher. She makes a little small talk, feigning a certain innocent shyness, then casually broaches her skills. This is first contact, no need to be unsubtle yet, but she wants to plant the seeds in his mind.

[I would like to attempt Delude fettered. If it doesn't work out then I won't spend enough time on it to raise suspicion.]

"I don't suppose you could help me? I am a healer, you see. I brew herbal remedies, treat wounds, give blessings, produce, ah... charms... for all ills. I heard that the people of Kidofini needed some assistance, but... ah... crowds make me nervous, you see." She laughs awkwardly, feigning nerves. "Do you think you could point me in the right direction? I'm having some trouble finding those who might need me."

[Willing to spend an Infamy point to avoid arousing suspicion if needed.]

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:43 pm

Gently reaching out with her telepathic powers, Laval plants a haze in Matu's mind. From his perspective, it is almost like he is in a dream, a dream in which one, unquestioned premise is that Laval is someone he can trust. He smiles vaguely back.

However, he is busy with his goats, and Laval's presence is actively hindering him. He doesn't have much time for small-talk, and the bleating of the goats keeps bringing him back to reality.

"Ah, whoa, whoa... sorry," he mumbles, "They are a handful today! There is a boy in town, Waathirik... his parents were evil cultists, and they cut off his leg to lure soldiers to their deaths. He might still be alive, but he was bleeding out fast..."

He dives to catch a charging goat, half-wrestling it as he tries to keep it still. "Throne..." he looks up distractedly, "He's with Nia Upendi, in the church, one way or the other. Sorry, I've got to... sorry." He returns to his work, unwilling to make further conversation.

[You did not arouse suspicion, but he passed the Test by more degrees and so was not charmed. I didn't use an Infamy Spend.]

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:31 pm

"Thank you! I'm grateful!" she tells him, backing away from the agitated animals to keep out of the way. "If you need anything, even if it's just advice, find me!"

She counts that a successful first contact. She's made a decent impression, advertised her skills, put her foot in the door. She thinks about reading his mind again, but she'd have to stand around for an awkward length of time. She leaves it and walks away.

You're not actually going to walk into the church? Vex queries, following after her.

She thinks of a child dying, clearly the victim of some idiocy, his parents presumably lynched. She thinks of facing an Imperial preacher and the crowds that might be within a church, trying to pretend that she isn't terrified, praying that none of them notice her mutation. She thinks of Vex dying, and leaving her all alone.

No, she replies. The child is probably dead already. We can't help.

Vex does not buy her excuses, but he keeps the thought to himself. Let her salve her conscience if she wants.

What next? he asks.

Second touch tonight. If we're lucky, he'll come to us. If not, we'll find him on some pretext.

Why do we never do things my way? Vex complains, but his heart isn't in it.

Let's finish the rest of the preparations, then try to catch some extra sleep before we go to work tonight.

They return to the spot that they picked to camp, check that they are alone, and then get to work. The mundane psychoactive poison seems a fitting sympathetic focus for the ritual. Aside from the portion that she left in Imani, Laval has kept the full quantity in a single container. That container must now be inscribed with the Mark of the Nine Angles. The pair whisper prayers over it as they work. Here Vex takes the lead. He has felt the brush of the inscrutable attention of Tzeentch, and appropriate words come more readily to his mind. He whispers of mazes, of games of chance played on a vast scale, of schemes and of the madness that awaits minds not strong enough to think upon their intricacies. Laval serves as the echo to his assertions, the response to his quiet call.

When it is done, the pair sit back. Laval stashes the poison safely in amongst her medical supplies again.

We could do with something to stain skin, Vex comments.

I'll see if I can come up with something, Laval asserts. Take a nap and I'll work on it. I'll wake you when I'm done, or if I need anything I don't have.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:48 pm

Vex lies down to rest, not needing to be told twice. He has been sleeping badly since the loss of his leg, and walking on it for more than a short distance leaves him tired and irritable. Meanwhile, Laval gets to work. 

She thinks through a few options. Some are more practical than others. Scarring a body with the marks would obviously be sufficient, but it would not be subtle, and would involve deceits that bear a terrible risk. Crafting ink for a tattoo would be no more subtle, but might be an easier sell. Laval shakes her head. She wants something that stains, but does not break the skin. That makes it at least feasible that it might be marked on the target unawares: perhaps if she is sleeping, or otherwise unconscious?

It occurs to Laval that she could simply use the invisible paint. It will be seen by the gods, and nothing in what Vex described requires the mark to be visible. She wants to talk it through with Vex, but he is already asleep, and she figures she may as well present him with a variety of options. There are chemicals that stain, and cannot be washed off with water alone. The variety of herbs taken from the old Mkuu's hut in Imani provides sufficient materials, and Laval gets to work, cooking the concoction (mostly the blue juice of the matunda) over a small fire.

She completes the recipe and allows it to cool. The result is a dark blue, almost purple. She tests it on her wrist. It stains, and no matter how much she washes it with saliva, it does not come off. Applying medical disinfectant soon removes it, but it is unlikely that the people of Kifodini would think of that.

When Vex later wakes, he judges the options presented to him. He notes that the invisible paint would be sufficient, but the stained liquid could be part of a plot to discredit her: so nothing wasted.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Sep 04, 2016 11:14 pm

If we have to do it by stealth, we'll use the invisible paint. Whose thought was that? Laval's, probably.

Your turn to sleep, Vex offers, and Laval is eager to get a few more hours. She feels safe with Vex watching over her in a way that she could not by night.

Vex sits and thinks. Laval's plan is unambitious, but it seems solid. A more prominent sacrifice would be more glorious in the eyes of the gods... but at the same time perhaps less likely to succumb to horror and confusion. And he cannot imagine how to begin luring the important into the sort of trap they must set.

His thoughts soon drift to his injury. He has contemplated the mysteries of biomancy lately and is sure that he has the power to heal himself... but he suspects it will be a lengthy process, and they do not have time to spare. Surely with the correct rites there is a way to accelerate the process. He will consult with Laval when she wakes up.

[Intending to buy Regeneration for Vex, also from Tome of Fate, but I note that it takes 1d5 weeks of rest to regrow a limb. My general flowchart of problem solving goes Psychic Powers? -> Ritual Magic? so... ???]

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 04, 2016 11:26 pm

Vex has heard of such things done, and, as he ruminates upon it, tries to ignore the numbing pain in his stump. No, he can't quite catch it. He knows the basics of the ritual, but not the specifics. Even without the full details, the rite can be attempted, but it is all the more dangerous...

It is called the Rite of the Beyond. It is designed to weaken the veil, and allow the wych to place one foot in the immaterium, and the other in reality. Such a condition is horribly dangerous, but time runs differently in the warp, and a psychic power cast between dimensions can be greatly more powerful, or coalesce much more quickly. The greatest of rituals have been able to bring about magics in their own pasts, transforming their present in an impossible feat that defies logic itself. Vex remembers that there are three prerequisites - locations and items that are somehow representative of what must be done - but he cannot remember them, however hard he tries. 

On the other hand, it is easier than might be thought to stumble upon the proper rites, and Vex is familiar with much of the words that must be chanted. The thin chasm between reality and warp is bridged by symbolism and metaphor, the ideas of mortals given eternal life in the roiling chaos. Perhaps, if he thinks through the imagery of the ritual, he will stumble on what is required. 

[Vex has failed a Forbidden Lore (Daemonology) Test badly and so does not know any specifics of the ritual. This will impose a -30 Test on the ritual. However, for each detail that he happens to get right, the modifier will be lessened by 10.]

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:54 am

When Laval wakes up, Vex immediately pesters her with his thoughts on the Rite of the Beyond.

"No," is her first response, "That's idiotic."

"But-"

"You want to stand in the Warp and manifest?"

"Well you can't stop me."

There is an awkward silence. Laval, still half-asleep, stares at Vex in a baffled attempt to call his bluff. He stares back, fighting a smirk.

"Ugh," she declares eventually, "Make me some tea and give me the dataslate and I'll think on it."

****

Once, for better or worse, she has shared with Vex all she knows, Laval puts her foot down.

"I'm still not convinced this is a good idea, but you're definitely not doing it until we leave Kidofini. We're going to be swimming in psychic phenomena, and if that isn't cause for a lynching then I don't know what is."

Reluctantly, Vex acquiesces. He reaches out with his mind to brush hers, seeking intimacy.

"Give me a moment," she says, "I need to ask Gracious for a favour."

She casts her mind out to send the message. The mind-link has not survived sleep and separation, but she does not need an immediate response, and he knows where to find her.

Gracious, could you get me three drinking cups please? I need them for this evening. I'd go to market myself but... mutations.

With that out of the way, she breathes deeply and focuses until she finds the calm to reforge the mind-link between herself and Vex.

I've had another idea, she tells him, So I have some more cooking to do.

She needs a sleeping draught with a short duration. Something that will put someone out suddenly, but only for a few minutes. As if they had suffered a spell of fainting, perhaps. Her stocks of herbs are running low, but perhaps she can modify a dose of anaesthetic from her medi-kit.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:38 pm

The night before, Gracious responds to Laval's telepathic message: Understood. My intent is, uh, to form my own - I'll see what plan I want to - but I like yours, if I can make it work.

The next day, now awake, Laval thinks on the Rite of the Beyond. She has heard of it, and, as she noted to Vex, it is horribly dangerous. But she knows the specifics, and can at least direct Vex in how to do it properly. Moreover, Vex is blessed by the mark of the Change of Ways. It may give him a protection that few other mortals can match with will alone.

The Rite of the Beyond is very ancient, influencing archaic customs. It is a marriage between realities, and three symbols are required: something old, something borrowed, and something blue. The something old should be an item that represents the past of the wych (who may also be the ritualist, if they desire), and ties them to the reality in which they might have a future. The something borrowed represents the power that will be borrowed from the warp, and should therefore evoke the nature of the immaterium. Finally, the something blue can be anything at all. 

The symbols themselves need not be objects, however. They can be locations, or people. However, they should be largely contained within a ritual circle, daubed with the sigil of Tzeentch. From there, mystical words must be chanted to rend the veil and allow all those in the circle to step halfway between dimensions. Through that door lies impossible power, but grave risks for the soul as well.
 
[Once the ritual is underway, the ritualist must take a Hard (-20) Forbidden Lore (Daemonology) Test, modified by ritual modifiers. If successful, those within the circle are caught betwixt reality and the warp. Bright lights in a sea of chaos, they are instantly assailed by daemonic furies and must take Hard (-20) Willpower Tests, modified by the ritual modifiers and opposed by the fury’s willpower, to fight off possession. Furthermore, all those within the circle gain 1d10 Corruption Points.
 
Failure invokes the Contempt of the Warp, with a +10 modifier for every degree of failure at the Forbidden Lore (Daemonology) Test after the first.]
 
Once her research is concluded, Laval turns to the creation of a short-lasting anaesthetic. She has some supplies left in her medi-kit, and some careful distilling provides a dose or two of what she needs. 
 
[The anaesthetic forces a Challenging (+0) Toughness Test. For each degree of failure, the victim takes one level of Fatigue. If they fall unconscious, they will awake in a few minutes with levels of Fatigue equal to their Threshold.
 
However, a non-suspicious individual can taste something is wrong on a Challenging (+0) Awareness Test.
 
Laval can upgrade the anaesthetic 3 times. An upgrade can upgrade the difficulty of the Toughness Test (imposing a -10 modifier). Alternatively, it can upgrade the difficulty of the Awareness Test. An upgrade can modify the drug so that it can be administered in one additional way (currently, it is administered by drinking). Finally, an upgrade can increase the doses Laval has available (from 1 to 4, or from 4 to 10).]

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:16 pm

[Two on the Toughness test and one on the Awareness, please.]

Laval contemplates her new drug and sighs. The after-effects are... suboptimal, but a good lie should be able to make it work. Now she just needs cups, and Matu.

Second contact, she muses. I'd prefer to pull the ruse on the third touch, but this town is a powder keg. I really hope Matu comes looking for us when he finishes work, that would make this so much easier.

Vex has no opinions on this matter. He projects a vague sense of false attentiveness.

I wonder if Mfanya has relatives we could pull in... I wish we had Gracious' help. Laval finds herself deeply jealous of his warp-gifted disguise. Maybe I can talk to him when he brings us cups...

Why do you need cups? Vex inquires. What's wrong with the one we have?

I don't want to share a cup with our dear victim.

Oh. I get it.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:35 pm

A boy is sent to deliver the cups, presumably sent by Gracious. He looks at the smoke around Laval's face with curiosity, but a small coin paid by the wych soon absorbs his attention, and he runs off with a beaming expression. It is almost heartwarming.

Almost immediately afterwards, there are the sounds of screaming from Kifodini. As one, Laval and Vex look in the direction of the northern farms. A band of marauders pillage the farmstead. Even from here, the pair recognise them as the Slaaneshis, and the armoured form of Ari is visible through the dust they are kicking up in the fighting. A few of the farmers have fled, but the rest, out of some fanatical stupidity, have stayed to fight and are being slaughtered. When their victims go down, the murderers continue to stab them. Laughing hysterically, they frenziedly daub themselves in the blood of the dead, rolling about on the ground. 

Why aren't they running? Vex asks, a little irritably, Don't they know the whole town will be on them soon?


Indeed, they aren't going anywhere fast, and the town of Kifodini is gearing itself up for war. A few farmers reached the town boundaries, and an impromptu lynch mob is being mustered as the cultists bask in their surely to be short-lived victory. 

The pair are interrupted by the sight of Matu sprinting towards them. His hands are covered in blood that aren't his own, and he is panting from the exertion of his run. "... herbalist..." he gasps, "We need... help."

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:50 pm

Gracious! Laval flings her mind out to his, Your cultists are in my way! They are causing a problem.

Laval hesitates a brief moment, then some irrational part of her kicks in and she is running towards Matu, towards where he came from.

What the fuck are you doing? Vex demands, stumbling after her, failing to catch up. You can't, someone will catch you!

And Laval almost stops in terror of the mob, but maybe nobody will look at her, maybe nobody will spare attention for the wounded and for a physiker whilst they are focused on the heretics. She has started now and half-measures are always worse than committing one way or the other. Or at least so she tries to tell herself to cover the rising terror.

Stop, fuck it, stop! Vex insists, but she does not.

She is not totally without caution. She will not run into the fray, and she tries to keep out of the way of the gathering mob proper. Presumably Matu has come from somewhere where the wounded are, and she can keep them out from underfoot and do what she can for those who have made it away... or been dragged.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:09 am

Echoes of Vex's warnings reverberate through Laval's mind, a sharp cymbal to the heavy percussion of the rearing mob. Flashes of the hanged men return before her eyes as she begins to perspire and shake. Laval is deeply afraid, but she has committed to her task, and she must do what she can to hide the trembling.

[Laval is at -10 to all Tests due to a failed Fear Test.]

Matu takes a deep breath before launching back into a run, leading Laval towards Kifodini. He breathlessly communicates that there are three who escaped the carnage: one badly injured, the other two having fled early but deeply in shock. They are being kept in the church - a fact that sends a fresh thrill of terror through Laval's heart - but the mob is mobilising fast, and most are already en-route to the cultists. She can make it. She just needs to keep her cool. 

Vex watches as Laval plunges through the wooden doors of the church, powerless to do anything and cursing his missing leg. The mob is being whipped up, brands being lit, and it is only a matter of time before the Makuu military responds, whether or not the cult survives. Vex curses the Slaaneshis and the Imperium. His soul is filled with hate and pain, mixed together with the angst he feels towards Laval.

The inside of the church is plainly adorned, not even furnished with pews. The wounded man is lying on the ground, having been knifed to the torso several times. Over them is a preacher, Nia Upendi, and two shocked farmers swaying from side to side. The presence of the preacher unnerves Laval, and she trembles, coils of dark energies spooling from her nose. The preacher's eyes widen.

"Mutant!" she cries, scrambling towards the back of the room for a chainsword. 

[You can use an Infamy Spend to re-roll if you wish. You would have to roll 20 or under to beat the Scrutiny Test against Laval.]

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