Turn 5 Thread

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Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:32 am

[It is now Turn 5. Please use this thread to respond to posts.

Ari gains 4 Infamy for completing her Tertiary Objective in Turn 4.]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:45 am

Marina won't tell me anything, Laval responds to Gracious, So really I'm just waiting while she does her thing.

She pauses momentarily.

I'm sure you'll cope marvellously with whatever disaster she causes, she notes with amusement.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:01 am

[You posted:]

Gracious can recognize when a situation requires more tact, and prompted by the Lady's suggestion will turn the conversation to the Makuu - can she recommend someone to talk to there? Will they have space - do they have lots of... local... refugees? He will give every impression of intending to leave that evening - although before/after dinner he will be ambiguous on at least! His intent is to try and get one of them to invite him out of kindness - which he can then accept graciously - but he won't push it for fear of showing his hand.

He will idly mention in conversation that by trade he is a chymist - specializing in compound synthesis - and see if anyone bites at that. An interest in substance is his key component of leverage...

I would like to attempt to use Serpent's Tongue to gain Peer (Nobility) this turn, now that's ticked over.

After tea - assuming they are in no rush to hurry him out yet, given that he's given no impression of pushing the stay yet - he will continue making polite conversation with the Lady, especially regarding Juno. He will be attempting to cold read details that he can use to feed back to her later to construct a more solid cover story - any details of her life that he could pick up on and think about, and extrapolate upon.

He will go out onto a balcony or veranda - assuming he is left alone in some part of the house, at least? - to sip some tea and think, and look out towards the Makuu. He may attempt to find the other two Klossner children, if the opportunity arises. Perhaps at this stage he spots Ari?

*****

[Gracious has successfully activated Serpent's Tongue and has Peer (Nobility) (2).]

Gracious begins discussing the Makuu in more detail, finding his rhythm with the Klossner family. Lady Klossner advises Gracious to speak to the deacon, Alfred Brauer, as he is a "frightfully good sport, and so well-minded when it comes to the... locals. Treat them mean to keep them keen, as my mother used to say! After all, you can't wash out sin in the blood, can you?"

Discussing the deacon further, it seems that he is an elderly man, with a heavy intolerance towards the Swaad. Lady Klossner notes that he has begun cataloguing the sins of the Swaad, and that though the treatise is incomplete it is a "pioneering work on the subject." Markus scoffs at the deacon's scholastic pursuits, but is chided by his mother and checks himself accordingly. Gracious senses that Markus is quite obedient when his mother is the one giving the orders - perhaps she is only individual who could tell him what to do.

At the mention of a chymist, the Klossners perk up considerably. Markus leans forward at a glance from his mother.

"What do you make?" he demands, "As you might expect, we have expensive tastes. Our suppliers are making absurd excuses in an attempt to drive up the price. To think that they can't deliver, just because there are a few savages with guns! As if they couldn't get around! Don't they realise that this damned rock is nothing but empty space?!"

"Calm yourself, dear," his mother interjects. Markus breathes, and nods.

"We are interested in recreational compounds," he tells Gracious, more calmly. "Gerhild hasn't had a dose of rose in weeks. I think that is why she's seeing things," he adds to Lady Klossner. 

His mother smiles blandly. "Don't speak ill of family in polite company, dear."

Now knowing to be a little more careful, and to find his place in then family dynamics, Gracious continues to charm the nobles. It is still only morning, and they are happy to host him for at least the day - if not, as yet, the night. Lady Klossner in particular seems to find him to be delightful company, and something of a distraction from worries she doesn't speak of. When Gracious mentions Juno, Leonard stands up, apologetically excusing himself and insisting he has a passion project to complete in the studio. Lady Klossner barely seems to notice, and talks about Juno with a wistful enthusiasm.

Back on Juno, Lady Klossner was the darling of the court. She was younger then, and, she notes, it was the common opinion that she was quite beautiful. She speaks of balls and dances, masked galas and feasts, how she once danced with the Praefectrix's seneschal, Mattimaeous Gutvolt beneath a candelabra in the moonlight. She mentions many names of famous individuals, but never her husband, nor Leonard. She romanticises a life of idyllic idleness, of leisure and socialising, and Gracious is free to reinvent himself as a cousin, or a friend, of one of the many individuals Lady Klossner has met. 

The Lady's reminiscences go on for some time, and Markus also excuses himself, citing business with the banquet hall trespass. His mother does not break in stride, and Gracious is quite fatigued and perhaps bored by her endless stories.

[Gracious gains 1 level of Fatigue.]

Eventually, Lady Klossner spies the timepiece above the fireplace, and exclaims that the time has disappeared before her. She insists on giving Gracious a tour, starting with the trophy room upstairs. The small hall is home to portraits of faces similar to Lady Klossner's, local curios such as a strange looking gun, and animal hides of those beasts native to the planet. Lady Klossner, now somewhat eager to impress Gracious, insists on providing an anecdote for each curio, and the torture continues. Gracious acts to charm and enchant her, and staves off boredom by playing the game he has for so long perfected.

[Gracious has begun a Seduction of Lady Klossner, and has succeeded at the first Test.]

Eventually, Lady Klossner runs out of items to discuss, and Gracious flatters her by asking for some time to examine the pieces with this context in mind. She beams, before leaving Gracious to it. With a sigh of relief, the heretic takes a walk out onto a balcony off the hall, happy to get some fresh air. He squints slightly as he sees a familiar figure. Ari. The pseudo-daemon is somehow alive, though missing a leg, and Gracious feels a thrill of fear as his erstwhile cultist spots him too. Without skipping a beat, Ari draws her rifle and aims at Gracious, but she suddenly spasms and falls in agony to the ground. Even at this distance, Gracious recognises the mark of the Dark Prince, flaring and imprinting across her flesh.

Gracious chuckles until it becomes a full, belly laugh. Individuals like Ari are all too common on the Path of Excess. Most become enslaved to their desires and fall by the wayside: your addicts, your broken deviants, your rapist scumbags. They burn dimly and swiftly, never tasting the true delicacies of pleasure. Then you have your Aris. They conquer their desires and pursue ever more debased corruptions, graceful killing machines that either climb and climb to the highest peaks, or stumble, and fall all the way down. Such individuals think themselves gods, but when their wings burn in the sun, they are broken into slaves. Then there are those like Gracious. Those who learn to understand pleasure, rather than simply seeking it. People like Gracious are those that hold the whip. The masters.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:55 pm

Sorry, didn't see you'd posted this topic!

Gracious goes to find Marcus. He'll say he can make more or less anything - it rather depends what he's looking for. He does have some items already made, but no rose - but he'd be delighted to make some as thanks for hospitality. And anything else?

[I have to attempt Seduction each day, right, so I can't do any more on that with Lady Klossner right now?] He will then go wandering a little, hoping to maybe meet Leonard or one of the other's he's hardly talked with.

He sends a message to Laval. Ari's back. Yes. I... careful. Eyes out. She tried to shoot me, but couldn't...


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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:48 am

Markus thanks Gracious stiffly, and requests rose first of all. Away from his mother, he is a little more frank about Gerhild and her addiction:

"Rose would be more than sufficient, thank you. Perhaps it will settle Gerhild's hysterics; moreover, I do enjoy a tipple myself. Say, do you make obscura? We enjoy the high quality stuff from time to time."

[You can attempt a Seduction every day, but every out of character day. So Gracious can make a move on Lady Klossner.]

Gerhild and Patrick still haven't woken up, though the hour is reaching early afternoon and surely it is only a matter of time. Nonetheless, Lady Klossner seems to be out, and this gives Gracious a chance to talk to her lover. Asking a servant, Gracious is told that Leonard Schneider is working in his workshop, just opposite the tearoom. When he knocks on the door, he is invited in by a hesitant voice.

The workshop reflects the messy genius of the tailor that uses it. Machines are haphazardly arranged, whilst scraps of fabrics are strewn about in the careless whims of the creator. And yet, the finished pieces are sartorial wonders. The most impressive piece is a central dress, which seems to shine with the intensity of a star, taking on a new, brilliant colour from every angle it is looked upon. Leonard, stepping away from a sewing machine, smiles when he sees Gracious and steps forward.

"Hello, sir," he says, a little meekly. "Can I help you?"

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:47 am

Laval's first response to Gracious is nonverbal - concern, anxiety, anger. Almost immediately she supports the emotions with a verbal query:

What happened? Are you alright?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Sun Sep 25, 2016 2:50 pm

Gracious happily hands over a dose of his high-quality obscura to Marcus - promising it to be of very fine quality - and at the next opportunity will prepare some rose.

And then to Leonard:
"This is... this is marvellous - I - truly you are an artist - could you talk about your inspirations, your... ah! I was curious, but now I would dearly like to get to know you a little more..."

---

Alright: the next stage in the seduction of Lady Klossner will to be slightly more openly flirtatious, but still with some subtlety - I want to get her to initiate flirtation on her part, to tempt her into something - which can then be brushed off, but the boundary will have been crossed. Doesn't have to happen immediately - when Gracious can next get some time with her...

---

To Laval: Saw her on a hilltop from the manor. She saw me, took aim, tried to fire, collapsed. Symbols all over her body... the mark of the Prince... I'm fine.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:14 pm

Markus stiffly takes the obscura, but does smile awkwardly in response to the kind gesture. "Thank you, good fellow." He pauses. "Say, it would be improper of us not to put you up for the night, if, as it were, you were assisting us in this particular supply problem. I shall talk to Mother." He nods again, and makes his exit.

A little later, and Leonard is blushing deeply at Gracious' compliment. It is evident that he takes a great deal of pride in his work, and recognition of his genuine ability leaves him deeply happy. He hurries forward and launches at once into a diatribe about his inspirations.

"First and foremost, I take my cue from the Emperor's glorious creation in Nature," he tells the heretic. "When it gets dark here, as -" he adds, a little embarrassed, "- I'm sure you know, you can see the entire heavens. When I first saw it, I was enchanted. Here I was, millions of miles away from my home, on a new planet, living a new life, and, well..." he smiles. "The Emperor reminded me that everything was alright."

He looks at the dress with affection. "When I was working on this piece, I thought of that night: every star in the sky, the fresh, warm breeze, the grass beneath my feet. I've tried to incorporate every sensation of that night into the fabric. The lining is floral and proud, like the branches of the baobab tree, the fabric breathes just like the breeze of that wonderful night."

He blushes again. "I'm sorry, I must be boring you."

Though the conversation with Leonard continues, later on in the day Gracious will seek out Lady Klossner. The trouble is, she's nowhere to be found. Asking around with the servants confirms that she hasn't left the house, and Gracious takes care not to worry them. But it is a little troubling: no one has seen her for a while...

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:20 pm

Gracious detects within Leonard a soul who - if not already awakened to the touch of the Dark Prince - could well become so. He encourages Leonard to talk more about that night, about his use of sensation and experience in creating this wonderful artwork, encourages him to indulge his passion - effectively beginning a Seduction.

He will lightly try to find out a little more about Leonard - how he came to be here, perhaps an inquiry into how he met the Lady Klossner...

---

Later in the day - I assume there is as yet no sign of the other Klossner siblings - Gracious contacts Laval again. The lady of the house has disappeared. I don't suppose you know why? You haven't really said what you and Marina are up too...

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:41 pm

Engaging in his work and passion is a surefire way to Leonard Scheider's heart. Though he is an artist, and a genuinely good one, his soul is still a simple one. He loves deeply but easily, a man who, once loyal to a person, will remain so through thick and thin. Such men: enthusiastic, passionate and yet docile, are the easiest of prey to someone like Gracious.

[Gracious has begun a Seduction of Leonard and passed the first Test.]

It is not long before Leonard is answering any question Gracious might ask. Leonard was once a famous tailor for the rich and powerful on the world of Juno, and met Lady Klossner when she was a customer. Leonard admits that he doesn't really know what happened - when he saw her, she was the beautiful person he had ever seen, but he would never have dared to approach a married woman. As he tells the tale, it becomes apparent to Gracious that it was Lady Klossner who made the first move, and drove the business relationship into a more personal and romantic one. Leonard, naive, idealistic and passionate, was easily seduced by the noblewoman. Their affair lasted for many years, conceiving Markus and presenting the son as Lord Klossner's. It was when Lady Klossner was pregnant with Patrick that they were discovered, and set away to the family home on Swaadi in disgrace.

Leonard does not regret the scandal. He is deeply in love with Lady Klossner, but Gracious senses an air of wistfulness, as if the noblewoman's affections have faded towards Leonard, and that he regrets it deeply. He feels more distant from his lover and their children, apart from his daughter, Gerhild.

Later in the day, Gerhild rises from her slumbers and is surprised to see Gracious ambling about. She smiles politely, assuming that Gracious is a guest, but busies about with finding food rather than engaging in lengthy small-talk. Of course, Gracious might have other designs... Meanwhile, Lady Klossner is still missing, and Patrick continues to sleep.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:23 pm

Gracious thanks Leonard graciously for his time, and promises to see him at dinner.

He makes small-talk with Gerhild, introducing himself and trying to charm her enough that she'll tell him a little of herself and maybe let slip something about the mysteries here.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:50 pm

Gerhild does not seem used to men around the house that are both not related to her and take an interest in her. Gracious impeccable charm gets her to smile at a couple of his odd mannerisms, and from there Gracious has won her favour. They chat for awhile, about who Gracious is, the apparent break-in regarding the banquet hall (the mercenaries have concluded it was a starving local), and the weather, before Gracious begins turning the conversation to more interesting matters. He asks about the strangeness of the household, and, at this point, Gerhild is willing to confide. Nonetheless, she is a little reluctant, and it does take Gracious' encouragement to get her to speak.

"I'm sure none of them believe me, except dearest Patrick, of course," she beams, "And maybe daddy too. Nonetheless, I know that this spectre is real. It takes the form of a man, rather young, dressed in noble attire. It promises many things - power and pleasures - but in truth I'm simply afraid of the thing." She leans in conspiratorially. "I'm frightened I might do anything it says."

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:55 pm

Gracious will nod, and reassure Gerhild that he believes her - or at least, that he thinks there could be something to it. What sort of things does it promise? What has it asked her to do? He is genuinely curious.

I'd like to make an appropriate Lore check - to think about what this could be - an apparition? a ghost? A demon?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:09 pm

"At first, it left frightful messages, scrawled across walls and mirrors," Gerhild confides, turning white at the memory. "It told me that it was interested in me, that I would have power over..." She pauses with sudden distrust, but is seduced by Gracious' smile. "... over the Imperials. That I would never have to be afraid ever again."

"I am not a traitor," Gerhild rushes to add. Yet there is a way she says it that is too automatic, without feeling, and Gracious thinks that as long as Gerhild had her vanities scratched, she might betray anything. "But I was so dreadfully afraid, you must understand?"

Standing there, on the cusp between naive vulnerability and treacherous instinct, Gerhild seems quite beautiful to Gracious. Her slender form is carefully presented, and Gracious wonders how much of the look is intentional: or if Gerhild would even know anymore. 

"He - it - said that it would make me a Queen," she confesses, blushing slightly. "And it wanted - it wanted me to lead it to Mother. All I did was lead it to her door!" she adds.

Gracious thinks that there might be more, but even saying this much has left Gerhild in quite a state of nerves. She dares not speak further of this thing that has spoken to her - crucial information that might well help identify this beast. And yet, she has provided much information already. Gracious wracks his brains. The thing seems to have worldly aims, centred in the present, which might mark it more likely a daemon or warp spirit. Ghosts are often centred in the past, and Gerhild assures Gracious that this thing wears the present fashion. But, on the other hand, chaos and the warp is a tricky thing to categorise. Gracious would need more information yet if he is know exactly what it might be.

As he is thinking, Laval's response echoes in his mind. I don't know, she confesses, though she doesn't bother to hide an edge of amusement from her thoughts. Like I said, I'm hiding in a ditch, and Marina is doing... Marina things.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:20 pm

Gracious replies: There's something up here. Possible daemonic activity. It's all delightfully worrying.

Gracious re-assures Gerhild that he's sure she didn't do anything wrong, that of course she's not a traitor - certainly, he says slightly bashfully, she'd surely make a beautiful Queen - but such things are probably best left unheeded - but not to worry. He asks Gerhild if she's seen her mother recently - and if not begins an active effort to find the Lady, rather than the passivity he has employed thus far.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:24 pm

Gerhild blushes at the compliment, but does not venture to offer any further information. She notes that she has not seen her mother, but adds that she has only just woken up. Gerhild has spent the last hour getting ready, and only mere minutes before their conversation has come down stairs.

Does Gracious look through the rooms himself, or bring in help to do so, such as from the servants? Does he ask permission to begin rifling through rooms, explain himself or acquire a guide?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:27 pm

Gracious asks a servant discreetly to help him. He'll explain that he's just a little worried as to where the Lady Klossner is - he was looking for her to discuss - some detail of the art she was showing him earlier - but he really can't find her anywhere. Could the servant perhaps just accompany him around the house - he doesn't want to barge in anywhere, but she's obviously around somewhere, yes, so...?

Essentially, he will play the curious guest. If anyone does confront him, he will after some discussion confess to being midly worried - the Lady does seem to have up and vanished, and one does hear about dreadful things, like this vagrant who broke in and stole the breakfast...

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:37 pm

Servants are used to obeying, and Gracious has been a guest of the family for long enough that his orders are followed without question. It is the young Swaad woman that Gracious first met when entering the Villa von Klossner, and she nods, leading the guest up to Lady Klossner's bedchambers. As they approach, she shivers slightly, and Gracious knows why. He feels it too: that creeping dread that stalks from behind that chamber door. And yet, emboldened by Gracious' presence, the servant knocks.

"Lady Klossner?" she asks hesitantly. "Lady Klossner?"

There is no answer, and, after a few more tries, the servant opens the door. A wave of supernatural terror washes over the pair, and neither of them dare enter the room. Luckily, there does not seem a reason to: the bedchambers are clearly empty, and the servant swiftly closes the door. 

They try the main bathroom next, but no one answers to the knocking and, finding the door unlocked, the room is confirmed to be empty. Nor can she be found in the Trophy Room. The servant is becoming increasingly concerned, for she knows that no servant has seen Lady Klossner on the ground floor. The next sensible step is to check the spare room, in case the lady, disturbed by whatever is happening in her bedchambers, fancied a sleep elsewhere. The servant opens the door, and they are immediately greeted with the sight of Marina, bent over a bound Lady Klossner, her claws outstretched. At the sight of the pair, the noblewoman immediately cries out for help. What does Gracious do?

[Are you free for an Interaction?]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:27 pm

Gracious immediately contacts Laval via thought: Found Marina. Everything awful. Speak soon.
 
I'm sure you can handle it!
comes the reply. . . . I hope you can handle it.
 
Did you know she'd gone to the villa? It might really have been helpful.

 
There is a suspicious silence, aside from perhaps a faint sense of amusement. This communication has lasted less than a fraction of a second, so used are Gracious and Laval to the interpretation of one another’s thoughts. Nonetheless, it distracts Gracious for a moment, and Marina is the first to act. She uses a length of linen in her hands to gag Lady Klossner. Gracious quickly orders the servant to get Markus, and, snapped out of her fright, the servant runs off to do just that.
 
"Whaaat?!” Marina exclaims. “I thought we were friends!"
 
"I'm sorry?" Gracious blusters. "What are you doing here?"
 
"Finding stuff out! Uh, shit, gotta run."
 
Gracious inwardly sighs. "That... get away from the Lady Klossner! Her son'll have you! And I get the feeling you don't like being shot at..." A note of warning echoes in his voice.
 
Marina darts to the window, opens it, and jumps out. Whether she lands gracefully or not is not immediately clear, but Gracious does not hear a grunt of pain. He runs and looks out of the window. She landed like a cat, graceful and uninjured, considering next where to run. The mercenaries, thankfully, are not aware of the breach, though Gracious does have the opportunity to really ruin Marina's day. Meanwhile, Lady Klossner and Patrick (who is found in the ensuite) are screaming through their gags expectantly.
 
Gracious runs and ungags the Lady first. He then turns over to the window, and shouts after Marina: "Get lost, fucker!"
 
The mercenaries turn to the sound of shouting, especially once it is joined by Lady Klossner screaming for them to kill the intruder. They begin convening on the area around the window, where Marina hides behind a small bush. On cue, Marina bolts out and makes for the fence.
 
Marina bolts, and the guards are slow to act. A flurry of hellfire shots flies past her head, but when Marina gets moving, she is a hard target. More guards are inbound, and with sheer weight of fire, a few land nearby, but Marina is too quick and dodges from side to side. And then, it strikes her to the leg. A precise, aimed shot, designed to hurt by someone who knows what they are doing. She is pitched to the ground, and though she picks herself up quickly, she is noticeably struggling to move fast. It puts her in very real trouble.
 
Gracious frowns, communicating with Laval. I'm not sure if she's going to make it. I have to confess I didn't exactly help her make a swift getaway.
 
What happened?
Laval demands. Ugh, we need her! Remember how good we are in a fight? Can't you do anything?
 
I had to preserve appearances. I thought she'd get away, still, but... You did tell her Ari was in the area, right?

 
Laval communicates frustration, a bit of fear, but no real anger. No. I didn't.
 
I have a horrible feeling... Gracious confesses. I'm going to need to talk to you in a bit, by the way. Before I forget. Something is seriously wrong here.
 
Not now?
Laval suggests. Can you get them to take her alive?
 
Sorry, just crossed my mind,
Gracious remarks. I don't think I can get them to do anything, it's the mercs doing this. But I'll see what I can do.
 
Marina continues to run, but she is hobbling and the mercenaries have finally got it all together. She is forced to duck and weave their shots, and a sniper fires again, burning into her arm. It inflicts superficial burns inflicting no small amount of pain, and Marina looks noticeably tired, stumbling forwards.
 
Gracious turns to the Lady Klossner - "Lady? Should you not try and get them to take her alive, find out what she wanted? Are you alright?"
 
Lady Klossner turns to Gracious with an arched eyebrow. "I hardly think that fiend deserves to live," she notes, "I know precisely what she wanted."
 
Gracious frowns. "I'm sorry, yes, it sounds... should I... would you permit me to help untie you?"
 
Meanwhile, Marina reaches the fence. She leaps upwards, acrobatically twisting in the air and clearing the five metre barrier in one, highly impressive feat. The mercs, somewhat awestruck, miss wildly, but the sniper finds their mark. It strikes Marina in the chest. As the attack washes over the target, her skin turns black and peels off, awhile melted fat seeps from her clothing and armour. She reels in agonising pain, collapsing from the fatigue and hitting the ground hard.
 
Elsewhere, Ari smiles with savage abandon. She is the sniper, and as soon as she saw Marina running for the fence she was consumed with an unhinged bloodlust. In the back of her mind, she is deeply afraid: consumed by insecurities and daemonic bonds of slavery and submission. In these moments, she tastes freedom, and it terrifies her. Freedom hurts her. Freedom is cruel. The fear renders her aggressive, her instinct reckless. She brings up her rifle to continue shooting Marina.
 
Nothing doing, Gracious tells Laval. She decided to tie up the Lady of the house and Marina at her. I'm good. I'm not that good.
 
I get it,
Laval replies. There is discomfort and fear emanating from her mind.
 
The mercenaries rush forwards, intending to take Marina alive - having not been privy to Lady Klossner's intentions. But the sniper shoots again, completing encasing Marina in fire. She burns as the guards reach her, throwing cloaks over her and opening fire into the distance in the direction of the sniper. They take the interloper, and start bringing her back to the villa.
 
That's gunfire from more than one direction, isn't it, Laval remarks glumly.
 
Yes.
 
Seems like whatever kept Ari from shooting at you didn't extend to Marina.
 
Which means it may not extend to you. OK. They've got her - I can't tell if she's alive.

 
Laval communicates affirmation. It is followed with a sort of irritated resignation, an undercurrent of... despair?
 
We need to get in contact with her, Gracious remarks. I can't do so from here. Is there any way you can set up a relay?
 
With Ari? Or Marina?
 
Ari. Marina later, hopefully.
 
I can send to her, but I can only set up a link if I can see her.
 
Bugger,
Gracious returns.
 
Don't ask me why, Laval notes. I just... can't.
 
No, I understand. I want to keep you safe.
Irritation and fear slip out of Gracious’ mind.
 
Well, I suppose I'll just lie here and wait for a las round to the back of the skull... Laval frets.
 
Laval... Gracious begins. When I saw her, she was missing a leg. I don't think she can move fast.
 
A curtain of irritated humour forms a veneer over fear. Shame the same doesn't apply to las fire.
 
Sure, but you're in cover, right?
 
Yes.
 
If you could cast to her, tell her that Gracious forbids harming you. My theory is that I'm the one that binds her...

 
Elsewhere, Ari takes another shot at Marina, but the guards are protecting her now and she succeeds only in taking down a guard. She earns explosive return fire, and, though they are firing blind, some dark joke directs their aim. Ari screams as she realises her mistake, as the flames burn across her flesh, the hellfire rounds sent by accurate, trained mercenaries washing over her. She burns, screaming, slowly dragged back to hell, her deed of bloody vengeance done, and her punishment awaiting.
 
What was that? Laval queries. I... am afraid to lift my head, honestly.
 
I think they got her.
Gracious tells her.
 
Doubt it will have weight coming from any other than you, then... Laval responds, returning to the topic of Ari. Can't usually bind daemons by proxy.
 
Damn. That is, damn daemonic rules.
 
Do you think it would help if I summoned a daemon of my own?
 
I can categorically state that this situation would not be improved with an additional demon. Actually...
Gracious trails off as Laval returns with a feeling of humour.
 
Unfortunately I can't perform a Rite of Summoning while lying face down in the dirt.
 
Believe in yourself,
Gracious jokes. There is worry across his thoughts. I imagine Marina will be angry at me.
 
Look on the bright side, maybe she's dead.
 
Fuck! If I'd known she was snooping around, I could have met up with her, I've been wandering this damn house all day!
 
I thought you'd have cottoned on when I told you I'd let her go off and do her thing...
 
No, true - I didn't realise she was going to interfere, though...
 
I suppose this is justice for me getting over-confident and playing stupid games,
Laval telepathically sighs.
 
...I don't know why I assumed she'd pass up the opportunity to tie up and torture people, though... Gracious admits.
 
Yeah, no, that's Marina. Laval pauses. Ugh. I don't suppose I can persuade you to accept an equal share of the blame for this fuck-up?
 
No, I'm happy to do that. Not sure I should have panicked and sent them after Marina.

 
Laval transmits faint amusement, still tainted by fear. No, probably not.
 
Although, as I say, I didn't expect Ari...
Gracious pauses. Alright, they're not going after that thing that set on fire, which probably means it was her... and she might have gone again.
 
I hope so. For my part, I suppose I succumbed to the urge to mess with you. It's just your magnetic attraction, I guess...
 
I thought maybe you'd sent her to kill me,
Gracious confesses. That this was it. It appears not, or if it was you're hiding it well.
 
Laval transmits pain and regret. I've told you, even if it came to that... which I don't want it to... I wouldn't set that monster on you.
 
I...
Gracious attempts.
 
I'm sorry, Laval tells him.
 
I don't know, Gracious sighs. Maybe all this has been one long con on your part, I don't know. I hope not. Well-played, if it was.
 
I forgot how high the stakes were, just for a little while,
Laval continues. Their thoughts meld, almost as one.
 
Sorry, Gracious rescinds, Ugh. I don't mean that.
 
You do and don't.
There is regret and tentative warmth. How could you trust me? We keep joking about not being on the same team, and the idea's fun, but... The stakes are too high. This is a really difficult thing we're trying to achieve. Maybe we should be on the same team. If I could just show you what's in my head... She communicates frustration, sadness.
 
Yeah... Why are you here? You got sent here, right?
 
Yes.
 
Do they not want this victory to be theirs alone?
 
Probably, but... it's less important than winning the war. And they'd understand. I'm not a servant, I get to make these choices. Maybe people will be disappointed, but...
 
And Marina? Will she not force you on the right path? She was sent by yours, though she's not of them?
 
Marina was sent here to help me. She doesn't have any more detail than that. She owes us a favour.
 
Alright.
Gracious accepts. Gods, I wish I knew what I was doing next. Off this rock, soon as I can...
 
Come with us?
Laval suggests. I'm sure I've earned a bit of downtime before it's back into the fray....
 
...yeah, maybe.
 
Gracious... Would it help you trust me if I swore to answer any questions you have truthfully? I know it's not as good as the real thing, but I do take my oaths seriously...
 
It's not that I don't trust you. I sort of even do, though I feel foolish for it.
 
You thought I was going to kill you,
Laval reminds him. I don't hold it against you - I don't know how I'd trust anyone without being able to see inside their heads.
 
Only because it's the kind of thing I'd do,
Gracious remarks. Not in this circumstance. But I've betrayed people like that.
 
Laval acknowledges the remark as Gracious continues to think. No-one who knew who I really was, who had seen me like you've seen me, has ever wanted to continue interacting with me once we were done. And now you say, "come with us"? ...Feels very strange.
 
Laval seems embarrassed. I can see that.
 
I mean... I can't say I don't like the idea.
 
But?
 
I'm sure you'd tire of me soon enough.

 
A flash of irritation sparks from Laval, swiftly covered. I'm not so sure. But I can't force you to- well, no, I won't force you to do anything.
 
Gracious pauses. Fuck it. Yes. Yes, I'd actually love to come with you, you know? Let's talk not under fire and peril, and drink wine, and laugh a little, and see where the gods take us.
 
I would like that. And I suppose I could force you, if you want me to.
She communicates tentative humour.
 
I'd like that, too. Amusement ripples. Tell me, can you do that trick that some psykers can, where you can puppet a person?
 
Laval cautiously affirms. I finally figured it out not that long ago, actually.
 
I've just always wondered what that felt like, is all.
 
Of course.
There is amusement. I'd be delighted to show off, at a more opportune time. Don't get your hopes too high, though - it's a constant struggle, and you've got better at blocking me out.
 
What's good in a life that isn't a struggle? I should attend to matters here. Stay in touch?
 
I've got nothing to do except stare at the dirt and get hungry, so please do. Sorry I fucked stuff up and am not in a position to help.
 
Life, eh?
 
Yeah. Oh...
Laval transmits sudden concern. If Marina is alive, and pissed, and somehow gets back in... call for me and I'll try to get her to back down? I.. can't guarantee it. She's threatened me before. But...
 
Thanks.

 
His thoughts mostly consumed by conversation with Laval, it appears to most of the household that Gracious has been in a state of mild shock. He is dimly conscious of having been led to a seat by a servant, and given a strong drink, and has been idly sipping it without questioning why it was put in his hand. Blinking back into the affairs of the Villa von Klossner, Gracious takes stock of what has happened.
 
The Aventine mercenaries, though being chastised by Lady Klossner for allowing a fiend into the house, have nonetheless acted swiftly. Marina, it seems, is dead, along with a sniper that opened fire on the guards. The whole family is gathered in the same room as Gracious, Lady Klossner telling the mercenaries to throw out Marina’s body somewhere outside the grounds. Markus leans closer to Gracious.
 
“I have spoken to Mother,” he tells the heretic. “And we agree that we simply cannot send you away when the wilds are so treacherous. You are to stay here tonight, and until you have made your arrangements.”
 
Gerhild squeezes Gracious’ hand. “I am indebted to you,” she tells him. “You saved my dearest Patrick. I don’t know what would have –” she chokes slightly on the hypothetical grief, struggling with tears. Leonard steps forward and holds her tight, smiling warmly at Gracious. He mouths thank you as he guides his daughter back to her seat.
 
“I had thought no one would ever come,” Patrick says. He looks quite like his father, with floppy, dirty blonde hair and slightly rounded cheeks. He is short of breath, and splutters constantly. “That daemon damn near half-drowned me. I thought it might be the end.”
 
Lady Klossner returns from dealing with the mercenaries. She seems largely unharmed. “That fiend got precisely what she deserved,” the noblewoman declared. She turns to Gracious. “I hear you were the only individual who had the good sense to look for me,” she says, glaring slightly at her family. “As such, I am indebted to you. I hope Markus has informed you that you must stay?”
 
One of the mercenaries pops his head through the door. “Signora Klossner,” he begins, “Just to tell you that we have sent two our best to the pregiato deacon at once. They will return with him in un batter d’occhio.”
 
The Lady looks to Markus with some confusion. “He means ‘in no time at all’,” her son clarifies. He smiles and nods at the mercenary, who pops out to return to his duties.
 
*****
 
Ari is back in hell.
 
Her nails are broken and torn from where she tore at the soil of Swaadi, but even now that seems so very long ago. Her body is charred and burned, her perfect, purpling skin black and blemished. The nurses with their broad, fanged smiles dance towards her, loading her on a stretcher. Ari is not afraid of them anymore. She is a monster, like them.
 
This time is different, and Ari does not stay long. She is put into a wheelchair of barbs and spikes, that dig into her flesh and into the marble ground. It scours and stings the flesh, but to Ari it almost feels like tickling, a mild teasing of a guest of honour. The nurses work quickly, peeling off Ari’s skin and depositing the black chunks into a fountain of viscous blood. On the one hand, it is agonising, but there is such intense satisfaction at sloughing off the skin that Ari barely minds. Like a snake, there is another layer of perfect, unblemished skin behind, and the nurses laugh and preen as they caress Ari’s cheeks. You are getting better, they tell her. Everything is perfect.
 
A few years later and Ari is at a feast. She is the guest of honour, and watches as dozens of screaming, Swaadi men and women are hog-roasted over the long, obsidian table. She sits with her fellow sisters, daemonettes who gossip and scheme and play at lies and all those other, delicious things. Ari eats and eats, hungry after her years of complete starvation. Halfway through, she realises that she is eating her own, blackened flesh. It is hard not to laugh, and Ari has never tasted anything more delicious.
 
Ari wakes, blinking. She is in agony, her skin blackened and burned, for she has been sent away from the palaces and back to Swaadi once more. It has only been a few years, and she still remembers the actions of this day, the abandonment with which she submitted to her darkest urges of violence and revenge. The pain is intense, and Ari screams with something between agony and ecstasy. She feels the binds to the man Gracious Obscura, but they will not last forever. One day (and what is time?) she will return to the Palace of the Dark Prince, and dance and feast forever.
 
[Ari gains 2 Infamy but loses 14 Infamy, for a total loss of 12 Infamy. She gains 3 Corruption Points. She is at half Strength, Toughness and Agility until she receives medical attention. She also has permanently lost 4 Fellowship.]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:30 pm

Can I stipulate that she appears near Laval? I feel that will promote the conflict/possible cooperation required.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:14 pm

[That's fine, but I feel it is only fair to Eleanor if Laval gets the chance to successfully hide from Ari. I've just rolled, however, and Ari spots her.]

Ari looks about her surroundings through half-burned over eyes, her lashes crisp and flaking against the skin. Through her pain, she nonetheless sees Laval hiding in the long grass at the bottom of the hill, cowering behind the trunk of a baobab tree. Slowly, Ari crawls through the dirt towards her, her splint having long since immolated from the fiery impact of hellfire rounds.

As Ari makes her way down the hill, the half-immolated form of Marina crawls into view from the other side, reaching Laval. Ari freezes, but it is difficult to lie still with her terrible injuries, and after receiving medical treatment, her enemy sees her with widened eyes. It is difficult to hold back the panic, the panic of being thrust into freedom once more, with this individual who has hurt and maimed her so many times before. 

[Ari has failed a Test as per her Disorder, so should be more instinctive in her approach to the situation.]

Elsewhere, Gracious learns what Ari already knows from Laval: Marina's alive. Just about. I've got her here with me.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:24 pm

Ari, burned and broken but very much alive, crawls towards Marina and Laval. Marina is similarly horribly injured, though has had the benefit of medical treatment. How injured she remains is unclear, but her movements are still slow and her burns severe. Ari has not yet drawn a weapon, and, to some extent, might be considered at Laval and Marina's mercy. Ari wails plaintively.
 
Marina is unarmoured, mostly naked as Laval treats her burns, but she still reaches for her power sword. Laval puts a hand on her arm and Marina hesitates.
 
"Ari?" Laval ventures.
 
Ari seems to be trying to form words, but no words form. "-ack. Ahh. Ahhh. You... I remember..."
 
Laval frowns, bites her lip, as Ari continues. "Kill... ahhh... help..."
 
"Yes, you tried to kill us," Laval reminds her.
 
"Gracious... kill..." Ari murmurs. "Husnaa.... She..." She gestures towards Marina. "Remember... So long..."
 
Marina visibly bristles. "Killed you once, I'll do it again..."
 
Ari pauses. "...can't. Not time yet."
 
"Can so," Marina insists.
 
Laval ignores her guard. "Ari, will you let me give you something for the pain?"
 
 "Yes..."
 
Still frowning, Marina hovering at her shoulder with a sword in hand, Laval cautiously approaches Ari. Ari makes no effort to stop Laval. She looks up at her with a strange, sad glare. Though Laval's face is still hard and angry, she mixes a small quantity of fluid, offers it to Ari to drink. "It will burn on the way down, but it ought to ease your throat a bit."
 
Ari drinks it, seemingly unconcerned with the pain. The draught does as promised, moistening and numbing the throat.
 
"Thank... thank you."
 
Marina pulls on Laval's arm, insistently dragging her away from Ari. Laval backs up a bit, out of immediate reach. Ari props herself up on a rock, wincing as her charred flesh moves on the ground. She is still armed, her familiar las-rifle by her side. However, she makes no effort to touch or unholster it - she seems to barely register its presence
 
"Why are you here, Ari?" Laval asks.
 
"Came... back. From... Paradise... Hell..."
 
"Beyond," Laval declares ominously.
 
"The dark palace," Ari adds. Laval nods curtly. “...sent back. I can't... I can't remember... So long..."
 
"You want something from me," Laval suggests.
 
"I..." the pseudo-daemon returns. "I have to... help... That's my function. That's what things like me are for."
 
A brief flash of sympathy crosses Laval's expression before being quickly replaced with anger again.
 
"Some help,” Marina objects. “You shot me!"
 
"Nothing... stopping me," Ari returns. "Now..."
 
Marina visibly bristles. "Oh yeah, and what's to stop me tearing you to shreds?"
 
"Marina, please..." Laval pleads.
 
"I didn't want to go to the villa," Ari adds.
 
“Shut up!” Marina snaps. “I don't have to listen to you!"
 
"I... I had to. I wanted to... I wanted to..." Ari starts to cry. "I want everything to be like it was, like I remember, all those... all those years ago... I want to be me again... I want to see Hasnaa..."
 
Marina skulks up to her, kicks her vindictively. Laval catches her arm and Marina flinches a little, stops. Ari shudders.
 
"Marina, please,” Laval begs. “Just... let me? For a bit?" Marina snarls like an animal, but acquiesces.
 
"I can't...” Ari mumbles, “What did it feel like to be free? Do you... remember... where's Vex? We... I was amazing, once... All those fucking guns... ha! He was great."
 
Laval closes her eyes. "Vex is dead. Like you, I suppose."
 
"I guess we all are, in the end,” Ari responds. "I'm alive... but not for long. Only a lifetime."
 
"I can't give you what you want." Laval looks back and forth between Marina and Ari, calculating.
 
"I know..."
 
"You are bound to Gracious?"
 
"Yes. I can... feel it. And it... I can feel... I can't... hurt you. Don't want to, anyway."
 
"I don't believe you," Laval tells her.
 
"I did once,” the monster admits. “I don't remember why. Want to hurt HER. She killed... I..."
 
Marina grins. But Laval sighs. "This is a right mess."
 
"I only wanted to be...” Ari declares, “We wanted to be free. You outsider, coming here, telling us what to do, fucking GRACIOUS with his fucking WORDS."
 
Laval casts her thoughts to Gracious. Ari's here, with me. I'm fine. At the moment.
 
"We were going to kill him,” Ari reminisces, “Kill his stupid friend, run away. I remember... It's like a dream, now, a distant memory."
 
"But I was better than both of you," Marina boasts.
 
Ari smiles. "Yeah, I guess so."
 
"And now she's dead,” Marina continues, “And you're broken."
 
"I.... How long was it this time?" Ari thinks. "Let me see... Five years, I think? I was whole there. I had sisters, and we feasted, and danced under a brilliant sky."
 
"Here it's been... about a day,” Laval informs her. “Getting on to two, maybe."
 
"I'm getting used to it. It took me long enough... How long was the first time, for you?"
 
"Which first time?" Laval asks.
 
"The first time I died. Twice, now..."
 
Laval shakes her head. "It's been only a day or two since you tried to kill us, and Marina killed you."
 
"By... by the tree? I remember the tree. I... I cut a crutch from there, like... like mother showed... I... what did her face..." Ari starts to shake, tears rolling down her face. "Ten tens. That's how many years it was, when they took my leg away."
 
Pity mingles with continued suspicion on Laval's face, as Ari continues. "This isn't my home anymore. You can... do you know the song, that says you can never go home?"
 
"I don't know the song, but you have a home in the Warp," Laval tells her.
 
A strange mix of fear and happiness crosses Ari's face. "Yes! But... oh... I just want to turn back time. To... to un-make decisions." She pauses as Laval nods. "We were going to be explorers. We were going to leave... She wanted... she said we should go back, and kill... Ever since I saw that place for the first time, inside that... thing... I can't remember what it felt like to feel free. Did you see it? Face like a fly, but inside..."
 
Laval starts to cry as well, no sound or sobbing, but tears flowing freely from her eyes. "Inside...?"
 
"Inside its mouth..." Ari tries to explain. "That's when I first... I dreamt of the palace then."
 
Marina sighs noisily, yawns, tries to lie down, winces in pain, starts arranging her strewn clothes to make a bed for herself. Laval ignores her. "I see..."
 
"I can't remember what it felt like to know what I wanted," Ari muses. "Do you... do you have that? That feeling of knowing what it is you want to do, of... being free? I remember it, but I don't remember what it felt like."
 
Laval contemplates, eyeing Ari nervously. "Yes, I suppose I do. But you are become something else, now. Freedom isn't the be all and end all, Ari. You will find joy in what you are, in time. You will shed your memories and become something new to yourself..."
 
Ari nods. "Can you sing?"
 
"Not well," Laval admits.
 
"My mother used to sing to me a little, when I was going to sleep. I don't remember... what that sounded like. I'd like to sleep for a little now. Would you... sing?"
 
"Don't sing,” Marina instructs. “Someone will hear us."
 
"They haven't heard us talking so far," Laval objects.
 
"Yeah, well, we can't be lucky forever," Marina notes.
 
Ari nods. But Laval hesitates, looks around, then begins to softly sing a lullaby. Marina sighs, but closes her eyes and does not protest further. Ari smiles. Just for a moment, beneath her charred and blackened flesh, beneath the skin that is so very unhuman, perhaps she looks for a moment like a young girl of fourteen. She drifts off, sleeping, for now.
 
You are not going to believe this, Laval opines dryly to Gracious.
 
Try me, Gracious insists.
 
Frankly I don't believe this. I appear to be singing Ari to sleep.
 
No, you're right, I don't believe it. Bullshit. Really?
 
Really.
 
Well, you know, you live your life, I'm not going to judge. Really?!
 
It's preferable to her shooting me?
Laval offers.
 
No, Gracious agrees, I mean, carry on.
 
What a bloody mess,
Laval notes.
 
How's Marina? Gracious asks.
 
She… seems remarkably unbothered, now that I've helped with the pain. She'll recover, mostly. There will be scarring. I think she's pretty angry with you, though.
 
Tell her I am sorry. Tell her I can probably get her some excellent rose and someone to use it on once I'm done here!
 
That might help. She's sleeping too. I think. It's really peculiar.
 
Ah, fair enough...
 
Still,
Laval confesses. I'm... I'm worried.
 
About her, and me?
Gracious clarifies.
 
Yes. I can't stop her, when she decides she's doing something.
 
And it's not like I can, either,
Gracious darkly responds.
 
Honestly that's most of why I haven't killed Ari again, Laval admits.
 
In the hope that our two mutilated murderers will cancel each other out? Gracious wryly observes.
 
Yeah. You can defend me from Ari, Ari can defend you from Marina... Laval communicates disgust. What a mess.
 
I mean, you said they were both asleep...
Gracious ventures. But we probably need them.
 
And then who defends us from everyone else? Yeah.
 
Yes, I agree with your assessment. What a mess.
 
Also, I could probably slit Ari's throat while she's in this state, but I don't fancy my chances against Marina, even if she is asleep right now.
 
Good call. How hurt is Ari?
 
Badly. She's missing a leg and burned all over.
 
Does she still have her gun?
Gracious enquires.
 
Yes. It might be a struggle to keep them from killing each other once she heals. Laval notes.
 
Take the gun away? Gracious suggests.
 
Laval responds with nervousness. Probably a good call.
 
Listen, I need to go,
Gracious tells her. I can hear people coming, finally. Also: if you need any medical supplies, let me know, maybe I can secure some here.
 
Uh. I'll think on it. And anything you can get would be great. I'm running low on most things.
 
Fantastic! Right. Thanks for dealing with this so well for now. See ya!
 
Please come and tell her not to kill me soon,
Laval jokes with weary humour.
 
Will do! Gracious responds cheerfully. You being not dead is pretty high on my list of interests. Eurgh, sickening, what candyfloss I spout.
 

Hah,
Laval acknowledges, as the thought conversation goes silent.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:41 pm

Whilst Gracious turns to receive the compliments of the Klossner family, Ari sleeps fitfully. The Satrophine addiction is hitting hard, transforming her body into something rotten and corrupt on the inside: to match her monstrous exterior. Comforted slightly by Laval's lullaby, she is able to sleep, but when she wakes she will do so with a craving tenfold for the powerful drug. Her eyes will glitter darkly with the eye of Slaanesh, seeing the truth of souls and the warp: all the better to hunt down that chemical she needs.

[Ari has gained 18 Corruption Points for not taking Satrophine. She has gained the Eye of Chaos Mutation (it was that or Emaciated, which is solely bad). The Eye of Chaos Mutation gives her both the Psyniscience and Interrogate Skills. Also, check above for the Klossner family approaching Gracious, in case you missed it due to the big post.]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:02 pm

An urgent message from Laval reverberates in Gracious' mind: The Deacon's coming to visit. Or at least, Marina thinks it's him. Just a heads up. Oh, and I found some stuff out about that room.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:21 pm

[Yes, I had totally missed that.]

Gracious nods, expressing his pleasure at the chance to meet the Deacon, and his utmost gratitude - no really you /shouldn't/ have - to the Lady. He inquires after her health: did the fiend injure her at all? She looks radiant, of course, but... he is only, you know... well, it hurt your son...

He quietly leans in to Markus and asks - "should I prepare..." and gestures at Gerhild. If directed, he will, in a little while, find a quiet space away from the Klossners - if he can - and make some doses of rose, kit in hand.

In the meantime he strikes up conversations with them all, continuing to ingratiate himself with them. He is interested in whether or not all this has shaken their tongues at all, or if they let slip any further clues.

He also replies to Laval: Aware. Thanks. Should be alright, I think, I hope. What can you tell me?

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