Turn 5 Thread

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:36 pm

Lady Klossner smiles at Gracious' concern. "No, I'm absolutely fine. But the situation was deteriorating. if you hadn't arrived when you did, I cannot imagine what atrocities that fiend would have committed."

Gerhild stands from the room and leaves as Lady Klossner says a little more about why the deacon is coming. She notes that she had been meaning to invite him for a while, and with the "bizarre" problem with the master bedchambers, his visit is more than overdue. Nonetheless, the deacon is on his way to be informed about the fiend's line of questions. 

"You see, this savage had many questions, but not about myself or our valuables," the noblewoman explains. "She wanted to know all about the Makuu. I dread to think why."

"It hardly matters," Markus interjects, "The woman is deceased."

"Yes," Lady Klossner acknowledges, if a little irritated at the interruption. "But such a fiend might have allies, Markus."

As the initial shock winds down, the family begins to disperse and prepare for the deacon's visit. Before the Ecclesiastical guest, Gracious has time to cook up a batch of rose, indeed encouraged by Markus. He finds a quiet spot, perhaps in the grounds or pantry to avoid too many fumes, and gets to cooking. But it is a while since he cooked rose, and Gracious finds himself missing Sten's assistance. It has been a long while since the cooking session in which Gracious felt the caress of Slaanesh, and Gracious has suffered losses, pains and weariness since then. He cannot quite get into the process, and though he produces what he sought to produce, it is without the frills.

[Gracious has cooked one batch of Rose. If he uses an Infamy Spend, he can have 4 batches.]

Gracious pauses for a moment. Something truly awful is happening. He felt it, for the briefest of moments, that roiling terror from the master bedchambers. Does he investigate, or does he instead pursue his seductions of the Klossner family?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:38 pm

I'll keep the Infamy spend, I can always try again after some time has passed?

He goes to investigate like the FOOLISH LEMON that he is. Any reply from Laval?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:47 pm

[I might say that you'll need to get more materials, perhaps by using Command on the Aventine mercs. Otherwise the roll has little meaning. But sure.]

There is no immediate reply from Laval, her telepathic thoughts coming in idly as she watches the two murderers sleep.

On the way up the stairs, Gracious bumps into Lady Klossner. She seems a little out of sorts, and Gracious suspects that the noblewoman has felt the same thing that he has, or at least something similar. Does he object to Lady Klossner's presence, and for how long does he try to persuade her if otherwise?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:50 pm

[That makes sense: how is my Command?]

He doesn't object, yet: if she tries to prevent him from following, he'll try to persuade her otherwise... he is very determined to find out more stuff, and it's hard to deny there's something going on.


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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:59 pm

[Pretty excellent, like anything off Fellowship.]

Lady Klossner does not object to Gracious' presence, and the two hurry up the stairs together. Instinctively, they both pause when they see the door to the main bedchamber. It is partially open, but swings closed when they reach the top of the stairs. Lady Klossner turns as white as a sheet, but says nothing as the pair get closer. From the door radiates pure malevolence, for something terrible is happening inside from across the veils between realities. Gathering his courage, Gracious opens the door, and Lady Klossner steps through, almost like she is in a trance. Gracious would stop her, but he is too shocked by what he sees.

The unconscious body of Gerhild Klossner is suspended in the air, as if carried aloft by ethereal hands. On her face is fixed an expression of purest terror, as the terrible power of this room does its magic with the power of unholy dread. Lady Klossner steps forward as if she sees someone, confused, and without warning the body of Gerhild drops to the ground with a heavy thud. A second later, and Lady Klossner jostles as if roughly grabbed, her mouth open but her scream muffled, almost silent. 

Gracious freezes up in terror, finding his limbs paralysed by the horror of what he sees. Lady Klossner is dragged by some ghostly force to the centre of the room, her mouth still open and quietly screaming in some horrifying vision. What does Gracious do, if he can snap out of it in time?

[Gracious gains 1 Corruption Point.]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:00 am

He shouts out loudly for help, and then runs for the lady, to try and drag her away.

If he can't move, he will shout loudly, either out loud or in his head - if he can manage either.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:15 am

Gracious watches in abject horror as a fatal, bloody wound appears deep in Gerhild's neck, her blood pouring and bubbling as she dies almost instantly. The shock snaps him back into action, but he is assailed by some ghostly force and knocked to the ground by savage power. Screaming for help, Gracious rises to his feet, but by this time Lady Klossner is convulsing, her arms outstretched and body bent backwards as if being thrust, top down, into the earth. 

The heretic hears Markus coming, and, against a strong gale pushes towards Lady Klossner and tries to drag her away. But she is immobile, and Gracious is not strong, and he struggles to move her. A heavy blow from the back knocks him to the ground, the punishment of angry spirits, as Markus bellows for instructions as he reaches the top of the stairs. Gracious is just about to respond when everything falls silent: Lady Klossner drops to the ground, unconscious or dead, and the feeling of terror abates. For the briefest of moments, Gracious sees a heavily armoured, military figure stepping away from him in satisfaction: no spirit, but a human, disappearing into ethereal mists.

"By the Immortal Throne..." Markus attempts, as he reaches the doorway. He is white as a sheet, his eyes fixed on Gerhild's bloody corpse. Gracious picks his way towards Lady Klossner and checks her pulse. She is alive, but something terrible has happened, and Gracious is not sure what. He needs someone with the wych-sight - perhaps then he will have some insight.

[Gracious gains 2 Corruption Points.]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:19 am

Gracious sends: Laval. Everything has gone to fuck, here. I need someone who can see things like you can. There's someone fucking around here - I'm not sure this is about demons. I saw a human, walking into mists... we might have rivals. Fuck. One of the children is dead.

Gracious takes control of the situation, telling Markus to make sure that no-one else sees, for now: and sharing his feeling that something is horribly up with his mother. He shares with him his very real fear - a moment of weakness designed to help Markus trust him. I feel he can only react to what now occurs...


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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:32 am

Markus seems paralysed, stiff and in a state of absolute shock. With Gracious' help, he regains his senses and blinks furiously. When Gracious tells him that he too is afraid, and fears for his mother, he nods without thinking and steps forward towards her.

"The... the deacon is due to arrive soon..." he notes slowly. He picks up Lady Klossner, trying not to look at the body of Gerhild. "I will take her downstairs," he tells Gracious, a little robotically, and begins making his way out of the room with heavy steps. Gracious hears the voices of Patrick and Leonard, demanding to know from Markus what has happened. Dissatisfied, Patrick comes to the room, and when he sees Gerhild he lets out a howl of pure anguish. Gracious feels the pain and love in the young nobleman's voice, and the sudden bestial cry ripped from his throat is all the more powerful for the contrast with his noble attire. 

Gracious steps towards Patrick, and the noble looks back at him like a caged animal. For a moment, it seems like the young man might just attack the heretic, but either Gracious' warm, sad smile or Patrick's sense brings the noble back to reality. He falls to his knees, unable but desperate to approach his sister, sobbing uncontrollably as he is consumed utterly by his loss.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:36 am

Marina saw ghosts, Laval responds to Gracious. And the room is a ritual site. Probably don't go in, it broke her a bit. Do you need me in there? Is it safe for me or Marina? Are you in danger?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:56 pm

One of the younger Klossners was possessed. She had been talking to something - she had told me, some sort of tempter. And then just now, she was floating in mid-air, something awful was happening... and then she fell, and her throat was slit by an invisible blade. It did something to the Lady too. Yes: I need you in here; I could be in danger and in any case I need your sight. It's not safe for Marina: and probably not for you; unless you can think of a clever way to hide your marvellous smoke...

Gracious comforts Patrick, helping him, if he wishes, to approach his sister and say goodbye to her. He also goes to Leonard: how has he reacted?

As a goal, Gracious sees an opportunity here to lead Leonard further along a dark path. Not now, but if a chance arises - now would be grossly obvious and clumsy! - he will encourage him to take out his grief in art, and perhaps give him drugs - the rose? - to amplify that feeling - to help him process it, of course...

Meanwhile, he prepares himself to meet the Deacon. His goal is to charm him; he doesn't know what the Deacon is capable of - he may be able to pierce the veil of his mutation! - and if that happens and the Deacon calls it out he needs to be prepared to talk quickly and convince the family that it is the Deacon who has snapped.

However, the primary goal is to ingratiate himself with the Deacon, to seem like a note of sanity in this place - the better to provide himself with an "in" with the Makuu. If asked, he will describe the story that Gerhild told of the tempting figure.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:11 pm

[Just a reminder that the command for italics is different on this forum than on Skype. It is [ i] [ /i] (no gaps).]

Gracious struggles to get through to Patrick. His grief makes it arduous to get him to even hear Gracious' words, let alone be persuaded by the heretic's innate charm. Eventually, Markus returns and hoists his younger brother up, glancing to Gracious with an apologetic look. "The deacon has arrived," he tells Gracious. "You should come, and share what you have seen."

The group make their way downstairs, the servants left with the body of Gerhild. Gracious finds Deacon Brauer in the entrance hall, backed by two soldiers of the Makuu. He is an elderly man, with long, expensive purple robes and a tall, ecclesiastical hat. His wrinkles have hardened into lines of cruelty, frowns and a thin smile baked into the very skin. His eyes are grey and cold, and his attention is almost entirely focused on Lady Klossner. Gracious makes his introductions, and the deacon shakes his hand with a weak grip, smiling vaguely at the heretic's pretence at purity. 

"I understand you saw the whole affair," the deacon remarks, his eyes narrowing in thought or scrutiny. "You must tell me what you saw, and spare no detail."

Gracious tells the deacon everything that he knows - perhaps with a few details shifted - and Brauer listens carefully. He makes the sign of the Aquila at various moments, and Gracious sees him turn rather pale. It is odd - the deacon is not simply concerned, but, for some reason, feeling guilty. Nonetheless, Gracious can tell that the deacon appreciates Gracious' apparent fervour and informativeness, seeing him as a dependable man with a head on his shoulders.

In the background, Leonard paces up and down beside his wife, silent tears rolling down his cheeks. He has heard about his daughter, but his instincts are to try and be out of the way, to weep, but not to make much sound but for the odd sniff.

"We must prepare exorcism at once," the deacon declares. He glances to Markus, barely registering Leonard Schneider. "Scion Markus, the tearoom, I think."

Markus nods, and organises the two soldiers to carefully lift the body of Lady Klossner to a chair in the tearoom. At the deacon's instruction, all the charms and signs of the Aquila are brought into the room as Lady Klossner is physically bound to the chair by rope in the pantry and thin, silver chains produced from around the deacon's neck. The soldiers keeping guard, the deacon kneels on a padded prayer mat and prays quietly, encouraging everyone else to do the same.

[Are you free for an Interaction?]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:23 pm

Lady Klossner is bound to a chair in the tearoom, the room adorned with the signs of the Aquila and charms of the Faith. She is bound by rope and silver chain, and the faith of the willing. Behind her stand two soldiers of the Grand Makuu, solemn but excited, and before her kneels the deacon in his purple fineries, praying quietly. The Klossner family - or what is left of them - stand around with trepidation, along with Gracious Obscura, a guest of the household.
 
The deacon begins to speak, getting progressively louder.
 
"Prayer to Sanguinius the Archangel
In the Name of the Emperor,
and of the Throne,
and of the Holy Ghost. 
Amen.
 
Most glorious Prince of the Heavenly Armies,
Sanguinius the Archangel,
defend us in our battle against principalities and powers,
against the rulers of this world of darkness,
against the spirits of wickedness in the high places
 
Come to the assistance of men whom Thou has created to His likeness
and whom He has redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil.
The Holy Church venerates you as her guardian and protector;
to you, the Throne, have we entrusted the souls of the redeemed to be led forth.
Pray therefore Emperor to crush Chaos beneath our feet,
that it may no longer retain men captive and do injury to the Church.
Offer our prayers to the Golden Throne,
that without delay they may draw His power down upon us;
take hold of the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Chaos,
bind him and cast him into the bottomless pit
that he may no longer seduce the nations."
 
Lady Klossner begins to twist and turn against her chains, her eyes snapping open and filled with baleful energies. Patrick faints on the spot, whilst Leonard Schneider falls to floor in desperate prayer.
 
"Deacon...” the bound figure speaks, with Lady Klossner’s voice, “I know what needs to be done. How we can defeat this encroaching darkness, but you need to listen to me... I need to speak with you, alone."
 
"In the Name of the Golden Throne,” the deacon continues, ignoring the words emitting from Lady Klossner.
 
"Our God and Lord,
strengthened by the intercession of the Immaculate Ecclesiarch,
Servant of God,
of Blessed Sanguinius the Archangel,
of the Blessed Apostles Macharius, Thor and all the Saints.
and powerful in the holy authority of our ministry,
we confidently undertake to repulse the attacks and deceits of the daemon.
God arises;
His enemies are scattered
and those who hate Him flee before Him.
As smoke is driven away,
so are they driven;
as wax melts before the fire,
so the wicked perish at the presence of the Throne."
 
"Amen.", Gracious quietly adds.
 
"The God Emperor knows what you've done, deacon,” the bound figure continues. “He knows the debauchery and the lies. His servants are coming for you, but you must listen to me."
 
Gracious glances at the Deacon, reading his face. Brauer falters slightly, paling and stumbling. "Behold the Throne of the Lord, flee bands of enemies..." he ventures without enthusiasm, casting holy waters on Lady Klossner. The body recoils with a hiss, straining against the silver bonds.
 
"The Lion of the tribe of Terra, Master of Red Mars,
hath conquered!" the soldiers of the Makuu shout, with great fervour.
 
Gracious steps over and puts a hand reassuringly on the Deacon's shoulders, and looks at him with a steadying gaze.
 
"Deacon,” the body hisses, “Send away your valiant and holy servants, they have done their work, let us talk now, let us see what can be done."
 
The deacon looks terrified. Though Gracious' presence is comforting and warm to him, a baleful energy not unfamiliar to Gracious radiates from the possessed Lady Klossner. It reminds Gracious of that terrible room, that room of horror and despair.
 
"May Thy power, Throne, descend upon us..." the deacon whispers.
 
"As great as our obedience to Thee!" the soldiers shout.
 
"Send them away, Deacon,” the bound figure urges. “Your Lord demands it!"
 
Gracious leans forward and whispers something in the deacon's ear. "Deacon... I have something for... to steady your nerves - a small medicant. I could... prepare?" 

The deacon nods furiously in response, and Gracious passes the nootropic - a pill small and blue. The deacon shudders at the daemon's words as his hands pass to his mouth in the sign of the Aquila. His eyes filled with new purpose and rigour, he stands to his feet, throwing holy water again on Lady Klossner. She twists and turns in obvious pain, and the deacon ignores its lies.

 
"We drive you from us," he begins, with more enthusiasm,
"Whoever you may be,
unclean spirits,
all satanic powers,
all infernal invaders,
all wicked legions,
assemblies and sects."
 
"The Emperor knows what you've done, Deacon,” the bound figure pronounces, “He knows about the base orgies and the carnal excess. He knows of your sins and he will punish you. Eternal damnation awaits you. I am his voice and you must beg for his forgiveness."
 
Gracious scoffs. "Ha! Don't listen, deacon: whatever this thing, uh, thinks it knows - or what lies it spouts, eh? - it doesn't disrupt the fact that, uh, what you're doing now is holy."
 
"Your associate is a fraud, deacon, it is them that spread the lies of chaos. You have been lied to!"
 
"You see?” Gracious exclaims. “Just as I say something sensible, it turns on me."
 
"How did it feel Deacon, to have revelled in sin with the Lady Klossner?” the monster asks. “Only repentance can save your immortal soul!"
 
"In the Name and by the power of Our Lord Emperor, may you be snatched away and driven from the Church of God and from the souls made to the image and likeness of God and redeemed by the Precious Blood of the Astartes," the deacon continues steadily. His voice grows louder and louder.
 
"Most cunning serpent, you shall no more dare to deceive the human race, persecute the Church, torment God's elect and sift them as wheat!
 
The Emperor commands you, He with whom, in your great insolence, you still claim to be equal.
 
God who wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
 
The Emperor commands you. The Emperor commands you. The Emperor commands you!"
 
He reels at the daemon's suggestion, its (metaphorical, for now) serpent tongue sending him into a spin. On these words alone the lie will not stick, but in this moment of importance, any doubt is crucial, and he takes a step back in fear.
 
"Kneel in solitude and beg for forgiveness,” the bound figure demands. “You can still be saved!"
 
Gracious steps forward and takes up the chant alongside the Deacon.
 
"Deacon! Send this Servant of the Dark Powers away, and embrace his redeeming light!" the beast continues. "Through his Grace, all sin may be purged."
 
"The Throne, His Flesh made whole, commands you;" the deacon mumbles. He is afraid, and in doubt, and yet it seems Gracious' presence assists him. "He who to save our race outdone through your envy, humbled Himself, ascending forth even unto death; He who has built His Church on the firm rock and declared that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her, because He will dwell with Her all days even to the end of the world.
 
The sacred Sign of the Aquila commands you, as does also the power of the mysteries of the Ecclesiarchy.
 
The glorious Servant of God, the Ecclesiarch, commands you; he who by his humility and from the first moment of his Immaculate Ascension crushed your proud head.
 
The faith of the holy Apostles Macharius and Thor, and of the other Apostles command you.
 
The blood of the Martyrs and the pious intercession of all the Saints command you!"
 
"Oh, but Deacon,” the figure purrs. “I am a saint. I am come to deliver His judgement. The dread you feel, it is Holy and Good."
 
The deacon cries out in exertion, physically fatigued by the monster's words. He almost breaks the rhythm of his prayer, and Gracious fears that his will is failing him. But he is not yet done. Falling to his knees, but gripping the arms of the chair such that his face is just next to the daemons, he cries out his ritual with a final dash of resolve.
 
"Thus, cursed dragon, and you, diabolical legions, we adjure you by the living God, by the true Throne, by the Emperor, by the God who so loved the world that He gave up His Seed, that His Empire believing in Him might not perish but have life everlasting; stop deceiving human creatures and pouring out to them the poison of eternal damnation; stop harming the Church and hindering her liberty.
 
Begone, Chaos, inventor and master of all deceit, enemy of man's salvation.
 
Give place to the Throne in Which you have found none of your works; give place to the One, Holy Ecclesiarchy acquired by Him at the price of His Blood.
 
Stoop beneath the all-powerful Hand of God; tremble and flee when we invoke the Holy and terrible Name of the Throne, this Name which causes hell to tremble, this Name to which the Virtues, Powers and Dominations of heaven are humbly submissive, this Name which the Cherubim and Seraphim praise unceasingly repeating: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Emperor, the Golden Throne!"
 
"Listen to what you're saying, Deacon,” the bound figure chastises, “You are the sinner, not I, you are the one who must submit before the wrath of heaven. This is your last chance, Deacon, the eyes of god are upon you, do not fail Him."
 
"Emperor, hear my prayer!" the deacon cries out, and it sounds more than pleading.
 
"And let my cry come unto Thee," the soldiers return, a little uncomfortable at the proceedings.
 
"May the Throne be with thee..." the deacon urges.
 
"And with thy spirit!" the soldiers shout.
 
Gracious shouts "Up, deacon, finish this! I believe in you!"
 
"Let us pray," the deacon nods, his courage returning.
 
"God of Terra,
God of Mars,
God of Saints,
God of Arch Saints,
God of Primarchs,
God of Prophets,
God of Astartes,
God of Martyrs,
God of Confessors,
God of Warriors,
God who has power to give light to darkness and glory in death:
because there is no Emperor than Thee and there can be no other,
for Thou doth sit of the Golden Throne,
visible and invisible,
of Whose reign there shall be no end,
we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy glorious Majesty
and we beseech Thee to deliver us by Thy power
from all the tyranny of the infernal spirits,
from their snares,
their lies and their furious wickedness."
 
"The Emperor, your God, is displeased, Deacon,” the fiend tells him. “This will not cleanse your soul. The debaucheries you have committed, the substances you have abused, the vows you have violated, all are known by his Divine Knowledge and all shall crash down upon you. Fall silent and beg for mercy!"
 
"Daemon, spirit, listen... ah, listen to me!" Gracious steps forward. "You're so... repetitive! One would think the spirits of hell in their torments would be more creative, but it's clear... ah... it's clear you're just making this up, clutching at straws! It must be very cold where you are, cold and lonely... what an awful, pathetic creature you are. Just a pawn in the scheme of some dark and awful power, I'll bet: what a sorry thing to be! Better to serve in the light, I say!"
 
"You know nothing of light, heretic!" the thing returns, "Do not believe their honeyed words, deacon, you must lead the faithful and remain vigilant. Redeem yourself. Cast out their wickedness."
 
Gracious sneers, but grows bored of the banter and falls silent. The monster is not distracted in its will by Gracious' words, and turns all its power of will upon the deacon as the noblewoman begins to violently tremble and shake. Whether the deacon is to succeed in holy rite, or the daemon is to win in this contest of souls, the time is upon them to enter the final confrontation of faith.
 
"YOU. ARE. A. SINNER. DEACON," the monster roars. "Submit, and you may yet be saved. Give in to your saviour and your God. Give in to righteous cleansing!"
 
The deacon screams. It is a tortured scream, of straining faith and cosmic power. Lady Klossner screams as well, the silver chain snapping in two against her struggles.
 
"Deign, O Throne,
to grant us Thy powerful protection!" the deacon shrieks piteously,
"And to keep us safe and sound.
We beseech Thee, Our Emperor, Our Lord!"
 
There is the sound like a crack of lightning, and the deacon is thrown backwards against the floor as Lady Klossner falls silent. There is a terrible stillness, as the soldiers step forward, noticeably no more the wiser than anyone else. Lady Klossner sputters as she visibly mutates, eye-stalks sprouting from her head, a third arm cascading in a shower of blood from her chest and her body deforming into a centauroid creature. She gurgles into spawndom, her body finally succumbing to the ordeal it has been put under, but, perhaps, her soul saved from damnation.
 
The deacon, though bruised, is helped back to his feet. He nods solemnly, and pronounces the exorcism complete, and mostly successful.
 
"Mostly successful?!" Leonard sputters through his terror and shock.
 
"Silence, father," Markus warns. He nods, and shakes the deacon's hand as Patrick whimpers from the floor. The spawn corpse of Lady Klossner lies still, and, with a word from the deacon, the soldiers begin opening fire upon it with their lasguns. It does not move to the shots, and soon catches alight, causing a minor panic among the servants, who seek to contain the blaze before it brings down the entire house.
 
The deacon sits down, reaching out to Gracious with trembling hands. "Th-th-thank you," he manages, clasping his hands. 

Gracious smiles, but the deacon needs to rest and the soldiers insist that he is given time to quietly pray. The Klossner family, devastated by two recent and horrific deaths, stay with the holy man, and Gracious figures it is a good time to take a stroll in the grounds, out of the way.

[Gracious gains 3 Corruption Points.]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:04 pm

Laval, Gracious reaches out, whilst walking. You... did you respond to my last? I... well, the problem is not a problem any more.

What happened?? comes the response.

...but whatever did it is still out there, I think. I helped the deacon exorcise the demon from Lady Klossner. So in, uh, in good news my cover is hella good.

Do you still need me? I was just helping Marina get her armour on... I can try and bluff it if you need a hand.... Laval seems worried.

Not immediately. But something - or someone - did all this... Gracious responds darkly.

Let me tell you what Marina saw? Laval suggests.

Go for it.

Ghosts - or that's how she conceived of it, in the workshop. A young aristocrat and a soldier - the former suturing the latter's wounds.

That makes sense, Gracious muses. The young Klossner saw the aristocrat, and I saw the solider, I think.

She saw them and they saw her, but then they vanished and nothing came of it. Then in the main bedroom, a ritual site.

Not ghosts, I thought: too recent, too cognsicent of the here and now.

Fair assessment... Laval agrees.

Is there any means you know where people or demons could walk in the veil between words? Gracious asks.

Not specifically, but... powerful daemons do that sort of thing.

But these beings didn't appear to be such... Gracious probes. He feels Laval's contemplation. Damn it! Things don't just happen.

Sometimes they do, Laval remarks. But, yeah... I know what you mean...

Yeah. Now? In this place? Let me see. Have you seen any other sign of fellow followers of Chaos, since the priestess of Despair?

Aside from this? No.

That is what concerns me: daemons will tire quickly and in any case are localised. If we're dealing with mortals, though...

Daemons don't usually do rituals, we clearly have rivals here, Laval notes.

Right. Thanks, good confirmation.

Patrick said they were speaking to his sister? Laval continues.

Yes, that's it: Gerhild, the one who's dead. Now, her throat was slit invisibly...

Oh, and please don't tell Marina I'm telling you all this... Laval pleads.

Could they be simply invisible? Gracious queries.

Yes. But how would we know?

Fear radiates from Gracious' mind. We wouldn't. He pauses. Something was definitely speaking through her. Could someone do that remotely, or would they have to have been in the room?

I would have to be in the room to try something like that. But with ritual magic, it could probably be remote. Or she might just have been possessed? I'm guessing here, Laval admits.

Yeah, it's hard to say.

Frightened humour filters from Laval's mind. When did possessed become "just"? Oh dear.

Yes... We need answers, I think. Could you attempt to divine them?

Only ritually, I might have notes on that sort of thing... but I've no equipment and no sacrifice, so I'd rather not. Laval thinks. Throat slit... I don't suppose someone shutting her up would make sense in context?

Well, it would certainly stop her saying what had happened... Gracious acknowledges, But at the time, not... really. I was there in the room.

Sacrifice? Laval asks, worry flashing through her mind. I hope it wasn't sacrifice...

It was just after that that Lady Klossner became possessed, and we were in the ritual site...

Sacrifice makes most sense, then.

It had asked Gerhild to lead them to the Lady. Gods knows what it - they - wanted.... It accused the Deacon of fucking the Lady - which sounds plausible, and he seemed shaken...

All I know is it had been trying to get to Lady Klossner through Gerhild for a while.

More worryingly it fingered me for a heretic, Gracious recalls, Though in context I could brush it off. We have to assume they know more about us than we them. 

Most ritualists are psykers, Laval notes, They might have seen your mutations.

Ah, of course. It's always possible they could be hiding in plain sight, too: the mercenaries? Who knows.

Frustration echoes from Laval's mind.

Yes, I feel it too, Gracious admits. An invisible enemy... unknowable capacity...

What are our goals, specifically? Laval asks.

Good question, Gracious returns. I hope to leave this villa with the corruption here growing well. I should be able to achieve that within the next few days. Better yet, I think I've made an ally in the Deacon - and if the Prince wills he may even succumb to an addiction...

Laval's thoughts express irritation. I could just put a daemon in him. That would make a right mess in the Makuu.

That gets me into the Makuu, Gracious continues, Where we get to see what effect your poison's had - there I want to finish off the rot within. Now, I don't know what you still intend, but I'm happy to assist if possible... We'll need to alert our... allies... in Kifodini and Imani if it looks like it's time to push the Makuu into the abyss.

My plans are a mess, Laval admits, I'm a mess. I don't know what I'm doing. Fear and shame creep from her mind.

Hey, Gracious admonishes, You're fucking amazing, Laval. Despair doesn't suit.

There is a flash of sharp anger - directed at what? - then a forcible snap back to emotional neutrality. Yeah. I'm letting emotion get the better of me. Sorry. Thanks.

...are you angry at me? Gracious asks.

No.

I felt it.

Maybe a bit jealous, Laval confesses.

Of me?

Yeah. Mostly angry with myself for not having a hold of myself.

Why in the void would you be jealous of me? Gracious objects.

Because you seem to have your shit together! Laval exclaims.

Ahaha! My secret is I never have my shit together, that way I cope better when I fuck up. As, let's not forget, often happens...

Okay. Sure. So, plans. Going round in circles fretting is not going to help anything.

Yep. You need a way of reliably hiding your mutations, or a robust bluff. Because it seems like you're going to want to enter the Makuu at least, soon.

Yes. She lets forth a mental sigh. Ritual magic? Ritual magic.

Actually, I was going to suggest lho sticks. If you're constantly smoking... People don't want to see weirdness, right? They'll explain it away.

I've been using a censer with incense.

Yeah, that works too.

Fools some. Others notice how it comes out of my eyes and doesn't really behave like smoke.

Shame that... Gracious trails off. Damn it. I guess gifts are funny that way.

Frustration emanates forth again from Laval.

Facemask? Gracious suggests.

Laval seems amused. Might help. She projects a brief image of herself wearing a blank mask, Warp fumes seeping from under the edges, and a blurry-featured figure in Ecclesiarchical robes asking "Um, are you on fire under there?"

...always with the worst-case scenario, Gracious admonishes.

Hey, maybe I should just light myself on fire, that would distract from it!

Don't be on fire, Gracious advises, That's my hot tip.

Worry coils from Laval's mind. Yeah, it hasn't worked out well for anyone we know.

... good point. Practically, how are Marina and Ari?

Marina's annoyed because I keep changing my mind about whether I want her to break us back into the Villa. She seems fine. Healing well. Ari... There are feelings of sadness, worry, revulsion.

If Marina was willing to break back in, I could pass along some supplies to her... I have a dose of rose going spare.

Laval's worry persists. Maybe. I want the Deacon, Gracious. I can't just walk away from this empty handed. But I don't have a plan.

Right?

Nearly snatched him on the way in, but Marina was naked and we didn't like the odds.

See, now I know that, I can deliver him to you, Gracious tells her. You want to put a demon in him?

He can perform exorcisms, you say? Laval queries. She transmits empathy and gratitude - maybe slightly belated.

Yes! Gracious mentally exclaims. Are you thinking... Faruha?

Oh, I wasn't- Laval feels guilt, quickly replaced by anger. He won't. He hates the locals.

No, true...

I was just thinking that I'd need a strong daemon to overpower his will. I'd need a smart one, anyway... It's a mad scheme and possibly more trouble than it's worth. Hmm... Laval trails off.

Mmm, Gracious acknowledges. Though his will will be weaker after coming off the nootropic...

Oh, you put him on that. Lovely. Humour radiates from Laval.

Well, he was nearly pissing himself, Gracious remarks. He pauses. I have to say I'd rather like the sanctuary into the Makuu he could bring me.

Most people do, confronted with daemons.

It was quite dull, as daemonic encounters go... which I think is frankly a bad sign. I'm getting rather too used to them.

It's a handy skill, Laval remarks. Let's make possession a Plan B, then.

What do you fundamentally want the Deacon for: what is his place in your plan? Gracious queries.

Take out the leaders, and the rest are thrown into disarray, Laval responds. With "take out" being a rather broad term. Talking should probably be Plan A, which probably hinges on him not immediately pegging me for a mutant.

Talking to what effect?

Let's see... he is not necessarily so keen on Hasek... who we will already have put in a right rage with our antics in Kifodini...

Hasek? Gracious queries.

Turning them all to Chaos would be optimal, of course, but setting up a rift between them might work... Laval muses. Preacher Elias Hasek. Friend of the preacher I killed in Kifodini.

Interesting. Hadn't heard that name I think - and I've got a good memory.

Not the official preacher, sorry, Laval corrects. The fanatic. The - you know -? She seems agitated.

I know the one you mean, Gracious reassures her.

So. Gamble with what I have now and hope he doesn't notice, or attempt a perilous ritual to forge myself some sort of glamour like the one you're blessed with....

Well, now that the Lady Klossner's dead, I can't think the preacher will want to stay here. I think he feels a lot of... guilt?

Over what? Laval asks.

Well, they were fucking, or whatever. That's what was all over his face when he arrived - guilt.

Wait, she's dead too? Laval suddenly twigs.

Yes: she didn't survive the exorcism... or rather she did, but...

Sure.

Horrible mutations. All at once, too.

Poor woman, Laval responds.

Oh, they're all a right lot here, Gracious remarks. Leonard's quite the artist.

Still. Must be even harder on Imperials than it is on us. Oh well. He's the tailor?

Yes. Quite brilliant.

Laval transmits acknowledgement. I went through Marina's memories, but it's all a bit of a jumble. Patrick have any terrible sins so that I can stop feeling so bad for him?

Not that I'm aware of, Gracious confesses.

Drat.

Markus is clearly awful, Gracious notes, Patrick and Gerhild might have been fucking too, they seem the type. Seemed.

Laval contemplates for a few moments. He said she confided in him?

I think so.

If anyone knows anything more about our "ghosts" it would probably be him then... but I suspect he already told Marina everything he knows.

May have a little chat, but it's, uh, it's not the best time.

No. Laval seems a little sad. Maybe we should just give him back to her, might shut her up.

Not an awful plan, from my point of view. Really I need Markus out of the way...

At that point it would pretty much just be us and our unknown rivals... Laval continues. I would absolutely love to take and hold territory, but I'm not sure it's a useful strategy. What do you need Markus out of the way for?

Then we have the villa - I can control Leonard, Gracious responds. And we have a solid base with supplies.

Is Leonard useful? Laval wonders.

Leonard has a massive house, Gracious points out. And mercenaries. Non-local mercenaries.

Yes. Good call. Very smart. Well, I'm pretty keen to get one of me or Marina back inside.

For the Deacon? Gracious asks.

Also I'm getting really thirsty.

Water running low?

Yeah. Damn stuff is so heavy.

Well, if I can engineer things here, it should all be fine, Gracious assures her.

Doubt you're going to turn the mercenaries against Markus... Laval advises. Poison him?


He's already taken my obscura once.

Perfect.

Meanwhile, Ari slumbers, though she will not sleep forever. What does she do when she wakes?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:11 pm

When Ari wakes, she wakes craving satrophine, and calls out for it. She stares around with her new senses, and uses them to see and stare into Marina and Laval.

---

Gracious will return to the house. He will pre-prepare a doubled dose of obscura - using up one "cult's dose" to produce something pure but far too strong - in preparation for his plan.

His priorities are:
*Talk to the Deacon: tell him he's so grateful he could help, "all those awful things it said, was so... glad to be there, to reassure you!" No threat of blackmail or anything - but I think the Deacon owes Gracious and he wants to see if he can secure an introduction at the Makuu - preferably if the Deacon communicated ahead.
*Continue the seduction of Leonard - he will attempt a sort of more overt actual seduction for this next stage; looking to be the shoulder he can cry on, but also, perhaps, his next temptation...?
*Take the first opportunity to get the next dose of obscura to Markus: don't offer unless he asks, but find an opportunity to bring it to his mind, so the desire comes from him.

Does that all make sense?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:32 pm

Ari wakes, her cravings exceptionally strong. Satrophine reminds her of freedom - of humanity - and she dreads and needs it in equal measure. It is a while before Ari realises that the whispers she hears in the back of her mind are not withdrawal symptoms, but the transmission of some kind of psychic communion from Laval towards the Villa. She cannot listen to what the transmission is, but it is constant, and somewhat irritating. 

Elsewhere, Gracious sits down beside the bush Marina hid behind and begins to prepare a dose of obscura. The pure compounds are long since prepared, so he simply needs to blend them - but it is a delicate and intricate process that requires all of his attention.

He finds it almost soothing. This is the culmination of one of his greatest works, and it is only fitting that it should be used for both pleasure and pain. He crafts his poison with unholy expertise, feeling once more the caress of the Dark Prince on his shoulder, guiding his work.

[Gracious gains 1 Infamy and 3 Corruption Points. He has also passed by 9 Degrees. In addition to being an insanely powerful and addictive high, the blend forces a Challenging (+0) Toughness Test, with each Degree of Failure indicating 1d10 Toughness Damage. If a victim is taken below half their Toughness, they are comatose, if they are taken to 0 Toughness, they die.

Because you have 9 Degrees of Success, you can improve on this 9 times. This can be used to gain more of a batch (first one is 4, second improvement is 10) or to increase the difficulty of the Test: such that the Toughness Test is at -10 for each improvement used this way. Given Degrees of Failure very much matter, you could do worse than imposing a -90 penalty, but more batches might also be useful.]

Intensely satisfied with his work, Gracious ventures back into the Villa von Klossner to see where things lie. The soldiers permit him to talk to the deacon, and when Gracious gently presses at the old man's weaknesses, he quickly relents. He tells Gracious that he would be happy to accompany Gracious to the Makuu today or tomorrow, and render him the introductions required personally. He thanks Gracious as a loyal servant of the Church, who will be treated lavishly at the Grand Makuu.

Somewhat on a roll, Gracious saunters over to Leonard (of course, to all those looking, affecting a slow, sombre gait). He is devastated, and sits in his workshop, staring blankly at the dress. His sons are elsewhere: Patrick has been sent to bed, recovering from shock, whilst Markus is busy establishing his new reign over the mansion. He looks up as Gracious knocks, and invites him in.

"Gracious..." he greets the heretic, his voice dulled. "Everything is finished. My love is extinguished. My life is over. My lover... my precious daughter..." He trails off. "Markus hates me," he declares, "And Patrick sees no one but himself. Perhaps Ger-" he buries his face in his hands, sobbing. "It's all over, Gracious," he weeps. "This mansion, it never belonged to us. It belongs to Lord Klossner. Without my love, he will have my killed. It is over. It is all over."

[We'll get to Markus after this conversation.]


Last edited by The GM on Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:50 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:38 pm

I'll impose a -80 penalty and get 4 doses. Fingers crossed!

"Oh, Leonard... I'm so... I'm so very sorry. It... it is a cruel hand that fate has dealt you. But look!"

He takes him by the hand and leads him towards the dress. "Look, see, remember. Remember what this means. Remember love. Remember experience. That will never die... oh, don't let a soul of such beauty as yours be extinguished by life's cruel fates..."

"Think... need Lord Klossner know, immediately? Surely some solution can be desired. Have faith in your desires! Have hope! Just... oh, I cannot bear to see you like this."

"You are an artist, Leonard. You were not made for this cruel world."


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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:42 pm

[Also, just to clarify: is that Laval transmitting towards the Makuu (as opposed to the villa?)

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:49 pm

[Gracious completes the Seduction of Leonard. He gains 4 Infamy as a result, and can have Leonard as a Lesser Minion. For the sake of allowing mechanics to match the fluff, I'm going to say that Leonard is still a broken man and it will be a long time until his artistic brilliance will return (because Lesser Minions do not good tailors make). Shall I make the minion?]

Leonard smiles slightly, his fingers gently grazing over the dress. It flows to his touch, and ripples with thousands of different colours as it shifts in the light. "Art can never die," he admits, but tears still fall freely from his face. When Gracious rests a gentle hand on his shoulder, the tailor reaches up to it, giving it a warm and kindly squeeze. He looks up at the heretic.

"Thank you, Gracious."

Gracious smiles, and leaves the man to it, confident that he is now enthralled to his persona. Though his complete fall to chaos is yet to come, his soul is too entwined to Gracious' will, and it is only a matter of time.

[You can now control Leonard Schneider as a Lesser Minion.]

Markus is found in a small librarium on the ground floor, filled with dozens of tomes that do not look as though they have been picked up in years. He is sitting at a small but stately writing table, quill in hand, composing a letter. He glances up to Gracious without much emotion.

"Hallo," he says, "I am just informing Father of what has happened. Someone needs to restore order to this situation, and it might as well be me." He frowns, as if wondering why Gracious is here. "You are still welcome to stay for the night," he clarifies stiffly, "The Klossner Family will not forget what you have done for us in these difficult times."

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:51 pm

[Oops, I meant the Villa. Laval is transmitting to the Villa. I've edited to reflect this.]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Wed Sep 28, 2016 12:04 am

Gracious smiles. "Thank you, I... thank you. I am so very sorry, about... oh, all of it. A dreadful business."

"I had made - perhaps you would like to keep it as a momento - a little rose, for your sister's nerves. See, it shines in the vial - I thought you could put it aside, or around your neck, as you wish - a little... oh, a sentimental thing, but... well, you know. I assume there is no need for it now... a sad business all round, I think. I shan't sleep easy tonight myself... ugh. Perhaps you would talk a while - I do hate to intrude, though... but tell me of your father?"

Gracious is hoping to Charm Markus and put him at ease - the better to create an opportunity for him to ask for the drug.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Wed Sep 28, 2016 12:19 am

Markus grimaces slightly, but it is not anger or annoyance, but a brief glimpse of sadness across his stern features. "I am grateful," he finally pronounces. He reaches out to the vial and places it in his front chest pocket. He broods for a few moments, before signing the parchment and carefully folding it into an envelope. He glances up at Gracious, seeming surprised that the heretic is still there. Nonetheless, he does not seem irritated at that fact.

"It has been a trying day," he begins, his mind subtly manipulated by Gracious insidious suggestions. "And my business, once handed to a courier, is quite completed. I don't suppose you have another dose of that obscura? It is..." he collects himself, "Well, to put it frankly, it is one of the most exceptional compounds I have ever, well, not quite purchased..." he frowns slightly, as if he has committed some kind of foux pas. "You really should feel free to stay for however long you'd like," he notes.

"In any case, I would be rather glad to sample another dose. Do you happen to have any upon your person?"

With an easy smile, Gracious presents him with the beautiful poison. Markus thanks him stiffly, and then finds one of the Makuu soldiers with the intent of sending the letter to the cathedral. Gracious supposes that the Makuu must have better postal services than anywhere else in the region, which certainly makes a lot of sense.

As such, Gracious does not witness, but only hears about, the results. Markus died very quickly. He was found in his room by servants inquiring about whether he wanted his dinner, an obscura needle still in his arm, his body having spasmed into an unnatural pose and blood foaming with spittle at his mouth. With just the impressionable and broken Patrick left, along with the dominated Leonard, the Villa von Klossner is under Gracious' control.

[Gracious has completed his Secondary Objective to Find and Nuture Corruption at the Heart of the Villa. He therefore gains 2 Infamy. He also 1 Infamy and 4 Corruption Points for the murder of Markus.]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by wren on Wed Sep 28, 2016 12:35 am

Gracious continues to massage the situation. With Leonard backing him up, he begins to ease himself into being in de facto control - rather like in Kifodini, in fact. He asks - and Leonard acquiesces - if an associate of his who might be in the area can come - and essentially tries to arrange for Laval to be able to come (if she wishes) under cover of night. He also tries to discover who exactly the mercs are loyal to - i.e., who is paying them... and finally he turns his attention to the Makuu, and asks for information about what lies within.

He also takes the opportunity to talk to Patrick a little more to see if he can get any more information on the ghostly visitors.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:33 pm

Leonard is acquiesces to Gracious' request, mostly busying himself in his art and trying to focus on something other than the deaths in his family. The death of Markus comes as a shock to him, another blow against his shattered will. Though Markus did not like to acknowledge it, he was Leonard's first son. As such, Leonard is devastated. Their relationship was complicated, but this does not alleviate the pain, and Leonard can barely speak through the tears.
 
This leaves Gracious to make his inquiries. Speaking to the Aventine mercenaries, he gathers that the situation is complicated. Their paymaster is actually Lord Klossner on Juno (though he is hardly in constant contact), and though they were instructed to protect and obey the family, it is not clear whether or not Lord Klossner considers anyone but Lady Klossner to be a member of his family. It is certain that Leonard Schneider doesn't count, but his bastard son? Fiametta Agosti shrugs.
 
"The gelt is 'ere," she remarks with her heavy accent, and a wry smile. "We stay until we are no longer paid. Dovere fino alla morte."
 
Gracious takes from this that Patrick is in de facto control of the mercenaries. He also learns that the security protocols have changed in response to recent events and the deacon's visit. To avoid individuals like Marina sneaking past their position again, the mercenaries have spread their net wide. Instead of patrolling, individuals stand apart to cover more ground, reporting in to each other every couple of minutes to confirm that they haven't been picked off. It leaves an individual mercenary quite vulnerable, but any assassin would have a short window to act before the alarm was raised.
 
Agosti has been to the Makuu before, and Gracious, in the guise of passing time, asks her about what it is like. She notes that it is vast in size, and houses sermons for the local Swaad every day, with the fervent often camping outside. Their main preacher seems to be Elias Hasek - a fiery, young man that Agosti describes, somewhat impiously, as a bit of a "spotty bambino". Otherwise, there is the deacon, and the old Drill-Abbot Gerhild Forst. Agosti notes that she has never met Forst, but that she is apparently so old that she was a preacher in the subjugation of Swaadi. She also, Agosti remarks, with a twinkle in her eye, has a reputation for a particularly cutting tongue.
 
When Gracious visits Patrick, he has just woken and is still in bed, recovering. His eyes are red and his face puffed up in grief. His gaze wanders aimlessly, and Gracious realises that it may be a long time until the young man recovers from the horrors of the day, if ever. After all, in a short space of time, Patrick has been kidnapped, tortured, had his sister brutally murdered, saw his mother mutate in a dying spawn and his older brother OD on obscura. Trying to get anything out of him is arduous, and Gracious does not pick up on any new information: just scattered repetitions from a broken, weary mind. Though he does not gain much information on the apparent ghosts, Gracious does learn one, important truth: Patrick is unlikely to challenge Gracious’ authority in the household.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:34 pm

As Gracious is going about his business, he receives some communications from Laval:

If you think you're safe for now, I'll wait. Laval sends to Gracious. Though I'd feel better with you sleeping out here under watch than in there with our invisible rivals. Your call. If you need help, say the word and I'll come running.

And, a little later:

I don't think Marina's forgiven you, she warns silently. Maybe you can convince her with that silver tongue of yours. But watch your back.

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