Turn 5 Thread

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Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:43 am

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

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

There are no sign of servants upstairs, all of them busy preparing breakfast, or dealing with the chaos Marina left behind in the banquet hall. Listening for danger, Marina hears nothing, and decides to enter the intriguing door. It opens to reveal an aristocratic bed chamber, dominated by one double, poster bed. On the opposite wall is a long wardrobe with an array of mirrors and makeup, whilst there is a ensuite bathroom in the upper corner. It seems entirely normal, if extravagant on the world of Swaadi.

Then why is Marina so terrified? She backs against a wall, consumed by a wave of unholy dread. Her memory rehashes her greatest failures, her mind consumed by thoughts of her greatest fears. She slumps to the ground, trembling and half-paralysed, as her mind breaks to the unnatural sensation.

[Marina has gained the Self-Mortification Disorder. She is constantly cutting, flagellating, scarring and branding herself for no apparent reason. She suffers a -10 penalty to all Interaction Tests due to her mutilated appearance (does not count Intimidate or Interrogate). Marina is also at a -10 penalty to all Tests for this encounter.]

Unbidden, Marina's eyes see something of the truth of this terrible room. She sees vomit and blood strewn about on the floor. She sees a ritual circle, marked with dark symbols she does not recognise, but fill her with disgust and fear. And she sees the ethereal figure of a dead woman, her black, curly hair scraggly and unkempt, her leg detached from the hip by some mighty blade. When she blinks, the vision disappears.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Thu Sep 22, 2016 12:06 pm

As the seconds drag past, Marina begins to come back to herself. Unconsciously, obsessively, instinctively she has been flicking her claws in and out, and her palms are bloodied where the razor blades have brushed against the skin. Her blood is red, as it should be, normal and comforting. She drags a claw gently across the heel of the other hand just to watch the blood well up from the shallow cut. Normal.

The thing to do when confronted by terrifying things is to run away. But it seems a bit late for that - here she has been shaking and frozen and nothing has reached out to kill her. Fear still reigns, but confusion is beginning to come to the fore as well. Unsure what to do about this inexplicable scene, she backs out of the room, picks another door at random.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:41 pm

Marina hastens out of the room and, in her confusion and fright, is not careful with which room next to pick. Fortunately, the Lord of Chance seems to smile upon her, and the next room she enters is unoccupied. Away from the main bedchamber, the fear is beginning to subside, and Marina is able to consider her surroundings more carefully. 

Clearly, this room is in use: it has too many affects. An array of ornate swords are proudly displayed on the wall, beside a couple of animal skins of beasts native (if rare in the wilds) to Swaadi. In the wardrobe, there is absurdly formal clothing, and apparently nothing that could be considered informal. Such an individual must be quite prim and proper, and, from the clothing, is presumably male. There is an aged timepiece, half put together, on a sombre table beside the bed, but no picts of friends or family.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Thu Sep 22, 2016 4:42 pm

Marina is very tempted to grab the swords and give them a go. It's always hardest to keep on task when she's stressed. But her hands are covered in blood, and leaving bloody hand prints all over everything would not be subtle. She leaves the swords alone, a little sadly.

The inhabitant of this room is presumably an accomplished swordsman and thus not an easy victim. She's going to need to snatch someone at some point, and it's going to be hard enough given the circumstances without picking a target who is inherently dangerous as well.

Next room, cautious again. Hopefully noble meals take long enough that she'll be able to manage a decent search of the upstairs.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:12 pm

Marina stalks down the upstairs corridor, unaccosted and free to snoop on the villa. Listening in on the side of a door, she hears nothing and opens it to reveal what looks to be a spare room. The bed looks plush and comfy, and though it seems to have had occasional use, there are no personal affects to suggest that it is currently occupied. Marina views a number of Ecclesiastical charms along the walls, suggesting that a common guest might be a member of the church. Didn't someone say that the deacon is a friend of the Klossners?

At the next room, Marina presses her ear to the door and hears a male voice snoring. She eases open the door silently, taking care not to wake the young nobleman she finds in his double poster bed. He is attractive, having inherited wavy blonde hair and sharp cheekbones, above a somewhat feminine chin. Currently, however, his mouth is wide open as he snores loudly. There are no swords on the walls in this room, and many portraits of landscapes entirely alien to the arid wilds of Swaadi. What does Marina do?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:44 pm

A kidnappable person!

This is a terrible idea. Marina acknowledges as such to herself. But she cannot skulk around indefinitely. Her luck will run out at some point. And she won't get what she wants without talking to people. So, not at all sure what the next steps are going to be, she decides to act.

She creeps up to the bed, grabs a pillow, and puts it over the man's face to stifle any noise he might make. She climbs on top of him to thwart his struggles, and attempts to smother him into unconsciousness.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:59 pm

Marina quietly closes the door behind her and creeps over to the bed. She does not wake her victim, and springs a pillow on top of his face. He immediately makes muffled sounds of panic, but Marina has a good grip on him. Though he thrashes, after a minute or so he has fallen quiet once more. 

The kidnapper considers where to take her prey. There is a window, if she fancied climbing with a man on her shoulders. The guards would probably notice that. Alternatively, she might take him to the ensuite just off the room, or perhaps the ensuite in the spare bedroom. Or he could just be bundled into a cupboard. Curious, Marina checks the cupboard, seeing an array of beautifully tailored, flowery shirts and robes. What to do, what to do...

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Thu Sep 22, 2016 6:21 pm

Spare bedroom. She even vaguely thought of that before putting the pillow on the guy. Okay, maybe only a few seconds before, but that's like forwards planning. She's still hashing out the next step as she drags the fellow into the next room. She brings the pillow as well - they're super useful for keeping people unconscious quietly.

Assuming she makes it to the spare room safely, she pauses to assess her options. People don't usually go into spare bedrooms, she assumes, hence her choice to come here. If Gracious does his thing, he might be put up here, but Gracious is an ally, so that's fine. On the other hand, although the room looks perfectly fine as is to Marina, she imagines that servants would probably be sent ahead of a guest to do whatever it is that servants do to rooms. So she may need a hiding spot. Under the bed? If there's space?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:32 pm

Like all the beds in the Villa von Klossner, this one is a double poster monstrosity, with plenty of room to hide someone underneath. Marina gags her victim and binds him with bed-sheets, hog-tying him out of view. It's tight, but it's not perfect. Though the man, when he comes round, won't be able to make much noise from his mouth or wriggle his way out, he could still bang against the bed. That would be sure to get the servants' attention if they were in the room. 

Marina pokes her victim experimentally. He is out cold, and they normally take at least ten to twenty minutes before waking up. Perhaps for the actual interrogation, the ensuite is best, and then he can be hidden under the bed. What is Marina's long term plan?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:16 pm

Marina has no long term plan. She is taking things one step at a time. She has a long term goal - apparently she needs to find out everything that she can about the Deacon, and maybe the Makuu more generally. Her usual approach to this sort of problem is to start questioning people about who might know what she wants, until she gets to someone who has the information she needs.

In the short term, ideas start popping into her head. She needs to conduct a quiet interrogation - so no screaming. But people can't scream when they're suffocating, or when they're choking on water. She still has a pillow, so she takes it into the en suite in search of water to soak it with. Yes, probably best to do the interrogation in here where it will be easier to clean up the water.

Provided she is not interrupted first, her plan for the interrogation is as follows: sit over him and watch for the return of consciousness. As soon as he seems to be coming round and might make noise, smother him again - not long enough to put him out cold, but enough to keep him quiet while she makes it very clear that his access to air is contingent on him staying quiet. Repeat as needed. She reckons that attempting to breathe through a sodden pillow won't get enough water into his lungs to drown him, but ought to be thoroughly unpleasant and set him gasping and choking in a way that isn't compatible with screaming. And then, if all that goes fine, she has questions. About the Deacon. About any other church leaders. About the household, and their routines.

If she gets any warning that she is to be interrupted, she hopes to hide herself and her victim under the bed, claws to his throat as a warning against struggling. If she is interrupted without warning - well, she'll have to take that as it comes.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:26 am

When the young man comes round, he instantly panics as his memories catch up with the present. But Marina is already there, and now that her victim is bound, he is helpless before her. He acts as if he is drowning, wrestling so hard that Marina worries he will break his arms. She explains to him what the situation is, that he won't be breathing unless he stays quiet and answers her questions. When she removes the pillow, he nods vigorously, and when un-gagged is more than willing to talk.

Happily, the pair are not disturbed and Marina has all the time she needs. The deacon, Alfred Brauer, is a family friend of "Mother" and often comes to feast and socialise with the family. He is an elderly man with a hatred for the locals, and does not get involved much with actual preaching - the closest he comes to Ecclesiastical work is a pet project in which he is cataloguing all the sins of the Swaad in a historical treatise. 

The main preacher of the Makuu is Preacher Elias Hasek. The noble tells Marina that he is an ambitious, fiery sort, and that the deacon sometimes worries that there is a redemptionist fire in the young man. Elias has the most prominent connections to the tithed villages, most notably Kifodini, and works through some Swaad woman as a mouthpiece. 

The only other Ecclesiastical individual of notable rank is Drill Abbot Gerlinde Forst. Marina's victim notes that Forst is truly ancient, having been a young woman in the initial compliance of Swaadi. She seems to hate the Swaad, and the noble thinks she would get on well with mother if she was able to travel. He notes that the family don't go to church much.

When it comes to the household, the young man tells Marina the following. His name is Patrick, and his siblings are Markus and Gerhild. His father, Leonard Schneider, used to be an esteemed tailor and became romantically involved with his mother, Lady Sarah, who is still a married woman. The mansion of Swaadi is a home away from home for those disgraced in the Klossner family: currently occupied by Sarah, her illegitimate lover and her bastard children. 

The rest of the household are taken up by about half a dozen servants - local Swaad plucked from their villages - and a professional mercenary force of a dozen. Patrick confesses with a fearful sob that he does not know precisely how many servants there are, or anything about them other than they are managed by Reimund Dunkle, an elderly and strict butler from Juno. However, Patrick does know the mercenaries by name. They are professionals from Aventine, as Marina already deduced, and are led by Fiametta Agosti. She is a good friend of Markus, and goes into the villages with her mercs when the family need food or supplies. Patrick doesn't know what they do to acquire the goods, but Markus sometimes goes with them, and his sword comes back stained in blood.

When it comes to routines, Patrick notes that there isn't much of one. The Aventine mercenaries don't come into the house unless explicitly asked to, so Marina needn't worry about stumbling across a professional warrior. The servants scurry about doing, in Patrick's words, "their business," and the family pursue idle excesses.

Marina asks if anything has been left out, and goes again for the pillow. Patrick wriggles and admits there is something more. Gerhild has been particularly frightened of late, claiming to have seen a ghost and heard it talking to her. She has only told the full story to Patrick, but the whole family knows that she keeps shrieking with fright. The ghost, Gerhild says, wants their mother for some purpose, and takes the form of a young aristocrat. In return, it promised glory and power, but Gerhild is mostly just terrified of what she fears is daemonic. It is a recent development, and Patrick notes that Gerhild has not had a rose dose for some time: but it is not like her to invent fancies. Patrick worries that Gerhild is becoming enthralled by these visions.

Patrick may yet be hiding more information, but Marina is not sure. Certainly, she has got all she can from her current methods. Does she resume by some other means, or is she satisfied?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:56 am

In some ways, Marina is disappointed. For all his fancy things and good looks, this noble is no braver than a common farmer. In another way, she's satisfied. This is a good batch of info to be getting on with. She's very tempted to drown him slowly, watch him kick his life out on the floor. But that's not the rules.

The mention of Rose pricks up her ears.

"Your sister takes Rose?" she asks, "Do you know where she keeps it? I love Rose..."

After that, she sits back on her heels and looks her victim over. The cooperative ones are always such a nuisance. Then she has to decide whether to break her rules, or to go to all the hassle of shutting a live person up. Somehow she suspects just making threats is going to be insufficient here.

... Maybe she hasn't thought this through enough.

"Say, if you were me, where would you hide you so as not to let your family catch on?"

It's an idle question, just the sort of chatter she makes with captives from time to time. She isn't expecting a serious answer.

"Gonna have to put you out again," she concludes. "If you let me put an arm across your neck it'll go faster for you and hurt less. If you try to yell, it's the water again, and I might change my mind about not killing you."

She doesn't have much of a plan, but at least knocking him out and gagging him again will let her hide him for a few minutes, clean up the water, and decide what to do about the problem.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:35 am

Patrick wriggles in discomfort. "She doesn't keep it anywhere: as aforementioned, her supply has been extinguished. Our suppliers are requesting double the payment due to the hostilities on the planet, but Mother refuses."

The young man is white with fear, and merely stutters a response of confusion and ignorance when Marina asks where he should be hidden. Ultimately, the mansion isn't that big, such that there are rooms that individuals never go in. But the noble cooperates when Marina gets him into a headlock, and though he starts panicking once he becomes short of breath, he is knocked out relatively smoothly. Marina wipes up the water with a couple of plush towels, and considers her next move.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:54 pm

Marina sighs. Curse this stupid, pretty boy. He is unreasonably cooperative. She can't hold the kicking for air against him. It's only instinct. She's felt it herself often enough.

After wringing most of the water out of it, Marina hides the suspiciously sodden pillow under the bed. For now, she stashes Patrick under there too, replacing the gag. If she's lucky, maybe she'll be there to keep him quiet if and when servants come in. She wonders if he appreciates how gentle she's been with him. Probably not. They almost never do. And he doesn't seem used to this sort of thing.

She listens for danger again before quitting the room. She doesn't think she's quite finished searching the upstairs yet, and maybe she can find a better place to hide Patrick. In a cupboard maybe? People must go into cupboards less frequently than they go into rooms, and maybe she could rig something to keep him from banging by wriggling about. It's not like missing people aren't suspicious, but they're a damn sight less suspicious than live witnesses.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Sep 23, 2016 4:35 pm

Stowed safely underneath the bed, Patrick is left in the spare room. Marina is just about to prowl out into the upstairs hallway, when she hears the sound of an aristocratic, middle-aged woman talking animatedly about a masked ball she once enjoyed on Juno. Occasionally, the voice of Gracious returns some platitude, or some flattery, and they are talking loudly enough such that Marina can easily tell when they are passed her door. She opens the door quietly, watching as Gracious and a noblewoman in a formal ballgown reach another door. 

"And this," the noblewoman declares theatrically, throwing open the door, "Is the trophy room!" Inside, Marina sees portraits, antique weapons and animal hides from beasts native to Swaadi. The pair soon enter the room, and close the door behind them. Marina sneaks out onto the hallway. 

To her right, Marina realises that she's missed a couple of doors and doubles back, taking care to avoid being seen from the mezzanine. She finds a main bathroom - unfortunately, not stashing any rose, but with a few prescription painkillers - with an ornate, ivory tub and an alchemist's array of chemicals and soaps. Next door is a linen closet: perhaps a good place for young Patrick, but unfortunately close to the stairs and currently full of towels. 

Heading back, Marina crosses the main staircase and freezes as she hears a sudden hiss of alarm from a servant downstairs. She stays stock still - sometimes, with her cameleoline cloak, spotters can convince themselves that they have seen nothing but a strange shadow, and she is half-hidden by the banister. True to this phenomenon, the servant recovers from her shock and passes by from the entrance hall towards the kitchens. Breathing in relief, Marina sneaks forward to the one door not yet explored (other than the trophy room). Marina knows that there are three (adult) children in this house, so it does not take a genius to determine that this is Gerhild's room. Does she enter?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Fri Sep 23, 2016 5:10 pm

A brief moment's thought suggests that there's unlikely to be any reward in Gerhild's room interesting enough to justify the risk of going in. But now she knows which room is which.

On consideration, she guesses that the place people who aren't Patrick are least likely to go looking for things is his wardrobe. But moving him carries risks of it's own... hm.

Marina finds that she is having fun. This is such a mad thing to be doing, yet here she is doing it. Who would guess it?

The next logical target who would know more useful things about the deacon is Lady Sarah herself. But she's currently busy talking to Gracious. Marina wonders if Gracious would cooperate if she just let herself in and grabbed the lady now... but he doesn't seem like the type, and she doesn't know him well enough to trust in it.

In that case, it seems like she will have to wait for an opportunity. She sneaks back into the spare room, slips under the bed. It's still a good hiding spot, and if she keeps an eye on Patrick, she reckons she can dissuade him from struggling even if they have to hide while servants come and go.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Sep 23, 2016 5:44 pm

Marina carefully listens, and after about an hour she hears Lady Sarah Klossner's voice. Marina can't quite make out what the noblewoman is saying, but Gracious' voice seems to remain in the trophy room as Lady Klossner walks past Marina's door. Marina glances back at Patrick. He's partially awake, and Marina bends down to remind him to stay quiet. His eyes wide with fright, he makes no sound. Does Marina pounce on Lady Klossner?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:58 pm

Plates are spinning, and it's only a matter of time until things come crashing down. Marina can't afford to not act. So she does. If she were more devout, she might pray for the circumstances which are out of her control to align well such that this does not immediately end in disaster. But there is no room in Marina's head for prayer, only the desperate thrill of imminent success or failure.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:51 am

Marina listens carefully for the precise moment when Lady Klossner passes her door. At that, she bursts out and pounces on the noblewoman, hand round her mouth before the victim has a chance to scream. The lady struggles, but Marina grapples her back into the room, closing the door behind them, and throws the noblewoman to the ground. She begins choking her out, but the noblewoman puts up more of a fight than her son. Moreover, her son takes this opportunity to start making muffled shouts, emboldened by the presence of his mother. 

Despite the noblewoman's spirit, she is still relatively old and frail, and Marina puts her to sleep quickly. The killer dives over to Patrick, who has been screaming his mouth off, luckily muffled by the gag. He falls silent once Marina reaches him.

Marina waits, and listens. It is tense: Patrick has been fairly loud, and any servant who happened to pass the entrance hallway might have heard him. But Marina worked very quickly, and, after a minute of silence, she is satisfied that the servants have not been alerted to her trespass. She glances to Patrick with a murderous glint in her eye. And he was being so cooperative before...

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:15 pm

"Oh, now you've done it." Marina grins at Patrick, her face very close to his. "You know we could have done this without anyone getting hurt? And believe me, I haven't hurt you yet."

She shows Patrick her claws. "Keep quiet now, and I won't cut up your pretty face. Okay? You can still get out of this without any permanent injuries."

Juggling two prisoners is always harder. She tries to stay close to Patrick to lend weight to her threats while she secures his mother. If he makes any more noise, she will cut him - just shallow scratches one at a time to dissuade further struggling. If he stays quiet while she secures Lady Klossner, then she hides the woman under the bed then drags Patrick back into the bathroom.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:40 am

Now that his mother is also a captive, and Marina is able to give Patrick her full attention, the young noble is once more terrified into silence. Though Marina is starting to run out of bed linen - though she could, if necessary, start cutting it up - she binds Lady Klossner and puts her victims where she desires. Marina wonders what she should do now.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:50 am

Meanwhile, Laval is none the wiser of Marina's antics. She is enjoying a well-deserved rest, when she hears Gracious in her mind again.

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 Jewelcast on Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:11 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?

*****

Marina props Patrick up so that he is face up, aware that it will be uncomfortable for him. As she goes through her bag looking for a drinking cup, she talks to him.

"There's rules, see? If you do what I say, you don't get hurt. But when you disobey me, I get to have some fun. Now, promises are important, so you do get a second chance to survive this. But first, we're gonna make sure you really regret that little outburst."

Why change tactics when you've hit on something that works and is quiet? Marina pours water through Patrick's gag - not so fast that it drowns him, but enough that he will be forced to swallow or choke, enough to make breathing hard and trigger all those delightful reflexes that come with drowning. She only has a few minutes, she knows, before she has to turn her attention to her other victim. But that ought to be long enough to make him thoroughly miserable.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

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

Patrick splutters and gags, his limbs straining against his bonds. But when Marina is finished, there is the spark of defiance in his eyes. Having seen his mother subject to the same fate, and been tortured and abused, the young nobleman's hope - the hope that kept him quiet and afraid, for fear of losing that chance - is beginning to evaporate. Nonetheless, when Marina is done, he lies silently, but for the muffled coughs and splutterings.

[Marina gains 1 Infamy and 3 Corruption.]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:15 pm

Elsewhere, Laval continues to hear Gracious' thoughts filter through her mind: 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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