Old Dorks Zeitgeist

Update Seven

Zeitgeist Seven

After the excitement dies down, the searchers report that the Duchess Ethelyn of Shale could not be found. She is officially declared missing. King Aodhan, under the apparent advice of Minister Lee, announces she is wanted in connection with any information she may have related to a plot against him.

In a prepared speech before the assembled VIPs and investigators, the king recounts the trials Risur has faced to defend itself from Danor through four wars that ultimately earned either side little. For centuries, the king says, his people have viewed Danorans as cursed and unnatural, while they claim Risuri are superstitious and primitive. But ironically their latest efforts to arm for war have brought the two nations closer together, as Danorans have helped Risur with its industrial revolution.

The king says the he hopes that his successor, whoever that may be, will not have to lose any more young men and women to another pointless war. And so, even though he first started this arms race, King Aodhan now intends to seek peace with his old, respected enemy, the sovereign of Danor. In one year’s time he will convene a peace summit here in Flint, and to seal the proposed treaty he intends to marry a Danoran.

The crowd is somewhat shocked and seemingly dismayed by this news, but there is little time to pursue the matter further, and the king is not forthcoming in revealing the identity of his intended.

After the speech, the king seeks out Blake and her team, making a point to thank them personally for their service tonight. He expresses his wish that they all have good relationships withtheir siblings, if any, before Minister Lee rushes him off to a private room.
Oct 30, 2011

Scott:
For the next week, Blake’s team are given various tasks by Delft, including low-level interviews, filling out paperwork and conducting searches. It becomes obvious over the course of the week that Malkie’s (and apparently Minister Lee’s) suspicions about the Duchess are being followed up on. Unfortunately, most of the higher-level investigation is being carried out by more experienced constables, leaving Blake’s five with the grunt work.

A week and a day after the incident on the Coaltongue, Delft calls the team into his office. He is not alone; after asking everyone to sit, he introduces the constables to the “Minister of Outsiders” from Danor, Lya Jierre. She’s dressed in a rich formal coat of red and purple, which is tailored to give her a lot of freedom of movement—fancy, yet suited for a sword fight.

And indeed she has a sword at her hip; it looks like a rapier, but has some tiny mechanical device attached at the guard. The sheath is thicker than one would expect for a rapier.

She nods to the group. “Please, indulge me for a moment. I have a puzzle for you to solve.” She directs the group’s attention to what appears to be a sall game of chess on Delft’s desk.

There are three ivory “towers,” each three inches tall with a steel plate on its base. Next are three stone rings—one red, one green, and one blue—each just slightly larger in diameter than the towers. Each ring has three strands of thread clipped to it, and each of the nine strands ends in a small silvery magnet, which can stick to the bases of the towers.

Lya Jierre says, “The three towers are about to be attacked. They must be reinforced by magic that flows like water from three portals — fire mana is red, earth is green, water is blue. The wires are canals through which the mana flows.

But if the mana streams cross, they’ll destroy their respective portals. How do you arrange the portals, towers, and streams of mana so that each tower gets all three types of magic, without any of the streams crossing?”
Oct 30, 2011

Scott:

file

Oct 30, 2011

Scott:
Delft looks impatiently amused by all this, rolling his eyes. “Give the lady an answer so we can move on to the important business.”

Oct 30, 2011

Michael:
Qarina’s hand slashes through the air. “If portals stuck at bottom, is impossible. Only solution to lift tower or lift portals. Portals probably more easy.”
Oct 31, 2011

Scott:
Lya Jierre says, “This one is cleverer than she looks. Good j—” and then Malkie grabs the pieces and starts rambling.
Oct 31, 2011

Erin:
Malkie tilts her heads at the pieces. “You haven’t given us enough information,” she mutters. For example, you said the streams cannot cross, yes?" She lifts one of the wires to illustrate. “But what about the portal itself?” She grabs one of the stone rings. “If not, then you could place them here, no?”

She places the towers in a loose triangle and slips a ring around each one. She runs two wires from each portal to the neighboring towers in parallel lines. The third wire, she loops around to tag the same tower.

file
Oct 31, 2011

Scott:
“Well, uh, actually, you just isolated all the towers and connected the portals to each other, causing a huge explosion…” Lya looks disappointed.
Oct 31, 2011

Erin:
Malkie holds her hands up. “Just trying to figure out your little rules. I’m no mage, I have no idea how your portals work.”
Oct 31, 2011

Scott:
Lya waves her off, mentally noting how dismissive Malkie was of the “chimp” who solved the problem, while making myriad excuses for her own failure.

“And furthermore, how close is the attack? Imminent? Because we’re positioning the towers too, which tells me we haven’t even started construction. At which point, why not build a fourth structure, to house the portals vertically, like the chimp suggested. Is it a budgeting concern? If so, the first maneuver is to manipulate the right individuals into advisory council meetings to reallocate the budget.” Malkie trails off, already picturing the arguments she would suggest, the officials she would target for bribing. To Malkie, all problems are ultimately political.
Nov 7, 2011

Eric:
“Bishop to Queen’s Bishop Seven,” Durakh-al blurts out.
Nov 7, 2011

Me:
“Bishop to King 7. Checkmate, I think,” Blake replies without blinking.
Nov 8, 2011

Eric:
Well played
Nov 1, 2011

Michael:
“Yes,” Qarina interjects.
Nov 1, 2011

Scott:
“Welp,” says Delft, “that settles it. I’ll go fetch ’er.”
Nov 1, 2011

Me:
“I wonder what his cut is,” Blake mutters to herself as Delft cuts off the conversation.
Nov 1, 2011

Scott:
Lya and Delft return, all smiles. Delft returns behind his desk, while the tiefling sits on the corner of it and addresses the team.

“Alright, Delft tells me you’re on board. Here’s the plan we’ve put together to capture the Duchess:

“Simply landing at some secluded beach is infeasible, because spells at the Axis Fort will alert the duchess if anyone sets foot on the island. But I have a work-around. The Impossible will rendezvous with the naval armada, where it will pick up a group of infiltration specialists: four highly-decorated Homeland constables from the Slate office. While the navy waits out of sight, the Impossible will enter a cove under the cover of darkness. A sea cave in that cove leads to the bottom of a mine; I don’t know the layout of that mine, however, so it will need to be explored, at least to find the exit to the island itself.

“With the aid of a Water Breathing ritual, the infiltrators will go in first to secure the cave, and then you will be given the signal to follow. The island’s fortress has a sea wall around a harbor, which protects against storms and assault, but provides access for shipments in and out. The infiltrators will be tasked with opening the fortress’s sea gate so the armada can storm the fortress more easily. The military will capture the duchess, who will likely be holed up in a keep in the center of the fortress.

“Once the dust settles, you’ll be on the scene to look for clues and interrogate the duchess and her associates. At least, that’s the plan. If anything goes awry, Sergeant Blake, your team are the infiltrators’ back-up. You’ll be supplied with redundant mission-critical resources, but once they’re on the island there won’t be any help until you open the sea gate for the navy. If they get into a fight, either with the island’s original Danoran defenders, or any of the duchess’s allies, you have free license to defend yourselves, but take prisoners if feasible.”

Delft harumphs, looking pointedly at Malkie.

“There is one complication,” Lya continues. "While the number one priority should be the capture of the duchess, there are two matters that will require special attention. First, to avoid a war, by sunset three days from now (roughly 12 hours after retaking the island, if all goes by schedule), Risur must hand control back over to her people. Second, as a personal request, I would request that you try to ensure the safety of one person. My cousin, Nathan Jierre, was on the island when it was attacked, and I’m worried the duchess might have harmed him just because he’s a tiefling.

“Nathan was just a teenager during the last war, so he should bear no punishment for whatever grudges the duchess holds. If he is still alive, please keep him safe until my people can pick him up and bring him home.”

Delft takes over. “We’ll be providin’ you with a a good amount of supplies for this little excursion.” Delft puts a small satchel on his desk. “Twelve ritual scrolls, conveniently pre-loaded for ease of use. Got your Water Breathing, some explosive spells, even a way to walk through walls. Also,” he smiles and pulls out five slips of paper the team will immediately recognize as requisition allowances, “Seven hundred and twenty eight gold crowns’ worth of requisition allowance. Each. Make good use of it.”

“Any questions?”
Nov 3, 2011

Scott:
TLDR: each character has 728gp to spend on stuff. Go gear up!
Nov 5, 2011

Me:
Cash spent. Geared up.
Nov 3, 2011

Michael:
this include magic stuff? If so, goody!
Nov 3, 2011

Scott:
I can’t read you without putting it into russian barbarian voice now, btw.

and: yes.
Nov 3, 2011

Michael:
haha..yeah, now that you say that, I can’t look at that sentence the same way, too. =p Thanks.
Nov 7, 2011

Scott:
Cazara has geared up.

Nov 9, 2011

Scott:
With no questions forthcoming, Lya Jierre makes her exit.

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