[GOTHIC/ECHO] Scene 1: Lux's Introduction

edited September 2009 in In-Game
"What makes you think Lord Insiadis, won't gut you like a dab when he sees you?" Violin's heliotrope eyes regarded Lux coolly, her dirtwater hair in her eyes again.

They were just cresting the bridge at Seventh Crossing. The hawkers and peddlers of Widdershins Mark were out earlier than usual; there would be no opportunity to sell on the holiday tomorrow. Violin's pale face held its practiced boredom. It was unlikely they might be regarded much less overheard in the mercantile din, but one never knew…

Violin is an attractive if somewhat disheveled nineteen year-old lass. She is a new Resistance member. You are on your way to see Lord Insiadis right now.


  • Lux's dark eyes survey the area with their usual insouciance, a fitting smirk playing over his lips. "I've got something he wants." Inside of his pocket, his hand is twirling the skin stones around and around. They feel smooth and warm, and Lux feels a strange sense of comfort emanating from them. "I think he may just forget my indiscretion with his daughter over it. If there's one passion that rules Lord Insiadis more than his pride, it's his greed."

    Lux steps over a downtrodden, passed out figure lying in the road as the fingers of his free hand brush over the weapon hilt within his coat. It makes sense to play on Insiadis' desires. But it would be foolish not to be prepared in case he was wrong.

    "And besides, that's why I'm bringing you. I'm sure you can make him more... amenable to what I have to say."
  • edited September 2009
    Without breaking stride, Violin filches a starfruit from a nearby wagon and manages a grim smile. "He can look at the wares, but I can't imagine his hands on me. I wouldn't be even be surprised if he were the one sweeping Smudgetown for moppet teeth."

    The image of Insiadis in Smudgetown is vaguely absurd.

    Always seeking, Violin notices Lux's fidgeting. "The way you're fingering those jewels of yours, it looks to me you're readying for another poke at his daughter! When am I going to get a stare at those stones of yours?" A burst of nervous laughter erupts from Violin, her voice husky from one too many nights on vigil near the Nightfort.

    Violin knows about the skin stones. Lux might have thought she'd given up asking about them. This is her first double entendre on the subject. Lux has come to recognize Violin's crude humor as a defense. While her demeanor is as cool as the Orre river, he knows she is frightened.

    The two pass through the government district, and mount Mourners Stairs, one of the points of entry leading to the palazzos of the some of the ruling families of Meridian.
  • edited September 2009
    Lux adjusts his coat just so as they enter the palazzo area, making sure that there's always a flash of his smooth skin between the folds of cloth. He knows he is skirting the edge of decency as the ruling families see it, but he also knows that there's little that fascinates the nobles more than someone who walks the line.

    "The trick is to dangle what they want in front of them..." he says and produces the skin stones from his pocket. They rotate over his palm in a smooth and fluid motion. But as Violin reaches for them, he swiftly closes his hand, a sly grin on his lips as her fingers wraps around his fist. "... but never to let them really have it."

    Their eyes are locked for a few more moments, as are their hands, before he places the skin stones back in his pocket and hops up the stairs toward Lord Insiadis' manor. He takes a deep breath and gives Violin another smile. "Trust me. This is what I do." He blissfully ignores the guards standing at either side of the large doors and knocks, five times.
  • After overcoming his initial surprise, the younger of the praetos moves to interpose his ranseur but the elder guardsman raises his hand to ward off the younger and grins.

    "Well look at the cheek of this gull, Lino! This is the very same roller our gentle has been railing about for a fortnight! Come to see about a dowry no doubt! Stealing it by right of fleshbond at any rate!"

    The salt-bearded elder begins to laugh. He laughs so hard his eyes begin to water. He begins a coughing fit which ends only when a mousy maidservant opens one of the elaborately carved chestnut doors a minute later.

    The elder regards Lux again and appears to think for a moment. "Some kind of deathwish, have you? You'll have your audience by the Five! I wouldn't miss it for all the pretties of Night Carnival! Especially as you brought this bit of sweetmeat with you," he grins, regarding Violin's shape.

    "But first things first!"

    The elder guardsman Gregry moves forward a bit. You sense he intends to search you for any weapons and hold them for safe keeping.
  • edited September 2009
    Lux smiles wryly at the guardsman's jest, but he remains silent. He watches, his head slightly tilted aside, as the veteran nearly dies laughing. When the door opens, he starts inside, but he is intercepted by the guardsman's motions.

    "You won't lay your hands on me," Lux says. He gazes into the old man's eyes intently, pushing into the man's mind with his will. At the same time, he smiles coldly. "That's reserved for the young and pretty." He glances at the young guardsman over his shoulder and gives him a very meaningful look. "But tonight, your master is waiting for me. There must be no delay."

    He's trying to use magic to keep the guard from searching him. This may be a conflict, I guess.
  • I think we should just to figure out the protocol. We should be able to make it relatively interesting.

    Lux is trying to manipulate Gregry. Lord Insiadis has many enemies and does not brook armed men in his presence that are not in his employ. But Gregry cannot resist Lux's manipulation.

    The Danger is that Lord Insiadis asks Gregry to confirm that he searched Lux and he is put in a bad position as a result.

    State your Goal, add an additional Danger if you wish, and invoke Aspects if you wish. I don't think I need to confirm any of these, at least for this conflict. In fact you should feel free to add a little something to your Goal in a narrative sense since having your weapon doesn't help you in a strictly mechanical sense.

    Then make your roll in a separate post.

    Then inform me how you are going to distribute your roll and we will "play it out."
  • Goal: Make a grand entrance that impresses everyone there, including Violin and Lord Insiadis.
    Danger: Get put in a bad position.
  • edited September 2009
    #DiceRoller( 2d6 )
  • edited September 2009
    Bravo! That is a fair goal and certainly includes Lux being spared the indignity of a search (impressing and calming Violin). Your roll warrants a lot of license. However you decide to handle it, Lord Insiadis will be impressed and will be put into a good frame for negotiation as a result. He respects power, however it is carried. He still has reason to be angry with you, so you'll have to proceed accordingly once you've declared your intentions in the scene. (presumably something that progresses Lux towards a Hope?)

    Gregy suddenly seems unsettled, as though Lux knows something he doesn't, and that something might be his undoing. He coughs a bit and mumbles, "No delay to your funeral, perhaps. Heh." The words fall flat and humorlessly to the ears of everyone nearby, and the maidservant takes a step back.

    "Right this way, young sir," with a curtsy.

    Lino blushes and pulls back his polearm from Lux's path.

    "You wait here, Lino," Gregry urges, and steps into the grand foyer.

    On the path to the inner chambers of the pallazo, up grey marble stairways and past pomegranate stone balusters, Gregry inexplicably leads the way alongside the maidservant instead of following guardedly from behind as would be the custom, also missing his usual opportunity to ogle a guest like Violin.

    On the stairs, Violin squeezes Lux's hand and whispers "Well done! How do you do it?!"

    At the top of the second stairway and down a short hall, Gregy steps into a a large sitting parlor lined with books. He steps to one side of the entry and coughs a wheezy cough, "Lord Isiadis, forgive me! It seems you have another guest..."

    Lord Insiadis and Axelrod Deimos are within. Axelrod was in the middle of gesticulating while referencing some kind of intricate tome on a book pedestal in the middle of the room. Lord Insiadis had a bored expression on his face when Gregry stepped in, perhaps wishing for a bit of escape from the scholar's present exposition. All the appointments are expensive and gaudy. Feel free to back things up and interject. You know how these things go better than I do.
  • Lux walks alongside Violin, a self-assured grin on his lips. At the squeeze of her hand, he glances over but doesn't actually answer.

    As they walk down the hall toward the sitting parlor, something catches his eye, and his heart skips a beat. Gregry's announcement comes from a faraway place, muffled and echoing, as Lux looks at his reflection in one of the two large wall mirrors that frame the entrance to the parlor. Lux gets lost in his own eyes for a moment, overwhelmed by the loss that he's been trying to hide in the darkest recesses of his mind since it happened. Cas...

    But there's no time for that now. Not until his mission is fulfilled.

    In the blink of an eye, a smile flashes up on his face as he barges past Gregry with firm and demanding steps. "My Lord! I apologize for the unannounced visit." The tone of his voice almost makes a mockery of his own words. He slips past Axelrod, picking up the tome from the pedestal, and feigns interest for a second before he casually tosses the heavy book for Axelrod to catch. "And for any grievances I may have caused you in the past. None of which were intended, of course." As Lord Insiadis rises, whether to address him directly or simply to order the guards to chain him up, the skin stones appear in his hand, circling around. Lux is facing Lord Insiadis, purposely preventing Axelrod from seeing what he's holding, if only to irritate the esquire.

    His fist closes again, and his smile grows more sincere, though the sparkle remains in his dark eyes. "I would very much like a more private audience with your highness."
  • edited September 2009
    For a moment in time, erudite scholar is transformed into carnival juggler as Axelrod fumbles to catch the tome. Three times he nearly drops it but finally secures the book.

    As Lord Insiadis rises from his chair his expression turns from surprise to anger to shock all in an instant. As Lux speaks his piece about a private audience, he and Axelrod stare at one another, Insiadis with a questioning glare and Axelrod with a baffled expression.

    "How did he lay his hand upon the Swanscomb Tome, Axelrod?! As you explained to me, I could not lay a glove upon its binding because it knew me not?"

    At a loss for words, Axelrod looks down at the book and begins to flip through its pages as though to ascertain its contents are still intact.

    Esquire Axelrod Deimos is known somewhat to Lux. He is an intelligent man of learning who has made his bed with some of the allied ruling families, the House of Insiadis among them. He gains coin, favor and access to their libraries, but perhaps at the cost of being able to study those things which interest him most; since the Shadow fell, most of the powerful families of Meridian read little and understand less, often putting him to tasks that serve their own rivalries rather than extend his own knowledge. He is associated with something called the Corvus Heresy, but Lux knows little of it.

    Lord Insiadis, a marchese with a powdered wig framing an aquiline nose and a cavalier face carved with unrequired worries, finally registers the prize that was flashed before him.

    "Oh! But yes, of course, a private audience!" He gives a stern look towards Axelrod. "Our esteemed guest has other appointments to be sure, and he'll be wanting to examine his book dutifully to make certain you've not damaged it, nor pilfered any of its pages."

    "But, Lord! The book! This mystery! I must..." Axelrod begins to protest.

    Lord Insiadis turns fully towards Axelrod and hisses something at him in gildtongue, an argot held closely among the ruling classes.

    Lux is uncertain what Lord Insiadis said but he caught the word Swanscomb and some threatening reference to the cardinal.

    Axelrod says nothing in return but blanches, tucks his book into a leather bag and hurries out, pausing only briefly to look at Violin quizzically, as though he is trying to place her face.

    After a questioning glance to his lord, Gregy leaves the room to the Lord Insiadis and his two young guests.

    Insiadis gestures to two comfortable chairs across from him and is himself seated.

    "I'm very upset with you, Lux, as you might imagine," not sounding at all upset. "But who is this lovely creature? So many treasures you've brought me, perhaps to make up for what you've taken?"

    "I think I can guess why, but I'll let you say it..."
  • Lux just smiles and moves about as Lord Insiadis addresses Axelrod. While he overhears a word here and there, he really couldn't care less. He didn't come to spy on their plans or find out what conniving scheme the nobles are involved in this time. He has just one interest at the time, one that's consumed his thoughts since the moment his brother died.

    He knew instantly what had happened. The bond of love between twins transcends any distance.

    Lux slides gracefully into the seat, his legs across one of the arms. He glances over at Violin as Lord Insiadis speaks about her. "Violin is a good friend of mine. I brought her here so she could bask in your glory, of course. But I can't claim her as my treasure, and neither could any other man." He looks back at Insiadis, meaningfully.

    "The true reason I came is that I am willing to trade. I know you've been looking for these." He produces the skin stones once again. "And I've been looking for something as well."
  • That Swanscomb Tome bit was mostly a device for Lux to have impressed Axelrod. And possibly of interest to other players later. ;)

    Lord Insiadis looks a bit disappointed at Lux's comment on Violin but continues to gaze at her. He leans back in his chair and takes a draft of coffee.

    "You and your friends stuck your noses where they didn't belong and paid a heavy price for those stones. You're always doing that, you and your type. Risking much to go where you don't belong and paying too much in the bargain." Insiadis takes another sip of bitter.

    "I suppose that's part of the reason I'm not quite so eager to see you hang as I might be, however you strut about... I nearly pity you."

    "You're looking for your brother then, I expect. Yes, pity that as well." Insiadis grins at Lux and then leers at Violin.

    "How many of those stones did you come way with, then? I heard it was quite a haul. And only a sample to tempt me with? Clever lad."
  • On the inside, Lux frowns. He would have been happier if Insiadis hadn't known what he's after, because it would have put Lux in a better negotiating position. But he knows that he's been snooping around, and Lord Insiadis won't be the only one whose informants have picked up on that. Lux will have to move fast before the Shadows find a way to use this against him.

    On the outside, however, Lux appears calm and collected, even at Insiadis' insults, which he blithely ignores. "How many I have isn't as important as how many I'm willing to part with. These three now, and three more when I have what I want. And this needs to stay between us."

    I'd like to have a conflict here: striking a bargain. My goal is to have Lord Insiadis tell me where I can find Cas' body. The danger is that he sells me out to the Shadow.
  • Sounds good. Your show.
  • edited October 2009
    #DiceRoller( 2d6 )
  • Before you decide how to distribute your dice, I would rule that an offer of a significantly higher number of stones (being willing to burn your Ephemera resource in the offer) after an initial rebuff of your first offer (Goal failure) could constitute a significant enough change in circumstance to try again.

    Or you could try to get help from Rook and/or Harkin regarding Cas' body.

    But being sold out to the Shadow might be fun too.
  • Alright... I'll burn up the skin stones.

    #DiceRoller( 1d6 )
  • edited October 2009
    Lux is definitely getting sold out to the Shadows, but there's a chance that he'll find his brother's corpse through Insiadis anyway. So I guess it's your turn for his reaction :)
  • "Wings enfold! Of course that goes without saying that this will remain between us. But you can hardly expect I'd offer up such dangerous information for a mere six stones, valuable as they are."

    At this, Lord Insiadis leans forward dramatically and his voice diminishes to an ominous whisper as though there were spies among them. He rests his hand on Violin's knee.

    "The wurm must have his playthings and the punishment is severe for those who seek to wrest his toys from his keeping..."

    Repelled, Violin moves her leg away and sits uncomfortably, keeping her eyes on the marchese.

    "Oh! But perhaps I've said too much," Lord Insiadis feigns a scandalized expression. "But then that alone won't be of enough help to you," as he returns to his satisfied grin.

    Another sip of bitter followed by a change of expression to one of sudden boredom.

    "I'll need a dozen such stones before we can even consider ourselves to be be bargaining properly. You're not browsing among the Widdershins stalls, you know."

    Lord Insiadis has indicated Cas' body belongs to The Corpse Wurm. If true, a fate worse than death. But getting to the Wurm, something the marchese suggests he can offer, is no light task.
  • At the mention of the wurm, a cold shiver runs down Lux's back. He thought it would be difficult to retrieve his brother's corpse, but this far exceeds his worst fears.

    "A dozen stones, and you'll open the way for me." He walks over to them and pulls Violin to her feet and behind him. "And the way needs to stay open until I return. If and when I do, the remainder of the stones shall be yours."
  • Lux hasn't actually succeeded outright in his goal, but he's already burned Ephemera, been sold out to the Shadow, and achieved a partial success so Insiadis will provide some guidance for Lux, putting him on a path he wouldn't otherwise have had access to.

    "The remainder?" Insiadis leans forward. "The word was the haul was two-and-thirty stones… So I'm to understand you'll leave these three with me now, send another nine my way by the morrow? I provide an entrance, and on the off chance you return I'll see a score more?"

    Insiadis smiles. It is discomforting.

    "I think we have an arrangement."

    Rebuffed twice, the marchese declines an attempt to kiss Violin's hand and rings for Gregry to see them out.

    Leaving the details of the provision aside for now. We may want to advance the time for Lux's next scene a long way forward or not.
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