Friday, November 9, 2012

The Riddle of Blood e03 : Houses of the Blooded

The Riddle of Blood
Episode Three
"Fine Lines"
Houses of the Blooded

This third session of the game was bound to be a tougher one.  With what has been established in the earlier games, and with more players getting used to the system of declaring Intent and additional facts, I foresaw the game taking leaps and bounds in the twists and turns that were waiting for the players.

And looks like I assumed right.

The game opens with Kithranus Yvarai and his wife, Scarlet, having a long discussion about the previous events that transpired and the need to find better vassals. Kithranus had in fact been stealthily visiting the Ruins ever since he dreamed himself being there and talking to his reflection.  The reflection was offering him a Blood Sword in exchange for a sacrifice of blood.  "The blood of one who loves you," was the price the reflection demanded.  Circe Yvarai, the Scarlet Baroness and his wife, reminded him that his Valets were dead and it was best he took care of Yvonne for the time being.  Leaving him to handle certain duties, the Scarlet Baroness had no idea what chain of events she had allowed to unfold with her decision.

Elsewhere, Quan Wei Yvarai and her husband, Yao Lin, discussed the importance of eventually finding the opportunity to be Blooded as well.  The two were attending an opera and Talia found herself fascinated by the role of The Actress.  During the intermission, Yao Lin stepped out to find an old friend of his, the Baron Munn, asking for his help.  Quan Wei, on the other hand, ended up having an interesting conversation with the Duchess Gesserit Krev, the Mother of Pain.  The Duchess admitted to enjoying Quan Wei's company and invited herself to her home.  Upon Yao Lin's return, Quan Wei learned of Baron Munn's story, of how the poor Baron's wife, Baroness Sola was viciously Murdered by the Marquis Vittorio and the Count Dillard.  She admitted, however, that she did not desire to be part of further Murder.

In Castle Archos, Gaius Mwrr wakes up to discover his husband missing from his bedside.  He walks around his estate and finds the Veth standing at the Garden, facing a massive Oak tree.   He talks of the dreams he has been having, of white steeds and ivory stallions.  Of blood flowing down white marble floors and of black cloaks bearing shattered spears.  Vance asks Gaius if he has ever heard of the name Moryvander and Gaius admits to having heard of the name in the past.  Of a Senator who was deemed pariah.  Of a family stripped of all power.  Vance asks if Gaius knows of what resides in the door beneath the Oak tree.  Gaius admits he was not aware there was such a door before.

Armand Steele ponders on how to gain a better standing on Ven society.  He is visited by Alexi Burghe, the remaining family member of Ti'Ann Burghe and Mara Burghe, who openly swears to someday take Revenge for what he had done to his family.  Armand sends out messages to both his parents, and to Cavilo Adrente to ask for assistance.    He finds an unexpected visitor to the Dusk Citadel when The Unrelenting Passion, Cavilo Adrente comes knocking at his Castle door. Once again, the delicate dance of Romance is played, with Cavilo playing Prey to Armand's Predator.  But Armand too often plays instead the desperate slave than the determined hunter, and this infuriates Cavilo.  The two are interrupted by the untimely arrival of Armand's mother, Valentina Steele who pulls her son aside to talk to him about the events that have shifted in his absence.  Armand's father and Valentina's husband, Lucian Steele had died, killed by a twist of fate - or perhaps the murderous intent of a jealous wife.  Lucian had been having an affair with a Duke, Valentina claimed.  And Armand realized she was speaking of no one else but Cavilo himself.  The Duke then stepped into the room, hoping to bid farewell, only to have Valentina then recognize him for who he is.

And finally, in the darkness of Tower Azure, the exuberant Talia Mwrr discussed with the unpredictable Jaime Adrente the power that Artifacts offered its owners.  He spoke of hidden wealth waiting in the depths of Ruins and the legacy awaiting them, given by the Sorcerer-Kings.  Talia found herself seduced by the lure of adventure and power, and agreed to assist him, unwittingly becoming an accomplice to one of the greatest escape acts in the shared history of Ven society.  An escape that would entangle the lives of the Red Throne, and threaten the future of Shanri itself.

Kithranus visits the Ruins located in his Province with his daughter in tow.  Yvonne begins to act strangely, as if guided by forces the Fox could not perceive.  When the child draws the Blood Sword from the mirrored walls of the Ruin, Kithranus realizes the child has somehow tapped into the power of the place, and had made a deal with some force within.  Made to choose between Yvonne, whom he had learned is not truly his daughter, and his wife, Kithranus kills the child and takes the Blood Sword.  The blood transforms the Ruin into a Puzzle House with velvet red carpets that adorn everything that is not a mirror surface. He steps out of the Puzzle House to find his wife poisoned, sitting in the shade, and hurries of to the nearby Baronies to seek a Health Salve.

His search leads him to visit Gaius Mwrr, once he successfully dispatches a band of Orks that attempt to intercept his trip.  Kithranus and Gaius then get lost in a circular debate discussing business deals and promises.  Realizing the Serpent is too crafty, the Fox heads off to the next barony to seek a salve.  Gaius finds his husband, Vance, once again muttering in his sleep about white horses and strange promises, and discovers the door in his garden has opened.  Beneath the garden, what stands is an ancient Shrine.  What is uncertain, however, is to whom it is dedicated to.

Quan Wei Yan is forced to entertain the Mother of Pain in her own home.  Their discussion explores possible deals and ends with the Mother of Pain hoping the two can be good friends.  Happy that the Duchess had finally left, Quan Wei Yan and her husband then speak with the Baron Munn and once again clarify their unwillingness to soil their hands with Murder.  Pained, the Baron leaves and swears to find some way to gain vengeance.   Quan Wei Yan later finds all in her Castle staring at her with a mixture of horror and wonder, and she soon learns she happens to be illuminating everyone within the vicinity with some strange glowing tattoo that had manifested upon her brow.

Kithranus arrives at the Castle of Armand  Steele, only to overhear the sounds of a conflict happening within.  Using the Blood Sword, Kithranus slices away the locks of the gate and charges inside to see what he can do to help.  Inside, Armand Steele dismisses his mother whose jealousy ignites his impatience.   He then dismisses Cavilo as well, after he claims to have lost interest in the young Baron whom he states, "Is remembered all over as the Supporter of Sorcery."  After abusively treating his Vassals like toys, Armand is found neck deep in a mutiny of sorts when Kithranus comes to offer assistance.  But with his Stilleto in hand, Armand stabs one of the Vassals in the face and silences the rebellion.  Reminding them all of their place, Armand commands the Vassals to return to their work and meets with Kithranus in his Solarium.  There, the two debate long on a trade of healing salves and trouble-control, only to come at an impasse.  The deal is eventually struck and Kithranus leaves with the healing salve in hand for his wife.  Armand feels alone for the first time ever in his entire life.

The Scarlet Baroness, however, finds her troubles just beginning.  It was not enough that she was poisoned by her own daughter.  Talia Mwrr and her companion, Jaime Adrente, emerge from the forest and bid her greetings.  Asking for permission to explore the Puzzle House, the Baroness is forced to give at least one of them permission to step inside.  As Jaime enters the Puzzle House, Talia chats with the Scarlet Baroness and quickly deduces her vulnerable state.  The Scarlet Baroness, however, reminds Talia that she is Much More Dangerous When Alone, and demands to know why the two had truly come to visit.  Talia holds out a knife almost threateningly as she shares with the Scarlet Baroness the truth that she and Jaime are working for a man who is infamous even among Ven standards.  Silently, the Baroness calls a massive Ork beast into the area, revealing her secret ties to a darker force, in a bid to protect herself.  But rather than attack her, Talia  slices her own wrists open to bleed upon the ground as she tells the Baroness of a grand plan that is now coming to fruition.  As Talia Mwrr dies before the very Scarlet Baroness, Jaime successfully offers himself onto the mirror in the Puzzle House and a man emerges from the glass with Jaime's Blood Sword in his hands.  After what seemed to be a long time imprisoned, Victor Miklos Krev, long missing father of Dillard Krev, smiles and realizes he is finally free.


To close the game, I had all players gather to make Beauty, Wisdom and Prowess risks.  They were to shape the True Things that were to stand come the start of the next game, which was to open with the coming to Summer.

Massive Ork attacks struck all the kingdoms save for the Dusk Citadel of Armand Steele.
Given the attacks, the Senate permits the use of Sorcery against Orks. Requiring a License for such Ven.
Armand Steele is named leader of the war council against the Orks by the Senate.
Baroness Quan Wei Yan notices Baron Kithranus' obsession with obtaining more Healing Salves.
Most Trade with the Dusk Citadel ends due to his known affiliations to Sorcery.
The Baroness Quan Wei Yan is given the duty of awarding the Sorcery License by the Senate.
Kithranus is named Crimson Inquisitor and is charged with any investigations of Ven who abuse their License.
Both Baron Kithranus and Baronss Quan Wei Yan are given seats in the Senate.
Baroness Circe Yvarai's (The Scarlet Baroness) hold on Orks is not through the use of an Artifact.
Alexi Burghe, the remaining survivor of Ti'Ann Burghe's legacy, begins moving Resources to Castle Dune, the Castle once owned by Baron Dillard Krev.
Baroness Circe Yvarai's condition seems to grow worse every passing day, as if the Healing Salves were not working.
The Storm hits Shanri, and Kingdoms all over are affected by its coming.
Valentina Steele named herself the Bronze Inquisitor, and positions herself to bring her own son to Justice.
Word then slowly spreads through out Shanri as Ven find their Unblooded husbands and wives suddenly becoming Blooded one night.  To their horror, these new Blooded are not of any of the familiar Houses.
Senate Majority is House Mwrr for this Season.

In closing, the players were informed of the latest Senate proclamation:

In lieu of the Storm and the rising Ork activity, the Senate shall convene within the week to discuss whether or not it is time for Project Reclamation to once again occur.  Given the great effort to protect the Provinces from the dangers around it, the Senate must come to a vote if it is time for the Ven to migrate once more and find a new domain within the widespread arms of Sharni itself.

And if deemed so, the production of the Senate Airships shall begin at once.

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