Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Riddle of Blood e04 : Houses of the Blooded

The Riddle of Blood
Episode Four

The fourth session opened with the coming of Summer.  Only four of the five players could make it, though, so things were definitely going to be different.  The immense advantage of having Contacts became quickly apparent as the players declared their Season Actions in each other's Castles.

Rocky, as Gaius Mwrr, has begun taking the steps to building an Opera House.
Arj, as the newly released Viktor Krev, having claimed Talia Mwrr's Domain as her own, has finally hired a Caravan to assist in Resource management.
Matt, as Kithranus Yvarai, attempted to prepare the Banquet in hopes of hosting a Party.  But his attempt failed.
Princess, as Quan Wei Yvarai, on the other hand successfully created a Banquet with the potential of making it even more wonderful.  Invitations to her Winter Party have been sent out to all the nearby Ven.

As new Senators, Kithranus and Quan Wei take part in a number of debates in the Senate Hall.  Among the debates of note were the reemergence of Ti'Ann Burghe, who all had presumed to be dead.  As it turns out, Ti'Ann Burge had been imprisoned in a Puzzle House by her own daughter.  A tulpa had been created of her, then used as a puppet to further her own motives.  Now seeking to regain her power, she entered the halls of the Senate to demand that Valentina Sinjin, Blooded of of the Falcon and Baroness of Grindle, return to her both title and lands.  As the two debated publicly the matter, Kithranus stepped into the discussions and attempted to sway others into opposing Ti'Ann Burghe's words.  But the young senator had overstepped in his actions and ended up becoming the focus of Ti'Ann's words.  Even if the former Bronze Inquisitor claimed to have never met Kithranus before, the Crimson Inquisitor still addressed her as if stung by how the previous tulpa had treated him.  But even as Ti'Ann Burghe attempted to sway the Senate to have the Crimson Inquisitor investigate her claims of knowing where the Mother of Monsters resides, Kithranus' debating skills triumphed over hers and won instead the Senate's vote.

But in private, Kithranus found himself in discussions with a smaller group of Senators.  Composed of Dukes, and Earls, with Madelyn Yvarai (Kithranus' Mother-in-law most notably), the private circle warns Kithranus that his actions have inadvertently declared they would ignore Ti'Ann Burghe's warnings, and her plans of creating her own Senate would allow them the reason to execute those that gather under her banner as her Private Army.

Quan Wei Yan fears for her husband, who grows more despondent with every passing night.  Ever since The Night, the former Veth has struggled to accept his new condition.  She even reaches out to speak with her own mother, Josephine Yvarai who seems absent-minded and confused most of the time.  But when Quan Wei stands to leave the table, Josephine pulls her back to sit down, and talks about her special earring that allows her to reap certain benefits.  Fearing her own mother practices Sorcery, Quan Wei warns her mother that to practice Sorcery without a License is punishable in the eyes of the Senate.  Quietly, she responds by using a Ritual known as The Rose, then tells her daughter that she knows of a group that seeks to replace the current Senate.  "If you choose to be party to this, you shall let me know."

In the Azure Tower, Viktor Miklos Krev finds a visitor at his home.  The Serpent, Gauis Mwrr had come to visit, hoping to ask questions.  Earlier in the day, Gauis and his husband spoke openly of their concerns and fears.  Vance had slowly begun to regain what seemed to be long lost memories, and among them was the realization he was Blooded of the Horse.  Vance Vashna was his long forgotten name.  Gauis had hoped Viktor could help share more information on who Moryandal Vashna was, and why Vance would have such memories of him.  During their conversation, however, a second guest came demanding Viktor's audience:  Melinda Mwrr, mother of the late Talia Mwrr.

The mother inquires about Viktor's assumption of her daughter's estate, and rather than question Viktor more on it, simply asks that she be allowed to claim one thing that she states is rightfully hers.  Viktor agrees, and the three begin walking further into the grounds to the garden where a massive tree stands.  To Gauis' shock, another shrine to the Horse is found, but this time, Melinda Mwrr seems to know about it.  She escorts the three inside, then draws a necklace from beneath her clothes.  When Viktor asks what she is planning to take, she holds the necklace to his face and asks Gaius to avert his eyes.  "I take what is meant for me alone: the memory of this place."  Viktor is affected by the Artifact's power, and is lead outside while in his daze.  Gauis sees the value in staying close to his family, and is told that the Veiled Houses are gathering.  There is talk of a new Senate to be forged for them.  Viktor later awakes to realize he had dozed off while talking with Melinda Mwrr.  She excuses herself for overstaying and leaves, with Viktor none wiser of the shrine beneath his feet.

Kithranus' returns home to see his wife in further degeneration.  Her skin is marked with cracks and horrible tears, as if her body was aging.. destroying itself.  She asks him if he is still beautiful and asks him to kiss her. When she notices him recoil, she feels a moment of weakness and admits to him she has not been honest to him.  For the longest time, Kithranus believed Yvonne was their own daughter.  Instead she was the daughter of Circe with another man.  Now, she comes forward to admit a second truth:  she had not been failing to have more children with Kithranus.  She tells him how they actually do have children and she has not been straight-forward to him.  As he tries to comprehend what she means, she uses the secret Devotion she holds to Mahl to make things clear:  the Huge, mantis-like Orks with Sharp Limbs, Flying ability and a Cocoon to protect itself are their children.  And one of them, the Ork seen during the Althua, remains imprisoned beneath Castle Grindle.

Gaius discovers a visitor waiting for him back at his castle.  The infamous landless Ti'Ann Burghe stands at the gates and asks for an audience with Vance, Gauis' husband.  The two welcome her inside and learn from her the plans of creating a new Senate.  "The name Democracy seems to have a nice ring to it."  She seeks to create a representation for all the Veiled Houses.  Gaius offers her space in his own Domain to hold office, an act which Ti'Ann graciously accepts.  As the three continue discussing the possible future of Sharni, Ti'Ann mentions that the dream was once shared by another man.  This man, whom she refuses to name, had to embrace the ultimate sacrifice to save Shanri from one of the Fashuva.  A Fallen Suaven, the stories say, had found a means to embrace physical form.  The hero grappled the Fashuva and pulled it into the mirror prison of a Puzzle House.  There, a Sorcerous Oath was embraced:  So long as none mentioned this man's name, the Fashuva would remain imprisoned.  Before the night ends, however, one more surprise arrives at their doorstep.  The Vashna appaer, marching in what appear to be the hundreds, and stand before the gates.  When asked if they have come on the behest of the Senate, the Vashna remain silent.  But when asked if they have sworn to uphold what remains best for the greater good, they slam their spears against their shields.  "It would seem," Ti'Ann Burghe mutters to the others, "We have a Private Army."

Quan Wei Yvarai recevies a visit from Viktor Krev, who seems intent in getting a License.  She warns him of what getting such a Document entails, and finds her concern suffocating.  He becomes uncertain if it would be best not to get one instead.  As he returns home, however, he finds a guest waiting for him.  Ti'Ann Burghe stares as he approaches, and eventually asks, "Do you remember me?"  When Viktor admits not being able to do so, claiming to have had muddled memories as of the late, Ti'Ann looks forlorn and stares into the distance.  Viktor asks why she has come to visit and she asks him to accompany him to some part of the Domain.  As they travel, they find a massive Tree where a stone door rises from the earth.  Leading Viktor inside, Ti'Ann was about to turn and explain to Viktor why this place existed when she instead meets the terrible Blood Sword in his hands.  Stabbed in her stomach, Ti'Ann drops to the floor and sees the armed Viktor leering at her with glee.  An alien voice speaks, taunting her of dying alone with no one ever learning the secret she keeps.  Seeing two paths before her, one where she dies and leaves the Ven to learn and deal with the Fashuva threat all alone, and the other where she makes things worse but gets the opportunity to inform others of the truth, she chooses the latter.  She calls out, "Viktor Miklos Leeto Krev!" and the man flings himself backwards from her as a dark Spectre tears away from his very heart.  As the Fashuva escapes into the night, Viktor drops to the ground and realizes he has been freed from his wavering memories.  As Ti'Ann feels death creep to her, she tells him of the fallen Suaven, Jaymen Steele, who once attempted to name himself Emperor, and tells him it is up to them now to stop the threat.  Unwilling to have her die, Viktor prays to the shrine before him and asks the Horse to allow him a means to save her.  He finds  these strange herbs in the shrine, which when plucked erupt with unexpected fire.  He uses the plant to cauterize her wounds, and holds her close afterwards as she falls unconscious out of sheer pain.


Matt got to experience the rules of Debate, and nearly found himself in the losing side.  Luckily he rolled far better than Ti'Ann Burghe did.

Viktor on the other hand has chosen to embrace a new Devotion.  Which of his current ones would be thrown aside remains to be seen.

The Season Actions continue to become more exciting for the players.  Many already are looking forward to hosting massive parties, and building better Holdings.

For the final scene with Ti'Ann Burghe, I had the four players vote as to what action she would take.  Thankfully, they chose that she make thing worse but survive. It meant more drama for the game as a whole.

And lastly, the political conspiracies have begun, giving the game the feel of shows like Rome and Game of Thrones.  I am excited to see what further direction the game will take.

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