Monday, June 30, 2014

The Letter : Fiasco


The Letter

De Medici

It was another game night with Aina, Isami and other friends.  Given they had never played a role-playing game before, Rocky and I decided it would be a great time to introduce them to what a table top role-playing game would be like.  We quickly settled on trying out Fiasco and after some discussion decided to try Fiasco De Medici, a tragic affair of love, faith and lies set in the 1500s.

Dolores Borgia, The Wife Who Will Do Anything To Mark Her Husband's Place In History.
Francesco Borgia, The Man With Ambitions to be Rich.
Ibrahim Fatir, Penitent conman who has Returned From The Crusades.
Bishop Francesco Grimaldi, Confessor and Secret Lover of Dolores.
Items of interest: Ciphered letter.  Trunk of Money.

Act One Begins.

Scene opens at a confessional at a discreet church. Ibrahim is confessing to the Bishop of an incident that happened in Constantinople many years ago.  "Father, there is something that has been weighing heavily in my conscience for some time."  He reminds the bishop of the time they met in Constantinople.  Fatir confesses that there was a woman whom he had relations with, and that he now knows she was married back then.  The relations were intimate.  The bishop asks if he is penitent and he admits he is for "Sleeping with Dolores."  The name, of course, catches the Bishop's attention.  Fatir admits he saw her and felt a surge of the feelings return.  Fatir asks if he knows of her and the Bishop even identifies her as the wife of the Nobleman Borigas. He tells him this spells trouble, even if it was from so long ago.  Fatir admits he came here to look for her.  The Bishop warns him that he has to stay away for her.

A few days ago.  
The bishop is having dinner with the nobleman, Francesco Borgia, to discuss matters regarding of politics.  The bishop, however, has suspicions of the Borgia and their views on the Archbishop.  It is a massive 16-seater dining room in gilded gold.  One of the few households that had forks at the time.  Everything is service and the spread is clearly catered to their convenience.  "As you can see Senor, the situation is Florence is not that well.  The Archbishop is concerned that local politicians are all talk and not really doing anything to resolve the situation."  Francesco asks if the Bishop is close to the Archbishop and he simply admits they are men of the Church.  "The Archbishop is like a father to us all."

"But are you his favorite son?"

"I would like to think the Archbishop does not pick his favorites?"  The Bishop adds that it was Francesco himself who invited him to have dinner tonight and was quite curious of the Archbishop's routine, as well as of the parties and dinners he had held where he had neglected to invite the Borgias.    The Bishop however deftly adds that he wishes to extend his apologies for neglecting to do so.  "Which brings me to the matter at hand," the Bishop reveals a letter, "Personally written by his Excellency."  The Bishop explains the contents of the letter state that the Borgias are invited to the next dinner: Him and his wife.  The dinner was to be a very formal one a few nights hence.  "Please be sure to bring your wife."

The wine glasses clink together.

The night of the confession, leading to the night of the dinner.
In the bedroom.  Dolores is getting ready to retire for the night.   It is only then that Francesco realizes he has yet to tell her to be ready for it.  Dolores is naked on the bed, save for the clips still in her hair.  She is slowly taking them out as she asks, "My love?  I just realized it has been quite a quiet night.  It has been quite a quiet series of nights.  So quiet that I am starting to wonder if I should the Church for confessions."

"You know what, we have a party to go to tomorrow.  You need to wear your emerald green dress, with matching emerald green diamonds-"

"I'm sorry.. Francesco, for a moment," Dolores turns to him, aghast, "I thought you said we have a party tomorrow?"   She declares that she cannot be prepared for a party in a single night!  But he explains to her that the Archbishop himself is having them over.  He mentions that the invitation was delivered by the Bishop and this makes Dolores more curious.  He reminds her to stick to the emerald green outfit and casually tells her they were invited three nights ago.  When she complains about the lateness of the information and how much she hates the dress he insists she wear, he tells her he does not care. "That is what you will be wearing."

"You are such an impossible man.  Which explains why I don't-" her voice trails off.

"Just get dressed.  You disgust me."

The night of the dinner.
The Borgias are getting prepared to leave for the party when a servant tells them the Bishop is at the door.  Dolores is in her terrible, horrible, green dress.  "I can't believe you are making me wear this."  "Just come along, Dolores," he tells her.  They greet the Bishop who tells her she is lovely as always.

In the carriage, Dolores mentions how grateful they are for the invitation even if it was supposedly given a few nights earlier.  Francesco agrees.  Dolores stresses she is even wearing the ghastly outfit he insists she wears and Francesco just tells the Bishop to agree, "She looks lovely, does she not."  The Bishop pointedly replies that a woman should be allowed to choose their own course.  The canal is horrible that night, stinking up the streets.  As they attempt small talk, Francesco cuts through the chase and asks if the Bishop can introduce him directly to the Archbishop.  The Bishop admits the dinner is meant for just them.  There are no other guests.  This excited Dolores.  "Perhaps he has saved the best for last," Francesco smirks.  Dolores tries to subdue how excited they are by suggesting they don't really understand what tonight will be like.  But Francesco once again cuts her down by saying, "I understand perfectly well."  She frowns.

They arrive.

Five days ago.
Ibrahim is talking with Francesco Borgia at the Lungarno.  The two had arranged to meet because he had heard that the nobleman was interested in advancing himself but he had also learned that he is the husband of Dolores, the woman he was with in Constantinople.  "Senor, you mentioned that you wished to advance your business."  The nobleman spits out, "Who are you, moor?" But he shows his Christian cross around his neck.  He tells him that he wishes to help him.  "There is, how do I put this properly...  there is word of extortion money that will be moving through the city soon.  And I was appalled to hear that this was somehow involving the Archbishop."  Francesco asks how he came by such information and the stranger explains that word travels and that he had just returned from the Crusade and that many had whispered of the Archbishop's personal businesses on the side.  The nobleman asks why he should trust a man he had just met.  Fatir explains they have similar interests and these are regarding a large chest of money.  "A full trunk of silver, enough to purchase a District of the city."  Francesco's eyes light up at the word of wealth.  "This is a noble cause that we are doing.  This is Church funds that have been diverted by a corrupt Archbishop.  You are actually doing God's work.  Do you wish to know more?"

"Meet me here, at the middle of the night, in a week."

"No," Fatir insists, "We must meet tonight.  We must move quickly.  The Archbishop will only be here in five days."

"How will I know it is you?  Will you come by a disguise?"

"Do you see many other moors in the city?  You will know it is me."

He walks away.

During the dinner, while Francesco speaks with the Archbishop alone.
Dolores and the Bishop steal away to an adjoining chamber.  Dolores thinks the Bishop is hoping for a quick moment of passion.  The Bishop, in truth, plans to confront her regarding the moor and their past relations and if they have seen each other again.

"Bishop!  Here!?  Now?" Dolores gasps.  "Be quiet," the Bishop restrains her.  "Undo my buttons.."  The Bishop tells her no.  She drops to her knees but he pulls her up.  He forces her back even as she showers him with kisses.  "I will ask for contrition once again... but only after I have sinned!"  she blathers about how the Lord is all forgiving and how she and her husband can give more donations but he still holds her back and tells her, "The Lord is all forgiving... but man is not.  And I am but a man," the Bishop tells her.

"I know.  I know of Ibrahim."

"Who?" Dolores looks at him, genuinely confused.   He explains a moorish man came to visit him and admitted he was acquainted with her.  He tells her he had converted to Christianity and had come to Florence from Constantinople.  Dolores does not understand and he stresses it further.  "He knows you, Dolores.  He knows you in the manner which I know not."  Dolores asks why she would go to a moorish confessor, but the Bishop does not back down.

"I know you know him, Dolores.  You know but one moor from Constantinople."  She realizes who he means.

"That one evening.  That one evening that became five.  That five evenings that became a month.  Three.   But that was the past, Bishop! I have been forgiven!  I have done contrition!"

The Bishop tells her he cannot forgive her.  She insists she is loyal to her husband and only to him.  He tells her that he sincerely doubts her words.  "Green is not even your color.  It does not bring out the color of your eyes."

She insists what happened was in the past.  The Bishop Grimaldi turns to the side, closes his eyes.   She begs for forgiveness and he responds with words, "If you wish to prove this to me, there is something you must do."

"Anything.  By the love of God, anything!"

He produces a letter and presses it into her hand.  "There will be a trunk of silver.  It should arrive at your home brought to you by your husband.  That letter needs to be inserted discreetly."

"It will be done."

"Trust me, Dolores.  I love you."

Wee hours of the morning.  Post dinner.
Dolores slips away from a sleeping Francesco.   She steals away late at night to where the trunk has been placed.  She sneaks inside and kneels close to the trunk to slip the letter in, oblivious to Ibrahim Fatir standing in the shadows.  She did not know he was the man who brought the chest inside.  She marvels at its size, knowing how it is filled with silver.

"How do I do this..."

"The chest was crafted in Constantinople," a voice booms in the darkness.  Dolores spins, looking for its source but finding no one.   Her heart begins to race.  Ibrahim asks if he can help and steps into the light.  Dolores gasps upon seeing the dark-skinned man.  He introduces himself as part of the Archbishop's entourage and admits he was tasked to guard the trunk.  Dolores tries to give a lame sounding excuse that the note in her hand was something her husband asked her to do.  He tells her she can leave the note with him.

And that's when she asks if he knows him.  Somehow, he recognizes his voice.    He admits he just arrived from Constantinople and has not been to the city before.  Dolores hands him the letter and asks him if he can open the chest.  "Of course not.  The keys are not with me."

She once again asks if she knows him and insists her husband needs the note inside.  He asks if this act was cleared with the Archbishop as it was not something mentioned to him.  Dolores tries to push instead her stature and reminds the man she is the lady of the house.  "I expect better.  Do you have the key to the trunk?"  When he says no, she insist he fetch her a torch as a feint to have him leave her alone with the trunk.  As Ibrahim steps outside to fetch a torch, Dolores slides it into the trunk.

Ibrahim returns to an empty room.

Flashback.  Francesco remembers his talk with the Archbishop while he meets with the moor.Francesco stares at the Archbishop to discuss matters of business.  As the most influential person in the District, he has called him to discuss business. He is willing to pay for his support. Francesco is surprised that the moor is that influential.

The moor tells Francesco of the plans.  The business requires the utmost of secrecy given there are many enemies of the Church.  "One must be very careful to choose those who will be entrusted with the wealth of heaven."  The silver was illegally seized from the Holy Lands.  The Archbishop expects him to guard it for a night or so until he arranges passage for it out of Venice.  "You must agree."

"What choice do I have?  Of course I must agree."

The Archbishop tells Francesco that the chest will be delivered to the home.  The Bishop has given the address.  The chest is to be delivered later in the evening by the most trusted associate.  It must be moved through the city in secret.

"It shall be done."

The moor explains.  "With the chest in hand, you can contact the Doge, and with the chest in hand, he can expose him of the corruption he suffers from." The moor admits he is indebted to the man and once he is exposed, he can return to his home.  "Sadly he holds something dear to me.  An incriminating letter.  I cannot have it exposed."

"And I get to keep the silver?"

"Well, no one knows how much is inside.  You can choose to audit it before you report it."

Francesco receives a guest in the late evening and ignores Dolores' invitation to join her.  He sees the chest, receives the key, and smiles.  The moorish man leaves the chest in the room.  Francesco separates some of the silver and hides it in places in the house.   He returns to the room and Dolores watches him fall asleep.

Act One Ends.

The Tilt:
Innocence: Love Rears Its Ugly Head
Tragedy: Death Out Of The Blue

Act Two Begins.

It is morning. There is a big ruckus with the authorities downstairs.
Francesco had left to call the Doge.  Dolores is in the bedroom.  Fatir slips into the bedroom to confront her.  Dolores is leaning out the window to see what is going on and gasps upon seeing the man in her room! She grabs the nearest sharpest object: a letter opener.   "Stand back!  I will scream!"

"I have heard it before."

"That voice," Dolores realizes who he is.  The guard... but he is more than just the guard.

"Night after night..."

"You tried to make a pilgrimage..."

"The man the bishop spoke with!" Dolores gasps.

"You finally know my name."

"Only thanks to the bishop," Dolores admits.

"You never bothered to learn my name before."  Dolores admits they were not meant to be.  Fatir however tells him now she will never forget him.  She asks why he is in her home and he tells her he is here to teach her a lesson.  "You threatened me in my own home," he tells her.

"Even if you try anything, you will not be able to escape!"

"Try anything?  You must realize I wouldn't be up here if it had not already been done," Fatir boasts.  He explains how her husband had gone to the Doge to expose the corrupt Archbishop.  But in truth, he will expose his own crimes for stealing the funds of the Church.  She asks if that is the contents of the letter the Bishop had her slip inside.    The two slowly begin to realize the Bishop may have played them for fools.  He made her accuse her own husband.  Fatir realizes the letter may be the incriminating one he had hoped to never see the light of day.

"You must help me... if there is any love you still feel, you must help me!"  She begs him to help her take the letter back from the chest.  She thinks the letter is meant to incriminate her husband, but Fatir fears it is his letter, sealed with an eagle.  She offers herself to him if he helps him retrieve it.  But he tells her, "I've already had that.  You know what I want."

She sees a man overwhelmed with revenge.

At the confessional.  Days before.  After Fatir speaks with the Bishop.
The Bishop is speaking with Fatir.  He tells him to stay away from her.  He reminds him she is not just a woman.  "Listen to me.  Did you tell Senor Borgia about the chest?"  The moor agrees he did.  The Bishop smiles knowing he will be expected.

"There will be a letter.  I will find a way to have it slipped into the chest. It matters not if anyone else reads it.  It is in code.  Only the Doge would know how to read it.  It will implicate the Senor Borgia and his household."

"What about Dolores?"

The Bishop speaks of justice and reminds Fatir to make sure she will be safe.  He trusts the Archbishop but does not trust the others.  He reminds Fatir that the Senor has friends in high places, even if Fatir insists he only thinks he does.  The Bishop admits he does not expect to survive the aftermath.  He sends Fatir away.

"This is probably the last time you will speak with me."

Back at the Bedroom.
"We have to get that letter," Dolores panickedly tells the moor.  Fatir pulls her close to him and asks if he remembers Constantinople.  But she continues talking about having to get the letter for her husband and insists there is no time for this.

Fatir admits that her husband is about to be exposed in a scheme with the Archbishop.  That they must escape.  But even then, she still talks only about her husband.    He questions her about how he has been cold to her all this time.  She gasps.  She sees something outside the window.  From there, she has a perfect view of the Church.  Bishop Grimaldi's body is hanging outside the window of the Church.

"It is as I have feared.  Your husband is mad."

"He did this??!"

"It is the only explanation... because he knew of your secret," Fatir lies.

"He knew all along.."

Fatir claims to have confirmed this for himself during the dinner.  But Dolores all the more pulls away from him.  She sits on the bed.  Fatir warns her the Doge is on his way.  He tells her he will keep her safe.  She looks at him and simply mutters, "But he knew all along.  And you are not him."

Down below.
Francesco arrives and sees the Doge and his men.  He draws out the key and opens the chest.  And inside the chest is nothing but stones.  And a letter.  Francesco is surprised.  He had hidden the silver but had not expected seeing a letter.

A soldier gets the letter and hands it to the Doge.  The Doge calls for his scribe to read it.   The letter is penned by the Bishop himself.  The scribe states it is authentic.   The Doge asks Francesco what his involvement is with Vienna, the city.  He tells him of his wife, and that the letter claims that Francesco Borgia is conspiring against the Church.  "Lies!  All lies!"  Francesco exclaims.  The Doge demands he reveal the silver.  Francesco claims to now know of silver and demands to see the Bishop.  He sees Ibrahim in the distance and calls for the moor to come closer.

"He is the man who told me of the chest and all the corruption... he can explain! Tell them I am innocent!"

"You are the Bishop's man?"

Fatir explains he is part of the Archbishop's guards.  Dolores bounds from upstairs and yells out, "Husband! Our plans are foiled!   Everything has fallen apart!"  Francesco tells her to talk to the Doge, since she is close to the Bishop.  "But you don't understand! It is too late!"

The guards are commanded to arrest the Borgias.  Dolores starts yelling that it was her fault.  That he knows nothing of this.  Francesco calls out, "She is confessing!  I know nothing!"  Fatir stares at him in disgust.  "Yes!  I was behind it all! It was all me!"  Dolores insists.  The Doge calls for the guards to take them away and even warns them to use the sword if necessary.  Francesco grabs a sword.  Dolores in panic, she rushes forward to try to shield him from the guards.  Francesco, without hesitation, uses her as hostage and tells them all to stand back.

In tears, she apologizes to him, telling him she understands he is doing this because he knows of her infidelities with the bishop.  Francesco's eyes widen in surprise.  He knew NOTHING of the Bishop and her!  She admits it was not meant to last that long.  "And now he is gone..."

Francesco feels the anger take over.  He slices her throat and throws her corpse towards the guards.

Blood sprays all around.

Right before sunrise, before the Doge arrives.  At the Church.
Bishop Grimaldi meets with Fatir one last time.    He insists he cannot be away for long knowing the Senor Borgia is due to arrive with the Doge anytime soon.    The Bishop tells him this won't be long.

They climb up to the belltower.  Grimaldi tells Fatir there is time for this, even as Fatir worries about their plans unfolding in minutes.  Grimaldi explains that sometimes schemes need scapegoats.  "Is that not what the Senor Borgia will be?  We shall bring him down and free Dolores... Senora Borgia of his dark influence."

The Bishop tells Fatir that not everyone is good.  "Sometimes things must be done out of necessity."  He tells Fatir how the letter is there, the events will unfold, and things will come to pass.  "How I wish for forgiveness for what I have brought you and Dolores."  He asks Fatir to keep his promise.   Fatir affirms it.

"Then that is all I need to know. Look at this city.  There their house.  You better go.  I can see the Borgias.  Your time has come.  Now go."

Fatir runs down the tower.

Bishop Grimaldi sees Dolores at the window, naked as always.  The Bishop recalls this was the same place he saw her for the first time.

And Fatir runs off, unawares that the people who ring the bell in the morning see the moor fleeing the scene... the last man to have seen the hanged Bishop.

The Bishop feels life fading.
He has his scapegoat.  He has taken the actions needed to save the city.  He has found a hint of love.  But then came Ibrahim.  And he realized Ibrahim was the answer to his prayers.

He closes his eyes.
But he does not die.
Quickly.  Instead, he feels life hang on long enough to see Fatir arrive at the room.  Dolores and him talking.

Timeless.  Thoughts.
Dolores' throat tears open.  And she stares at the blood spraying out and remembers a time when wine sprayed out from the bottle of holy wine.  The bishop is staring at the woman in the window for the first time at his very own Church.  "Has anyone ever told you that blue looks very good on you?"

Dolores blushes.  She cannot find words to reply.   His compliment catches her off-guard.

"Forgive me, Bishop.  My husband always chides me for always asking about how I look."

"Honestly, the worst thing he can do would be to never pay attention to you and make you wear green."

"Funny how easily he accomplishes both," Dolores smiles.

"You came here for confession?"

She agrees.  And he tells her to unburden herself of her fears and sins and he promises her that she will feel better.  The two walk towards the confessional, unaware of the moor watching them from the shadows.  Inside the confessional, Dolores looks through the screen and realizes she can see the Bishop.

"Am I supposed to be able to see you, Bishop?"

For the first time, she finds a man who listens to her.

Francesco remembers the wine.  He stares at the woman dead at his feet.  He has killed the woman he loves.  The guards stab at him, but he pushes forward.  He realizes what he has done and runs for Dolores.

In Dolores' dying throes, she reaches for her husband as well.
And utters something..  but the words fade away.

Fatir drops the dagger.
He drops to his knees in disbelief.
For all that he has done.. for all his plans... all is lost.

End of Act Two.

Francesco Borgia survives the attack.  Because this is the 1500s, and his wife has publicly admittedly her guilt, his crime is deemed one of passion and he is absolved of punishment. He keeps the silver and is now rich and wealthy as he had hoped to be.

Dolores Borgia watches from the afterlife, waiting for the right moment when enough spite has grown within her to exact her revenge.  Interestingly, it is not rings nor love that binds her.  It is the silver.  For in her horror of her actions, she had found herself to have become a Judas and the silver he holds binds her to her sins.  And when the day comes he spends that last coin, she knows she will be allowed her revenge.

Or at least she thinks she will be.

Bishop Grimaldi impossibly survives the hanging.  The rope breaks.  The people help him and save his life... but not before he witnesses Dolores dying in Francesco's arms.  There is a homeless man who know frequents the grave of a noblewoman.  No one knows who he is.  Some people whisper that he used to be a man of the Church.  He never talks about it.  Sometimes he would stop by the home of Francesco Borgia.  He would stare.  But he would be run off by guards.  Others say he whispers to the shadows, saying sorry to someone who isn't there.    And sometimes, he would scratch the scar on his neck.  Until it bled.

Ibrahim Fatir knew he was going to be arrested and judged harshly for his role in things.  But the Archbishop intervenes on his behalf.  He assures him that taken into his custody, he would receive reparations.  Fatir confesses to the Archbishop his role in the whole plot, and his actions to take revenge upon Dolores for abandoning him all those years.  The Archbishop insists he pays penance, and for all his lies, he has Fatir's tongue cut off and in the coming years of service to him, he is denied the chance to ever speak of things again.  He forever remains by the Archbishop's side.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Inspiration: The Forest

Am I the only one who thinks this would be an incredible game to play?
I know I know this is a table top gaming but man this game is ripe for inspiration for horror games.  I can imagine this game being adapted with a system as simple as John Wick's Shauermarchen or one as crunchy as the World of Darkness rules.

The premise of The Forest is as follows:
As the lone survivor of a passenger jet crash, you find yourself in a mysterious forest battling to stay alive against a society of cannibalistic mutants. Build, explore, survive in this terrifying first person survival horror simulator.
The game has the working of a great one-shot night waiting to be run.  One can even have multiple players in a game like this.  While the actual game might allow the single person to build a massive fort and the like to protect himself, if the game's premise was ported onto a table top setting, I can imagine most players would freak out and focus instead on smaller easier to defend and abandon options.

I feel bad that the trailer gives too much away.  But for those who want to check it out, head on to Steam and watch the trailer right now:  This is like Lost, Cannibal Holocaust and... a certain videogame I love mixed into one!  (See, I tried to tease rather than spoil it!)

I'm sorely tempted to support the game because I want to see its full release.  Alas, not for now.  Still recovering from a few financial blows I took. However, I do hope blogging about this game will at least help spread the word out on a cool concept that's coming out soon (I hope).

The Forest
Genre: Action, Adventure, Indie, Simulation, Early Access
Developer: Endnight Games Ltd
Publisher: Endnight Games Ltd

Games I'd use to run something like this:
John Wick's Schauermarchen
World of Darkness
Apocalypse World Engine: Monster of the Week

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Expanding my Horizons

So, I haven't been as active in blogging lately, compared to my almost every other day blog posting in the past.  This is due to many reasons including:

1) My dream job of being a Game Designer for Indigo Entertainment has taken a huge leap forwards in terms of scope, responsibility and activity.

2) Storium has opened up many more avenues for gaming as well.

3) Board games are becoming a much larger presence in our weekends.  And interestingly, I've been designing a few board games for work as well!

4) 24 hours per day is just never enough.

5) Writing my own game systems takes a lot of time.  I currently have the upcoming A World of Shadows contribution for Ben Woerner's A World of Dew kickstarter.  (By the way, thank you for mentioning me in the interview here! Woot! )  I am also revamping completely my Muses rpg concept as well as streamlining my super spy realtime memory game, mem:RE.   The other ideas will have to wait.

But given all that, I realize I might as well open up Tagsessions to also contain my reviews on board games which I really love.  With the presence of articles that combine board game elements or concepts and systems to your board games, it feels like a natural progression to give voice to my board game activities as well.  While I do create games for the iOS and android devices, as well as have a roster of games playable on web browsers, I think I should at least expand this blog to encompass all my table top gaming hobbies.

Hope you readers won't be opposed to reading about Galaxy Trucker, Pret-A-Porter and the like.
Even better, hope you find inspiration in such games as I have to enrich further your role-playing sessions!

Our Last Cold Hope : Our Last Best Hope


"Our Last Cold Hope"

Our Last Best Hope

Snow has taken over the world.  Three men attempt to locate the three Scientists who can save the world and reactive the Weatherman, a machine that can return the climate back to normal.

Engineer Howard Scott
Brought with him a medicinal kit. Left behind his girlfriend.
Felt Callum helped him stay sane.  Found Sam to be a source of crazy.
Fear: Dying of starvation.
Secret: Killed the fourth scientist who sent them on the mission.

Scientist Sam Walls
Brought with him a map of the Weatherman facility.  Left behind his chance at getting married to the one he loves.
Found Howard to be a source of sanity.  Hated Callum for making him feel crazy.
Fear: Being left alone.
Secret: Was also in on the murder of the 4th Scientist.

Doctor Callum Wick
Brought with him his Bible.  Left behind a multi-millionaire lifestyle.
Found Walls to be a source of sanity.  Despised Howard for being a source of crazy.
Fear: Dogs and Wolves
Secret: Sold scientist secrets to get rich.

The group had the following assets: Lucy, the snowmobile, Survival gear, and the super satellite phone they use to contact M.I.M.I.C.

Act One

The scene opens with the group heading towards the first destination where M.I.M.I.C. detected one of the scientists.  Howard is asleep.  Callum notices a distress beacon and tracks it to a bunker that is owned by a doom prepper Clad Owen.  He is listed as deceased ten years ago.  Callum doesn't like this but Sam reminds him that M.I.M.I.C.  is usually wrong when it concerns people.  Sam feels it is worth checking out.  Callum admits meeting the doom prepper in the past, that they were role-playing game buddies.  He did like playin a game about the end of the world.  The guy was meticulous and might be O.C. enough to have the supplies they need.  Sam warns he might also be crazy enough to have defenses from intruders.  Callum admits they weren't quite friends since he killed around four of his characters back then.  As they get closer to the bunker, there comes the sound of firearms.  Guns are firing.  Callum laments not having someone who can use guns with them.  The bullets pings the snowmobile a few times.  The bunker has been taken by raiders and has set traps around it.  M.I.M.I.C.  detects at least four raiders present.  Callum ops to run them over with Lucy.  "Thank god you're here, Sam.  God knows how crazy I'd be if you weren't here to help me out," Callum admits.  They run over two of the raiders and Callum cheers happily as he kills the attackers.  Sam spies one raider with a rocket launcher! "MOVE!  MOVE TO THE LEFT!"  Callum turns instead to the right to run him over!

With the bunker open, Howard and Sam opt to investigate it.  Inside, they find a massive ravine that has broken the passageway of the underground bunker.  Creating a makeshift pulley-system, the two cross the gap and find a dog on the other side.  The dog has been dragging a body with it.  The body isn't of the doom prepper instead, it is one of the dead scientists!    The dead body has been ravaged by the cold.  His skin has been frozen for a few days.  The body is surprisingly in good condition, having been strapped to the dog by mistake.  The dog must have been dragging it all the time.  Howard asks what M.I.M.I.C. will need from Doctor Takana.  Howard hacks away the hand to use for the security system.  Sam finds himself remembering the fated night with the 4th scientist.  Him attacking the scientist and yelling, "This is all your fault!" over and over as he savagely attacks.  "Howard?" Sam tells Howard to calm down.  They pack the parts in ice.  The dog whimpers, wanting to go with them, but its leg is broken.  Howard kills the dog to take it out of its misery.

The snowmobile's horn is blaring.   The two hurry out, without having enough time to grab the supplies.

The two then rush back as quickly as they can when Callum starts warning them that a super blizzard is closing in, freezing everything in its path!  As the two emerge just in the nick of time, Callum swings by to pick them up!  LUCY drives up a nearby ramp that allows it to bypass the bunker and get close enough to pick them up before the while wall covers them and instantly freezes them cold.

"Callum, it is a good thing you can read my mind as to where we could get out fast," Howard sighs.

Howard starts panicking about his fear of starvation.  He isn't too happy that Sam insisted there was not enough time to grab the supplies in the bunker.  Callum tries asking about what they found.  Howard proudly shows off the severed parts of the doctor.  Callum is confused why M.I.M.I.C. didn't identify him.  Howard explains it is because he was already dead.  Sam remains silent the whole time.

Act Two 

Disaster strikes.
The satellite phones are dead.  LUCY is totaled.  The snow mobile falls into a ravine and crashes in.  The three survive with minor wounds, but with less assets on their end, things are not looking too good.  Just when they thought things would not get worse all communications with GPS satellites have ceased as well.
M.I.M.I.C. is unable to give clear directions anymore.  With one of the biometrics needed, the group has a chance in saving the world.  But the question now is, can they find a way to get back?

As they wait for the blizzard to end, Callum allows Sam to get some sleep.  He talks to Howard about the situation.  Howard complains about how they should have stayed in the bunker where there's food and supplies.  Callum flares up on Howard about always questioning him, and reminds him of what M.I.M.I.C. has told them.  They have to just find their way home to the Weatherman.  They took shelter in a cave to find shelter from the storm.  Callum complains about the life he used to live, being wealthy and happy.  Howard flares up too about hoping to care for Sandra, his girlfriend.  It was all he wanted from George, the fourth scientist.    Callum starts tearing up the bible to help grow the fire.   He laughs as the page he burns talks about the flames of hell.

Something jolts away from the sudden fire.  M.I.M.I.C. informs them it is still processing.  Howard grabs the hatchet to be ready. Wolves emerge, staring at them.  Callum feels his fear of wild animals kick in.  His heart pounds in his chest!  "Callum, damn it, I guess I have to face this threat alone.." Howard growls.

That's when Callum digs into his pocket, pulls out a bunch of pills and swallows them, and tells Howard, "I can do this!  Howard, listen to me.  Wake Sam up and find your way to the Weatherman."  Howard tries to convince Callum he can do it, but Callum ignores the hatchet Howard tries to hand to him.  Callum remembers watching how Howard killed the 4th Scientist and was thinking that unlike Howard, he does not have the strength to kill a person.  If Sam and he will have to face the defenses of the Weatherman, they may have to kill someone.  Callum cannot do that.  He rushes forward to lure the wolves away.  "Over here!  Fresh meat!"  He throws them his medicinal pills to buy the others time.

The wolves tear into Callum.

Sam and Howard by some miracle finds their way back to the Weatherman.  The survival gear and the compass were enough to help them find their way back.  Tired and hungry and weak, they finally reach the entrance to the Weatherman.    While the systems are functional, the defenses however are still a danger.  Howard hacks into the Weatherman systems while Sam distracts the artificial intelligence that protects the Weatherman, a digital intelligence that manifests as a red-glowing young woman.  Thankfully, Howard's hacking skills works in time and the system reboots.  The security disengages to allow them inside.

They get to the machine.  With the biometrics, they know they can turn the machine on.  The two talk about how they both worked together to kill Doctor George Tanaka in the past.  There's even some question if this is some kind of karmic act of balance.  However, a gunshot suddenly cracks and the two discover that one of the scientists has actually been in the Weatherman all this time! He was protecting his own family by staying in the Weatherman.  He has overheard the confessions and sees the two only as threats to his family's safety.  Howard rushes forward, even as a shot is fired through him, and grabs the doctor's hand.  He keeps pressing the hand until the gun runs out of bullets!  Howard dies by his own hand, but knows he has given Sam the chance he needs.  With the gun, now empty, the doctor stares at Sam Walls, fearful of what the man who killed Dr. George Tanaka will do.

The doctor and his family stare at Sam in utter fear.


Sam implants the biometrics to activate the Weatherman.  The machine is switched on.    The doctor stares at him.  The mother covers her children's eyes.  With the Weatherman started, it cannot be stopped.  The doctor walks up to Sam and stars helping him activate the machine fully.

As the world thaws, the word spreads of the heroic actions of Sam Walls and Doctor Haqim.  There is no word of Dr. Callum and his ill-gotten wealth.  The future Mrs. Scott never sees her fiance.

After the Rain ep10 : House of the Blooded

After the Rain

Episode Ten
"The Greatest City in the Sky"

Houses of the Blooded

The four are at the Quarterhouses.  Haroun has opted to look around.  The group has settled in at the Quarterhouses and the man in yellow who saw them arrive proclaimed that his wish had come true.  That all of them who were characters in the book had came to life.  And that the woman in red granted his wish.  When they asked who the woman was his response was, "She is not a woman.  She is a demon."  

A knock.

As they open the doors to check, they find a Ruk servant dressed in black robes with silver trimmings.  "The hearings have begun and I have been instructed to escort you all to the hall."  The others feel bothered by this.  They were not aware that the Senate was expecting them to be at a hearing.  Some are bothered that they have not retrieved all their belongings.  Jaric is dressed in a travelers garb of blue, with the house crest on a cape.  Galeo is wearing blue and violet in cross-striped panels that hide her pregnancy, with her house crest holding her clothes together.  Seran is wearing travelling clothes in green and blue, with the house crest on her back.  Nia opted for travelling clothes with mostly blue and brown.  The herald informs them that the hearings have begun and the ohlrex have called for them.  Seran reminds Jaric he is the spokesperson for the group.  Nia realizes she has not seen her Ork talker in a while.  She also notes Haroun is missing and asks the others if they know where he is.  No one has seen him.

A second vassal arrives, bows from the waist to say, "Venta your lordships.  The ohlrex request your presence.  Your hearings commence after three other deliberations.  Venta... venta.."  He rolls his eyes on the first Ruk, however.  Jaric asks if they can wait for Haroun.   The vassal admits he is not aware of the man they speak of.  "His highness, the Duke of the land I am not familiar with... I may task my companion to await for him while we go."   Jaric feels there is something wrong with the veth in this side of the world.

A door slams open. A man in all white exists and makes his way to the Senate hall.  The vassal tries to bring him his shoes but drops one.  The man in white slays the vassals for the error.  The ven feels no remorse.  Another sees the man in white and greets him, "Q'val...." and the two move on.

A third vassal arrives.  Dressed in black robes, tinged with red, "Your lordships.  The ohlrex requests your presence.  The last delegate is being spoken to this moment.  You are next."  Jaric pushes past the vassals and walks on.  Galeo amuses herself by teaching the veth to say "Venta" in a harmonized manner.  The vassals, however, do not grasp what she wants them to do.  Nia opts to bring Ato with her.  Galeo starts walking down the road, cloaking herself in an unmistakable presence of the artist.

The vassal now starts escorting them to the location, but never walking ahead of them.  The group finds it odd as the vassals "guide" them by suggesting that they were correct in assuming where to go.  The group whisper to each other how much they are bothered how frightened for their lives the veth are here.  


The dachanau.  The dance of words.  
One senator is currently holding the floor.  "For certain my brothers, as we are all ven, the laws that have been handed down to us are laws that allow us to remain what we are.  Beings that have risen from the ruins of the sorcerer-kings.  Examples of the idealism of Jonan Drax.  We have the seven laws, and we all remember that the first one is that the law binds all.  Ven or Ork Ven."  Senators start booing from the stands.  A few knock their hands to show approval.  "As no ven stands above the law, none are immune to its laws as well. And thus, we must embrace the Sixth Law in regards to these Ork Ven. No ven shall make war.  Our lost wayward brothers and sisters are to be welcomed.  Perhaps even reeducated to the ways of civilized ven."

The spokesman addresses the speaker, "The avirex have heard your side, Senator.  We would like to continue with the opposition."  Galeo notes the moderator is an old man.  The earlier speaker a man.  And the newcomer, a woman.  She elicits gasps and some even starts booing.  Her vibrant red hair snakes past her shoulder then clutches around her waist.  Her clothing is a vibrant shade of brown, formally cut to a Senator's garb, showing a more masculine side of her.  "You have heard the opposition. You have heard talk of the First Law.  Talk of the Sixth Law.  How easily we have skipped the Second Law. One shall Not Commit Murder.  When Jonan Drax spoke of how the ven should not kill one another, he did not speak merely of our lives.  He spoke of our individuality.  Why else would he have all our Houses?  The Olivana inspire us: the boars, the elks, the falcons.  Even I, a mere Spider, was inspired by them."  The Senate hall is very quickly filled with booing voices.  "The Ork Ven are still of the Houses.  A woman stands with a non-veiled house and does not retreat.  She was even referred to by the others as the captain of the vessel.  A man is said to be fiction brought to life.  And what intrigues us the most is that he is no Serpent, yet obsesses over truth.  My people were among the first to meet them all.  My siblings Lucius and T'fress measured them and found them cultured, educated and dangerous.  Orks do not know the old ways.  Orks do not recognize Sorcery.  Orks do not understand the intricacies of collar, pocket and button or zipper.  They are ven.  Different ven, but ven nonetheless.  If you wish to change them, you kill what makes them different.  Who knows, this difference might teach us something.  Perhaps this difference might even educate us.  They have crossed the Mistweir, a place not even the bravest of our Falcons have dared cross.  Isn't that reason enough not to have them killed?"  Booes and howls rise.  Some start throwing papers, handkerchiefs in outcry.  The spokesperson asks her to stand down.  

"I am NOT done," the woman speaks.

"There will be order in this hearing.  Senator, you forget your place," the spokesman challenges her.

"I claim this chance to speak.  Are you challenging me, spokesman?"

Silence fills the hall.

"Are you sincere, Senator?"

"I am.. patient.  I will wait for my turn," the woman backs down.

The vassals guide the group down the hallway to the Vashna standing guard.  T'gress inspects each of them with her spyglass then informs them the Senate is ready to hear them.  She seems concerned that some of them have brought with them their Bloodswords.  Seran does not grasp why there's a problem that she has one.  Jaric identifies himself as the one to speak on their behalf, once he notices Galeo and Nia both considering speaking up.  Galeo offers to help, but Jaric finds it slightly insulting.  "Are you sincere?"  When she responds she is a friend, Jaric counters, "You are no friend of mine."

The group follow, with Galeo walking in a way suggesting choreography as she walks through the doorway.  The booing rises as the others see them arrive.  The disdain is clearly there.  Galeo takes it all instead as something to embrace.  She smiles liking being the center of attention, looking at every single one of them in the eye. The eldest in the room are seen.  The avirex.  The High Dukes.  Galeo adjusts her dress and has her breasts pop outwards from the tight garb.  Senators start throwing things at them.  Many start calling for "Insult to the Senate!"  Galeo glances at Jaric, "Do you want to speak first or shall I?"

The floor show a circular mark, to clearly denote who will speak.  Two vashna approach, one holding a large book and the other holding a Quill.  The spokesman leans forward, motions everyone to fall silent, and points to the group, "Are you the spokesperson for the group?  Or are you hear to stand as individuals?"  The weight of the eyes of all in the room are upon them.

"We are merely travelling companio-"

"Are you here to stand as a group or as individuals?"

"We speak as individuals."

The spokesman then warns them they stand before the Earls.

House of the Bear
The Burghe, Aelvan, Earl of Tain
House of the Elk
Dalvinosh Steele, Earl of Ivanisck
House of the Falcon
Bennyn Thorne, Earl of Uq’v
House of the Fox
Vishashael Yvarai, Earl of Aeldrena
House of the Serpent
J’sae Mwnn, Earl of Heenag
House of the Wolf
Q’ll Adrente, Earl of Gashva

Each of them are challenged to take the Quill, and to sign their names in their own blood upon the book as they swear to speak only the truth.  They all easily surmise this is a sorcerous pact. The crowds gasp.  They group wonders if its in reaction that they know what to do.. or that they can actually do it.  As the boos rise, the spokesman demands for silence.  

Jaric Thayl addresses them all, tracing back his genealogy as far back as he can recall.  Senators start to complain and stomp on the floor in anger as he starts mentioning the names of his grandparents, great grandparents and beyond.  The names, it seems, are familiar to them and none are willing to believe he has ties to them.  Jaric asks if he has the floor.  One yells out, claiming insult, and the spokesman asks him if he is sincere.  Everyone else sits down.  The speaker remains standing, staring at Jaric, "You claim to be related to my father!  I find Insult in this!"

"Did I not sign the book?"

"But you are Ork Ven!  How can you even know our names!?!"

"How do you know yours?  How far back can you trace your own line, sir?"   Jaric challenges him and the man falters, not having the courage to remember.  The man starts to apologize, claiming to have been overwhelmed by the passion of the moment.   Jaric talks about the term Ork Ven and starts rambling about the Riddle of Blood and the fall of the Senate House to the machinations of Madelyn Yvarai and the story of Ti'Ann Burghe.  But in the last act of Gaius Mwrr was to try and save as many ven children as they can.  Why is the immediate assumption is that the ven mated with the Orks?  Ven are ven.  We maintain the old ways as best as we could.  And apparently, this Mistweir has separated us.  But we are still ven."  The senators react poorly to his words, but the spokesman calls for silence.

Dalvinosh Steele, Earl of Ivanisck chooses to address him.  His eyes beam the depths of cunning of an old practiced man.  He mentions that Jaric had just acknowledged that they were raised by orks.    Jaric admits there is a possibility.  There are unclear records of the past.  The Riddle of Blood is merely considered a fairy tale for them.  Jaric admits he is one of the few scholars who have dedicated their lives to the truth of the riddle.

J’sae Mwnn, Earl of Heenag chooses to speak.  The earl calls for the woman, and Galeo realizes she is being addressed.  She questions Galeo if she is pregnant and she admits she is.  She asks if the father is an Ork and Galeo admits he is not.  Murmurs fill the chamber.

"She has NOT taken the quill!" one calls out!

Galeo claims to be willing to do so.  The Earl asks her if she is familiar with the act.  Galeo admits she has just seen it done and goes through the sorcery as well.  The serpents realize it is the Blood of the Ven that permits sorcery - further proof they are ven.  Galeo speaks of the father of the child and the Earl asks to present the husband.  But Galeo admits he is beyond the wall.  The Earl is curious that marriage happens among the Ork ven as well.  She notices Galeo's scars and asks what happened.  Galeo starts explaining the events that lead to her scarring.  "You are marked by a Spectre?" the Earl states.

Nia raises her hand in defiance.  All turn to look at her.  Galeo is surprised that she is now overlooked.  Nia asks if she should sign first before she speaks.  

The Burghe, Aelvan, Earl of Tain addresses her.  He notes that Nia bears the crest and asks her to speak.  Nia corrects Galeo's story that she misremembers.  She explains that the wound was inflicted by the events when her mother ascended to Suavenhood.  No one speaks.  The moderator asks her to repeat her words.  None of them can believe that the Ork Ven have Suaven as well.   Angry screams erupt from the hall as Nia explains the events that lead to Galeo's scar.  Senators have started to throw glasses at them.  The Earls stand and the others fall silent.  The Spiders are asked to step in and T'gress approaches Nia.  She reaches into her pouch and pulls out a bracelet of some sort.  "You must wear this."  The bracelet has a chain and on one side, it has spikes like a barbed piece of jewelry.  When Nia asks what it is for, she explains it is for all to see what she speaks of.  Nia proudly wears it and shows the moment.  The whole hall sees the fight, with Seran facing the Spectre with her bloodsword - Galeo distracting it - and Jaric hiding in the corner.   To end it, Nia shows them her mother's blessing: the bone relic the mother had bequeathed to her.

J’sae Mwnn, Earl of Heenag demands the Vashna deliver it to her to see it.  Nia offers to accompany it to her.  They escort her away.

"We will proceed," the spokesman recognizes Bennyn Thorne, Earl of Uq’v who addresses Seran about being a Thorne.  Seran admits she is as far back as she can recall.  Bennyn challenges her to prove she is a Thorne by asking her to tell them why in their barrios, things run smoothly.  Seran offers to sign the Quill as well.  Earl Uq'v counters that it is not a question of truth or falsehood, but one only a true Falcon can answer.  Seran answers they run smoothly because the Veth do not need to say Venta over and over as they serve.  "They do not fear us."  Earl Uq'v asks if that is the only reason.  Seran admits she says what she knows.  The Earl tests Seran with one more challenge.  The Vashna are commanded to hand her a bow and arrow.  Many of the other senators pull back, wary of the tool in her hands.  "A true Falcon understands that the bow is not a tool.  A true Falcon understands that an arrow is as deadly as a Bloodsword.  If you are truly a Falcon, the Senate recognizes that you are now armed."

"I also recognize that I am armed.  Would you like to test my skills?"

The Earl has yet to fully raise a quill to serve as a target, Seran had already launched an arrow across the chamber.  The arrow meets the mark, splitting the quill in two.  The senators call out for the act of violence, but the spokesman turns to the Earl and waits for the decision. The Vashna train their spears at her.

"A Falcon," is all the Earl musters to say.

Seran curtsies. 

The Earls decline to ask more questions.  But one motions to wait.   In the silence, Jaric makes eye contact with the one who challenged him earlier.  He starts mouthing a Vow upon the man "that we shall honor the ties of blood over the politics of the Senate."  The man feels the Blessing and is made to promise the same thing.  He realizes Jaric is truly of the Thayl.

Galeo notices a woman in the crowd staring straight at her.  The woman has vibrant red hair and green eyes.  As she stares, she slowly begins to smile.  Galeo chooses to maintain protocol and simply notes her, but upon blinking her eyes, the woman is gone.  

Seran signs the Quill to commit to the Oath as well.  The Spider whispers to them that the Senate seems to recognize the truths in their words and that if all goes well they will be given Residences in the City, to hold their title.  If not, they would all be considered Ruk.  Or worse, offered the chance to be Vashna.  She reminds them how long this will be; a year and a day.

Nia arrives by the Earl's side, who asks her to sit nearby.  "We shall speak in time."  Even the spokesperson is bothered that Nia is now sitting beside the Earl of the Serpent.    The attention is then focused upon Ato, and when the group admits he cannot speak for himself, the Senate declare that the fifth member is unable to defend himself and has therefore relinquished any defense.  Nia uses her unassuming visage to the Earl and non-verbally hints that she believes Ato is important.  She asks if the man is beneath Nia's shadow.  Nia says he is, but the Earl questions if Ato is a knight.  Or worse a friend?  When Nia admits he isn't.  She tells her he is merely a serpent who cannot protect himself.  But she belays the Vashna and declares the man as owned.

The floor is opened for the rest of the Senators.  
Szaz Ashken, Blooded of the Spider, Senator

Many speak out of turn, some calling them ven, some still calling them orks.  The formalities are called for that those who wish to speak must approach the platform.  A voice speaks.  All turn to see the Senator of the Spider standing on the platform.

"The Senate recognizes Szaz, House of the Spider.  Voice of the Web."

"Thank you," she tells the spokesman and shares that as the sole representative of the veiled House of the Spider, she wishes to address the accused.  They give her permission.  She addresses them all and in her one minute to speak, she addresses them directly as "Fellow Ven" and tells them how she recognizes and can relate to how one feels when not recognized by one's peers.  She declares that the Spiders extend their support to them.  She also adds that their Residences are to be under her District.   The Earls nod.  The petition is granted.

"They are your problem, Szaz."

"Truly wisdom is born of patience," Jaric mumbles to himself.

The Senator asks them if they accept her invitation.  Most do.  When Nia was asked, however, the Earl intercepts and tells her, "She is home, Spider.  She is home."  When the spokesman tells Szaz she can step down, again she counters and says she is not done.  She raises that there was supposed to be another member.  "A Duke if I am not mistaken?  Why is he not here?"

The spokesman notes that the Senate will note his absence and inform the Vashna to find him.  When he asks if she is done, she remains silent and unresponsive.  She simply waits.  The spokesman asks her two more times, only to be abruptly told, "My minute is done.  I will step down now."

The Senate then recognizes Count Kether.  The group wonders if it is another Tulpa. What they see instead is a woman.  She addresses the gathering and identifies herself as Miralia Yvarai, Countess of Kether.  She asks to have a moment to pray.  The request is granted.  All the Ven turn away.  The group is confused for a moment.  In the moment of privacy, she digs into her pocket, places a ring on, whispers to it, then her eyes turn blood red.  She inspects each of them, then removes the ring.  "My prayer is done."

The Countess addresses the woman called the Artist.  Galeo is happy to be recognized.  She asks if Galeo knows her husband and Galeo responds that she is not sure which Kether she means.  The spokesman and the Countess however start arguing as Miralia starts asking if her husband is beyond the wall, or death, or worse.  The spokesman repeatedly reminds her she is out of order and asks her to withdraw.  She apologizes and withdraws.  Galeo throws a hint that she knows something, but the Senate insists the Countess stop speaking to them.  Kether withdraws.

When the call for final questions are made, a figure raises a hand.

Senator Szaz once again comes to the stand.  She asks that the group be given the right to question the Senate as well.  When a spokesman tries to counter that they are landless, Szas reminds them they now have land... thanks to her.  And informs them the Red Spider has brought their vassals to their Residences as well. The motion is made, and the room awaits for it to be seconded.  Jaric stares at the Thayl he made the Vow with.  The man stands and seconds it.  The Earl of the Elk stares at Jaric knowingly and smiles.

The floor is opened.

Jaric Thayl steps forward, and each of them identify their new Baronies.  Jaric is now Baron of Gossamer.  He speaks to all those present and notes that all the Earls bear the names of the esteemed arivex who rules even before the time of the Riddle of Blood.  Vishashael Yvarai, Earl of Aeldrena addresses Jaric and tells him if the question is to ask if they were present in the destruction of the Senate City, she admits they did witness it and they are survivors of it.  Jaric bows deeply, excited to get confirmation this may be truly the old world.  She asks for a moment to speak with Jaric in private.  Jaric learns she is a follower of "his works".  She tells him she is wondering about a prominent fox that he supposedly killed.  She wonders if that would be her.

Jaric added the question if the Spider is the only veiled house, claiming to not have seen any evidence of the Horse or the Boar.  J’sae Mwnn, Earl of Heenag is surprised they recognize the veiled houses.  She quietly talks to Nia who raises knowledge of an expedition outside the veil and Nia admits she met Master Dag'ul and the others.  

The spokesman addresses Jaric that they do not speak of such things.  Jaric withdraws the conversation.

Galeo addresses Senator Szaz.  Galeo thanks her for her words and patience, and then declares that their two realms would mean with a birth.  She asks Szaz to bear witness to the birth.   Her eyes narrow.  The spokesman asks, "There is a child to be born in the city?"  Szaz clarifies that the child is to be born in the City which would mean the child would follow tradition and be placed in an ushanavan.  The Earl admits this changes thing.  J’sae Mwnn, Earl of Heenag explains that the child would become a citizen of the City.  The child will be taken to be educated properly.  And the ven will have no right to "take him back" until he is of age to return.  "Answer the question well.  Baroness, are you giving birth in the City?"

"I will give birth where adventure takes us.  And be it City or not, we will know.  After all, I think it is true for both our cultures, it is interesting to travel with a Falcon," Galeo replies.  She realizes she has to find a way to give birth outside the city or leave before it comes to term.   She asks how often children are born here and they are told all the time.  "The question begs questions."

"Simply that where we come from, when a child is born, it is like a new Spring," Galeo smiles.

The floor is then given to Seran Throne, who looks around and tells them, "I am a Falcon and we are somewhat known for being direct.  And I dislike having my right as a ven questioned.  So I say now, if you have any doubts that I am ven, you are welcome to look for me and challenge me to a duel.  Any of you.  And I shall prove the matter.  That is all."

"Does she mean one at a time?" Galeo muses.

As Seran moves to leave the speaker's circle, a man calls out, "Your ladyship!" and something is thrown at her.  She catches it immediately.  The crowds gasp.  A handkerchief.

"Never have I seen such passion.  You have accepted my favor," the man smiles.

"It seems you are doomed to pull the sword but not the one you weild ," Galeo laughs.

"The only pity that it Spring is ending, that would have been a perfect time for Romance," Jaric muses.

Seran asks Galeo what has happened.  Galeo explains that is a lover's token.  A man above yells that the matter is unsettled.  The group suddenly sees a challenge above from one man to another for having thrown a token to Seran before the other could.   One insists the Baroness has accepted the token.  They ask the Seran if it is settled.  She admits she thought it was accepting the challenge for the duel.  Seran notices Bennyn Thorne, Earl of Uq’v is avoiding her gaze.  More tokens are thrown towards Seran... some yellow... some red.    The spokesman admits this is unprecedented.  Galeo mutters out loud that this would be a great story for her husband.  The Senate decrees the matter can be settled outside the senate halls.

They are guided by T'gress to sit among the Spiders.  They discover the seats are empty save for that of Szaz.   The last hearing is called for and as the doors are opened, Haroun enters.  He shows signs of having been in a battle.  He is then followed by a figure in chains.  The Vashna keep their spears trained at the Ork talker as they enter.  Seran stares worriedly at Nia.  A third man enters, followed by four men.  The four men are in various states of injury as well.    Physical injury tends to require more than wearing the black.  And Nia worries that Haroun is not recognized yet.

The Seventh Law of Jonan Drax is raised.  The penalty is to fit the crime.  The group are ven, Blooded of the Wolf.  Edigan Sinjin declares himself and his four brothers.  Haroun is clearly keeping himself in control.  He clearly wants to act, but he is now staying calm.  Edigan stands before them to claim of True Pain.

The Earl glances at Nia, finding this to be a problem.   Jaric realizes a way to bring things to their advantage. Edigan speaks of how the "Ruk" (Haroun) had dealt upon them injuries, and even greater has injured the Sinjin name.   Haroun growls he is no Ruk nor Ork.  He notices Nia in the area above and realizes he should shut up and takes note that she is sitting with a Serpent.  Edigan speaks of how Haroun had injured the name... and the house.  Seran speaks up and questions how Edigan might not be fulfilling his role in the Wolf name.  The Sinjin points to Seran as proof of his words.   Galeo raises her hand and the spokesman allows her to speak.  Jaric, on the other hand, has gone straight to the podium.  The Earl of the Elk does amusingly point out that neither have been given the floor to speak.  He reminds everyone that only statements made in proper order will be considered.    He does state that the Ruk protecting the Ork in itself is an action deserving punishment.

The group realizes they have to pull their weight and thankfully they maneuver the Senate to see Haroun and the Orktalker as under the protection of the Senate as promised!  Even Nia tries to explain to the Serpent Earl that the Ork is her property.  And that the Ruk was protecting her property.  She finds it fascinating that Nia is suggesting she has the Ork under her command.  She taps Nia's left hand as she says, "A pity you are too tired..."  The Serpent and her vassals depart, taking Nia with them.  They are curious to understand if Nia can control the Orks the way they do.  The wasps and the bees.

Jaric raises that the Ork was attacked before they arrived at the Quarterhouse.  Edigan admits the attack happened at the street.  Jaric reminds him the Senate promised protection over their property.  Szaz raises her hand and speaks to support Jaric's statement, and that a few days prior the veiled House of the Spider had entered the lands.  It was a statement all heckled at.   She even states that the Burghe, Earl Aeldrena, and the Earl Gashva were the ones who laughingly gave her permission to extend the protection of the Senate to the outsiders and their holdings.  The archivist is asked to confirm this.

"What harm is there to protection Fictional Things?"

The Senate agrees to keep them locked up for their own safety til the matter is settled.  They are surprised however that Haroun supposedly had risen in defense of the Orktalker.

Jaric retorts to Sinjin, "Are you then admitting that you have broken the word of the Senate?"

"I do not recognize you-"

"The Senate does.  Now answer.  Have you broken the word of the Senate?" Jaric prods.  The man hisses admitting they did what must be done.

"Which is our property... that is protected by the Senate..." Jaric feels success.  The Earl moves to push the hearing to another date.  He asks the Sinjin if it new the Ork Ven were real.  He admits he did.  When asked how, he introduces the Baron Da'gul.

Baron Da'gul comes forward and is questioned.  He begins telling them all that he was aware of them because of an unthinkable truth: He had crossed the Mistweir.  He encountered these Ven beyond the walls. Yes, they have Orks that serve them and adds there is more.  The Ork knew the Cloak Deceivious.  The Senate erupt in screams and fling things at them in anger.  Q’ll Adrente, Earl of Gashva suspends the hearing, and commands the Vashna to arrest all seven of them.

"Your property will be in safe-keeping in the Senate hands."

The people are being ushered out.  Seran realizes she can't find Nia.  Jaric mumbles about missing people, first Haroun then her.  Galeo stands close and talks with the others as many of the Senators leave.  Nia however is made to fall asleep without the others noticing, and the Earl has her taken away.  As they leave, another man approaches Seran and compliments her. The men start to gather, anxious to know her challenge for them.  Galeo intercedes and asks their names.

Zai Bowen, Blooded of the Bear promises Seran to have enough children to fill the Senate hall.  Seran tries to explain that she is married.    Another man approaches her.

"Are you challenging me for a duel?" Seran asks.

The man thanks her for accepting the token.  "I will admit that I am... you must excuse me..." he heads off.  Shy and spring.

Galeo suggests throwing a party.  The other man are listening excitedly.  Szaz admits being concerned about what happened to Haroun.  Jaric admits the Ork has been a problem during this journey.  "We must rescue him as soon as possible. Without him, it is unlikely any of you can leave in time."  Szaz admits she is amused that Jaric is familiar with the veiled houses.  Szaz quotes Vance Vashna, "We do what we must, but at times we do what we can" which is from the Riddle of Blood.

Seran is getting overwhelmed.  There are 27 of them.  "Give us a task and the last to fulfill it is eliminated."  Galeo suggests a task.  Seran again stresses she is married.  Most admit they are too.  Galeo suggests they find the best port.  Seran counters that the best port would be in her lands.  Galeo pushes that the first one to bring Seran something from beyond the Mistweir will be the one.   The men leave, considering their options.  Some run, excited.  One remains standing.

"You caught my token," he tells her.

"I must say the challenge is interesting, and almost impossible for an initial challenge."

Seran counters it is not impossible.  He counters that it would be like him challenging her to kill an Earl.  "Not impossible, but not exactly a proper challenge.  More of an indirect way of saying I am not really interested."

"Because I am not."

"Now that that is clear, then we have the matter of the token."

Seran brings the token out.  Lavender.  She tells the man that she is not accustomed to Romances and challenges.  He discusses the difference of the two.  Seran admits she barely has the time for it.  The man asks Galeo if she understands the difference of the two.  "For someone who doesn't know them, should you keep them from the experiencing it?"  Galeo looks at the man with a new perspective. "Clearly you are married to one who romances you," the man tells her, "She is married but does not know Romance."

"I have crossed your first impossible barrier," the man tells Seran, glancing at Galeo.  "I have shown tact. Sadly now, it is in my hands.   You shall hear from me what your challenge will be."

Galeo seems excited.  Seran feels the frustration rise.  She feels Lukas is romantic.. but Galeo admits if that is what counts as romantic, Lukas might not be suited as a Fox.  "Fine, what so what do I have to do?"

A voice calls out.  The man is still there.  "Your challenge, learn my name."


Elsewhere, Nia awakens to find herself sitting across from J’sae Mwnn, Earl of Heenag.  The vassals offer her a drink as J'sae smiles and tells her she had fallen asleep.  She tells Nia that Haroun and the Orktalker are in safe keeping under the Senate.   The Earl has a proposal, for Nia and her to be friends.  Nia admits she would very much enjoy that.

"We shall never hide anything from one another," the Earl admits, "After all, we would like to ensure the other is never placed in any danger."

"Would you agree with me that a serpent must hold her secrets?" Nia counters.

"There would be no need for secrets between us.  Consider it a sharing.  And let's face it, I am an Earl.  I am the one losing in this bargain, and yet I want your friendship."

"You are correct.  I am still dealing with my wariness," Nia admits.  "Let us be friends.  In fact this ties in very nicely with my showing to you my mother's Blessing."  Nia takes out the relic and tells her how her mother was a Bear.  She reminds her how bears value relationships, and the blessing is to ensure they remain devoted to one another.  The Earl accepts it.  "Once again, a true sign that you are just as ven as we are.  Friends then?"

"Friends.  By the name of my mother."

The Earl then asks something of Nia.  Something she feels only Nia can do for her.  She asks Nia to answer in all honesty if the group an initial scouting force for invasion.  Nia admits they are not, however beautiful the city is.   She shares how the Senators have suspected the Ork Ven have lands that maybe worth exploring.  And that given the Spiders have admitted having sent an expedition across the Mistweir, she fears the Senates see opportunities.

She has her vassals escort Nia back to the others.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Happy Free RPG day!

I don't really have much to offer yet, save for the stuff I've made and posted here in Tagsessions.
For those who are interested, do check it out:

Kumiho of the Nine
Written as part of a Creative Pay It Forward thing I participated in last 2013, this is a game inspired by kdramas such as My Girlfriend is a Nine Tailed Fox ( This was written for my friend Dekya, who requested for it.    Check it out!

Neko Yume : Cat Dreams
Written also as part of the Creative Pay It Forward of 2013, this was inspired by Studio Ghibli movies and Miyazaki animated films.  This was written for my other friend, Jovan, who requested for it.  It was nice how this game did gain a small audience for a time.  I wanted to re-release it as a pdf on drivethrurpg, but I always worried if I could given its based on a copyrighted brand.
Check it out:

Survivor: The RPG
Again a product of the Creative Pay It Forward 2013, this was clearly based on the popular reality tv series as requested by my friend Ellis.  The game tries to stay as system-lite as possible to make it accessible to many non-gamers who love the show.
Hope you like it:

This was requested by another dear friend, Lynn, who wanted a game inspired by the anime Bleach for the Creative Pay It Forward 2013.  This tried to capture the subtle elements of the show and reintroduce them into a new setting without stepping too far from the source material.  
Check it out:

Adventure Time! the Role-playing Game
I actually made two kinds of Adventure Time role-playing games given the love I have for the show.  One version is lighter with more emphasis on the concepts than an actual system. The other tries to have a crunchier system, without being too overwhelming for the non-gamer.
Advanced RPG:
Simplified RPG

Finally, there are a LOT of free resources, game ideas, advice and tips in the blog.
The last thing you can do is SHARE the link to Tagsessions to your friends to generously spread the gift of gaming to them as well.

Happy Free RPG Day!

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