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DIALECTICS-SUPREMACY

Background Events

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I've decided to write up events that involve your character's background. I'll try to do one for each choice, but some seem hard to write for, and I might not have the time.

 

And no, they won't all be this surreal.

 

Astrology: Midnight

The work of committing classwork to memory has kept you up in the middle of the night. (your familiar) is asleep, or at least motionless, on your bed. Wearily looking up from your pile of notes, you behold the myriad of stars blanketing the midnight sky. It's unusual; you don't think you've ever seen the stars this clearly, at least this close to Mineta.

 

It's about time you took a break from all this rote memorization. Pushing yourself up, you move over to the window for a better look at the stars. You can make out the major constellations without effort, but the heavens are so clear you can see some of the more esoteric ones. You take your quill and start tracing some of the hard ones out. After about a minute, you pinpoint the Meta-Star, the Gallant Horn, the Daduchos(you forgot that one existed until now), Shangrath-Ur, the Sinister Horn, and even Toma's Cluster. Without using a telescope!

 

Beating away exhaustion, you remember something. Your mother told you that you were born during a midnight like this. The stars were out shining, the cool air was thick with magic. Magic is so common here you can hardly notice it, but tonight, you feel distinctly mystical. You yawn, and realize that if you want to reflect on this feeling, you'd better do it before you collapse and join (your familiar) in slumber.

 

Astrology. Trace the Meta-Star with your quill.

A star made of stars. Every time you think of it, you can only see it as either a star or a constellation. You can change your perception from one to the other and vice versa, but every time you switch, you forget what it was like before you changed your focus.

(Pass)It takes a considerable amount of mental precision, but you focus your mind like a telescope and see it as both a star and stars. It's a little microcosm of the heavens that you can understand but not comprehend. Reading it, you learn some very interesting things about the past, the future, fortune, and fate, but you forget most of it as you drift into a dreamless sleep. (+1SS Theory of Astrology)

(Fail)It's about as fun a diversion you can get in here at this hour, but it eventually just frustrates you. You sluggishly walk over to your bed, shove off (your familiar), and fall asleep instantly.(-1SS Theory of Astrology)

Enchantment. Trace Shangrath-Ur with your quill.

The Lost City of Shangrath-Ur was a legendary city of magic that was, of course, lost a long time ago, assuming it had even existed. The constellation is said to be a map of Shangrath-Ur, the stars marking key locations in the terraced city. In your half-awake state, you believe that tracing along the map with your quill would be kind of like walking around the Lost City.

(Pass)...around a corner, and see the ideas of Imprisonment and Passive-Aggression locked in a bittersweet duel to the death. You quickly turn and head the other way, but run into a dead-end. The enchanted wall speaks to you. "TELL ME. IS THIS 'MAGIC' POSSIBLE?"

You blink, struggling to think of an answer. You can't really describe anything you've seen here as possible, but you remember from earlier that you could hardly notice magic any more on account of it being too commonplace. This leads to a puzzling thought - if magic is normal to you, then... what is -this-?

Your soul comes up with an answer, but your mind doesn't, and you can't hear what you just said over the sound of rushing water. The wave crashes into your back, and carries you away from the sinking city. Soon after, the only thing you can see is the midnight sky.(+1SS Theory of Enchantment)

(Fail)You scratch on your window with the quill for a few moments before realizing how stupid this is. You laugh at yourself, then shut your eyes, falling asleep in your seat.(-1SS Theory of Enchantment)

Glamour. Trace the Daduchos with your quill.

You resolve to recollect your knowledge of the constellation. As your quill scrapes across the window, you start to remember what you once knew - the formation represents a wanderer and judge, carrying the Torch Star aloft in her eternal search for the truth. As an illusion or mistruth draws closer to the Torch Star, it becomes weaker, fading under scrutiny.

(Pass)This piques your interest. Drawing your wand, you start methodically experimenting with illusions, drawing them far from and close to the Torch Star. Surely enough, the closer an illusion gets to the star from your perspective, the less effective it is - the ones directly overlapping the Torch Star are nearly impossible to perceive. You try this with sound as well, to roughly the same effect - sounds coming from the direction of the Torch Star are almost inaudible. 

Deciding against experimenting with the other senses, which would be awkward and possibly painful, you cast an illusionary star into the sky. The Torch Star has no effect on this, so you keep casting different constellations until you get to the Daduchos, which disappears. Baffled, you squint at the heavens, and notice that the Daduchos(the real one) has disappeared.

Or maybe, she wasn't even there to begin with.(+1SS Theory of Glamour)

(Fail)Wait, what was that constellation called again?(-1SS Theory of Glamour)

Incantation. Trace Toma's Cluster with your quill.

You've heard Toma's Cluster being described as 'basically a giant elemental glob', and so far it lives up to everything you've expected. It's made up of about a dozen dim stars arranged loose square shape. The four stars in the corners are relatively bright and distinctly colored(red, blue, yellow, and white), while the ones between them are darker and more muddled. It's fairly obvious what this corresponds to.

(Pass)Although something is bothering you. If the corner stars represent the elements, what about the others in the cluster? They can't be intermediate states of matter, because fire isn't matter, so what are they? With your mind devoted to this conundrum, you lazily draw out your wand and concentrate on one of the dim stars close to fire.

You can't seem to conjure whatever that star represents, although you think you've figured something out about the nature of the elements. It's just that you can't really say what it is when you're this tired. Off to bed.(+1SS Theory of Incantation)

(Fail)Confident in your understanding of elemental allegories, you allow yourself a smug grin before pushing (your familiar) aside to make room.(-1SS Theory of Incantation)

Negation. Trace the Gallant Horn with your quill.

The only parts of the Metaphysical Bull that are visible in the night sky are its two starry horns. The Gallant Horn is sword-like; curved and sleek with a sharp end. The Bull uses it to fight his enemies, as the Gallant Horn can pierce through any armor and still any weapon, but it cannot be used to fight or defend from his friends, even if they betray him. You admit that you'd be tempted by a weapon like that, but the downside sounds 
like it'd kick in at the worst possible moment.

(Pass)With this in mind, you start tracing the constellation. As you follow the stars upward with your quill, you begin to doubt that the Gallant Horn is a literal weapon. The Bull is Metaphysical, so the Horn has to symbolize something. Something perfect.

You continue tracing upwards, contemplating perfection. Then, three things happen: You reach the taper of the Gallant Horn. You Negate -something-, almost unconsciously. Your quill splits in two down its length, seemingly pierced by the Gallant Horn. You blink slowly, trying to comprehend what just happened, then quickly retreat back to your bed, taking up room next to (your familiar). You want to go to sleep, but you just can't stop thinking of Negation.(+1SS Theory of Negation)

(Fail)Honestly, there's something unnerving about a perfect weapon with flaws. You look back at  (your familiar) on the bed, and decide not to waste the effort, going to sleep in your seat.(-1SS Theory of Negation)

Revision. Trace the Sinister Horn with your quill.

The only parts of the Metaphysical Bull that are visible in the night sky are its two starry horns. The Sinister Horn is wretchedly twisted, and the Bull uses it to betray his friends. It's said to have the power to corrupt anything it touches, turning its victim inside out and forever mutating their true nature. It's sometimes used as a metaphor for the school of Revision by very conservative mages, particularly those from the Azern Confederation.

(Pass)It's a vile insult, sure, but it has you thinking as you trace along the window-pane. If we, and everything, exist in a constant state of change, then what is our 'true' nature? Do we even have one? If we do, can Revision change, or redefine it? You put away the quill, shove (your familiar) to the side of the bed, and shut your eyes, but this doesn't stop the questions. They seep into your dreams as you fall asleep.(+1SS Theory of Revision)

(Fail)You roll your eyes, groaning. You wanted to look at the stars, but all you got was this unfortunate memory excavated from your subconscious. Annoyed, you decide to call it a night. (-1SS Theory of Revision)

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Liked that one? Have another, with better formatting.

 

Apprenticeship: The Pie Kitchen(positive relations with Sixt von Rupprecht required)

Propping the wooden bowl under your left arm, you start to work. Mixing this much rye flour into the dough wears out your arm, but you ignore the ache, churning the ingredients into a wet, brownish mush. You hear the kitchen door open behind you, followed closely by footsteps. You're about turn around, but then he speaks. You'd recognize that blunt, malicious tone anywhere.

 

"I certainly did enjoy that berry pie last week," says Professor von Rupprecht. "The crust had an exceptional texture, and the flavor... I ate the whole thing in less then half an hour." The dough is starting to take on a drier, more sturdy consistency. Continuing to mix it, you state, "I hope you're not here to beg for another. This one's a favor for a friend of mine."

 

A normal Academagia student in his right mind would immediately kneel down and genuflect before the Professor if they were ever stupid enough to say something that brash directly to him. But not in your case - you have a very special advantage over him. Remaining unoffended, von Rupprecht replies, "Actually, I am. Not for an ordinary pie, however."

 

You turn around to look at his face. He's wearing a dull frown, and his bespectacled eyes are narrowed. He's annoyed, but not at you. Satisfied with your attention, Sixt von Rupprecht elaborates. "I obtained a chocolate lemon cake from the Admiratio two nights ago. After returning to my quarters, I foolishly left it on a table, uneaten, while I evaluated my students' Trade script. When I finished, the cake was gone. Clearly, someone shares my affection for the products of the bakery."

 

"The night after, I purchased one of Mme. Boucher's Prismatic Beef Pies from her delicatessen not far from here. I put it on my table, making sure to lock the door, and set myself to work on grading the advanced Orthography tests. I finished, and just like before, the pie was not there to greet me." After taking all that in, you ask, "Couldn't you just eat the pie before y-" "No!" He quickly resumes before you can say anything else. "Any security measures greater than the ones I already have would be too expensive to install, and delaying my work with a stakeout is out of the question. So, I have one remaining method - setting a trap for the thief. And that's where you come in."

 

He hefts a small bag he was carrying onto the counter. "Frozen within this sack are two dozen Volcanic Thrushes. They're hibernating right now, but they'll rouse when exposed to a sufficient amount of heat." He shoots a wicked smirk in the direction of the oven. "These birds are not claustrophobic, but spending a few hours in the crowded dark will agitate them. When our gluttonous villain first cuts into his purloined prize, the Thrushes will burst out. Then, they'll take anything they can carry that shines - coins, lockets, rings, some of which can be used to identify the culprit - and fly back to my office, where I'll be tutoring one of the third-years in Old Elumian script. Even if they don't find anything I can use, the thief will be marked by the storm of gossip that will surely follow." The Professor catches his breath. "Once the pie is finished, contact me. You know where. And don't worry about that favor you owe to whomever, I can take care of it." With that, he paces out the door.

 

Setting down the wooden bowl, you peer into the bag that von Rupprecht left with you. Sure enough, there are twenty-four small, motionless blackbirds, cold to the touch. If you're going through with his plan, you'll have to make the pie crust strong enough that the birds won't be able to break through before they're supposed to.

 

Forget it, you didn't enroll for this. Bake the pie normally, and give it to your friend, like you promised.

 

Ignoring the Professor's request, you set the dough in a pan, pour in the glazed apple slices, and seal the pie with what remains of the dough. The baking and delivery goes smoothly, but you still have to confront von Rupprecht. Even though he loves your pies, it's still unwise to keep him waiting.

 

You meet him in the afternoon in a small room near the Calligraphy classroom. He nods in annoyance as you give him the news. "I see." After a long, awkward silence, his voice takes on a hushed, almost pitiable tone. "I just wanted to enjoy some pie," he says with a sad frown. You don't remember seeing this expression on him before, and as he recollects himself, you're certain you'll never see it again. "I'll remember this, (last name)," he threatens in his normal voice. "Now get out." You do so without hesitation.(-1 Sixt von Rupprecht)

 

 

Baking. Bake the blackbirds into a pie.

 

 

You have to say you appreciate the sheer deviousness that went into this plan, and it occurs to you that Sixt von Rupprecht must have been a legendary prankster when he was young. This revelation actually scares you, so you try to drive it out of your mind by getting to work. You set the dough into a pan, pile the little birds into the pie, seal the whole thing with some remaining dough, and finally pop it in the oven.

 

(Pass)When it's done, you lower your ear to the hot pie. Surely enough, you can just barely hear some furious, muffled chirping coming from within. You meet the Professor that afternoon in a small, unused room near the Calligraphy classroom, pie in hand. He looks at it closely, adjusting his spectacles, and gives you a deft nod of approval. "(first name)," he says, with a passive, but utterly evil smile, "Thank you."

 

Next morning, you hear the news. An Aranaz fourth-year was sharing a pie with his clique before a flock of birds suddenly came out, stole his ring, and generally made a mess of things. You're not sure whether that student was caught or is still in hiding, but you don't want to find out. (+1SS Practical Jokes, +1 Sixt von Rupprecht)

 

(Fail)You turn your back on the oven for just one second, and you hear something explode, followed by an orchestra of angry chirping. The blackbirds swarm everywhere, knocking things over and making a mess in search of loot. Before they make off with anything really valuable, you open your coinpurse and scatter some pims onto the floor. The thrushes eagerly take most of them before flying out the window, towards the Aranaz College. You'd talk to von Rupprecht about this, but the birds returning so soon can communicate your failure better than you can. Faced with two broken promises, you scoop up the remaining coins and quickly leave the kitchen.(-20 pims, -1 Sixt von Rupprecht, +1 Stress)

 

 

Observation. There has to be a better way.

 

(Pass)You look around the kitchen. All you see are the typical assortment of utensils, herbs, and spices, but then you see it.

 

Sun-spice. That name takes you back to your hometown. Back when you were first apprenticed into the Pie Kitchen, they had a competitor across town, the Bake Galleria. The two businesses were more or less evenly matched against each other, until one day, the daughter of a local aristocrat walked out of the Galleria with a comically high-pitched voice. Sun-spice, a rare ingredient used to give baked goods more tang, can sublimate into your voice-box if you use too much, and one of the 'pastry artistes' made that very mistake. The Bake Galleria was driven out of town the very next day, and the Pie Kitchen has been very fortunate since.

 

A high voice would be a dead give-away of the thief, and there's enough in the jar to make it happen. But Sixt von Rupprecht does not like being contradicted, so it'll take effort to convince him otherwise.(Unlocks Persuasion Exit)

 

(Fail)You look around the kitchen. You realize that you could've added some ground birch root to make the dough taste better, but there's nothing that you could really apply against a pie thief.

 

 

(Locked)Persuasion. Add some sun-spice to the dough, and convince Sixt von Rupprecht that it'll work.

 

You upend the jar into your wooden bowl and begin mixing. Hardly anyone uses this stuff anyway, so it won't be missed. When you're done, the dough has changed color, from brownish to dark mustard. This is a good sign. You set the dough in a pan, pour in the glazed apple slices, seal the pie with the remaining dough, and put the pan in the oven, lighting it up. It's done before long, and you take the pie out, grabbing the sack of birds in your other hand as leave the kitchen.

 

(Pass)You meet Sixt von Rupprecht in a small room near the Calligraphy classroom and tell him about the change of plans. He leers at you. "What? The plan was simple. Just put the birds in the pie, cook it, and leave the rest to me. Why didn't you do what I asked?"

 

Being on the business end of the Professor's wrath is frightening, but you calm down, explaining the complications. The birds could break out of the pie before the thief takes it. The birds might not scoop up anything useful. The thief might open the pie in a place where a flock of birds wouldn't be suspicious, maintaining his anonymity. After you shoot his plan full of holes, von Rupprecht capitulates, reluctantly agreeing to go along with your plan.

 

You hear the news the following morning. A fourth-year in the Aranaz College suddenly started talking in a hilarious squeaking voice just before midnight. Nobody has seen him since, so it's unclear to you whether the Professor got him or if he's still in hiding. You don't really want to know.(+1SS Willpower, +1 Sixt von Rupprecht)

 

(Fail)Meeting von Rupprecht in a small room by the Calligraphy classroom, you tell him about the altered plan. He takes the news with disgust, throwing the spiced pie out the window. You think you see a forlorn look at his face as the pie flies out the room, but it's only there for half a second. "Get out," he tells you, glaring in your direction. You do so without hesitation.(-1 Sixt von Rupprecht, +1 Stress)

 

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I tried experimenting with a 'honeycomb' structure this time.

 

Prodigy: Curiosity

Awestruck by the door before you, your tongue falters. "Yup, it's a door." (random friend) nods blankly in agreement. He/She has seen it before, but his/her look of wonder still matches your own.

 

Hidden in a dead-end alley branching off a side street in an old, labyrinthine neighborhood of Mineta just before Letania Peak is an grand, ornately-carved double door made of copper. Although it has mostly rusted over, giving it a bluish-green color, it still looks completely out of place in this part of town. In spite of its condition, the detailed engravings covering the door from top to bottom are perfectly legible, as if the whole thing was forged a day ago.

 

Breaking the silence before you do, (friend) repeats in a hushed tone what he/she told you earlier. "I was just looking around for Gonzalo, the barber. But I got lost, so went down this way, and..." (friend) doesn't seem to want to continue.

 

He/she brought you here to help him/her see what's inside, but now that you're actually here, you're starting to understand why your help was needed in the first place. Between the sheer scale and weight of the door, the seemingly timeless artwork decorating it, and its placement deep within this decrepit, but humble community, the door seems more like it was meant to be worshiped rather than opened.

 

Most of your senses tell you that taking a peek inside would somehow defile the door, or endanger you, but you don't want to leave it at this. Your inquisitiveness has gotten you into a lot of trouble in the past, but you probably won't be able to find the door again in this maze-like neighborhood, and (friend) has told you he doesn't want to come here again after this. Abandoning this venture would be like stabbing your sense of curiosity in the back.

 

Nope. Get back to the Academagia and try to bear the pangs of regret.

 

 

You make your decision. Turning to (friend), you shake your head, and he/she silently leads you into the more recognizable parts of Mineta, without looking back.

 

When you return to your room, your mind starts to torture itself, asking unanswerable questions about what would've happened if you opened the door, what was actually inside, and so on. You console yourself by thinking that you'll eventually forget about the whole thing, but it doesn't help. (-1SS Curiosity, +2 Stress)

 

 

(this should be a bit harder relative to other checks in random events)Curiosity. Enter.

 

 

You look back at (friend) before approaching the door. He/She is looking firmly at the door, but gives you an impatient look when you turn your head. Slowly, you head towards the handle, reaching out...

 

(Pass)You swiftly turn the handle and throw open the door before you can start doubting yourself. It's heavy, and you might've pulled a muscle, but you don't care. Your attention is focused elsewhere.

 

Inside, it's smaller than you expected. The room is mostly bare, except for a pudgy man sitting cross-legged on a mat in the center, a lit candle before him. He opens his eyes and looks up at you. "Welcome. I assume that you're a student at the Academagia?"

 

You don't know what to think of this. "What?"

 

"Well, of course you are. Only those from the Academagia ever come in here."

 

"Then, it's magical? Some kind of glamour?"

 

He laughs. "Well, I suppose I went overboard there. I'm not from the Academagia, but everyone else I met here was.

 

About your question, none of the visitors said they could detect any enchantments. Counting out magic, I suppose it must be the nature of those who study and teach there. I'd find out if I could."

 

You cast a spell of divination on the door, but if there's any magic there, it's too subtle for you. This makes you think. The door has an effect on people that repels most common senses away from it, but invites curiosity within.

 

Curiosity is practically a requirement for life at the Academagia - if a student just stayed inside during free time like the school tells them to, they wouldn't really learn anything about magic besides the notes they take in class, which would get them kicked out for falling significantly behind. Still, recalling the apprehension you had about entering, it takes more than an average student or alumni of magic to actually see what's behind the door. Your thoughts are derailed by (friend) suddenly asking something you forgot to. "So, what is this place?" He/She sounds disappointed.

 

"A long time ago, there was a tower here, overlooking the pass. Around the time Mineta grew to this point, it was all torn down, except for the door, and rebuilt with another purpose." He gracefully stands up, taking his candle with him. "You need to see to understand," he says, entering a compact passage you hadn't really noticed. You and (friend) follow him through the passage and up a narrow stairway.

 

When you reach the top, you fight the urge to slap yourself on the forehead. You called this neighborhood a maze before, but only as a hyperbole. Looking down on the twisted streets, the dead-ends, and the sole entrance into the neighborhood, you realize there are no actual differences between this part of town and the layout of the maze. "In the past, it was even worse than this. A prison for undesirables. This is where the guards kept watch over the prisoners." He points to the east, where the neighborhood leads out into the rest of the city. "Eventually they stopped using this place, and got rid of the porticullis over there. Some people moved in and built houses by the labyrinth walls, but it still befuddles the mind. Today, this place is, well, not particularly dangerous, but tragic."

 

Honestly, you were expecting more exciting, but this is good enough. At least you won't have to wonder what was behind the door any more. You ask, curiously, "What do you do here?"

 

"It's quiet in this place. I come to contemplate the meaning of fate and feed the birds." You don't see any birds.

 

"(first name), it's getting late," (friend) calls from the stairs. You bow to the hermit, because it seems appropriate, before following (friend) out to the sane part of Mineta.(+1SS Curiosity, +1SS Puzzles)

 

(Fail)You jog it lightly before stepping back. That's enough for you.

 

The walk home with (friend) is spent with the two of you desperately reassuring each other that it was the right choice, how daring you are for touching the door handle, and how insane this neighborhood is. It actually seems to work until the regret kicks in when you're alone in your room.(+2 Stress)

 

 

Art Appreciation. The door's covered in artwork with no apparent meaning. But there's no such thing as meaningless art, is there?

 

 

(Pass)It looks overwhelming at first, but you start to recognize the prevailing motif. At the top of the right door is an engraving of a dagger, clearly enough, and at the same spot on the left is something that looks like a jewel with the edges rounded off, but actually turns out to be a depiction of a heater shield. Near the right hinge is a fox, and on the opposite side from that is a dog. On the bottom of each door are two bearded, senile-looking men, but you can tell what they are by their robes - the one on the right is a dialectic philosopher, and his counterpart is a rhetorician.

 

The dualistic theme is so obvious, you wonder why you didn't notice it when you got here. Repeated all over the double door is a consistent pattern - the one the left is a defender, and one the right is an attacker. You start to make guesses about what this is supposed to mean. Is it a representation of war? That would make opening the door symbolize peace, as the combatants would no longer face eachother. But they'd still be opposed, wouldn't they? You can make up hypotheses all day, you realize, but there's only way to truly understand the door.(Temp. Curiosity +1, return to choices)

 

(Fail) You try squinting your eyes at the door. The engravings have held up well, but you can't decipher what they mean. To you, it's just a bunch of decorations with no uniting them or purpose - what do a ruby, a dog, and a bearded old man have in common, anyway?(return to choices)

 

 

Metallurgy. Measure how old the door is.

 

 

(Pass)As anyone could tell, it's made out of rusted copper. But if you look closely, you can find out, more or less, how rusted it is. It's more art than science, requiring a working knowledge of metals, keen eyesight, and, admittedly, some guessing.

 

What you learned from staring at patterns in the copper rust surprises you. If it was created at a point several centuries ago, a door of this size and composition would have rusted over and collapsed by now, but some parts of the door suggest that it's actually older than that. It's intriuging, and you start to wonder again about what the building behind it was created for. (Temp. +1 Curiosity, return to choices)

 

(Fail)You squint really hard at it, but you gleam nothing from the rusted copper besides your original evaluation of the door. "Yup, it's a door." You actually vocalized that again for effect, but (friend) doesn't comment.

 

 

Minetan Swagger. There was a small tavern just before the alley entrance. It may just be the seediest place in Upper Mineta.

 

 

"Friend, remember that tavern we saw coming in?"

 

"I think."

 

"What was it called, again?"

 

"The Hanged Cockroach. Sounds shady, wh-" He/She realizes what you're thinking. "Oh, no. No. It's dangerous enough just being in this general area! Do you want to be murdered?"

 

"I know, it's got... 'character', but we aren't going to be murdered. We just go in, find out what the locals know about this it, and leave." Your lack of confidence makes itself apparent in your speech, and (friend) seems even more worried. Not about to give up, you say, "It's either that or we go home, and we'll never know what's inside. Think about it."

 

Friend looks down at the trash strewn around the alley, conflicted. After thinking it over, he/she draws in a deep breath. "This is the second dumbest thing I've ever done. Come on." With that, you both head out the alley, towards the tavern. You make sure to activate your Minetan Swagger before entering.

 

It's about as seedy as you expected. A minstrel with a gravelly voice is singing a dirty Renaglian song, accompanied by a one-legged man playing a makeshift fiddle. They both stop performing not long after the door opens, and about fifteen pairs of eyes, three individual eyes, and a man actually wearing two eye-patches all turn to look at you and (friend).

 

(Pass)A long, tense silence follows. Leaving right now is the sensible option, but you're not doing that without answers. Before anyone tries to murder you, someone yells in a hoarse voice. "Hey, it's (friend)! Where were you, buddy?" This seems to calm down the tavern a bit, and before long the patrons all return to whatever they were doing while the duo begins playing again. You lean over towards (friend). "Who's that?"

 

"Gonzalo," he/she says, awkwardly approaching the barber. You closely follow behind him/her. As you both take seats with Gonzalo, he asks (friend), "No, really, where were you?"

 

"Looking for your shop. I got lost in this labyrinth of a neighborhood."

 

"Oh! I forgot to give you the directions." He proceeds to list a long, vague sequence of directions, which you forget as soon as he stops. "You really should see me when I'm in. That wart's gonna get infected if you don't do nothing about it." That's strange; (friend) said he/she was going to get a haircut. You try to read his/her expression, but he/she deliberately avoids eye contact with you. Gonzalo digresses. "So, who's this? A buddy of yours?"

 

You reply before (friend) does. "(First name), a student." You lean back in your seat. "About why I'm here..." you briefly describe the door and ask Gonzalo about it. "Oh, the Green Door? I've been in there. Really."

 

"What's in it?"

 

He chuckles. "That, it's better if you find out for yourself. Don't worry, it's not bad." Though the inhabitants of the tavern aren't overtly hostile against you, you still find the general atmosphere intimidating. You and (friend) quickly say your goodbyes, and leave the tavern behind. While heading back to the door, you notice that (friend) is gawking at the way you stride. Oops! You forgot to turn your Swagger off. "Sorry."(Temp. Curiosity +1, return to choices)

 

(Fail)This was not a good idea. You quickly back out of the Hanged Cockroach, nearly tripping over (friend's) feet. You hear an uproar of laughter as you turn back into the alley, but nobody chases after you.

 

(Friend's) expression is mixture of anger and slowly subsiding panic. "I told you! We aren't doing that again, you hear me?"(-1 whoever you're with, return to choices)

 

 

Archaeology. Compare the building in front of you to the rest of the neighborhood.

 

 

The building in front of you is slightly different than the rest of the neighborhood. The construction is more compact, with less mortar between the bricks. There's no visible rooftop. The other buildings don't have giant double doors made of green copper.

 

(Pass)More interestingly, though, are the windows above the door. Hard to see from inside the alley, they're too high to reach and too small to crawl into, reminding you of arrow-slits on a castle. From this, you theorize that this building wasn't created along with the ones surrounding it, and it may have been a fortification at some point. Since you can't climb through arrow slits, there's only one way in.(Temp. Curiosity +1, return to choices)

 

(Fail)It's strange, but it's the normal kind of strangeness. You're used to fireballs, man-eating plants, and potions gone horribly wrong, but you're here examining a building with different masonry than the ones around it. That speaks volumes about how interesting this door is.(return to choices)

 

 

Concentration. Try to suppress your sense of caution.

 

 

(Pass)You close your eyes, and breath in the dry, dusty air. Trying to ignore your survival instincts is even harder than it seems, so you come up with a brilliant strategy. Turning your mind against itself, you concentrate on the idea of sleepless nights spent wondering, a mystery left unsolved, an enigma abandoned in an unvisited alley, within in the depths of Mineta. You open your eyes. The apprehension coiling around you has been mostly done away with, replaced by sheer eagerness. Doing this to yourself may have been a bad idea, but you have a door to open.(Temp. +25% CoS, return to choices)

 

(Fail)Your more intelligent side, unfortunately, resists your attempts at repression. You're going to have to open the door in spite of your doubts, not without them.(return to choices)

 

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Wait a minute. Lets go back to the one for the Pie Kitchen.

 

Professor Sixt von Rupprecht had obtained a CHOCOLATE cake. According to the mod tools, chocolate cake is illegal. ohmy.gif

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Pfft, it's Professor von Rupprecht. You think the mere rules of legality will stop him (rather then stopping every other instructor and all the students he dislikes, which is apparently most of them)?

 

...I'm very fond of that man, oddly. (Not that it's odd at all. Go Aranaz!)

 

 

These are great, btw. :)

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It's not illegal, it's just that chocolate cakes are usually confiscated along with everything else. Since whoever caught you may be hungry and you can't do anything about it, there's nothing to get in the way of a little coercive opportunism, is there?

 

This one's short.

 

Family: Religious

It took you until the afternoon to realize that the Hour of the Forgotten Saint is today. Granted, there's something appropriate about forgetting this particular veneration, and it's fairly obscure to begin with.

 

It all started two centuries ago, when a saint from the County of Sommsch performed a miracle. Any details more than this were lost due to the haphazard recording standards of the time, combined with a temple fire a week after the unknown miracle. Despite the lack of information, the saint was canonized, but only given a single hour for veneration due to the ambiguity. Since most temples don't like to bring up their past incompetence, the hour is mostly ignored altogether by them, leaving it to be remembered only by a few ultra-orthodox temples and people coming from a strictly religious upbringing. That means you.

 

The hour is during the break, so you won't have to decide between school and faith this time, but you realize you can't remember exactly how it's supposed to be done. It's not feasible to research the answer in the time you have left, so that gives you only a few options.

 

Just put it out of your mind, like everyone else.

 

You spend the Hour of the Forgotten Saint loitering at Alice's. While eating a broiled spud with some of your friends, you realize that your parents would be annoyed, but you aren't worried. You make your own decisions now. (-1SS Veneration of the Saints)

 

 

Veneration of the Saints. Do whatever seems appropriate.

 

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is candles. Most of the religious rituals you know need at least two. With that out of the way, you focus on parts of the veneration more specific to the Unknown Saint.

 

(Pass)While going over the origins of the Hour for the third time, you realize that it isn't about the actual miracle that took place. It's about the importance of memory and tradition, and penance for when those are lost, whether due to sloth, nature, or willful ignorance. With this, you think back to your earlier years, tilling up memories of reverence from the depths of your mind.

 

Preparing for the Hour, you organize the veneration using bits and pieces of long-forgotten rituals. Cleansing of the eyelids from the day you turned seven. A hymn sung at your grandmother's deathbed. Cloyingly sweet incense from the Pellae a few years ago.

 

When it's done, you feel nostalgic for the rest of the day. You have venerated the Hour of the Forgotten Saint exactly as you were supposed to.(+1SS Memorization)

 

(Fail)Since nobody remembers why the Forgotten Saint was canonized, the Hour is probably used to reflect on other saints, and sainthood itself. Yes, that has to be it.

 

When the Hour comes, you perform the rite of Saint Leo, one of your favorites. While this wouldn't outright offend your parents, you get thirty minutes through the Hour before you feel that you're missing the point. You stop the ritual abruptly, wondering where you went wrong.(+1 Stress)

 

 

Passion. The clergy wouldn't appreciate a reminder, but they need one anyway.

 

Developing a sudden hostility to men of the cloth, you head over to the nearest temple. There are only a few people inside, since, as the preacher tells you, today is not a holy day. Undeterred, you steel your nerves before calling out,

 

(Pass)"Clergymen! Have you forgotten what time it is?" This seems to have turned a few heads.

 

"Half past three," replies a hairless cleric, obliviously.

 

You continue. "Approaching us, is the Hour of the Forgotten Saint! Forgotten by the very men who are endutied to remember it!" You aren't sure whether 'endutied' is an actual word, but you're caught up in the moment here.

 

The preacher, oldest of those present, is glaring at you, but someone else asks you sincerely about the Hour before the elder can do anything. You follow up with a short explanation, emphasizing the failure of the temples to keep the tradition alive. Before long, one half of the clerics is turned against the other, locked in a passionate debate about the Hour of the Forgotten Saint. The veneration is alive and well, at least this time. (+1SS Passion)

 

(Fail)"What time is it!?"

 

"Half past three," replies a hairless cleric, obliviously.

 

You start your speech. "No, it's-" Before you can continue, the annoyed preacher grabs you by the collar and shoves you out onto the street. As the old wooden door shuts behind you, you resign yourself to spending the Hour without controversy. (+1 Stress)

 

EDIT: Also, I changed the Willpower check in the Curiosity event to be Concentration instead. Willpower is for resisting other people's wills, Concentration is actually relevant for what's happening there.

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I just realized that broiling a potato makes it inedible. But it sounds like the kind of ridiculous food someone would prepare in this continuity, so I'll leave it in.

 

It's always surprising how long it takes to write these events.

 

Exploits: Monteon Mercenaries

Even though you're sure the faculty never visits this tavern, you keep your ears perked up out of habit. The Academagia has entire books on rules and guidelines regulating exactly what students are allowed and not allowed to do, and you're probably violating most of them concerned with gambling right now.

 

You're playing a game of Odds and Evens with a group of surly-looking youths in a shadowy corner of the tavern. You won a fair amount of pims in the first round, but instead of taking the path of wisdom and leaving with your winnings, you lost all of it to a freckled teenager in the very next round. But since he's still here, you -may- win it all back with a roll of the dice. That's just how the game works, right?

 

Before you can impoverish yourself any further, you hear someone exclaim something in a foreign language. You actually recognize it, though; it's a Monteon word consisting of four letters that is only polite to say in places like this. Thinking you might recognize the voice, too, you get up from the table. One of the gamblers jeers at you, but you find that you're done caring about the game.

 

Lysander the Mercenary is hunched over by the bar, clutching his thorax. As you approach, he gives you an agonized smile, showing his yellowed teeth. "So. (Name). You made it to the... agh... the Academagia alright?"

 

This doesn't seem important right now. "Are you alright?"

 

"No. I mean... just pain from an old wound, kid."

 

You remember that he told you about this. "Battle of Triopolis, right?"

 

Lysander's expression droops, and he stares at the wall behind the bar. "Yeah." He told you about the battle while he was drunk, and probably wouldn't have done so otherwise.

 

Years before you were born, Triopolis was ruled over by an unhinged mage with an obsession for Incantation magic. As an regiment of hired swords arrived to depose him, the mage decided that he would rather see the city burn than handed over to someone who has to bribe an army into serving him. When the battle was joined, both the defenders and the mercenaries found that the city around them was being consumed by an inferno. The Battle of Triopolis became a chaotic massacre after that; Lysander saw a lot of his friends and innocent people die in Triopolis that day, and his steel breastplate, heated by the flames, seared a permanent reminder of the event into his chest before he threw it off.

 

While you recall Lysander's story, he doesn't move or say a word. He just stares up at the the old wooden wall behind the bar.

 

There's nothing you can do, so leave him alone.

 

"Well. See you, Lysander," you say awkwardly. He keeps staring for a bit, then nods glumly. "Never go to war, kid."

 

You get out of your chair and head back to the Academagia.

 

When you were younger, war sounded like fun. You got into mock battles with the neighborhood children, using sticks as your swords and wands. When you 'died', you just got back up, mentally and physically scarred. With this evening's reminder of what war does to people, you abandon this portion of your innocence, Lysander's last sentence still echoing in your head.

 

 

Awareness. Order him a drink, he looks like he needs it.

 

(Pass)You know very little about hard liquor, but from what your remember, the Monteon mercenaries didn't either. In spite of what you'd expected, they actually preferred light, sweet drinks. Drinks so sugary that even you, an adolescent, had trouble with them.

 

You place some pims on the counter. "Nectar, please. For my old friend." The bartender raises an eyebrow at you. You look up at him, arms crossed. He takes the money and gets to work.

 

The bartender comes back with a mug filled to the brim with a thick, pinkish liquid. The smell wafting from it is so potent you can practically taste the sugar on the air. Lysander's gaze falls down to the mug as it's set in front of him, a smile breaking through his gloomy expression. Laughing, he turns to you, and calls you something in Monteon consisting of only one syllable. You don't recognize it, but the very word conveys its uncouthness across the language barrier. If he'd said it in an more hostile tone, it would have a very different meaning.

 

Lysander notices the look on your face, and apologizes, calming you down. The night passes without either of you saying much, but you still feel content. That, and you have a new insult for your arsenal. (+1SS Insult, -10 pims)

 

(Fail)You realize that you don't know much about hard liquor. Trying to sound cooler than you actually are, you set some pims on the bar and tell the bartender, "For Lysander, here. Something that burns the throat as it goes down."

 

He takes the money, and gets to work on mixing equal parts of a clear liquid and a brown liquid in a canister, then pours the mixture into a small glass cup. With exceptional precision, he then takes an ornate-looking razor and cuts a slit into a dark, stunted pepper, letting the juice drip into the drink exactly three times.

 

The bartender sets the drink in front of Lysander. "And... voila. I call it the 'Blaze of Triopolis'. Courtesy of your little friend." Your heart misses a beat.

 

You can -feel- Lysander's eyes on you, but you don't want to look at his expression. Fighting back tears, you run out of the tavern. You don't think you'll ever be able to talk to Lysander again after that.(+1 Stress, -10 pims)

 

 

Listen. It's not dark out yet, so maybe you could go out for a walk? That might clear his mind.

 

You ask Lysander, "Can you walk?"

 

He stops staring at the wall, and looks down at you. "Yeah. Why?"

 

"I was thinking about leaving. Nothing to do here but Odds and Evens." You roll your eyes over at the group in the corner you just left.

 

"Heh. That game's for street urchins." He pushes himself off the bar. "We're better than that, yeah?"

 

(Pass)Neither of you say much as you wander around Mineta. As the sun sets, Lysander sits down on an empty box, holding a hand to his chest. Before you can comment, he shakes his head. "No. Just that old pain, again." For a while, Lysander clenches his teeth, taking deep, labored breaths. You hear something break off in the distance. "Have y'ever... run away from something," Lysander asks you, quietly, "And you hate yourself for it?"

 

You lean on the wall next to him. "I've run away before, but usually it turns out to be the smartest thing to do, in the end."

 

Lysander sighs. "I'm not talking about survival. Or even... discretion. I'm talking about... pure cowardice, where you know what to do, but you just don't do it."

 

You don't really understand what he's talking about. "Huh? I mean, why would someone do that? It doesn't make any sense."

 

He shudders, talking slowly. "I don't know. It just takes over your mind. 'Don't do it, Lysander, you don't know what'll happen'. Like that, kinda."

 

You breathe in the smoky air as you think of an answer. "I can't say it's happened to me. But, if it did, I'd try to do the right thing anyway. That's what everyone say bravery is about, right."

 

Lysander doesn't respond, he just looks down at his shoes, tracing his graying beard. In the evening's silence, you notice there's more smoke in the air than usual.

 

Suddenly, you hear a scream come down the alleyway by you. You look around the corner, and see that the building across the street is belching smoke from the door and windows, with bright orange flickers of fire barely visible in the haze. Lysander seems to have noticed, too, and takes off down the alleyway.

 

You rummage around for your wand, and follow the mercenary. As you approach the crowd surrounding the burning building, you ask what's going on.

 

"Hot coal spilled on the floor, then the whole building started burning. Shoddy construction," someone blurts out. "I think someone's still in there!"

 

You look around, wand in hand, but Lysander is nowhere to be seen. Just then, one of the large first-story windows shatters. Lysander ducks through, carrying an elderly woman in both arms, and hops out onto the street. He has a distant smile on his lips.(+1SS Courage)

 

(Fail)You wander around the streets of Mineta, idly conversing with Lysander. The conversations are one-sided; he doesn't seem to respond much.

 

Eventually, you pass by a recently burnt building. The smell of smoke in the air is thick, and you see a man, surrounded by a small group of people, kneeling down in the middle of the street.

 

You look away from the scene of the fire. "Let's go... back to the tavern. Coming?"

 

Lysander draws in a breath of the smoky air, shaking his head. He stares at nothing in particular.(+1 Stress)

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