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Rhialto

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And here is the second stage of my Triplets Adventure. Two more stages to go. Feedback is welcome.

Plotting Against Zoe

 

Now that you know what Sima’s concern is about, you find yourself wondering how to help her. Finding Zoe at the right time will not be difficult – Sima mentioned that the Quiet Girl has been treating her and her brothers well – but knowing what to do with Zoe is another matter. Perhaps Sima, Tabin, or Magsa would be able to help you – but you know that Sima would be furious if you were to ask any person aside from the Triplets.

-          Consult Sima.

 

You find Sima in the Venalicium, researching glamour spells. When she sees you, she, without saying a word, slips a twist of paper out of her pocket and passes it to you. Although you can understand why anyone would be silent in the Venalicium – the librarians are fierce – you are also thinking that Sima is being quiet for more important reasons.

Opening the twist of paper at another table, you discover an iron colored ring bearing a white, a red, and a blue stone in a golden triangle. The untwisted paper bears a note that says “If you are asking for help with improving your relationship with Zoe, this ring from my aunt is one that Zoe admires. If you were to give it to her, she would like that. I am known for giving jewelry to people.”

Marveling at how carefully Sima has planned this, you take the ring and go on your way. [Gain item Ring of Three Jewels (+1 Fitness, +1 stress maximum, +1 Vitality maximum), choose other option]

-          Consult Tabin.

 

[If PC completed Tabin’s Y1 Adventure]

 

You cannot find Tabin, but Tabin finds you in a certain hallway. When you jerk in surprise, he whispers something about the Quiet Girl owing him a favour before getting down to business.

“So, [PCFirstName], I understand that you are having a few family troubles. Emilia Strolin has suggested to me that it is useful to cultivate friends for life. So let me be a friend to you and give you some potion I made. It really helps to deal with stress. Even if you do not use it, surely you can give it to another person to improve relationships. Give and take, you know?”

Impressed by how Tabin is helping you even without revealing why he helps and whom you are helping, you decide to ask him a quick question.

“Why should I trust your skill in potion-making? For all I know, you could be as incompetent at making potions as Cante Caviti. Or maybe Aaran Ledale walked past you when you were making it.”

Tabin frowns. “Well, I am a much better potion-maker than Cante is, and that includes not being in the vicinity of any cursed people or artifacts when making potions. Besides, you saw how much I know about plants last year. Surely you would not doubt my skill after seeing my works. No one need ever use the potion. So take it – if you want, you can have it analyzed by the Artifact Registry – and use it or do not use it as you wish. Fair?”

You hastily nod yes, after which Tabin smiles and goes on his way. So now you have another way to gain Zoe’s information. [Gain item Tabin’s Potion (12 turns: + 4 stress maximum, + 1 fitness, - 4 Insight, - 1 Charm), choose other option]

[If PC did not complete Tabin’s Y1 Adventure]

 

You cannot find Tabin, but Tabin finds you in a certain hallway. When you jerk in surprise, he whispers something about the Quiet Girl owing him a favour before getting down to business.

“So, [PCFirstName], Milena has been complaining about Zoe Melis. I know that this is nothing new, but the origin of her complaint is new. Zoe has apparently taken to writing creatively, and some of the fiction that she writes implies that Milena is a radical republican spy who uses her tutoring service to bribe, blackmail, and spy on behalf of Pievre. Milena talked about it to me, and I persuaded her that Zoe may herself be disseminating claims for some enemy of Milena, her family, or Pievre. Milena was all enthused about confronting Zoe, but I persuaded her that a subtler approach was needed – so I came to you. Will you ask Zoe about her sources for her claims?”

You hastily nod yes, after which Tabin goes on his way, promising that Milena will make it worth your while. So now you have another way to gain Zoe’s information. [Gain memory Tabin’s Gambit, choose other option]

-          Consult Magsa.

 

[If PC completed Magsa’s Y1 Adventure and either or both of Magsa Nembo's New Friend and Magsa's got a new project]

 

You find Magsa standing just outside Durand College, trying his best to look imposing. He drops into a more relaxed posture when he sees you, sheepishly muttering something about Lambert trying to recruit people to steal the Mallen Star. Then he smiles.

“[PCFirstName], I guess you want advice about Zoe Melis. Lambert is useful for many things, but although he can talk about problems, he cannot talk about their solutions easily. Zoe is a very useful friend to have, but how can she be made a friend when she is so reclusive? Lambert has no answer, and he would rather doubt his conclusions than consult any Aranaz student such as Grainne Inneith. But I can help. I may not be a good Durand student – although you helped me to conceal that to some degree – but I am skilled at dealing with strange beings, as you well know. So in order to become a better friend to Zoe, warn her that certain Durand students are not happy about her creative writing. Prudence and Lambert really do not like her inability to distinguish them from other students in her stories – with Prudence it is Flore and Lambert’s is Aymeri.”

“Um, thanks for the advice, Magsa.”

“No problem. I could’ve used her help last year myself, but instead I had you.”

Glad that Magsa’s lack of subtlety involves Lambert rather than Sima, you resolve to give his proposal serious consideration. [Gain memory Magsa’s Gambit, choose other option]

[If PC did not complete Magsa’s Y1 Adventure but completed either or both of Magsa Nembo's New Friend and Magsa's got a new project]

 

You find Magsa standing just outside Durand College, trying his best to look imposing. He drops into a more relaxed posture when he sees you, sheepishly muttering something about Lambert trying to recruit people to steal the Mallen Star. Then he smiles.

“[PCFirstName], I guess you want advice about Zoe Melis. Lambert is useful for many things, but although he can talk about problems, he cannot talk about their solutions easily. Zoe is a very useful friend to have, but how can she be made a friend when she is so reclusive? Lambert has no answer, and he would rather doubt his conclusions than consult any Aranaz student such as Grainne Inneith. But I can help. I may not be a good Durand student, but I am skilled at dealing with strange beings, as you well know. So in order to become a better friend to Zoe, warn her that certain Durand students are not happy about her creative writing. Prudence and Lambert really do not like her inability to distinguish them from other students in her stories – with Prudence it is Flore and Lambert’s is Aymeri.”

“Um, thanks for the advice, Magsa.”

“No problem. I could’ve used her help last year myself.”

Glad that Magsa’s lack of subtlety involves Lambert rather than Sima, you resolve to give his proposal serious consideration. [Gain memory Magsa’s Gambit, choose other option]

[If PC completed Magsa’s Y1 Adventure but completed neither of Magsa Nembo's New Friend and Magsa's got a new project]

 

You find Magsa standing just outside Durand College, trying his best to look imposing. He drops into a more relaxed posture when he sees you, sheepishly muttering something about Lambert trying to recruit people to steal the Mallen Star. Then he smiles.

“[PCFirstName], I guess you want advice about Zoe Melis. Lambert is useful for many things, but although he can talk about problems, he cannot talk about their solutions easily. Zoe is a very useful friend to have, but how can she be made a friend when she is so reclusive? Lambert has no answer, and he would rather doubt his conclusions than consult any Aranaz student such as Grainne Inneith. But I can help. I may not be a good Durand student – although you helped me to conceal that to some degree – but I can help. So in order to become a better friend to Zoe, warn her that certain Durand students are not happy about her creative writing. Prudence and Lambert really do not like her inability to distinguish them from other students in her stories – with Prudence it is Flore and Lambert’s is Aymeri.”

“Um, thanks for the advice, Magsa.”

“No problem. I could’ve used her help last year myself, but instead I had you.”

Glad that Magsa’s lack of subtlety involves Lambert rather than Sima, you resolve to give his proposal serious consideration. [Gain memory Magsa’s Gambit, choose other option]

[If PC did not complete Magsa’s Y1 Adventure and neither of Magsa Nembo's New Friend and Magsa's got a new project but completed Tabin’s Y1 Adventure]

 

You find Magsa standing just outside Durand College, trying his best to look imposing. He drops into a more relaxed posture when he sees you, sheepishly muttering something about Lambert trying to recruit people to steal the Mallen Star. Then he smiles.

“[PCFirstName], I guess you want advice about Zoe Melis. Lambert is useful for many things, but although he can talk about problems, he cannot talk about their solutions easily. Zoe is a very useful friend to have, but how can she be made a friend when she is so reclusive? Lambert has no answer, and he would rather doubt his conclusions than consult any Aranaz student such as Grainne Inneith. But I can help. So in order to become a better friend to Zoe, warn her that certain Durand students are not happy about her creative writing. Prudence and Lambert really do not like her inability to distinguish them from other students in her stories – with Prudence it is Flore and Lambert’s is Aymeri.”

“Um, thanks for the advice, Magsa.”

“No problem. I could’ve used her help last year myself. And because you helped my dear friend in an important project, you did just as good as helping me.”

Glad that Magsa’s lack of subtlety involves Lambert rather than Sima, you resolve to give his proposal serious consideration. [Gain memory Magsa’s Gambit, choose other option]

[If PC did not complete Magsa’s Y1 Adventure and neither of Magsa Nembo's New Friend and Magsa's got a new project and did not complete Tabin’s Y1 Adventure]

 

You find Magsa standing just outside Durand College, trying his best to look imposing. He drops into a more relaxed posture when he sees you, sheepishly muttering something about Lambert trying to recruit people to steal the Mallen Star. Then he smiles.

“[PCFirstName], I guess you want advice about Zoe Melis. Lambert is useful for many things, but although he can talk about problems, he cannot talk about their solutions easily. Zoe is a very useful friend to have, but how can she be made a friend when she is so reclusive? Lambert has no answer, and he would rather doubt his conclusions than consult any Aranaz student such as Grainne Inneith. But I can help. So in order to become a better friend to Zoe, warn her that certain Durand students are not happy about her creative writing. Prudence and Lambert really do not like her inability to distinguish them from other students in her stories – with Prudence it is Flore and Lambert’s is Aymeri.”

“Um, thanks for the advice, Magsa.”

“No problem. I could’ve used her help last year myself. A pity that neither I nor one of my dear friends were helped by you.”

Stung a bit by Magsa’s criticism, you mutter an apology and resolve to give his proposal serious consideration. [Gain memory Magsa’s Gambit, choose other option]

-          Go forth to talk to Zoe when you are ready.

 

You figure that there is no use in waiting any more. You will just have to meet with Zoe when you are ready and hope for the best. [Unlocks stage Talking to Zoe]

-          Go forth to talk to Zoe now.

 

You figure that there is no use in waiting any more. You will just have to meet with Zoe now and hope for the best. [Leads to stage Talking to Zoe]

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And here is the Third Stage of the Adventure. One more stage to go. Feedback is welcome.

Talking to Zoe

 

You are finally ready to confront Zoe Melis. Or, well, maybe that is not the right word, but you definitely want to learn about why she is claiming what she is claiming, and if she will not tell you easily, this could lead to a confrontation. You sigh at your thoughts. Sima would be better at this type of social maneuvering, you believe.

Regardless of how you define what you are about to do, you realize that Zoe, who has just approached you in a school corridor, is unknowingly setting you up for an attempt to get the information that Sima wants. Zoe is not in class, not in the hospital, not studying in her room or a library – and she is freshly fascinated by some upper year Durand student’s declamation of poetry in a strange language in an alcove that the two of you just walked past, as she tells you with a slightly feverish happiness.

“So, um, hear and see the student with his verses, [PCFirstName]? Are you aware of the language? I am familiar with Auncestrian, Bassan, and Cassettan Elumian to various degrees, as well as numerous Merilien insults, but I cannot identify this language. But you had a mentor from Sae’on, so I am wondering if the verses are what Miya might call Sae’on-go.”

Well, given Zoe’s love of esoteric languages and scholarship, this seems as good a conversation opener as any. Not that it is a good opener. So you guide Zoe to stop in front of the alcove, listen a bit to the droning voice, and shake your head.

“Oan was a mentor about the school to me, Zoe, and did not like to talk about Sae’on except with mild exasperation – people were always exoticizing her because of her home island and its volcano city. So all of our words were spoken in Renaglian and Elumian. I cannot identify the poem’s language. But I can understand the difficulty in identifying and using language and appropriate words and topics. In fact, I would like to talk to you about those issues.”

Zoe flashes confusion before smiling a bit at both you and the still-chanting student-poet.

“Is this a normal way to talk about social matters? In any case, I was hardly a better model, asking you about obscure languages. But sure, ask away. Maybe your questions will allow me to figure out how to interact with other people better.”

This is, you figure, as good a time as any to try to get Sima her answers. And if your talking interrupts the student-poet’s rhythm, well, he sort of set himself up for such interruptions by choosing to use a corridor’s alcove to recite.

-          [PC has item Ring of Three Jewels] Negotiate. Zoe would surely trade a ring for some answers.

 

[success]

 

You draw carefully from a pocket the ring that Sima gave you and let Zoe’s eyes widen as she looks at its bright colours.

“That is a beautiful ring you have, [PCFirstName], but why are you showing it to me? Is there some ring-based tradition that I am unaware of?”

“This ring I received as a gift of sorts from Sima,” you reply, hoping that you are not giving too much away. “We met when I studying, and she got to encouraging me to take a little break, at which point she shared with me some ideas she has about magical jewelry. I felt rather out of my depths, so Sima, in kindness, lent me some of your writing for a relaxing read. I found the story that you had written to be a hilarious spoof of Academagia’s students and faculty, but was concerned that Sima might take offence at the idea that she is associated with Magsa and Tabin. Sima told me when I raised this issue that she cares not what fey-tales a fellow Hedi student like you may write about her, but gave me this ring as a slight apology for getting me concerned.”

“That Sima – as strange as she is friendly!” Zoe’s interjection begins as a whisper yet rises to a squeal, what causes the poet-student in the alcove to stumble in reciting.

“Yes, Sima cares not about your writings, but I am curious – maybe you will spread claims about me in your writings that I will not like. So I will give you this ring if you will tell me what your sources for your stories set in Academagia are – especially those concerning Sima, since your writings about her created this controversy. This way, you who created the story that caused me such concern will benefit from Sima’s generosity. You can consider this your first payment as a writer!”

Zoe giggles, and her normally pale face flushes a bit. “Soon I will be the next Sancus Clausus, whose books I read over the summer when bedridden. I will gladly trade you the ring for more information than you asked for – after all, I was not expecting any ring for what I showed to Sima.”

She takes the ring, slips it over a thin finger, and sighs in contentment.

“Sima’s ring has powerful magic – she must know someone from Vernin at some level. Now. Where was I? Ah yes, the story. Well, I decided to have Sima associated with Magsa and Tabin for a purely humorous reason. Magsa I knew vaguely as an extremely incompetent zoology student, and Tabin competed with me in history last year. I knew about a rival student and a bad student, so I thought that it would be funny to have them linked in my story though the mysterious yet socially powerful Sima – so contrary to reality. The rest of the story I based upon my desire to be known as more than the sickly student from the poor region whose captains kidnap crewmembers, as well as vague knowledge of last year’s pirate attacks. But you know what?” Her question is concluded with a squeaking bark of laughter.

“What?” You are glad to note that Zoe’s giggling, laughter, and monologuing are not disconcerting to you alone. The student reciting in the alcove shakes his head in disgust, stops speaking, and storms off, muttering in Renaglian about how art is not appreciated when others hear it.

“I’ve decided to stop writing such stories based upon Academagia. Sima took it well enough, but others, such as the Pievrian who hates me – let no one hear me say her name – may take such stories the wrong way. So I have decided, based upon this encounter, to dedicate myself to philology. That way, no one can accuse me of not knowing anything about society.”

You numbly wish her well in her endeavor, but wonder what exactly philology is and why Zoe would prefer it to fiction based upon her life. [+1 skill step Character Study, lose Ring of Three Jewels, Zoe Melis gains Ring of Three Jewels, add memory Sima’s Ring to Zoe, unlock stage Reporting to Sima]

[failure]

 

You draw carefully from a pocket the ring that Sima gave you and let Zoe’s eyes widen as she looks at its bright colours.

“That is a beautiful ring you have, [PCFirstName], but why are you showing it to me? Is there some ring-based tradition that I am unaware of?”

“This ring I received as a gift of sorts from Sima,” you reply, hoping that you are not giving too much away. “We met when I studying, and she got to encouraging me to take a little break, at which point she shared with me some ideas she has about magical jewelry. I felt rather out of my depths, so Sima, in kindness, lent me some of your writing for a relaxing read. I found the story that you had written to be a hilarious spoof of Academagia’s students and faculty, but was concerned that Sima might take offence at the idea that she is associated with Magsa and Tabin. Sima told me when I raised this issue that she cares not what fey-tales a fellow Hedi student like you may write about her, but gave me this ring as a slight apology for getting me concerned.”

“That Sima – as strange as she is friendly!” Zoe’s interjection begins as a whisper yet rises to a squeal, what causes the poet-student in the alcove to stumble in reciting.

“Yes, Sima cares not about your writings, but I am curious – maybe you will spread claims about me in your writings that I will not like. So I will give you this ring if you will tell me what your sources for your stories set in Academagia are.”

Zoe giggles, and her normally pale face flushes a bit. “No thanks, [PCLastName]. I have better things to do, as a student and as a writer, than tell you about how I created my stories for a ring, even if it has three beautiful jewels.”

She leaves then, and you feel that you should do the same. Listening to poetry in languages that you do not understand is not wise outside temples. What if the student is proclaiming his love for Regent Briardi or something even more scandalous and possibly illegal? [+1 Stress, pause adventure]

-          [PC has item Tabin’s Potion] Brew. Zoe would surely trade a potion for some answers – but you have to make the potion seem useful.

 

[success]

 

Hoping that Zoe has not been convinced through one of Cante’s proposals not to take strange potions, you try to be as honest as the situation calls for.

“Zoe, you seem tired and sick. This can lead to people making foolish social decisions.”

“Such as trying to wrestle Phillipe Marchant? What is new in Mineta? Has Phillippe fallen in love with the pacifist from his college and renounced violence? Or are you just trying to insult me?”

With what you hope is a dramatic flourish, you present the potion to Zoe.

“No, I was just trying to set up my offering this potion to you. I have it on a very good authority – who loves to try to learn things about medicine from Gressel's Medications – that this is a very reputable type of medicine that in general improves energy levels.”

Zoe faintly smiles. “Surely you are not giving me this for no reason. But I will take it – worst outcome, I figure, is that I will get a new potion beaker. But what do you want in exchange? Help with studying from my new-found energy?”

“I have heard from Sima that you wrote some sort of comic novel in which she and Magsa and Tabin are linked. She does not care about such false claims that you write in spoofs, but I worry – maybe you will spread claims about me in your writings that I will not like. So I want to know what your sources for your stories set in Academagia are – especially those concerning Sima, since your writings about her are how I first learned about your fiction.”

Zoe giggles, and her normally pale face flushes a bit. “Ah yes, the story. Well, I decided to have Sima associated with Magsa and Tabin for a purely humorous reason. Magsa I knew vaguely as an extremely incompetent zoology student, and Tabin – he competed with me in history last year. I Knew about a rival student and a bad student, so I thought that it would be funny to have them linked in my story though the mysterious yet socially powerful Sima – so contrary to reality. The rest of the story I based upon my desire to be known as more than the sickly student from the poor region whose captains kidnap crewmembers, as well as vague knowledge of last year’s pirate attacks. But you know what?” Her question is concluded with a squeaking bark of laughter.

“What?” You are glad to note that Zoe’s giggling, laughter, and monologuing are not disconcerting to you alone. The student reciting in the alcove shakes his head in disgust, stops speaking, and storms off, muttering in Renaglian about how art is not appreciated when others hear it.

“I’ve decided to stop writing such stories based upon Academagia. Sima took it well enough, but others, such as the Pievrian who hates me – let no one hear me say her name – may take such stories the wrong way. So I have decided, based upon this encounter, to dedicate myself to philology. That way, no one can accuse me of not knowing anything about society.”

You numbly wish her well in her endeavor, but wonder what exactly philology is and why Zoe would prefer it to fiction based upon her life. [+1 skill step Negotiate, lose Tabin’s Potion, Zoe Melis gains Tabin’s Potion, add memory Tabin’s Potion to Zoe, unlock stage Reporting to Sima]

[failure]

 

Hoping that Zoe has not been convinced through one of Cante’s proposals not to take strange potions, you try to be as honest as the situation calls for.

“Zoe, you seem tired and sick. This can lead to people making foolish social decisions.”

“Such as trying to wrestle Phillipe Marchant? What is new in Mineta? Has Phillippe fallen in love with the pacifist from his college and renounced violence? Or are you just trying to insult me?”

With what you hope is a dramatic flourish, you present the potion to Zoe.

“No, I was just trying to set up my offering this potion to you, which, um…”

But then you realize that you have no idea how to make Zoe trust your potion’s quality.

Zoe faintly smiles. “Why would I accept your potion when you cannot give me any evidence that it is anything other than, for example, dyed sewer water? If I were wanting a potion, it should at least be faintly linked to a skilled potion-maker or the like”

She leaves then, and you feel that you should do the same. Listening to poetry in languages that you do not understand is not wise outside temples. What if the student is proclaiming his love for Regent Briardi or something even more scandalous and possibly illegal? [+1 Stress, pause adventure]

-          [PC has memory Tabin’s Gambit] Strategy. Warn Zoe about Milena’s anger.

 

[success]

 

“So, Zoe, I think that Milena may be angry with you because of your writing.”

“Why? Have you learned about my stories in which I maker a thinly disguised version of her into a radical republican and Pievrian secret agent?”

“Um, yes. I mean, Sima is already aware of how you have falsely portrayed her as associated with Tabin and Magsa, but she cares nothing about such claims. Milena, on the other hand, is already your enemy, so she could cause problems.”

Zoe shudders and winces. “What do you think I should do to deal with Milena?”

Realizing that now is the make or break portion of the conversation, you say “Milena could sue you in court if she were really serious – defamation. So it would be good for you to clearly establish your sources for your claims and your over-all intent.”

Zoe grins. “Well, I don’t see why it is not worth trying. You, [PCFullName], can be my witness. I did no research when writing the novel that I gave to Sima. It is not intended to reveal the truth about any person or organization or state. Any similarities between the novel and reality (except as pertains to the layout of Academagia) are purely coincidental. The story is a wish-fulfillment about my life with many comical – not satirical – elements. But you know what?” Her question is concluded with a squeaking bark of laughter.

“What?” You are glad to note that Zoe’s abrupt laughter is not disconcerting to you alone. The student reciting in the alcove shakes his head, stops speaking, and leaves, muttering in Renaglian about careless words.

“I’ve decided to stop writing such stories based upon Academagia. Sima took it well enough, but others, such as the Pievrian who hates me – let no one hear me say her name any more today – may take such stories the wrong way. So I have decided, based upon this encounter, to dedicate myself to philology. That way, no one can accuse me of not knowing anything about society, and the Pievrian will have less opportunity to seize upon my writings to use against me.”

You numbly wish her well in her endeavor, but wonder what exactly philology is and why Zoe would prefer it to fiction based upon her life. [+1 skill step Civil Law, lose memory Tabin’s Gambit, gain memory Tabin’s Gambit Played, unlock stage Reporting to Sima]

[failure]

 

“So, Zoe, I think that Milena may be angry with you because of your writing.”

“Why? Have you learned about my stories in which I maker a thinly disguised version of her into a radical republican and Pievrian secret agent?”

“Um, yes. I mean, Sima is already aware of how you have falsely portrayed her as associated with Tabin and Magsa, but she cares nothing about such claims. Milena, on the other hand, is already your enemy, so she could cause problems.”

Zoe shudders and winces. “What do you think I should do to deal with Milena?”

Realizing that now is the make or break portion of the conversation, you say “Milena could play a really mean prank upon you, such as causing you to think that you are using ink of one color to write an exam when it is another color. So it would be good for you to clearly establish your sources for your claims and your over-all intent.”

Zoe laughs aloud. “If that is the best that Milena can do to me, then I need no one’s help. Even if she can do worse – and I would not put it past her – your failure to think beyond such minor pranks reveals that you are not whom I should consult to deal with her.”

She leaves then, and you feel that you should do the same. Listening to poetry in languages that you do not understand is not wise outside temples. What if the student is proclaiming his love for Regent Briardi or something even more scandalous and possibly illegal? [+1 Stress, pause adventure]

-          [PC has memory Magsa’s Gambit] Intimidation. Tell Zoe about the anger that her stories are creating.

 

[success]

 

You turn to Zoe, giving what you hope is a fearful yet not creepy look.

“Zoe, people are really upset about your efforts to write stories and give manuscripts to others. They think that you are harming their reputations. And they want to retaliate.”

Zoe’s eyes widen and she shudders a bit.

“Who are these people? Professors? Students not named Milena di Montors?”

“Worse! Prudence Cossins and Lambert Cobo!”

Zoe sighs and shakes her head. “Presumably, they did not like something about how I presented them in on of my stories. But I barely know those two – they are outside Hedi, and Lambert is not involved in academics or the student newspaper. So what is the worst that they could do to me?”

You frantically try to come up with the most intimidating things about both students and settle for saying “Prudence throws a mean punch and is skilled at incantation, and Lambert knows how to find rumors that he tries to link into some great conspiracy that he tries to convince Durand College to believe. One alone would be bad enough, but together? You would be at risk for physical harm and having your reputation smeared.”

Zoe grimaces. “I never should have tried to write about this school using my classmates as characters, let alone shared the story with others. But what do those two students not like about my writing?”

“Prudence does not like how you give the name Patience to a castellan’s daughter student – she wants to not be confused for Flore Yveuillet, even though the two of them both have issues with their names. Lambert just does not like being confused for an Aranaz student, even in fiction – he regards it as a personal insult.”

“Well, you can tell any student you want that I based my stories set in this school on no research into their lives. I did no research when writing the novel that I gave to Sima. It is not intended to reveal the truth about any person or organization or state. Any similarities between the novel and reality (except as pertains to the layout of Academagia) are purely coincidental. The story is a wish-fulfillment about my life with many comical – not satirical – elements. But you know what?” Her question is concluded with a squeaking bark of laughter.

“What?” You are glad to note that Zoe’s abrupt laughter is not disconcerting to you alone. The student reciting in the alcove shakes his head, stops speaking, and leaves, muttering in Renaglian about careless words.

“I’ve decided to stop writing such stories based upon Academagia. Other students, such as the two Durand students whom you mentioned – I have already forgotten their names – may take such stories the wrong way. So I have decided, based upon this encounter, to dedicate myself to philology. That way, no one can accuse me of not knowing anything about society, and the Pievrian will haver less opportunity to seize upon my writings to use against me.”

You numbly wish her well in her endeavor, but wonder what exactly philology is and why Zoe would prefer it to fiction based upon her life. [+1 skill step Journalism, lose memory Magsa’s Gambit, gain memory Magsa’s Gambit Played, unlock stage Reporting to Sima]

[failure]

 

You turn to Zoe, giving what you hope is a fearful yet not creepy look.

“Zoe, people are really upset about your efforts to write stories and give manuscripts to others. They think that you are harming their reputations. And they want to retaliate.”

Zoe’s eyes widen and she shudders a bit.

“Who are these people? Professors? Students not named Milena di Montors?”

“Worse! Prudence Cossins and Lambert Cobo!”

Zoe sighs and shakes her head. “Presumably, they did not like something about how I presented them in on of my stories. But I barely know those two – they are outside Hedi, and Lambert is not involved in academics or the student newspaper. So what is the worse that they could do to me?”

You frantically try to come up with the most intimidating things about both students and settle for saying “Prudence likes challenging people to fights, I guess, and Lambert is always skulking about, trying to hide.”

Zoe laughs aloud. “If those are the most dangerous features of those students that you know about, then those students are no threat to me. What a relief!”

She leaves then, and you feel that you should do the same. Listening to poetry in languages that you do not understand is not wise outside temples. What if the student is proclaiming his love for Regent Briardi or something even more scandalous and possibly illegal? [+1 Stress, pause adventure]

-          Conversation. Try to mention Sima’s concerns in a casual way.

 

[success]

 

You decide that honesty is the best policy – to a certain degree.

“Zoe, Sima is a bit puzzled by your story about Academagia. She wonders why you chose to associate her with Magsa and Tabin. She does not care that you write such falsehoods, nor does she fear that such falsehoods would harm her popularity, but she is curious why you decided to link her to those two students. If she were to ask you directly, she fears losing social status – caring about the scribblings of book-worms is not good for one’s social life, unless one wants to date Durand or Courtenay – or you.”

Zoe smirks. “If only we could all be so socially secure. If someone were linking me to someone else socially – not even romantically – I would be so worried that I would try to seek a synchronicity mage for help – at minimum. Would this claim be part of some plot to lure me – or as you would say, cassetta me? Or as some misguided attempt at friendship? Something in between? Even worse? I would be sicker than usual through not knowing the answer.”

Zoe sighs, and she seems very vulnerable – even more than a sickly solitary student from a poor region would normally be. Still, she has left you an opening, so you take it.

“Surely, Zoe, feeling so worried about such claims, you can better understand Sima’s curiosity, right? I would tell her the answer in strict confidence, so that neither of you would lose reputation.”

Zoe chuckles. “Yes! Even the idea of being, even in some small way, superior to Sima – it is amazing. And maybe this could lead Cyrus Dawes to try to date me, come in time. Or it could be a trap like what I was talking about. But no! Even if this is a trap, I shall control its opening – which is better than other social situations that I have been in. Now. Where was I? Ah yes, the story. Well, I decided to have Sima associated with Magsa and Tabin for a purely humorous reason. Magsa I knew vaguely as an extremely incompetent zoology student, and Tabin – he competed with me in history last year. I knew about a rival student and a bad student, so I thought that it would be funny to have them linked in my story though the mysterious yet socially powerful Sima – so contrary to reality. The rest of the story I based upon my desire to be known as more than the sickly student from the poor region whose captains kidnap crewmembers, as well as vague knowledge of last year’s pirate attacks. But you know what?” Her question is concluded with a squeaking bark of laughter.

“What?” You are glad to note that Zoe’s laughter and monologuing are not disconcerting to you alone. The student reciting in the alcove shakes his head in disgust, stops speaking, and storms off, muttering in Renaglian about how art is not appreciated when others hear it.

“I’ve decided to stop writing such stories based upon Academagia. Sima took it well enough, but others, such as the Pievrian who hates me – let no one hear me say her name – may take such stories the wrong way. So I have decided, based upon this encounter, to dedicate myself to philology. That way, no one can accuse me of not knowing anything about society.”

You numbly wish her well in her endeavor, but wonder what exactly philology is and why Zoe would prefer it to fiction based upon her life. [+1 skill step Intrigue, unlock stage Reporting to Sima]

[failure]

 

You decide that honesty is the best policy – to a certain degree.

“Zoe, Sima is puzzled by your story about Academagia. She wonders why you linked her with Magsa and Tabin. She does not care that you write such falsehoods, nor does she fear that such falsehoods would harm her popularity. If she were to ask you directly, she fears losing social status – caring about the scribblings of book-worms is not good for one’s social life, unless one wants to date Durand or Courtenay.”

Zoe smirks. “If only we could all be so socially secure. If someone were linking me to someone else socially – not even romantically – I would be so worried that I would try to seek a synchronicity mage for help – at minimum. Would this claim be part of some plot to lure me – or as you would say, cassetta me? Or as some misguided attempt at friendship? Something in between? Even worse? I would be sicker than usual through not knowing the answer.”

Zoe sighs, and she seems very vulnerable – even more than a sickly solitary student from a poor region would normally be. Still, she has left you an opening, so you take it.

“Surely, Zoe, feeling so worried about such claims, you can better understand Sima’s curiosity.”

Zoe chuckles. “On the contrary, I delight in having some power over Sima’s mind. Sima, a social butterfly worthy of the cunning queen and friend to feys, cares about me, whom others often wonder about as not able to speak quietly of riddles even crudely. Sima probably cares about this more than she wants to reveal, so I will not reveal the answer so easily!”

She leaves then, and you feel that you should do the same. Listening to poetry in languages that you do not understand is not wise outside temples. What if the student is proclaiming his love for Regent Briardi or something even more scandalous and possibly illegal? [+1 Stress, + 1 skill step Negotiation, pause adventure]

-          Beguile. Praising Zoe for her skill as a writer, try to gain news about her sources.

 

[success]

 

You decide that since Zoe has caused Sima such stress through attempts at being a writer, you should praise Zoe‘s skills as a writer.

Unfortunately, this may be difficult. Zoe’s writing is grammatically sound (as may be expected from an excellent Hedi student), but her story’s plot is absurd, its characters exist only to praise the Cassettan student narrator, and the vocabulary is unrealistic and homogenous. Only in her mind, barely familiar with these people in particular and people in general, would have either Prudence Cossins or Flore Yveuillet – whom she melds into a composite character – talk enthusiastically about the need for trans-and-cis-national panhuman amity in opposition to draconic traduction, belligerence, and aggression!

Still, if you had not been wanting strange situations and knowledge, you would not have befriended the Triplets, let alone come to Academagia! So, hoping that your mind is swift enough that you were not too long in talking, you say to Zoe, “I am so impressed by your writing. The plot is so interesting and the characters so memorable. Are you trying to establish yourself as a satirist? Others may not like satire, or get angry at you for such writing, but I love satire, and can easily see your story among such efforts in that controversial genre.”

Zoe seems genuinely pleased by your remarks. “Why, [PCFirstName], I am flattered by your words and impressed by your erudition! Most other students here seem to think – when they notice my efforts as a creative writer at all – that satire involves Satyrs and Satyric Revelry, but this is not true! Anyways,” and here she shudders, “I would not want to write anything based upon or about Satyrs! Professor Sido showed me some notes about them from some of his lectures – I was interested in whether they had a language or languages of their own – and he revealed that they are quite protean in character. The ones at Satyrius may seem to be humans with the social graces of the wealthy people in Frontino with only goat features to tell them apart, but the satyrs in other communities are quite different – and I would not be surprised if satyrs behave differently depending upon how close they are to human civilization.”

“You know so much, Zoe! This could enrich your stories!”

“Yes, and I honestly hope to become better at writing stories. But right now, I am just trying to develop the focus to write about long series of events with a unified setting and character. I did no research when writing the novel that I gave to Sima and that she presumably showed you. It is not intended to reveal the truth about any person or organization or state. Any similarities between the novel and reality (except as pertains to the layout of Academagia) are purely coincidental. The story is a wish-fulfillment about my life with many comical – not satirical – elements. But you know what?” Her question is concluded with a squeaking bark of laughter.

“What?” You are glad to note that Zoe’s abrupt laughter is not disconcerting to you alone. The student reciting in the alcove shakes his head, stops speaking, and leaves, muttering in Renaglian about careless words.

“I am so glad that you like my writing that I have decided that I can move to better fiction – stuff that I really want to write rather than stories based upon Academagia. Certain students, such as the Pievrian who hates me – let not her name darken my mood now – may take such stories the wrong way. So I am interested in writing some terrifying stories set in a counterpart to our world – just as we live in a world floating above the surface of a planet due to magic, I will write stories set in a world below the surface of a planet due to magic. Imagine that! A setting with no astrology – and dragons and human foibles and other magics still providing threats.”

You have to admit that Zoe’s idea has potential, and are glad that you were able to get her to tell you more about her hobby and thoughts. Praising sincerely her ideas you wish her well, and expressing hope that you may be able to talk to her about these ideas more, you go on your way, pausing briefly to apologize to the flustered Durand student whose recitation you interrupted. [Unlock stage Reporting to Sima, unlock action Discuss Creative Writing with Zoe]

Action: Discuss Creative Writing with Zoe

 

Flavor Text: You have come to realize that Zoe has a genuinely interesting series of ideas for fiction – and she really wants to talk about them with someone. Once every 7 days, you are cordially invited to talk to her in the Hedi Common Room about her latest story ideas.

Benefits: +1 Relation with Zoe Melis, +1 Famous Prose, +1 Storytelling

Location: Hedi Common Room

[failure]

 

[If Male PC]

 

You decide that since Zoe has caused Sima such stress through attempts at being a writer, you should praise Zoe‘s skills as a writer.

Unfortunately, this may be difficult. Zoe’s writing is grammatically sound (as may be expected from an excellent Hedi student), but her story’s plot is absurd, its characters exist only to praise the Cassettan student narrator, and the vocabulary is unrealistic and homogenous. Only in her mind, barely familiar with these people in particular and people in general, would have either Prudence Cossins or Flore Yveuillet – whom she melds into a composite character – talk enthusiastically about the need for trans-and-cis-national panhuman amity in opposition to draconic traduction, belligerence, and aggression!

Still, if you had not been wanting strange situations and knowledge, you would not have befriended the Triplets, let alone come to Academagia! So, hoping that your mind is swift enough that you were not too long in talking, you say to Zoe, “I am impressed by your writing. The plot is so interesting. Are you trying to establish yourself as a satirist?”

Zoe frowns. “Why, [PCLastName], are you trying to convince me that you like the story that I showed to Sima? I don’t think it to be good writing, and I am its author. Sima only got the manuscript from me after one of her friends – one of the glamorous girls in this school – mocked me in her presence for always writing and Sima, for some reason that only she knows, tried to be nice by evincing interest in the manuscript. I regard the circumstances surrounding its disclosure to the public as an embarrassment and the story as a writing exercise not intended by or fit for publication. I have enough understanding of social rules to recognize that you are not even really sincere in your praise of it. Bah! You were probably trying to prank me!”

She leaves then, and you feel that you should do the same. Listening to poetry in languages that you do not understand is not wise outside temples. What if the student is proclaiming his love for Regent Briardi or something even more scandalous and possibly illegal? [+ 1 Stress, - 1 Relationship with Zoe Melis, pause Adventure]

[If Female PC]

 

You decide that since Zoe has caused Sima such stress through attempts at being a writer, you should praise Zoe‘s skills as a writer.

Unfortunately, this may be difficult. Zoe’s writing is grammatically sound (as may be expected from an excellent Hedi student), but her story’s plot is absurd, its characters exist only to praise the Cassettan student narrator, and the vocabulary is unrealistic and homogenous. Only in her mind, barely familiar with these people in particular and people in general, would have either Prudence Cossins or Flore Yveuillet – whom she melds into a composite character – talk enthusiastically about the need for trans-and-cis-national panhuman amity in opposition to draconic traduction, belligerence, and aggression!

Still, if you had not been wanting strange situations and knowledge, you would not have befriended the Triplets, let alone come to Academagia! So, hoping that your mind is swift enough that you were not too long in talking, you say to Zoe, “I am impressed by your writing. The plot is so interesting. Are you trying to establish yourself as a satirist?”

Zoe frowns. “Why, [PCLastName], are you trying to convince me that you like the story that I showed to Sima? I don’t think it to be good writing, and I am its author. Sima only got the manuscript from me after one of her friends – one of the truly glamorous girls in this school, unlike you – mocked me in her presence for always writing and Sima, for some reason that only she knows, tried to be nice by evincing interest in the manuscript. I regard the circumstances surrounding its disclosure to the public as an embarrassment and the story as a writing exercise not intended by or fit for publication. I have enough understanding of social rules to recognize that you are not even really sincere in your praise of it. Bah! You were probably trying to prank me!”

She leaves then, and you feel that you should do the same. Listening to poetry in languages that you do not understand is not wise outside temples. What if the student is proclaiming his love for Regent Briardi or something even more scandalous and possibly illegal? [+ 1 Stress, - 1 Relationship with Zoe Melis, pause Adventure]

-          Storytelling. You have your own talent for telling stories. Try swapping ideas and inspirations with Zoe and then work from there.

 

[success]

 

You decide that since Zoe has caused Sima such stress through her stories, you should  try to talk about stories with her as an opening for further discussion.

Unfortunately, this may be difficult. Zoe’s writing is grammatically sound (as may be expected from an excellent Hedi student), but her story’s plot is absurd, with pirates who do not seem to do anything except serve as ways for her narrator, the Cassettan Student, to gain the praise of others.

Still, if you had not been wanting strange situations and knowledge, you would not have befriended the Triplets, let alone come to Academagia! So, hoping that your mind is swift enough that you were not too long in talking, you say to Zoe, “Your story is very interesting. What inspired you to write a sort of comedy set at Academagia in which pirates are so heavily involved? I am aware that there were pirates attacking the school last year, but I would not have thought to use this as the basis for comedy.”

Zoe seems genuinely pleased by your remarks. “Why, [PCFirstName], I am flattered by your words and impressed by your perspicacity! Others would doubtlessly assume that I was inspired last year’s pirate attacks and leave it at that, but you go further. Unfortunately, my answer is not that interesting. I honestly hope to become better at writing stories. But right now, I am just trying to develop the focus to write about long series of events with a unified setting and character. I did no research when writing the novel that I gave to Sima and that she presumably showed you. It is not intended to reveal the truth about any person or organization or state. Any similarities between the novel and reality (except as pertains to the layout of Academagia) are purely coincidental. The story is a wish-fulfillment about my life with many comical elements, but it is not meant to be a comedy. I just had ideas about things that I wished had happened to me, and many of them, due the circumstances that would have been required for them to come about, seem comical. But you know what?” Her question is concluded with a squeaking bark of laughter.

“What?” You are glad to note that Zoe’s abrupt laughter is not disconcerting to you alone. The student reciting in the alcove shakes his head, stops speaking, and leaves, muttering in Renaglian about careless words.

“I am so glad that you are interested in talking to me about inspirations for stories, and I would much appreciate such conversations in the future. I hope some time that I can move to better fiction – stuff that I really want to write rather than stories based upon Academagia. Certain students, such as the Pievrian who hates me – let not her name darken my mood now – may take the stories that I now write  the wrong way. I am interested in writing some terrifying stories set in a counterpart to our world – just as we live in a world floating above the surface of a planet due to magic, I will write stories set in a world below the surface of a planet due to magic. Imagine that! A setting with no astrology – and dragons and human foibles and other magics still providing threats. Have you heard of the Auncish writer Thomas Dragon-Resister Deerfield? His Elumian writing is polysyllabic and labrynthine, but the ideas are amazing and terrifying for the careful and patient reader.”

You have to admit that Zoe’s idea has potential, and are glad that you were able to get her to tell you more about her hobby and writing process. Praising sincerely her ideas you wish her well and go on your way, pausing briefly to apologize to the flustered Durand student whose recitation you interrupted. [Unlock stage Reporting to Sima, unlock action Discuss Creative Writing with Zoe]

Action: Discuss Creative Writing with Zoe

 

Flavor Text: You have come to realize that Zoe has a genuinely interesting series of ideas for fiction – and she really wants to talk about them with someone. Once every 7 days, you are cordially invited to talk to her in the Hedi Common Room about her latest story ideas.

Benefits: +1 Relation with Zoe Melis, +1 Famous Prose, +1 Storytelling

Location: Hedi Common Room

[failure]

 

[If Male PC]

 

You decide that since Zoe has caused Sima such stress through her stories, you should  try to talk about stories with her as an opening for further discussion.

Unfortunately, this may be difficult. Zoe’s writing is grammatically sound (as may be expected from an excellent Hedi student), but her story’s plot is absurd, with pirates who do not seem to do anything except serve as ways for her narrator, the Cassettan Student, to gain the praise of others.

Still, if you had not been wanting strange situations and knowledge, you would not have befriended the Triplets, let alone come to Academagia! So, hoping that your mind is swift enough that you were not too long in talking, you say to Zoe, “Your story is very interesting. What inspired you to write a sort of comedy set at Academagia in which pirates are so heavily involved? Were you inspired by the ultimately heroic pirate captain in the most recent Celestial Battle novel?”

Zoe frowns. “Why, [PCLastName], are you trying to convince me that you are interested in the story that I showed to Sima? I don’t think it to be good writing, and I am its author. Sima only got the manuscript from me after one of her friends – one of the glamorous girls in this school – mocked me in her presence for always writing and Sima, for some reason that only she knows, tried to be nice by evincing interest in the manuscript. I regard the circumstances surrounding its disclosure to the public as an embarrassment and the story as a writing exercise not intended by or fit for publication. Your praise of my work, even if genuine, is not the result of learning, and therefore useless to me. You cannot even cite a source of inspiration for it that is not the sort of psittacine plebeian pabulum that I hate but other students love – to the detriment of my social life but the benefit of my education. Bah! You were probably trying to prank me!”

She leaves then, and you feel that you should do the same. Listening to poetry in languages that you do not understand is not wise outside temples. What if the student is proclaiming his love for Regent Briardi or something even more scandalous and possibly illegal? [+ 1 Stress, - 1 Relationship with Zoe Melis, pause Adventure]

[If Female PC]

 

You decide that since Zoe has caused Sima such stress through her stories, you should  try to talk about stories with her as an opening for further discussion.

Unfortunately, this may be difficult. Zoe’s writing is grammatically sound (as may be expected from an excellent Hedi student), but her story’s plot is absurd, with pirates who do not seem to do anything except serve as ways for her narrator, the Cassettan Student, to gain the praise of others.

Still, if you had not been wanting strange situations and knowledge, you would not have befriended the Triplets, let alone come to Academagia! So, hoping that your mind is swift enough that you were not too long in talking, you say to Zoe, “Your story is very interesting. What inspired you to write a sort of comedy set at Academagia in which pirates are so heavily involved? Were you inspired by the ultimately heroic pirate captain in the most recent Celestial Battle novel?”

Zoe frowns. “Why, [PCLastName], are you trying to convince me that you are interested in the story that I showed to Sima? I don’t think it to be good writing, and I am its author. Sima only got the manuscript from me after one of her friends – one of the glamourous girls in this school, unlike you – mocked me in her presence for always writing and Sima, for some reason that only she knows, tried to be nice by evincing interest in the manuscript. I regard the circumstances surrounding its disclosure to the public as an embarrassment and the story as a writing exercise not intended by or fit for publication. Your praise of my work, even if genuine, is not the result of learning, and therefore useless to me. You cannot even cite a source of inspiration for it that is not the sort of psittacine plebeian pabulum that I hate but other students love – to the detriment of my social life but the benefit of my education. Bah! You were probably trying to prank me!”

She leaves then, and you feel that you should do the same. Listening to poetry in languages that you do not understand is not wise outside temples. What if the student is proclaiming his love for Regent Briardi or something even more scandalous and possibly illegal? [+ 1 Stress, - 1 Relationship with Zoe Melis, pause Adventure]

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I have, after much thinking, decided that the final portion of this adventure should be divided into two stages, with the first including an option to end the adventure early. I just could not think of a way for Sima's meeting to be inconspicuous within the school, and I do not want to force any player to have to play as a character foolish enough to follow anybody - especially one as mysterious as Sima - into a shadowy space between buildings with no knowledge of what they are doing. The second and final stage will have many more options. Any feedback is welcome.

Reporting to Sima:

 

When Sima finds you outside the cafeteria, she seems on the verge of … well, you are not exactly sure. She is not frightened, nor angry, but she seems rather expectant. Perhaps this is one of the benefits of her great social skill and ethereality.

“[PCFirstName], [PCFullName], I am so glad to see you during a time when everything is arranged in terms of my not having any other…people to meet and…things to do. Please, tell me how things are going.”

Sima’s intonation makes it clear that she is not just asking about the theatre, school work, or even Rimbal – although Sima has evinced interest in the first two and may discuss the third if the boy interests her.

“Is this about...that?” You could kick yourself for your clumsy wording, but you do not want to give anything away. Some people who are not payed to be in the cafeteria may enjoy being there – some even for the taste of the food – and you would not want to be overheard.

Sima frowns. “We should be talking in a more quiet place. I know just the right location.”

Worried that Sima may provoke some sort of riot like she did last year if you do not follow her, you follow her in silence. At least she smells better than the cafeteria’s food. But when she leads you out of the building onto the campus, you feel a need to pause.

“Um, Sima, we aren’t going somewhere forbidden, are we? I mean, I just need to answer one of your questions, right? There is no reason for us to go the whole Beatrix von Wetgen route and go into the imperial reserve or something like that casually, is there?”

“[PCFirstName], I am flattered that you would assume me to be so associated with strange things that this might be possible with me. Maybe this will prepare you for what is to come. See!”

She leads you to a shadowy places where two buildings are close together, but pauses just before the shadows, writes phemes in the air with her wand, and then turns towards you.

“Any who ask why I used this sound dampening spell that also blurs lips with you should be told that I was interested in your opinion about whether Cyrus Dawes would provide interesting analysis of my hairs’ beauty – he would be a better talker about them than Amada Kiffer.”

You hope that Sima’s instruction, which seems to combine genuine comment about a topic of interest to her with deception, would make any lie that you might have to tell more convincing – although with Sima it can be difficult to tell apart genuine interest, feigned interest, and interest driven by mysterious factors. Still, you know what you have to tell her.

“Sima, I spoke to Zoe, and she claims that there is no secret source of information guiding her story. She just wanted to try writing a story based loosely upon her experiences at Academagia, and by coincidence she created characters who, in addition to being based upon you and Magsa and Tabin–”

“Yes, thank you for settling the issue.”

Of all your experiences with Sima, Sima’s casual acceptance of your claim about Zoe is perhaps the most surprising – although not as terrifying as Sima’s willingness to deal with elementals for a necklace. Given Sima’s earlier detectable consternation about Zoe, you had been fully prepared for Sima to cross-examine you like something out of a Conley trial – or a play about one.

Sima, clearly reading your confusion, laughs in a not-unpleasant way and says “What? Surely you did not expect me to rely purely upon your skill – or lack – in questioning Zoe. All you had to do was get her to say words about the story. Then my…trusted friend from Durand, whom I had glamoured up and given a truth-detecting amulet from my favorite second cousin’s youngest sister-in-law, staged a distraction by reciting some Plezycan epic poem while you were with Zoe, then consulted my amulet to determine whether Zoe was telling the truth.”

“Why did you not tell me? You might have spared me stress.”

“And burdened you with knowledge about the plan – knowledge that might have made you overly confident or that you might have revealed inadvertently to Zoe. The girl is sick and comes from a poor region, but she is more than an aspiring sailor – given how much she reads and how smart she is, I would not be surprised if she has read some book discussing a similar stratagem. There is more to war, a dear friend once told me – surely you know whom I refer to – than Shen Te, and there are more parts to my plan than you and any number of Durand students. Speaking of which – follow me.”

Sima beckons for you to follow her into the shadows.

-          What? Follow Sima into shadows? After all that you know and do not know about her? You’ll pass.

 

[If PC is Male]

 

You give an involuntary shudder and cry out to Sima “I do not make a habit of following people into shadowy places between buildings without knowing what is waiting for me, and that is even without knowing about those things that we had to deal with last year for your necklace.”

Sima frowns at you. “I thought, when I first heard about your confrontation with the street magicians, that you were braver than this. But I cannot wait. Nor can the people whom I must meet with!”

She rushes into the shadows. You, not wanting to be near this location when anything happens – who knows what Sima was doing? – go to do something interesting with your familiar. You never learn from Sima what happened – she is too upset to tell you – but Grainne’s whispers allege that Sima was found with rather grumpy look and unwillingness top shop with friends a few hours later. You are just glad that you avoided whatever Sima had to deal with, although no one will likely now think that the two of you are wanting to date – or are even friends – any more. Sima’s contemptuous gazes towards you whenever you meet are a clear sign of this. [- 1 stress, +1 skill step Familiar Kinship, - 900 pims from Sima Venesico, - 100 pims from Magsa Nembo, - 100 pims from Tabin Furenzti, + 10 stress to Sima Vensico, - 10 Relationship with Sima Venesico]

[If PC is Female]

 

You give an involuntary shudder and cry out to Sima “I do not make a habit of following people into shadowy places between buildings without knowing what is waiting for me, and that is even without knowing about those things that we had to deal with last year for your necklace.”

Sima frowns at you. “I thought, when I first heard about your confrontation with the street magicians, that you were braver than this. But I cannot wait. Nor can the people whom I must meet with!”

She rushes into the shadows. You, not wanting to be near this location when anything happens – who knows what Sima was doing? – go to do something interesting with your familiar. You never learn from Sima what happened – she is too upset to tell you – but Grainne’s whispers allege that Sima was found with rather grumpy look and unwillingness top shop with friends a few hours later. You are just glad that you avoided whatever Sima had to deal with, although no one will likely now think that the two of you are friends any more. Sima’s contemptuous gazes towards you whenever you meet are a clear sign of this. [- 1 stress, +1 skill step Familiar Kinship, - 900 pims from Sima Venesico, + 10 stress to Sima Vensico, - 10 Relationship with Sima Venesico, end adventure]

-          Following Sima into shadows may seem dangerous, and she is mysterious, but you trust her enough.

 

“Sima, you are leading me into a mysterious place to deal with things that I know nothing about. Knowing you, they may be dangerous…but I am willing to trust you to be correct in thinking that between us, we can get this done safely.”

“Beautiful words, [PC full name],” Sima says with mock solemnity. “I for my part believe that you can do more than talk about danger – you can deal with it.”

She reaches back and, taking your hand, pulls you into the shadows with her. [+1 skill step Oratory, + 1 relationship with Sima Venesico, advance to Sima’s Confrontation]

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Sima’s Confrontation:

 

When your eyes adjust to the shadowy space between buildings into which Sima has led you, you are relieved to see that she has not led you to an ambushing group of pirates, a mage of great power and unknown friendliness, or a meeting with Legate Orsi. Given that you are travelling with Sima, you feel that you should not be embarrassed that you seriously thought such things possible.

But although there is no surprising person whom you can see, the place where you are is surprising enough to your eyes. You and Sima are standing within an alleyway shrouded with mist and strewn with garbage. By itself, this would not be unusual – Mineta is a large enough city to have many alleys, and if even one half of one tenth of the hints about the Triplets’ deeds are true they must know many alleyways to interesting places that the City Guard would love to know about. But there is, to the best of your knowledge, no alleyway of this length in this part of the Academagia’s campus – and the walls that form the alleyway resemble no exteriors of buildings currently within the campus. Admittedly, the walls are too covered with dirty and torn paper covered with writing – in characters that you are not familiar with – for you to make out what the walls are made from, but since the Academagia permits no walls to be so thickly covered with papers – not even the Vernin College Message Board – this remains as proof that the walls are not familiar to you from Academagia. Or anywhere, for that matter. You know of no script that is so based upon circles and crossed lines with other lines radiating out from the circles or crossed lines.

This is disturbing enough on its own – your mind is forced to think of powerful glamours as the safest explanation, and you are relieved that no stars can be seen through the overhanging upper floors of buildings in the white sky – but Sima’s growing tension suggests that something in addition to the strange location may be wrong.

“Where are they? They were supposed to be waiting for me. Be wary and try not to mention my name. This could be an ambush. And be careful about how you use magic in this place – magic beyond glamours does strange things here at times, especially revision, incantation, mastery, and gates. This place seems to change quite often – it did not resemble this last time.”

You are shaken by how casually Sima mentions mastery and gates magic, but figure that now is not the time to question her about it – besides, maybe she just read about the use of those pillars in some long-forgotten manuscript that told her about this alley. There are many strange books in the Venalicium, you think, most of them making true claims.

“Yeah. About that,” you reply in what you hope is a casual voice that will convince listeners that you are a powerful mage who can fight off any opponent rather than an increasingly confused student. “Ambushes are easy to fight against when one knows who might be expected to prepare an ambush. Besides, maybe they are just late. This place is very confusing to newcomers.” You laugh, hoping to disguise the fact that you, as a newcomer to this place, are one of the confused.

Sima makes no effort to reply to you, and your confusion is only reduced by the fear that arises when you hear a harsh barking laugh – of the sort that Sima would never make outside a performance – and the word “You!” It does not sound friendly, and your wand rises into a better casting position, but Sima pats your arm down as her wand creates a light. Then she calls out in her clearest voice:

“Dacota! I am at this light. I hope that the mist is not too bad for you!”

“If you think that the mist in this gods-hated alley is worst, then you are stranger than I thought!”

From the mist emerge two people dressed in ragged clothing. One throws back the hood on her cloak to reveal a young woman with dirty blonde hair formed into many short beaded braids – whose face is currently scowling at Sima. The other, a girl of around 10 years with black hair cut short to her head, lacks a cloak, and her movements lack her older companion’s aggression. Nonetheless, her body moves quickly and her eyes are roaming in constant search, made only slightly slower by clear amazement – perhaps this alleyway is as unfamiliar to her as it is to you. When she speaks, however, it is with a calmness that causes Sima to reveal surprise and the young blonde woman to lower her chin and become less visibly angry.

”Better to meet in a strange place with only two people than a familiar place with many enemies – or to not meet at all those who owe us money.” Her accent is strange even for Mineta, but it does not sound like a Bassan accent – maybe she is Saisynian? Her appearance would not rule it out.

Sima coos at her, “Is this the little prodigy who knows how to read whom Dacota said would help me with my problems? Show me the reddish-brown cylinder that I lent you and showed you how to use – and that you used, I assume – and you will have my gratitude, and you and your friend Dacota will have my money.”

The girl makes a move towards a pouch at her waist, but Dacota slaps her hand away and says, “Now is not the time to give her the reddish-brown cylinder, Roxan! You read much and have clever fingers for gears and eyes for hidden things, but in the ways of money I am better! Much planning and risk went into our fulfilling this…dombi’s request,” and here Dacota’s voice evinces a puzzlement matched in Sima’s eyes about what a dombi is, “and she must pay us money for your efforts.”

“But, Dom’na, what if the dombi cannot pay? Will she not learn about my skills?”

Sima decides to interrupt this strange girl’s apparently incipient anger. “Payment shall be as we agreed, Dacota. I have three hundred pims for you, after which you, Roxan, can return to me what I lent you.”

This seems to mollify Roxan, but Dacota’s hand seizes Roxan’s pouch and she says to Sima, “Three hundred pims? After all of that work and risk by us? Surely we Southside Pitts deserve more friendliness from you after that – after all, we still have the reddish-brown cylinder.”

“You make it sound as if I had you break into an archmage’s fortified compound or a prison, Pitts,” Sima replies, “but it was not nearly so dangerous. Especially with my help.”

Dacota gives a predatory grin. “I am sure, Miss, that a lot of people in the fancy school where you learn about magic and speaking quietly of riddles and other fine and fey stuff would be very interested to know about your help to us – to say nothing about the Captain of Mineta’s guards. Certainly, your task for us was not dangerous, but we prepared for great danger, as the wise do when dealing with magic. It was as if a great lord from the Chards had sent forth an army to capture a deer! The army must be paid regardless of whether it captures a deer or kills a dragon.”

“To call the Southside Pitts an army would be giving it too much praise. But what do you want from me?”

“Isn’t it obvious, dombi? The Dom’na wants more money!” Roxan’s voice sounds strangely happy and excited, as if this were some great game to her.

Sima sighs, looks at you, and then says, “Dacota, Roxan, I do not want to create controversy or beget brawling; my friend is here as a bodyguard to protect me rather than to ambush you. But I do not want to be taken advantage of – and this is what you are doing by changing the terms of our agreement against my will so late in the arrangement.”

“And I want my brother to be safer in his searches for knowledge,” Dacota snarls. “But we cannot all get get what we all want at all times. This makes the times when we can get what we want precious. I want one thousand one hundred pims from you. If you want to pay less, you should not have met me in a misty alley with only one friend for company. But I am a woman of my word. Pay me the money and Roxan will return to you what you lent to us!”

“I am not in the habit of carry around one thousand one hundred pims with me wherever I go,” Sima says, her lips tightening. “Such a large amount of money could easily be lost or stolen by certain people…such as you.”

Roxan giggles.

“Pity that you don’t use your great magical powers to carry more money,” Dacota says. “Maybe that is why magic school is useless for me – even if I could read. Memorizing all the phemes and learning about how to bend the world as you want it is really useless if you don’t use any of that power to carry loads of money with you at all times – secure from theft, ideally. But don’t you worry about your debt to me, mageling. If you won’t give us the money, we’ll search you for other valuables, and then we’ll see about other solutions. The fine purple overrobe that you wear – some child from a rich family may want to dress as a Hedi student for some Dance of Fools, and what better way to give a Hedi costume authenticity then with a real Hedi robe? Or those shoes that you wear – do you really need them for standing around inside, especially given that the Academagia has fires and many carpets?”

“Well, speaking quietly of riddles has its own advantages in dealing with your threats, such as my bodyguard here.” Sima turns to you. “Deal with these gang-members however you want. I look forward to seeing what you do.”

“Good reply, dombi! Hey, dombi’s friend, if you do well here, I’ll give you a nice title, like I gave to Dom’na Dacota!”

Looking at Dacota’s scowl, you see that you are not the only one exasperated at having extremely sensitive – and criminal – dealings reduced to some sort of spectator sport for a child’s amusement.

Still, you have to start something. No person unwilling to engage in illegal violence joins a street gang, and Dacota’s eagerness for money could easily lead her to attack you.

 

[If PC has memory Sima’s Wit] Bluff. Try to make Sima sound like a mage whom even great mages fear.

 

Success

 

[If PC has no Affection or Love with Sima Venesico]

 

Remembering Sima’s interest in the theater and her ability to trick people with ambiguities, you hope that she is willing to put on a performance that could save her life – or at least her money.

“Roxan, your boss-lady Dacota is going in way over her head in this,” you try to say in a tone of voice that could be seen as tough or sympathetic. “Of all the student mages whom she had to try to rob, she chose Sima Venesico. Now, I know not how common either name is in the world, but I know that when this Sima Venesico tells people to do something, they do it!”

Sima smiles and nods enthusiastically to a frowning Dacota. “Yes. Do you know Phillippe Marchant – perhaps from his involvement in cart racing? He and his brothers are powerfully built and come from a powerful family. Yet whenever I come upon him beating up someone in Academagia whom I want to protect, I just whisper in his ear and he stops and becomes very friendly.”

“So what?” Dacota retorts, her face trying to maintain its fearsomeness. “Even if you have all of this power and you really are Sima Venesico, your power is only useful in fancy diplomatic stuff! You Hedi mages and students think you have such power through your fine words and glamours, but you are nothing when confronting a fist or a knife.”

“But Dacota,” you reply, “Sima is no ordinary student in Hedi, nor even an ordinary mage. She has powerful magic and skills, with which she was able to impress the Academagia’s Legate and defeat a powerful magical creature.”

Sima understands where you are going and joins in. “And you know how powerful the Academagia’s Legate is, right? He uses a man of great wisdom and cunning as his janitor because he is so superior to him. Rumor has it that the Captain of Mineta is planning to give him an Archmageship because of his greatness – and he believes that the Academagia’s Legate is so powerful and skilled that the Golden Families would not object. I am honoured to be the Academagia’s Legate student. And yet, I greatly surprised him with my powerful magic when we first met for my personal testing. Wanna know how?” Her trailing question has playful lilt that invites curiosity.

Dacota’s answer is cut off by Roxan’s excited squeal. “Yes, dombi, tell us! In my home islands, dombis are professional entertainers, but you are better than they are!”

Ignoring Dacota’s sigh, Sima replies with a light laugh. “The world has many cultures, Roxan, and I am honored to be known for my skills in many languages. But I was honored by the Academagia’s Legate in the following way. I, being so brilliant, wanted to show my brilliance and avoid the Legate’s tedious testing. So I persuaded him to bring me to a unicorn – the Academagia has many such creatures – with the promise that if I could force the unicorn from its feet for ten seconds, I would no longer be needed to be tested by the Academagia’s Legate. The Legate of Academagia agreed, saying that since not even he could do such a thing, he would be interested in seeing how I failed to hold it down for five seconds. But I, using my magical powers, knocked the unicorn to the ground and pinned it for fifteen seconds before he interrupted my count and told me that I was a powerful mage who deserved special instruction. Do you really want to risk robbing me?”

Roxan squeaks and shakes her head, but Dacota says, her eyes hardening, “Why should we believe your claims? If you are so powerful, why did you bring a bodyguard?”

Recognizing this as the time to deliver a witty line to shatter Dacota’s confidence, you say, “But Dacota, Sima would go to a meeting with a member of the Southside Pitts with only one person if she were either very naïve or very powerful. So tell me, are you willing to risk everything on the assumption – unsupported by Sima’s conduct – that she is a naïve fool, or will you play it safe by accepting the money that she has offered you?”

Dacota hesitates, then looks at Roxan, who is looking at her with eyes that seem tensely expectant. But then she jerks her head in a nod and says softly and slowly, as if trying to persuade herself, “Roxan is a skillful thief, and she knows how to read, and she urges caution. Very well. Sima – if this is your name – I accept our original agreement.”

Sima gives her a pouch of money, after which Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out cheerfully. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, dombi-feeder,” Roxan replies. “The two of you should both become dombis, if such is possible in Mineta.”

You are not sure how to respond to Roxan’s comment – is she saying that you feed Sima opportunities to be a great entertainer? – but Dacota jerks Roxan away with a snarl and retreats into the mist.

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?”

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which I used genuine aspects of my life to make myself seem more powerful to them, was ingenious. Any shortage of pims now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not have been happy. I thank you for sparing me from having to go to Iustus, Cyrus, Cirillo, or…certain other sources in order to be able to make for my shortage of money.”

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – to say nothing of her having to associate with people whom you suspect, based upon what little you know about Sima, Tabin, and Magsa’s activities, would make the type of people who gather at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor seem perfectly suited for one of Regent Badcrumble’s tea parties. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, +1 Charm, + 1 skill level Wit, + 1 skill level Acting, + 1 Skill level Wordliness, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Wit to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Acting to Sima Venesico, + 1 Skill level Wordliness to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has Affection or Love with Sima Venesico]

 

Remembering Sima’s interest in the theater and her ability to trick people with ambiguities, you hope that she is willing to put on a performance that could save her life – or at least her money.

“Roxan, your boss-lady Dacota is going in way over her head in this,” you try to say in a tone of voice that could be seen as tough or sympathetic. “Of all the student mages whom she had to try to rob, she chose Sima Venesico. Now, I know not how common either name is in the world, but I know that when this Sima Venesico tells people to do something, they do it!”

Sima smiles and nods enthusiastically to a frowning Dacota. “Yes. Do you know Phillippe Marchant – perhaps from his involvement in cart racing? He and his brothers are powerfully built and come from a powerful family. Yet whenever I come upon him beating up someone in Academagia whom I want to protect, I just whisper in his ear and he stops and becomes very friendly.”

“So what?” Dacota retorts, her face trying to maintain its fearsomeness. “Even if you have all of this power and you really are Sima Venesico, your power is only useful in fancy diplomatic stuff! You Hedi mages and students think you have such power through your fine words and glamours, but you are nothing when confronting a fist or a knife.”

“But Dacota,” you reply, “Sima is no ordinary student in Hedi, nor even an ordinary mage. She has powerful magic and skills, with which she was able to impress the Academagia’s Legate and defeat a powerful magical creature.”

Sima understands where you are going and joins in. “And you know how powerful the Academagia’s Legate is, right? He uses a man of great wisdom and cunning as his janitor because he is so superior to him. Rumor has it that the Captain of Mineta is planning to give him an Archmageship because of his greatness – and he believes that the Academagia’s Legate is so powerful and skilled that the Golden Families would not object. I am honored to be the Academagia’s Legate student. And yet, I greatly surprised him with my powerful magic when we first met for my personal testing. Wanna know how?” Her trailing question has playful lilt that invites curiosity.

Dacota’s answer is cut off by Roxan’s excited squeal. “Yes, dombi, tell us! In my home islands, dombis are professional entertainers, but you are better than they are!”

Ignoring Dacota’s sigh, Sima replies with a light laugh. “The world has many cultures, Roxan, and I am honored to be known for my skills in many languages. But I was honored by the Academagia’s Legate in the following way. I, being so brilliant, wanted to show my brilliance and avoid the Legate’s tedious testing. So I persuaded him to bring me to a unicorn – the Academagia has many such creatures – with the promise that if I could force the unicorn from its feet for ten seconds, I would no longer be needed to be tested by the Academagia’s Legate. The Legate of Academagia agreed, saying that since not even he could do such a thing, he would be interested in seeing how I failed to hold it down for five seconds. But I, using my magical powers, knocked the unicorn to the ground and pinned it for fifteen seconds before he interrupted my count and told me that I was a powerful mage who deserved special instruction. Do you really want to risk robbing me?”

Roxan squeaks and shakes her head, but Dacota says, her eyes hardening, “Why should we believe your claims? If you are so powerful, why did you bring a bodyguard?”

Recognizing this as the time to deliver a witty line to shatter Dacota’s confidence, you say, “But Dacota, Sima would go to a meeting with a member of the Southside Pitts with only one person if she were either very naïve or very powerful. So tell me, are you willing to risk everything on the assumption – unsupported by Sima’s conduct – that she is a naïve fool, or will you play it safe by accepting the money that she has offered you?”

Dacota hesitates, then looks at Roxan, who is looking at her with eyes that seem tensely expectant. But then she jerks her head in a nod and says softly, as if trying to persuade herself, “Roxan is a skillful thief, and she knows how to read, and she urges caution. Very well. Sima – if this is your name – I accept our original agreement.”

Sima gives her a pouch of money, after which Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out cheerfully. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, dombi-feeder,” Roxan replies. “The two of you should both become dombis, if such is possible in Mineta.”

You are not sure how to respond to Roxan’s comment – is she saying that you feed Sima opportunities to be a great entertainer? – but Dacota Jerks Roxan away with a snarl and retreats into the mist.

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?”

“You are a valuable friend whom I adore, whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion and affection flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships and possibly great love are made of? And your solution, in which I used genuine aspects of my life to make myself seem more powerful to them, was ingenious. Any shortage of pims now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not have been happy. I thank you for sparing me from having to go to Iustus, Cyrus, Cirillo, or…certain other sources in order to be able to make for my shortage of money.”

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – to say nothing of having to associate with the handsome Cyrus Dawes, the easily controlled Iustus Venture, the cheating Cirillo Laziosi, or people whom you suspect, based upon what little you know about Sima, Tabin, and Magsa’s activities, would make the type of people who gather at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor seem perfectly suited for one of Regent Badcrumble’s tea parties. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, +1 Charm, + 1 skill level Wit, + 1 skill level Acting, + 1 Skill level Wordliness, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Wit to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Acting to Sima Venesico, + 1 Skill level Wordliness to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

Failure

 

[If PC did not complete Miya Hikari’s Y1 Adventure]

 

Remembering Sima’s interest in the theater and her ability to trick people with ambiguities, you hope that she is willing to put on a performance that could save her life – or at least her money.

 

“Roxan, your boss-lady Dacota is going in way over her head in this,” you try to say in a tone of voice that could be seen as tough or sympathetic. “Of all the student mages whom she had to try to rob, she chose Sima Venesico. Now, I know that magic is more common in Mineta than it is in order cities, islands, and nations, but let me tell you: Sima Venesico is a cut above the types of student mages whom the Southside Pitts usually deal with.”

 

To your disappointment, Roxan’s interest in your remarks is not accompanied by fear. “Truly?” she muses. “Mages here are so different from those whom I remember from my home island. Here, most notable mages seem to be incantors – two schools, Dom’na tells me, are teaching Incantation alone, and one student mage whom I have heard is associated with Academagia is allegedly very proficient in it despite having no access to school or library of Incantation that is known to the Dom’nus - the Dom’na’s brother. Yet where I come from, many great mages are revisors. Probably it has to do with water. My home island’s centre is what was a small sea on Cyve, so it is easier to purify salt water. But in Mineta, much easier to incant water. I suppose that on islands with no water shortages, other pillars may be better taught. There are some people in a distant island whose merchants once sold my parents some porcelain who are apparently obsessed with astrology because, having no lack of water, they are convinced that dolphins live within some river and hope to sell the dolphins’ skins. So, what type of magic do you study, Dombi Sima?”

 

Sima and Dacota both look at Roxan with surprised faces, but it is Dacota whose voice first breaks the silence, first with a barking syllable that Regent Badcrumble would hate and then with the words, “You are really something, Roxan! Times like this remind me why my brother values you beyond your reading and clever hands. So, Sima,” she snarls, “what magics are you studying that could make you so frightening to me? And don’t try to pretend that you are in Godina – I know Hedi robes from others, and you are glamour mages one and all!”

 

Sima sighs and spreads her arms in front of her. “I am, it is true, a glamour mage in training only, but -”

 

“Then you cannot prevent me from taking the money!” Dacota rushes forwards and seizes Sima by her hands.

 

Sima does not struggle, but merely says, “There is no need to resist this. Dacota, you can take my wand and let me release one of my hands so that I can write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me.”

 

Dacota agrees with suspicion, but is mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota is practically smiling.

 

“I am so glad, Sima,” she gushes, “that we were able to resolve this issue so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to Sima what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out cheerfully. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, dombi-feeder,” Roxan replies. “The two of you should both become dombis, if such is possible in Mineta.”

 

You are not sure how to respond to Roxan’s comment – is she saying that you feed her opportunities to be a great entertainer? – but Dacota jerks Roxan away with a laugh and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “Dacota was under much stress after robbing me – she will be hanged if convicted for what she just did to me, and that is on top of the hanging that she would get if convicted as a leader of a criminal gang. And that is not even taking into account the fact that not all student mages are as defenceless as I may be – I pity the robber who attacks a Contu student or even a Godina student. She got lucky with us, and she knows it. But if she were not bold, she would not be a leader.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money when you could have paid her so easily?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which I used genuine aspects of my life to make myself seem more powerful to them, was ingenious. A pity that Roxan the thief girl was so much more interested in talking about the world and its magical traditions rather than in being intimidated by my alleged powers. With my funds reduced, other people in my life…will not be happy, shall we say? It would have been nice if you could have saved me such money, but I was the one who got so involved with the Southside Pitts and you tried to help me. I wonder if Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo might be able to make up my money.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are sad that you could not save her from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of bluffing and related activities. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Storytelling, + 3 Skill levels Wordliness, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Wit to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Storytelling to Sima Venesico, + 3 Skill levels Wordliness to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC completed Miya Hikari’s Y1 Adventure]

 

Remembering Sima’s interest in the theater and her ability to trick people with ambiguities, you hope that she is willing to put on a performance that could save her life – or at least her money.

 

“Roxan, your boss-lady Dacota is going in way over her head in this,” you try to say in a tone of voice that could be seen as tough or sympathetic. “Of all the student mages whom she had to try to rob, she chose Sima Venesico. Now, I know that magic is more common in Mineta than it is in order cities, islands, and nations, but let me tell you: Sima Venesico is a cut above the types of student mages whom the Southside Pitts usually deal with.”

 

To your disappointment, Roxan’s interest in your remarks is not accompanied by fear. “Truly?” she muses. “Mages here are so different from those whom I remember from my home island. Here, most notable mages seem to be incantors – two schools, Dom’na tells me, are teaching Incantation alone, and one student mage whom I have heard is associated with Academagia is allegedly very proficient in it despite having no access to school or library of incantation that is known to the Dom’nus - the Dom’na’s brother. Yet where I come from, many great mages are revisors. Probably it has to do with water. My island’s centre is what was a small sea on Cyve, so it is easier to purify salt water. But in Mineta, much easier to incant water. I suppose that on islands with no water shortages, other pillars may be better taught. There are some people in a distant island whose merchants once sold my parents some porcelain who are apparently obsessed with astrology because, having no lack of water, they are convinced that dolphins live within some river and hope to sell the dolphins’ skins. So, what type of magic do you study, Dombi Sima?”

 

Sima and Dacota both look at Roxan with surprised faces, but it is Dacota whose voice first breaks the silence, first with a barking syllable that Regent Badcrumble would hate and then with the words, “You are really something, Roxan! Times like this remind me why my brother values you beyond your reading and clever hands. So, Sima,” she snarls, “what magics are you studying that could make you so frightening to me? And don’t try to pretend that you are in Godina – I know Hedi robes from others, and you are glamour mages one and all!”

 

Sima sighs and spreads her arms in front of her. “I am, it is true, a glamour mage in training only but -”

 

“Then you cannot prevent me from taking the money!” Dacota rushes forwards and seizes Sima by her hands.

 

Sima does not struggle, but merely says, “There is no need to resist this. Dacota, you can take my wand and let me release one of my hands so that I can write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me.”

 

Dacota agrees with suspicion, but is mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota is practically smiling.

 

“I am so glad, Sima,” she gushes, “that we were able to resolve this issue so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to Sima what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out cheerfully. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, dombi-feeder,” Roxan replies. “The two of you should both become dombis, if such is possible in Mineta.”

 

You are not sure how to respond to Roxan’s comment – is she saying that you feed her opportunities to be a great entertainer? – but Dacota jerks Roxan away with a laugh and retreats into the mist. You wonder whether all who are prodigies in theft are, like Roxan and Miya Hikari, able to spin fascinating tales that may not be true about foreign places.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “Dacota was under much stress after robbing me – she will be hanged if convicted for what she just did to me, and that is on top of the hanging that she would get if convicted as a leader of a criminal gang. And that is not even taking into account the fact that not all student mages are as defenceless as I may be – I pity the robber who attacks a Contu student or even a Godina student. She got lucky with us, and she knows it. But if she were not bold, she would not be a leader.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money when you could have paid her so easily?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which I used genuine aspects of my life to make myself seem more powerful to them, was ingenious. A pity that Roxan the thief girl was so much more interested in talking about the world and its magical traditions rather than in being intimidated by my alleged powers. With my funds reduced, other people in my life…will not be happy, shall we say? It would have been nice if you could have saved my such money, but I was the one who got so involved with the Southside Pitts and you tried to help me. I wonder if Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo might be able to make up my money.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are sad that you could not save her from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of bluffing and related activities. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 2 skill levels Storytelling, + 3 Skill levels Wordliness, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Wit to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Storytelling to Sima Venesico, + 3 Skill levels Wordliness to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has item Ring of Three Jewels] Jewelry. “Look at this beautiful ring, Dacota!”

 

Success

 

[If PC has affection or love with Sima Venesico]

 

With what you hope is a dramatic flourish, you thrust the ring into Dacota’s view, making sure that its stones are well illuminated by Sima’s lights.

 

“Ooh, pretty ring,” Roxan sighs. “I became what I am to have such things. Better than begging or sweeping or weaving or -”

 

“Enough! Foolish brat!” Despite Dacota’s harsh words, you can tell that you have piqued her greed. “Are you suggesting that we complete the payment for these services through exchanging this ring rather than any pims?”

 

“Nothing so unreasonable, Dacota,” you say in what you hope is a soothing tone of voice. “My friend will still pay you three hundred pims, but instead of her paying you the extra money that you want, she will give you this ring.”

 

Sima, as if cued, interjects with a slight sob, “It belonged to a dear aunt of mine, and has magic in it that benefits the wearer - it is easily worth nine hundred pims.”

 

Dacota turns to Sima. “The ring could have belonged to Octavius – aye, and have powers essential to Athanasius’s foundation of the Academagia – but I care nothing unless it has value that can be easily fenced or safe magic that can easily be used.”

 

Sima faintly smiles and turns to you. “Recite to them, if you can, the stones’ waters and values.”

 

You call out to Roxan, “You can read, but can you write? This will be better if you and Dacota have a record.”

 

She nods solemnly. “Yes, I can write in three scripts and the Dom’nus – Dom’na Dacota’s brother – wants me to learn a shorthand. So even if you were talking in Bassan, I guess, I could write down the sounds.” She takes a notebook and pencil from a pouch and indicates that you may begin.

 

There follow a harrowing few minutes in which you employ the latest Ruckmarnian technological expertise to explain to Dacota, Roxan, and Sima how you can determine, based upon various properties of the stones in response to various magical and mundane tests, what they are are well as their fineness and weight. Then, based upon what you remember about jewel trading at Brisbane the Gemologist’s shop, you calculate the three jewels’ value as eight hundred pims if removed from the iron setting. By the time you finish, both Sima and Dacota seem numbed by boredom, but Roxan looks fascinated.

 

“Wow!” Dacota laughs with relief when you finish. “Roxan, did you write that down?”

 

“Yes. I can read it out if you want.”

 

Dacota and Sima groan in protest, but Dacota’s smile never fades even as Roxan winces while she puts the notebook away. “Even if your bodyguard was creating stories and not facts, the story will be very useful if we want to fence the ring or its stones. I can get a boy to try the ring if my brother will not try to figure it out.”

 

You hand Sima’s ring to Dacota, who almost rips it from your hand. Sima then gives Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak.

 

“Be glad,” Dacota says, “that we were able to resolve this issue to my benefit so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to her what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, jewel-knower,” Roxan replies.

 

You wish that you could have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but you must admit that if you are to be nicknamed by an annoying child, jewel-knower is much better than alternatives. Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “Your lecture about jewelry was very thorough and useful – but very boring.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I adore, whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion and affection flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships and love are made of? And your solution, in which I gave up a ring rather than more pims, was useful if not imaginative. Pims are much easier to use for securing…useful services than jewelry, although harder to carry. Certainly, my aunt’s ring’s loss may be bad in future, but any shortage of pims now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not have been happy. I thank you for sparing me from having to go to Iustus, Cyrus, Cirillo, or some even worse person in order to be able to make up for my shortage of money.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – to say nothing of having to associate with the handsome Cyrus Dawes, the easily controlled Iustus Venture, the cheating Cirillo Laziosi, or people whom you suspect, based upon what little you know about Sima, Tabin, and Magsa’s activities, would make the type of people who gather at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor seem perfectly suited for one of Regent Badcrumble’s tea parties. It may have been serious, since Sima was so willing to give up a piece of her family’s jewelry rather than yield more pims – although much of Sima’s connections to magical jewelry is as secretive and mysterious as Sima is, and considerably less pleasant. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Negotiate, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 10 Research levels Jewelry, lose Ring of Three Jewels, + 3 skill levels Jewelry to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has no affection or love with Sima Venesico]

 

With what you hope is a dramatic flourish, you thrust the ring into Dacota’s view, making sure that its stones are well illuminated by Sima’s lights.

 

“Ooh, pretty ring,” Roxan sighs. “I became what I am to have such things. Better than begging or sweeping or weaving or -”

 

“Enough! Foolish brat!” Despite Dacota’s harsh words, you can tell that you have piqued her greed. “Are you suggesting that we complete the payment for these services through exchanging this ring rather than any pims?”

 

“Nothing so unreasonable, Dacota,” you say in what you hope is a soothing tone of voice. “She will still pay you three hundred pims, but instead of her paying you the extra money that you want, she will give you this ring.”

 

Sima, as if cued, interjects with a slight sob, “It belonged to a dear aunt of mine, and has magic in it that benefits the wearer - it is easily worth nine hundred pims.”

 

Dacota turns to Sima. “The ring could have belonged to Octavius – aye, and have powers essential to Athanasius’s foundation of the Academagia – but I care nothing unless it has value that can be easily fenced or safe magic that can easily be used.”

 

Sima faintly smiles and turns to you. “Recite to them, if you can, the stones’ waters and values.”

 

You call out to Roxan, “You can read, but can you write? This will be better if you and Dacota have a record.”

 

She nods solemnly. “Yes, I can write in three scripts and the Dom’nus – Dom’na Dacota’s brother – wants me to learn a shorthand. So even if you were talking in Bassan, I guess, I could write down the sounds.” She takes a notebook and pencil from a pouch and indicates that you may begin.

 

There follow a harrowing few minutes in which you employ the latest Ruckmarnian technological expertise to explain to Dacota, Roxan, and Sima how you can determine, based upon various properties of the stones in response to various magical and mundane tests, what they are are well as their fineness and weight. Then, based upon what you remember about jewel trading at Brisbane the Gemologist’s shop, you calculate the three jewels’ value as eight hundred pims if removed from the iron setting. By the time you finish, both Sima and Dacota seem numbed by boredom, but Roxan looks fascinated.

 

“Wow!” Dacota laughs with relief when you finish. “Roxan, did you write that down?”

 

“Yes. I can read it out if you want.”

 

Dacota and Sima groan in protest, but Dacota’s smile never fades even as Roxan winces while she puts the notebook away. “Even if your bodyguard was creating stories and not facts, the story will be very useful if we want to fence the ring or its stones. I can get a boy to try the ring if my brother will not try to figure it out.”

 

You hand Sima’s ring to Dacota, who almost rips it from your hand. Sima then gives Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak.

 

“Be glad,” Dacota says, “that we were able to resolve this issue to my benefit so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to her what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, jewel-knower,” Roxan replies.

 

You wish that you could have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but you must admit that if you are to be nicknamed by an annoying child, jewel-knower is much better than alternatives. Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “Your lecture about jewelry was very thorough and useful – but very boring.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which I gave up a ring rather than more pims, was useful if not imaginative. Pims are much easier to use for securing…useful services than jewelry, although harder to carry. Certainly, my aunt’s ring’s loss may be bad in future, but any shortage of pims now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not have been happy. I thank you for sparing me from having to go to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make for my shortage of money.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk. It may have been serious, since Sima was so willing to give up a piece of her family’s jewelry rather than yield more pims – although much about Sima’s connections to magical jewelry is secretive and mysterious. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Negotiate, + 10 Research levels Jewelry, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, lose Ring of Three Jewels, + 3 skill levels Jewelry to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

Failure

 

With what you hope is a dramatic flourish, you thrust the ring into Dacota’s view.

 

“What strange ring,” Roxan says. “I became what I am to have better than what you show us.”

 

“Enough! Foolish brat!” Dacota’s harsh words are envenomed with contempt for your offer. “Are you suggesting that we complete the payment for these services through exchanging this ring – whose quality I know nothing about – rather than any pims?”

 

“Nothing so unreasonable, Dacota,” you say in what you hope is a soothing tone of voice. “Sima will still pay you three hundred pims, but instead of her paying you the extra money that you want, she will give you this ring.”

 

Sima, as if cued, interjects with a slight sob, “It belonged to a dear aunt of mine, and has magic in it that benefits the wearer - it is easily worth nine hundred pims.”

 

Dacota turns to Sima. “And my mother is from one of the Golden Families of Mineta, while my father teaches us about Ruckmarnian steam engines. We can all tell tales about ourselves that, if true, can resolve any problem, but that doesn’t make the stories true.”

 

Sima faintly smiles and turns to you. “Recite to them, if you can, the stones’ waters and values.”

 

You are seized by panic. “Sima, I had no idea that this ring involved incantation magic. Or are you saying that it has a secret water-proof compartment? How can I sell this ring if I know not its qualities?”

 

Roxan shrieks with laughter. “And older people are supposed to be better than I am! I know what water means in the jewelry context, as does the Dom’na.”

 

Sima shakes her head sadly. “There is no need for you to try to do any more. I can handle the matter now. I will write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me.”

 

Dacota agrees with suspicion, but is mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota is practically smiling.

 

“I am so glad, Sima,” she gushes, “that we were able to resolve this issue so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to Sima what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, glass-polisher,” Roxan replies.

 

You wish that you could have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but you must admit that if you are to be nicknamed by an annoying child, glass-polisher is much better than alternatives. Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money when you could have paid her so easily?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which I gave up a ring rather than more pims, was useful if not imaginative, although you lacked the knowledge of jewelry and effective sales techniques necessary to pull it off. Pims are much easier to use for securing…useful services than jewelry, although harder to carry. Certainly, my aunt’s ring’s loss may have been bad in future, but my unexpected shortage of pims now is…problematic to certain other people in my life, who will not be happy. I will, due to your overly ambitious incompetence, have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my shortage of money. At least I did not need to rush back and retrieve another eight hundred pims to pay Dacota due to the wonders of modern banking.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are sad that you could not save her from some financial risk. It may have been serious, since Sima was so willing to give up a piece of her family’s jewelry rather than yield more pims – although much about Sima’s connections to magical jewelry is secretive and mysterious. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Jewelry, + 1 skill level Negotiate, + 1 skill level Transport, + 1 Stress, - 1 relationship with Sima Venesico, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Jewelry to Sima Venesico, + 1 Stress to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has item Tabin’s Potion] Brew. “Look at this potion, Dacota!”

Success

 

With what you hope is a dramatic flourish, you thrust the potion flask into Dacota’s view, making sure that its contents are well illuminated by Sima’s lights.

 

“Ooh, pretty liquid,” Roxan sighs. “I became what I am to have such things. Better than begging or sweeping or weaving or -”

 

“Enough! Foolish brat!” Despite Dacota’s harsh words, you can tell that you have piqued her greed. “Are you suggesting that we complete the payment for these services through exchanging this single potion rather than any pims?”

 

“Nothing so unreasonable, Dacota,” you say in what you hope is a soothing tone of voice. “Sima will still pay you three hundred pims, but instead of her paying you the extra money that you want, she will give you this potion and the remaning eight hundred and ten pims. Furthermore, she can get you more such potions if you want them.”

 

Sima, as if cued, interjects with a business-like calm, “It was brewed by a trusted friend of mine, and has magic in it that benefits the drinker for at least a day, so it is easily worth ninety pims.”

 

Dacota turns to Sima. “The potion could have belonged to Noemia – aye, and have powers that would allow Rostra to travel to Cyve below and back to the Empire of Man before I snap my fingers – but I care nothing unless it has value that can be easily fenced or safe magic that can easily be used.”

 

Sima faintly smiles and turns to you. “Recite to them, if you can, the essential oils that went into this potion.”

 

You call out to Roxan, “You can read, but can you write? This will be better if you and Dacota have a record.”

 

She nods solemnly. “Yes, I can write in three scripts and the Dom’nus – Dom’na Dacota’s brother – wants me to learn a shorthand. So even if you were talking in Bassan, I guess, I could write down the sounds.” She takes a notebook and pencil from a pouch and indicates that you may begin.

 

There follow a harrowing few minutes in which you employ the latest Ruckmarnian technological expertise to explain to Dacota, Roxan, and Sima how you can determine, based upon various properties of the liquid in response to various magical and mundane tests, what essential oild, herbs, and magic went into making it. Then, based upon what you remember about brewing from Professor Leith as well as other sources, you calculate the potions’ value as ninety pims if removed from the flask. By the time you finish, both Sima and Dacota seem numbed by boredom, but Roxan looks fascinated.

 

“Wow!” Dacota laughs with relief when you finish. “Roxan, did you write that down?”

 

“Yes. I can read it out if you want.”

 

Dacota and Sima groan in protest, but Dacota’s smile never fades even as Roxan winces while she puts the notebook away. “Even if your bodyguard was creating stories and not facts, the story will be very useful if we want to fence the potion. I can get a boy to try the potion if my brother will not try to figure it out.”

 

You hand Tabin’s potion to Dacota, who almost rips it from your hand. Sima then gives Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak. Then Dacota says, “Which one of you will pay the remainder? No more bargaining! And if you resist me, I will regard the deal as dead but keep the potion!” [+ 5 Research levels Brew, + 5 Research levels Analysis, lose Tabin’s potion, lock option [If PC has 800 pims] Pay Dacota what she wants.”, reveal option “[If PC has 710 pims] Pay Dacota the lowered fee the she has agreed to.”, choose again]

Failure

 

With what you hope is a dramatic flourish, you thrust the potion into Dacota’s view.

 

“What strange potion,” Roxan says. “I became what I am to have better than what you show us.”

 

“Enough! Foolish brat!” Dacota’s harsh words are envenomed with contempt for your offer. “Are you suggesting that we complete the payment for these services through exchanging this potion – whose quality I know nothing about – rather than any pims?”

 

“Nothing so unreasonable, Dacota,” you say in what you hope is a soothing tone of voice. “Sima will still pay you three hundred pims, but instead of her paying you the extra money that you want, she will give you this potion and eight hundred and ten pims.”

 

Sima, as if cued, interjects with a business-like calm, “It was brewed by a trusted friend of mine, and has magic in it that benefits the drinker for at least a day, so it is easily worth ninety pims.”

 

Dacota turns to Sima. “And my mother is from one of the Golden Families of Mineta, while my father teaches us about Ruckmarnian steam engines. We can all tell tales about ourselves that, if true, can resolve any problem, but that doesn’t make the stories true.”

 

Sima faintly smiles and turns to you. “Recite to them, if you can, the essential oils that went into this potion.”

 

You are seized by panic. “Sima, I barely know enough about brewing to know the essential ingredients that all brewers should have, let alone the oils that forms the basis of this potion that your…friend elaborated upon. How can I sell this potion if I know so little about it?”

 

Roxan shrieks with laughter. “And older people are supposed to be better than I am! You shouldn’t try to sell when you are honest and know nothing about your product.”

 

Dacota rubs a grubby hand through her head’s hairs, and you wonder how much of her hair is dirty rather than dirty blonde. She says, “We are not traders, anyways. Try another effort to settle this matter.”

 

You are surprised that Dacota is willing to try to negotiate more with you, but perhaps she has a superstitious dread of potion brewers and those who sell potions – such sentimeents are not unknown to Mineta. Given your lack of knowledge about brewing, perhaps you might be better served by sharing this attitude – certainly, Cante Caviti’s numerous failures and lost pims to sellers of fake potions may suggest that such an attitude is better than trusting potion brewers! [+1 skill level Danger Sense, Choose another option]

[If PC has memory Tabin’s Gambit Played] Politics. Since Sima’s meeting with Dacota is already so reminiscent of espionage, presenting this meeting as part of some broader plot should be easy.

 

Success

 

[If PC has no affection or love with Sima Venesico]

 

You decide to approach this issue from a completely different angle, in an attempt to catch Dacota off guard.

 

“Dacota,” you sigh, in a way that could be condescending or sympathetic. “I undersatand that you have fallen into a bad course in life – which can always be abandoned if one has the will – but I must ask. Are you, among all of your other misdeeds, an atheist or an apostate from the Imperial religion?”

 

“What!?” Dacota looks first stunned, then puzzled, then angry. “You’re probably accusing me of being something unnatural, like an agent reporting to some dragon-worshipping Oursouk, or a wyvern breeder, or a dragon worshipper – but I’m not! And I won’t be insulted by a client’s bodyguard!”

 

She takes a step forward, but Roxan reaches up to tap her shoulder. “Dom’na, I know how to read, and my readings – both of my own books and of what the Dom’nus your brother lets me read – have taught me that an atheist is one who holds gods to be no standard for right conduct and an apostate is one who abandons a religion. Besides, it is not good to assume that a person is insulting when one cannot understand the words. Remember the time that you and I got all upset with your brother’s trying to speak Elumian?” Then, turning to Sima, Roxan says with pride, “I am no apostate, thanks to her kindness three years ago and since – the Awakened Man Measureless Life is still my guide, despite what the laws say about orphans in Mineta!”

 

Dacota flinches and her face can be seen to be getting pale. “Roxan, enough about your Good Man,” and here she digresses with foul language against her brother for his interest in magic and tolerance of strange magics and beliefs. “But in answer to your question, bodyguard, I am no…atospate or…aseitht; I attend services to Aemean when I can, and avoid preachers for him whose ideas seem heretical. Without the New Gods, we’d all be slaves to dragons. But why the question? Am I not a bit too old for you to bring to a temple as a person whom faith has turned away from crime? Don’t the temples prefer children in that role? Children even younger than you are?” And here Dacota, whose voice had been growing increasingly sarcastic, takes another step forwards.

 

“Dacota, I am glad that you are a pious woman who trusts and fears the gods.” The words rush from your lips in a torrent, and you hope that she will listen to what you have to say next – this is the key part. “In a world where the threat of dragons declines – may the gods keep it that way! – Pievre continues as a state that has embraced its twisted humanism and mass apostasy, and the Oursoukis remain a great power, I was worried that even some people not from those spiritually darkened lands in Mineta – the very heart of the True Religion – may have fallen into legal and spiritual errors. You, at least, are better than that. For this I and the girl whom I guard are grateful – as will our employer be, once we tell it about this. But you could risk such good favor by breaking the earlier agreement.”

 

“Your employer? It?” Dacota’s eyes widen as she makes an apotropaic gesture. “Whom do you kids work for?      What have I gotten us involved in, Roxan?”

 

Sima decides to chime in at this time. “Some people, Dacota, want to undermine temples’ powers through several subversive schemes for the dragons’ sakes, such as by spreading the strange doctrines of the Pievrian Republic in Mineta. There is a certain temple-affiliated organization, which we are junior members of, that hunts down such people – or failing that, their propaganda caches. Even schools, after all, can be infiltrated. I thought that Zoe Melis might have knowledge about some aspect of some plot, hence my need to investigate her. She is fierce rival to a Pievrian student, after all, and those who are rivals tend, if they are as smart as Zoe is, to learn about their rivals. I could gladly pay you some more money – my expense account would cover such a payment. But I would have to explain such a payment to the organization, and that would cause them to learn about how un-co-operative you have been, which could cause them to investigate you for being a potential vector for subversion. On the other hand, I was ready to tell them, until you wanted more money, how co-operative and valuable you could be.”

 

Dacota is silent, but you can see the struggle in her eyes. This is the best time, you think, to deliver a supporting idea to nudge Dacota in the right direction.

 

“You may think, Dacota, that all this effort to investigate Miss Melis due to her feud with a Pievrian peer is merely worthy of laughter in the wineshops of foreigners, whether Cassettan or Pievrian. But such lack of willingness to take clues seriously and follow them to their ends is precisely what may allow draconic agents to sow sordid seeds that become bitter blossoms or foul fruits leading to slavery.”

 

Dacota jerks as your words finish, then nods her head.

 

“Little Miss Mageling,” she says, “I am not sure what to believe about what you and your bodyguard say. Yet I follow the clues, and I know that you are no ordinary student mage, given your planning, knowledge, and access to magical artifacts. The risk is great that you are a member of some organization – maybe even what you and your bodyguard claim to be. And never let it be said that I am a dragon’s slave! Even if you are part of some other organization – a coster, say, or the thieves’ guild – I do not want to risk tangling with such a group – my thieves’ guild payments provide only some protection. For this reason, and only this reason – not because I am afraid of you or your bodyguard – please accept the reddish-brown cylinder for a lowered fee – and remember me kindly, never hesitating to hire me for certain jobs.”

 

Sima laughs lightly as she lightens a pouch that she removes from beneath the fold of her cloak, before handing it to Roxan in return for the reddish-brown cylinder. “You really are such a useful girl, Roxan. What is a dombi?”

 

“A professional entertainer from my home islands in my birth language,” Roxan replies.

 

Sima nods and grins. “Roxan, I was going to be an actor before I was recruited into the organization, and to this day I am encouraged to use acting in my work for the organization.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, spy,” Roxan replies. But then Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “I think that Dacota may be worried that I am trying to recruit Roxan – which would be useful, but is not easily doable.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask some risky questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And are you really part of some secret organization of spies that would benefit through recruiting Roxan?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which we pretended to be doing this investigation of Zoe Melis in order to serve a powerful temple-affiliated organization, rather than as a way to satisfy my caution, was truly ingenious. People will do so many things if they think that they are benefitting the gods whom they adore – or the powerful people who serve such gods. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services. Any shortage of pims now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not have been happy. I thank you for sparing me from having to go to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make for my shortage of money.”

 

“Alas,” Sima sighs, “I fear that it would not be wise for me alone to tell you about the other two; at minimum, they must be consulted first. Yet this is one of the wonderful things about our relationship, I think – you are willing to be my friend despite my mysterious aspects and friends. Others, knowing what you know, would think differently, I do not doubt, and would not want to be friends with me, thinking me a robber chief’s daughter, a pirate captain’s daughter, or even – as Miya once told me about – a dragon’s daughter taking human form.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – although you are disappointed that you could not know more about Sima’s connections to mysterious and powerful organizations. [- 50 pims Sima Venesico, - 50 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 50 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Bluff, + 1 Skill Level Theology, + 1 Insight, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Theology to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has affection or love with Sima Venesico]

 

You decide to approach this issue from a completely different angle, in an attempt to catch Dacota off guard.

 

“Dacota,” you sigh, in a way that could be condescending or sympathetic. “I undersatand that you have fallen into a bad course in life – which can always be abandoned if one has the will – but I must ask. Are you, among all of your other misdeeds, an atheist or an apostate from the Imperial religion?”

 

“What!?” Dacota looks first stunned, then puzzled, then angry. “You’re probably accusing me of being something unnatural, like an agent reporting to some dragon-worshipping Oursouk, or a wyvern breeder, or a dragon worshipper – but I’m not! And I won’t be insulted by a client’s bodyguard!”

 

She takes a step forward, but Roxan reaches up to tap her shoulder. “Dom’na, I know how to read, and my readings – both of my own books and of what the Dom’nus your brother lets me read – have taught me that an atheist is one who holds gods to be no standard for right conduct and an apostate is one who abandons a religion. Besides, it is not good to assume that a person is insulting when one cannot understand the words. Remember the time you and I got all upset with your brother’s trying to speak Elumian?” Then, turning to Sima, Roxan says with pride, “I am no apostate, thanks to her kindness three years ago and since – the Awakened Man Measureless Life is still my guide, despite what the laws say about orphans in Mineta!”

 

Dacota flinches and her face can be seen to be getting pale. “Roxan, enough about your Good Man,” and here she digresses with foul language against her brother for his interest in magic and tolerance of strange magics and beliefs. “But in answer to your question, bodyguard, I am no…atospate or…aseitht; I attend services to Aemean when I can, and avoid preachers for him whose ideas seem heretical. Without the New Gods, we’d all be slaves to dragons. But why the question? Am I not a bit too old for you to bring to a temple as a person whom faith has turned away from crime? Don’t the temples prefer children in that role? Children even younger than you are?” And here Dacota, whose voice had been growing increasingly sarcastic, takes another step forwards.

 

“Dacota, I am glad that you are a pious woman who trusts and fears the gods.” The words rush from your lips in a torrent, and you hope that she will listen to what you have to say next – this is the key part. “In a world where the threat of dragons declines – may the gods keep it that way! – Pievre continues as a state that has embraced its twisted humanism and mass apostasy, and the Oursoukis remain a great power, I was worried that even some people not from those spiritually darkened lands in Mineta – the very heart of the True Religion – may have fallen into legal and spiritual errors. You, at least, are better than that. For this I and the girl whom I guard are grateful – as will our employer be, once we tell it about this. But you could risk such good favor by breaking the earlier agreement.”

 

“Your employer? It?” Dacota’s eyes widen as she makes an apotropaic gesture. “Whom do you kids work for?      What have I gotten us involved in, Roxan?”

 

Sima decides to chime in at this time. “Some people, Dacota, want to undermine temples’ powers through several subversive schemes for the dragons’ sakes, such as by spreading the strange doctrines of the Pievrian Republic in Mineta. There is a certain temple-affiliated organization, which we are junior members of, that hunts down such people – or failing that, their propaganda caches. Even schools, after all, can be infiltrated. I thought that Zoe Melis might have knowledge about some aspect of some plot, hence my need to investigate her. She is fierce rival to a Pievrian student, after all, and those who are rivals tend, if they are as smart as Zoe is, to learn about their rivals. I could gladly pay you some more money – my expense account would cover such a payment. But I would have to explain such a payment to the organization, and that would cause them to learn about how un-co-operative you have been, which could cause them to investigate you for being a potential vector for subversion. On the other hand, I was ready to tell them, until you wanted more money, how co-operative and valuable you could be.”

 

Dacota is silent, but you can see the struggle in her eyes. This is the best time, you think, to deliver a supporting idea to nudge Dacota in the right direction.

 

“You may think, Dacota, that all this effort to investigate Miss Melis due to her feud with a Pievrian peer is merely worthy of laughter in the wineshops of foreigners, whether Cassettan or Pievrian. But such lack of willingness to take clues seriously and follow them to their ends is precisely what may allow draconic agents to sow sordid seeds that become bitter blossoms or foul fruits leading to slavery.”

 

Dacota jerks as your words finish, then nods her head.

 

“Little Miss Mageling,” she says, “I am not sure what to believe about what you and your bodyguard say. Yet I follow the clues, and I know that you are no ordinary student mage, given your planning, knowledge, and access to magical artifacts. The risk is great that you are a member of some organization – maybe even what you and your bodyguard claim to be. And never let it be said that I am a dragon’s slave! Even if you are part of some other organization – a coster, say, or the thieves’ guild – I do not want to risk tangling with such a group – my thieves’ guild payments provide only some protection. For this reason, and only this reason – not because I am afraid of you or your bodyguard – please accept the reddish-brown cylinder for a lowered fee – and remember me kindly, never hesitating to hire me for certain jobs.”

 

Sima laughs lightly as she lightens a pouch that she removes from beneath the fold of her cloak, before handing it to Roxan in return for the reddish-brown cylinder. “You really are such a useful girl, Roxan. What is a dombi?”

 

“A professional entertainer from my home islands in my birth language,” Roxan replies.

 

Sima nods and grins. “Roxan, I was going to be an actor before I was recruited into the organization, and to this day I am encouraged to use acting in my work for the organization.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, spy,” Roxan replies. But then Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “I think that Dacota may be worried that I am trying to recruit Roxan – which would be useful, but is not easily doable.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask some risky questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And are you really part of some secret organization of spies that would benefit through recruiting Roxan?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I adore, whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion and affection flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships and love are made of? And your solution, in which we pretended to be doing this investigation of Zoe Melis in order to serve a powerful temple-affiliated organization, rather than as a way to satisfy my caution, was truly ingenious. People will do so many things if they think that they are benefitting the gods whom they adore – or the powerful people who serve such gods. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services. Any shortage of pims now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not have been happy. I thank you for sparing me from having to go to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make for my shortage of money.”

 

“Alas,” Sima sighs, “I fear that it would not be wise for me alone to tell you about the other two; at minimum, they must be consulted first. Yet this is one of the wonderful things about our relationship, I think: you are willing to be my dearest friend – let no one accuse us of dating yet – despite my mysterious aspects and friends. Others, knowing what you know, would think differently, I do not doubt, and would not want to be friends with me, thinking me a robber chief’s daughter, a pirate captain’s daughter, or even – as Miya once told me about – a dragon’s daughter taking human form. And fear not,” she says, looking at your face’s dawning horror. “What ever else I may be, I am no dragon’s daughter!”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – although you are disappointed that you could not know more about Sima’s connections to mysterious and powerful organizations. At least you have assurances from her that she is no dragon’s daughter in human form – and given that you trust her so much you must believe her. But you wonder whether you would be willing to date a robber chief’s daughter, come in time – she may be that, given how little you know about her. [- 50 pims Sima Venesico, - 50 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 50 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Bluff, + 1 skill level Dating, + 1 Skill Level Theology, + 1 Stress, + 1 Insight, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Theology to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Character Study to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

Failure

 

[If PC has no affection or love with Sima Venesico]

 

You decide to approach this issue from a different angle.

 

“Dacota,” you sigh. “I undersatand that you have fallen into a bad course in life – which can always be abandoned if one has the will – but I must ask. Are you, among all of your other misdeeds, an atheist or an apostate from the Imperial religion?”

 

“What!?” Dacota snarls. “You’re probably accusing me of being something unnatural, like an agent reporting to some dragon-worshipping Oursouk, or a wyvern breeder, or a dragon worshipper – but I’m not! And I won’t be insulted by a client’s bodyguard!”

 

She takes a step forward, but Roxan reaches up to tap her shoulder. “Dom’na, I know how to read, and my readings – both of my own books and of what the Dom’nus your brother lets me read – have taught me that an atheist is one who holds gods to be no standard for right conduct and an apostate is one who abandons a religion. Besides, it is not good to assume that a person is insulting when one cannot understand the words. Remember the time you and I got all upset with your brother’s trying to speak Elumian?” Then, turning to Sima, Roxan says with pride, “I am no apostate, thanks to her kindness three years ago and since – the Awakened Man Measureless Life is still my guide, despite what the laws say about orphans in Mineta!”

 

Dacota flinches. “Roxan, enough about your Good Man,” and here she digresses with foul language against her brother for his interest in magic and tolerance of strange magics and beliefs. “But in answer to your question, bodyguard, I am no…atospate or…aseitht; I attend services to Aemean when I can, and avoid preachers for him whose ideas seem heretical. Without the New Gods, we’d all be slaves to dragons. But why the question? Am I not a bit too old for you to bring to a temple as a person whom faith has turned away from crime? Don’t the temples prefer children in that role? Children even younger than you are?” And here Dacota takes another step forwards.

 

“Dacota,” the words rush from your lips in a torrent, “In a world where the threat of dragons declines – may the gods keep it that way! – Pievre continues as a state that has embraced its twisted humanism and mass apostasy, and the Oursoukis remain a great power, I was worried that even some people not from those spiritually darkened lands in Mineta – the very heart of the True Religion – may have fallen into legal and spiritual errors. You, at least, are better than that. For this I and the girl whom I guard are grateful – as will our employer be, once we tell it about this. But you could risk such good favor by breaking the earlier agreement.”

 

“Your employer? It?” Dacota’s eyes widen. “Whom are you kids claming to work for? What have I gotten us involved in, Roxan?”

 

Sima decides to chime in at this time. “Some people, Dacota, want to undermine temples’ powers through several subversive schemes for the dragons’ sakes, such as by spreading the strange doctrines of the Pievrian Republic in Mineta. There is a certain temple-affiliated organization, which we are junior members of, that hunts down such people – or failing that, their propaganda caches. Even schools, after all, can be infiltrated. I thought that Zoe Melis might have knowledge about some aspect of some plot, hence need to investigate her. She is fierce rival to a Pievrian student, after all, and those who are rivals tend, if they are as smart as Zoe is, to learn about their rivals. I could gladly pay you some more money – my expense account would cover such a payment. But I would have to explain such a payment to the organization, and that would cause them to learn about how un-co-operative you have been, which could cause them to investigate you for being a potential vector for subversion. On the other hand, I was ready to tell them, until you wanted more money, how co-operative and valuable you could be.”

 

After Sima has finished her words, Dacota says nothing, but looks at both of you, lost in thought.

 

“The two of you spin a good story – enough to be weavers in the Temple of Iudocia,” she finally says. “But I am not willing to believe your claims – not when there are eight hundred pims on the line for your claims. Do you even know how much eight hundred pims will buy us? Probably not. But for me, those eight hundred pims are more valuable than yielding to an implausible story in hope of some vaguely defined future reward come in time from an organization that I have no proof either of you are involved with. So pay the money that I want – or else!”

 

Sima shakes her head sadly. “Your choice has been noted, Dacota. I can handle the matter now. I will write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me.”

 

Dacota agrees with suspicion, but is mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota is practically smiling.

 

“I am so glad, Sima,” she gushes, “that we were able to resolve this issue so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to her what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder. “Don’t feel too bad that you weren’t able to convince Dom’na Dacota,” she says. “In my home islands, dombis are professional entertainers, but you are better than they are!”

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, faker,” Roxan replies.

 

You are glad that you have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but you must admit to wishing that she had used a more obscure nickname for you than faker. Still, you had tried to fake being part of a powerful organization. Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “I think that Dacota may be worried that I am trying to recruit Roxan as an actress for some confidence tricks – which would be useful, but is not easily doable.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask some risky questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? Are you part of some secret organization of spies that would benefit through recruiting Roxan? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money from you when you could have paid her so easily from the beginning?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which we pretended to be doing this investigation of Zoe Melis in order to serve a powerful temple-affiliated organization, rather than as a way to satisfy my caution, was truly ingenious, even though you were not skilled enough to succeed in it. People will do so many things if they think that they are benefitting the gods whom they adore – or the powerful people who serve such gods. But one must be able to convince people of this first, and that can be more difficult than creating an effective, internally consistent, plausible lie. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services. With my funds reduced, other people in my life…will not be happy, shall we say? It would have been nice if you could have saved me such money, but I was the one who got so involved with the Southside Pitts and you tried to help me. I wonder if Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo might be able to make up my money.”

 

“Alas,” Sima sighs, “I fear that it would not be wise for me alone to tell you about the other two; at minimum, they must be consulted first. Yet this is one of the wonderful things about our relationship, I think – you are willing to be my friend despite my mysterious aspects and friends. Others, knowing what you know, would think differently, I do not doubt, and would not want to be friends with me, thinking me a robber chief’s daughter, a pirate captain’s daughter, or even – as Miya once told me about – a dragon’s daughter taking human form.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are sad that you were unable to save her from some financial risk – and disappointed that you could not know more about Sima’s connections to mysterious and powerful organizations. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Character Study, + 1 Skill Level Story Telling, + 1 Charm, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Theology to Sima Venesico, + 1 stress to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has affection or love with Sima Venesico]

 

You decide to approach this issue from a different angle.

 

“Dacota,” you sigh. “I undersatand that you have fallen into a bad course in life – which can always be abandoned if one has the will – but I must ask. Are you, among all of your other misdeeds, an atheist or an apostate from the Imperial religion?”

 

“What!?” Dacota snarls. “You’re probably accusing me of being something unnatural, like an agent reporting to some dragon-worshipping Oursouk, or a wyvern breeder, or a dragon worshipper – but I’m not! And I won’t be insulted by a client’s bodyguard!”

 

She takes a step forward, but Roxan reaches up to tap her shoulder. “Dom’na, I know how to read, and my readings – both of my own books and of what the Dom’nus your brother lets me read – have taught me that an atheist is one who holds gods to be no standard for right conduct and an apostate is one who abandons a religion. Besides, it is not good to assume that a person is insulting when one cannot understand the words. Remember the time you and I got all upset with your brother’s trying to speak Elumian?” Then, turning to Sima, Roxan says with pride, “I am no apostate, thanks to her kindness three years ago and since – the Awakened Man Measureless Life is still my guide, despite what the laws say about orphans in Mineta!”

 

Dacota flinches. “Roxan, enough about your Good Man,” and here she digresses with foul language against her brother for his interest in magic and tolerance of strange magics and beliefs. “But in answer to your question, bodyguard, I am no…atospate or…aseitht; I attend services to Aemean when I can, and avoid preachers for him whose ideas seem heretical. Without the New Gods, we’d all be slaves to dragons. But why the question? Am I not a bit too old for you to bring to a temple as a person whom faith has turned away from crime? Don’t the temples prefer children in that role? Children even younger than you are?” And here Dacota takes another step forwards.

 

“Dacota,” the words rush from your lips in a torrent, “In a world where the threat of dragons declines – may the gods keep it that way! – Pievre continues as a state that has embraced its twisted humanism and mass apostasy, and the Oursoukis remain a great power, I was worried that even some people not from those spiritually darkened lands in Mineta – the very heart of the True Religion – may have fallen into legal and spiritual errors. You, at least, are better than that. For this I and the girl whom I guard are grateful – as will our employer be, once we tell it about this. But you could risk such good favor by breaking the earlier agreement.”

 

“Your employer? It?” Dacota’s eyes widen. “Whom are you kids claming to work for? What have I gotten us involved in, Roxan?”

 

Sima decides to chime in at this time. “Some people, Dacota, want to undermine temples’ powers through several subversive schemes for the dragons’ sakes, such as by spreading the strange doctrines of the Pievrian Republic in Mineta. There is a certain temple-affiliated organization, which we are junior members of, that hunts down such people – or failing that, their propaganda caches. Even schools, after all, can be infiltrated. I thought that Zoe Melis might have knowledge about some aspect of some plot, hence need to investigate her. She is fierce rival to a Pievrian student, after all, and those who are rivals tend, if they are as smart as Zoe is, to learn about their rivals. I could gladly pay you some more money – my expense account would cover such a payment. But I would have to explain such a payment to the organization, and that would cause them to learn about how un-co-operative you have been, which could cause them to investigate you for being a potential vector for subversion. On the other hand, I was ready to tell them, until you wanted more money, how co-operative and valuable you could be.”

 

After Sima has finished her words, Dacota says nothing, but looks at both of you, lost in thought.

 

“The two of you spin a good story – enough to be weavers in the Temple of Iudocia,” she finally says. “But I am not willing to believe your claims – not when there are eight hundred pims on the line for your claims. Do you even know how much eight hundred pims will buy us? Probably not. But for me, those eight hundred pims are more valuable than yielding to an implausible story in hope of some vaguely defined future reward come in time from an organization that I have no proof either of you are involved with. So pay the money that I want – or else!”

 

Sima shakes her head sadly. “Your choice has been noted, Dacota. I can handle the matter now. I will write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me.”

 

Dacota agrees with suspicion, but is mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota is practically smiling.

 

“I am so glad, Sima,” she gushes, “that we were able to resolve this issue so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to her what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder. “Don’t feel too bad that you weren’t able to convince Dom’na Dacota,” she says. “In my home islands, dombis are professional entertainers, but you are better than they are!”

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, faker,” Roxan replies.

 

You are glad that you have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but you must admit to wishing that she had used a more obscure nickname for you than faker. Still, you had tried to fake being part of a powerful organization. Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “I think that Dacota may be worried that I am trying to recruit Roxan as an actress for some confidence tricks – which would be useful, but is not easily doable.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask some risky questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? Are you part of some secret organization of spies that would benefit through recruiting Roxan? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money from you when you could have paid her so easily from the beginning?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I adore, whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion and affection flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which we pretended to be doing this investigation of Zoe Melis in order to serve a powerful temple-affiliated organization, rather than as a way to satisfy my caution, was truly ingenious, even though you were not skilled enough to succeed in it. People will do so many things if they think that they are benefitting the gods whom they adore – or the powerful people who serve such gods. But one must be able to convince people of this first, and that can be more difficult than creating an effective, internally consistent, plausible lie. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services. With my funds reduced, other people in my life…will not be happy, shall we say? It would have been nice if you could have saved me such money, but I was the one who got so involved with the Southside Pitts and you tried to help me. I wonder if Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo might be able to make up my money.”

 

“Alas,” Sima sighs, “I fear that it would not be wise for me alone to tell you about the other two; at minimum, they must be consulted first. Yet this is one of the wonderful things about our relationship, I think – you are willing to be my friend despite my mysterious aspects and friends. Others, knowing what you know, would think differently, I do not doubt, and would not want to be friends with me, thinking me a robber chief’s daughter, a pirate captain’s daughter, or even – as Miya once told me about – a dragon’s daughter taking human form. And fear not,” she says, looking at your face’s dawning horror. “What ever else I may be, I am no dragon’s daughter!”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are sad that you were unable to save her from some financial risk – and disappointed that you could not know more about Sima’s connections to mysterious and powerful organizations. At least you have assurances from her that she is no dragon’s daughter in human form – and given that you trust her so much you must believe her. But you wonder whether you would be willing to date a robber chief’s daughter, come in time – she may be that, given how little you know about her. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Character Study, + 1 Skill Level Story Telling, + 1 Charm, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Theology to Sima Venesico, + 1 stress to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has memory Magsa’s Gambit Played] Intrigue. Maybe you can build upon Magsa’s claim to make this business seem more than it is.

 

Success

 

[If PC has Tutoring: Grifter]

 

You seize upon Dacota’s earlier reference to Chards. Magsa had mentioned to you the possibility that Prudence would be upset about being conflated with Flore, but Flore Yveuillet has a rivalry with Catherine Chard due to their families, and Catherine is wealthy, arrogant, and ruthless enough that she might try to bring Sima in to help investigate any possible source of bad tales about her rival – even those written in fiction by a quiet scholar, because who knows what such people may find and how they may write their findings. And where Catherine gets involved, her family cannot be far behind. Or so you hope you can convince Dacota.

 

All of these thoughts flash through your mind – resembling a dragon in flight in their terrifyingness if not wickedness – as you open your mouth.

 

“Dacota,” you say, with what you hope is a conspiratorial tone. “It is strange that you mention Chards in connection with this meeting. You knw who they are, I presume.”

 

“Just because I attend no fancy school does not make me a fool!” Dacota replies. “All with some knowledge of Mineta’s events and people know about the Golden Families, and since I am…working near Academagia, I know especially about the Chards. One of their daughters is continuing their custom of going there. Don’t tell me – she’s behind this, right?”

 

“I am so relieved, Dacota, that you are understanding the ways of Mineta and its great families so well – although I would not dare to confirm or deny whether Catherine Chard was truly behind this task that you and my friend undertook. Certain people, you know, can be so eager to find things to use against their rivals – and their families’ rivals – that they would sink to utterly illegal – and complicated – lengths to harm them. Such people make very useful...patrons, I guess you might call them, but can be very dangerous when crossed. Especially when crossing their clients involves not merely harming them, even if only indirectly, but also their families. Only indirectly, true, but such people are very attached to thier families. And such people, without their families, are…well, I fear that I may have digressed too much. Suffice it to say that our little operation against Zoe Melis was, at a certain level, much more than a student prank. But then, I am sure that Roxan already knows this.” You gesture towards Roxan, hoping that you have understood her role in Sima’s plan correctly. If you misunderstood it, your credibility as a hinter about Catherine Chard’s plotting would be seriously undermined.

 

“Yes, Dom’na, it was strange,” Roxan says, after seeing that no one is stopping her. “I have never been tolds to simply go into a room and use a magical device without being caught. And you, Dombi, emphatically told me that I was not to take anything from Zoe’s room or even mess with her clothing. I did such, though, as you had requested. And I have the tube for you, which I will give to you, come in time – once you pay us the money.”

 

Dacota, who has been growing a bit concerned by what she has heard, turns to Sima and says, “Yes, about the money – maybe I was wrong to break my agreement with you. I do not want to get on the bad side of any Golden Family – not that I am saying that I think that any particular family is behind this – and as more…polite people might say, it is not proper to change terms of any agreement at the last minute. So. Three hundred pims it will be, yes?”

 

Sima laughs lightly as she removes a pouch from beneath the fold of her cloak, before handing it to Roxan in return for the reddish-brown cylinder. “You really are such a useful girl, Roxan. What is a dombi?”

 

“A professional entertainer from my home islands in my birth language,” Roxan replies.

 

Sima nods and grins. “Roxan, I would love to be an actress when I graduate. Your words are such encouragement to me.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, hinter,” Roxan replies. But then Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “I think that Dacota may be worried that I am trying to turn Roxan into being an actress rather than burgler – although being an actor would not give her any greater respectability in society, despite the actor’s greater legality. Ah, this is but one of many strange things in the world that have nothing to do with magic.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. So you decide to ask some noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which you cleverly hinted that we were working for Catherine Chard doing this investigation of Zoe Melis rather than as a way to satisfy my caution, was truly ingenious. The best deceptions involve no lies – or at least very few – and are all about letting the mark make conclusions. That way, if the mark confronts you about the claim, you can avoid appearing dishonest, if such is necessary, by truthfully saying that you made fewer false claims than the mark thinks. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services. Any shortage of pims now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not have been happy. I thank you for sparing me from having to go to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make for my shortage of money.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – although you are somewhat disquieted by Sima’s casually talking about the best way to deceive people. Has she, like you, been trained by some grifter? Has she served as a grifter? But you trust her enough to believe that she would never harm you while the two of you are friends – your adventure last year on the mysterious island with the Triplets proved that to you. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Bluff, + 1 Skill Level Innuendo, + 1 skill level Flattery, + 1 Intelligence, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Intrigue to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has no Tutoring: Grifter]

 

You seize upon Dacota’s earlier reference to Chards. Magsa had mentioned to you the possibility that Prudence would be upset about being conflated with Flore, but Flore Yveuillet has a rivalry with Catherine Chard due to their families, and Catherine is wealthy, arrogant, and ruthless enough that she might try to bring Sima in to help investigate any possible source of bad tales about her rival – even those written in fiction by a quiet scholar, because who knows what such people may find and how they may write their findings. And where Catherine gets involved, her family cannot be far behind. Or so you hope you can convince Dacota.

 

All of these thoughts flash through your mind – resembling a dragon in flight in their terrifyingness if not wickedness – as you open your mouth.

 

“Dacota,” you say, with what you hope is a conspiratorial tone. “It is strange that you mention Chards in connection with this meeting. You knw who they are, I presume.”

 

“Just because I attend no fancy school does not make me a fool!” Dacota replies. “All with some knowledge of Mineta’s events and people know about the Golden Families, and since I am…working near Academagia, I know especially about the Chards. One of their daughters is continuing their custom of going there. Don’t tell me – she’s behind this, right?”

 

“I am so relieved, Dacota, that you are understanding the ways of Mineta and its great families so well – although I would not dare to confirm or deny whether Catherine Chard was truly behind this task that you and my friend undertook. Certain people, you know, can be so eager to find things to use against their rivals – and their families’ rivals – that they would sink to utterly illegal – and complicated – lengths to harm them. Such people make very useful...patrons, I guess you might call them, but can be very dangerous when crossed. Especially when crossing their clients involves not merely harming them, even if only indirectly, but also their families. Only indirectly, true, but such people are very attached to thier families. And such people, without their families, are…well, I fear that I may have digressed too much. Suffice it to say that our little operation against Zoe Melis was, at a certain level, much more than a student prank. But then, I am sure that Roxan already knows this.” You gesture towards Roxan, hoping that you have understood her role in Sima’s plan correctly. If you misunderstood it, your credibility as a hinter about Catherine Chard’s plotting would be seriously undermined.

 

“Yes, Dom’na, it was strange,” Roxan says, after seeing that no one is stopping her. “I have never been tolds to simply go into a room and use a magical device without being caught. And you, Dombi, emphatically told me that I was not to take anything from Zoe’s room or even mess with her clothing. I did such, though, as you had requested. And I have the tube for you, which I will give to you, come in time – once you pay us the money.”

 

Dacota, who has been growing a bit concerned by what she has heard, turns to Sima and says, “Yes, about the money – maybe I was wrong to break my agreement with you. I do not want to get on the bad side of any Golden Family – not that I am saying that I think that any particular family is behind this – and as more…polite people might say, it is not proper to change terms of any agreement at the last minute. So. Three hundred pims it will be, yes?”

 

Sima laughs lightly as she removes a pouch from beneath the fold of her cloak, before handing it to Roxan in return for the reddish-brown cylinder. “You really are such a useful girl, Roxan. What is a dombi?”

 

“A professional entertainer from my home islands in my birth language,” Roxan replies.

 

Sima nods and grins. “Roxan, I would love to be an actress when I graduate. Your words are such encouragement to me.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, hinter,” Roxan replies. But then Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “I think that Dacota may be worried that I am trying to turn Roxan into being an actress rather than burgler – although being an actor would not give her any greater respectability in society, despite the actor’s greater legality. Ah, this is but one of many strange things in the world that have nothing to do with magic.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. So you decide to ask some noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which you cleverly hinted that we were working for Catherine Chard doing this investigation of Zoe Melis rather than as a way to satisfy my caution, was truly ingenious. The best deceptions involve no lies – or at least very few – and are all about letting the mark make conclusions. That way, if the mark confronts you about the claim, you can avoid appearing dishonest, if such is necessary, by truthfully saying that you made fewer false claims than the mark thinks. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services. Any shortage of pims now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not have been happy. I thank you for sparing me from having to go to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make for my shortage of money.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – although you are somewhat disquieted by Sima’s casually talking about the best way to deceive people. But you trust her enough to believe that she would never harm you while the two of you are friends – your adventure last year on the mysterious island with the Triplets proved that to you. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Bluff, + 1 Skill Level Innuendo, + 1 skill level Flattery, + 1 Intelligence, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Intrigue to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

Failure

 

[If PC has Tutoring: Grifter]

 

You seize upon Dacota’s earlier reference to Chards. Magsa had mentioned to you that Prudence would be upset about being conflated with Flore, but Flore has a rivalry with Catherine Chard due to their families, and Catherine is wealthy, arrogant, and ruthless enough that she would try to bring Sima in to help investigate any possible source of bad tales about her rival – even those written in fiction by a quiet scholar, because who knows what such people may find and how they may write their findings. And where Catherine gets involved, her family cannot be far behind.

 

All of these thoughts flash through your mind as you open your mouth.

 

“Dacota,” you say. “It is strange that you mention Chards in connection with this meeting. You knw who they are, surely.”

 

“Just because I attend no fancy school does not make me a fool, despite what you think!” Dacota replies. “All with some knowledge of Mineta’s events know about the Golden Families, and since I am…working near Academagia, I know especially about the Chards. One of their daughters is continuing the custom of going there. Is there a purpose to this aside from insulting me?”

 

“Catherine Chard was truly behind this task that you and my friend undertook. She is so eager to find things to use against her rivals – and her family’s rivals – that she would sink to utterly illegal – and complicated – lengths to harm them – rivals such as Flore Yveuillet. Miss Chard makes a very useful...patron, I guess you might call her, but can be very dangerous when crossed. Especially when crossing her client involves not merely harming her, even if only indirectly, but also her family. Suffice it to say that our little operation against Zoe Melis was, at a certain level, much more than a student prank. But then, I am sure that Roxan already knows this.” You gesture towards Roxan, hoping that you have understood her role in Sima’s plan correctly. If you misunderstood it, your credibility as a hinter about Catherine Chard’s plotting would be seriously undermined.

 

“Yes, Dom’na, it was strange,” Roxan says, after seeing that no one is stopping her. “I have never been tolds to simply go into a room and use a magical device without being caught. And you, Dombi, emphatically told me that I was not to take anything from Zoe’s room or even mess with her clothing. I did such, though, as you had requested. And I have the tube for you, which I will give to you, come in time – once you pay us the money.”

 

Dacota turns to Sima and says, “Your bodyguard makes bold claims about powerful families and their plans. But why should I believe such claims? Surely a Chard, especially one plotting against another noble, would have better sense than to employ students with such loose lips. Besides, if what your bodyguard says is true, it is so clear that the Chards’ enemies would doubtlessly pay many pims to me for this tip, which might make your lives…unpleasant, shall we say? So why not just agree to pay me the adjusted sum and we can all forget that your bodyguard said such things? Everything is so much simpler for everyone when this can be seen as a simple prank by a collegemate.”

 

Sima shakes her head sadly. “There is no need for you to try to do any more. I can handle the matter now. I will write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me.”

 

Dacota agrees with suspicion, but is mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota is practically smiling.

 

“I am so glad, Sima,” she gushes, “that we were able to resolve this issue so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to Sima what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, blabbermouth,” Roxan replies. You wish that you could have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but since Roxan just insulted you by calling you a blabbermouth, perhaps it is just as well for you not to know what dombi means. Dacota jerks Roxan away with a snicker and retreats into the mist.

 

“Dacota was under much stress after robbing me – she will be hanged if convicted for what she just did to me, and that is on top of the hanging that she would get if convicted as a leader of a criminal gang. And that is not even taking into account the fact that not all student mages are as defenceless as I may be – I pity the robber who attacks a Contu student or even a Godina student. She got lucky with us, and she knows it. But if she were not bold, she would not be a leader.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. So you decide to ask some noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money from you when you could have paid her so easily from the beginning?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which you cleverly hinted that we were working for Catherine Chard doing this investigation of Zoe Melis rather than as a way to satisfy my caution, was truly ingenious. But you need more training in tricking people. The best deceptions involve no lies – or at least very few – and are all about letting the mark make conclusions. That way, if the mark confronts you about the claim, you can avoid appearing dishonest, if such is necessary, by truthfully saying that you made fewer false claims than the mark thinks. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. My unexpected shortage of pims now is…problematic to certain other people in my life, who will not be happy. I will, due to your defeat by Dacota, have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my shortage of money. At least I did not need to rush back and retrieve another eight hundred pims to pay Dacota due to the wonders of modern banking.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are sad that you could not save her from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of confidence tricks and related activities. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – although you are somewhat disquieted by Sima’s casually talking about the best way to deceive people. Has she, like you, been trained by some grifter? Has she served as a grifter? But you trust her enough to believe that she would never harm you while the two of you are friends – your adventure last year on the mysterious island with the Triplets proved that to you. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Bluff, + 3 Skill Levels Flattery, + 1 Charm, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Intrigue to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has no Tutoring: Grifter]

 

You seize upon Dacota’s earlier reference to Chards. Magsa had mentioned to you that Prudence would be upset about being conflated with Flore, but Flore has a rivalry with Catherine Chard due to their families, and Catherine is wealthy, arrogant, and ruthless enough that she would try to bring Sima in to help investigate any possible source of bad tales about her rival – even those written in fiction by a quiet scholar, because who knows what such people may find and how they may write their findings. And where Catherine gets involved, her family cannot be far behind.

 

All of these thoughts flash through your mind as you open your mouth.

 

“Dacota,” you say. “It is strange that you mention Chards in connection with this meeting. You knw who they are, surely.”

 

“Just because I attend no fancy school does not make me a fool, despite what you think!” Dacota replies. “All with some knowledge of Mineta’s events know about the Golden Families, and since I am…working near Academagia, I know especially about the Chards. One of their daughters is continuing the custom of going there. Is there a purpose to this aside from insulting me?”

 

“Catherine Chard was truly behind this task that you and my friend undertook. She is so eager to find things to use against her rivals – and her family’s rivals – that she would sink to utterly illegal – and complicated – lengths to harm them – rivals such as Flore Yveuillet. Miss Chard makes a very useful...patron, I guess you might call her, but can be very dangerous when crossed. Especially when crossing her client involves not merely harming her, even if only indirectly, but also her family. Suffice it to say that our little operation against Zoe Melis was, at a certain level, much more than a student prank. But then, I am sure that Roxan already knows this.” You gesture towards Roxan, hoping that you have understood her role in Sima’s plan correctly. If you misunderstood it, your credibility as a hinter about Catherine Chard’s plotting would be seriously undermined.

 

“Yes, Dom’na, it was strange,” Roxan says, after seeing that no one is stopping her. “I have never been tolds to simply go into a room and use a magical device without being caught. And you, Dombi, emphatically told me that I was not to take anything from Zoe’s room or even mess with her clothing. I did such, though, as you had requested. And I have the tube for you, which I will give to you, come in time – once you pay us the money.”

 

Dacota turns to Sima and says, “Your bodyguard makes bold claims about powerful families and their plans. But why should I believe such claims? Surely a Chard, especially one plotting against another noble, would have better sense than to employ students with such loose lips. Besides, if what your bodyguard says is true, it is so clear that the Chards’ enemies would doubtlessly pay many pims to me for this tip, which might make your lives…unpleasant, shall we say? So why not just agree to pay me the adjusted sum and we can all forget that your bodyguard said such things? Everything is so much simpler for everyone when this can be seen as a simple prank by a collegemate.”

 

Sima shakes her head sadly. “There is no need for you to try to do any more. I can handle the matter now. I will write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me.”

 

Dacota agrees with suspicion, but is mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota is practically smiling.

 

“I am so glad, Sima,” she gushes, “that we were able to resolve this issue so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to Sima what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, blabbermouth,” Roxan replies. You wish that you could have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but since Roxan just insulted you by calling you a blabbermouth, perhaps it is just as well for you not to know what dombi means. Dacota jerks Roxan away with a snicker and retreats into the mist.

 

“Dacota was under much stress after robbing me – she will be hanged if convicted for what she just did to me, and that is on top of the hanging that she would get if convicted as a leader of a criminal gang. And that is not even taking into account the fact that not all student mages are as defenceless as I may be – I pity the robber who attacks a Contu student or even a Godina student. She got lucky with us, and she knows it. But if she were not bold, she would not be a leader.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. So you decide to ask some noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money from you when you could have paid her so easily from the beginning?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which you cleverly hinted that we were working for Catherine Chard doing this investigation of Zoe Melis rather than as a way to satisfy my caution, was truly ingenious. But you need more training in tricking people. The best deceptions involve no lies – or at least very few – and are all about letting the mark make conclusions. That way, if the mark confronts you about the claim, you can avoid appearing dishonest, if such is necessary, by truthfully saying that you made fewer false claims than the mark thinks. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. My unexpected shortage of pims now is…problematic to certain other people in my life, who will not be happy. I will, due to your defeat by Dacota, have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my shortage of money. At least I did not need to rush back and retrieve another eight hundred pims to pay Dacota due to the wonders of modern banking.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are sad that you could not save her from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of confidence tricks and related activities. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – although you are somewhat disquieted by Sima’s casually talking about the best way to deceive people. But you trust her enough to believe that she would never harm you while the two of you are friends – your adventure last year on the mysterious island with the Triplets proved that to you. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Bluff, + 3 Skill Levels Flattery, + 1 Charm, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Intrigue to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC completed adventure The Pitts] Romance. Maybe Dacota has some other reason to be here.

 

Success

 

“Dacota,” you lilt in a teasing voice, “how nice to see you again – and in much more pleasant circumstances, too. No goblins or mastery magic – but o, isn’t something missing? Something very pleasant and tender for you? Or rather, someone? A student mage of around your age, perhaps? Would this alley, leading to Academagia, not be a better way fo you to remedy this lack then trying to enter the campus through more conventional means? Especially given how unconventional a person and pig you may - ”

 

Dacoata’s shriek would not be out of place among the sophisticated ladies with no Minetan swagger whom she imagines are the majority of Sima’s peers – although as you would tell her if she were curious, such students are not the only ones whose charms interest you. Right now, however, she is curious about a very different thing – or person.

 

“What!? Which one are you?” She rushes forward to look at your face, but you leap out of the way with a laugh. It would not be appealing to the ladies if you were to be smelling of pig, even though the pig is a pig-god to Goblins and a Bruellian pot-bellied pig familiar to his owner.

 

“No one of much importance,” you sing back. “Just a friend to a certain swineherd. A swineherd whom you may have visited for certain reasons, perhaps related to pigs!”

 

Sima looks mildly amused as well as curious, but Roxan giggles at your display. “It’s true,” she crows. “Dom’na has a boyfriend! One from the fanciest of fancy colleges at Academagia – with all the towers and fine art. He is not so sophisticated, though. She helps him to feed a pig, and he tries to teach her to read Renaglian – when they allow me to be with them, that is!”

 

Dacota turns to Roxan. “Your beating will be so bad that you will lose interest in pigs!” she shouts. Then to Sima she says, “I am not having a boyfriend. He and I are involved in certain sensitive business and…tiogolocal…issues with goblins. Tell your bodyguard to stop this! We have business matters of our own to discuss.”

 

When Roxan laughingly kisses the air, Dacota slaps her. Sima, to her credit, replies calmly, “I should not inquire into others’ private affairs when this would distract from business. But my bodyguard still may try to solve this issue – unless you want to try to attack us outright?”

 

Dacota begrudgingly agrees with a curt nod. However, you can tell that your words have shaken her. This should make Dacota easier to control – or so you hope. [+ 1 skill level Tease, + 1 skill level Innuendo, +15% chance of success, choose another option]

Failure

 

“Dacota,” you say, “how nice to see you again in better circumstances. No goblins or mastery magic – but isn’t something missing? Would this alley, leading to Academagia, not be a better way fo you to remedy this lack then trying to enter the campus through more conventional means? Especially given how unconventional a person and pig you may - ”

 

Dacoata sighs. “Of all the bodyguards whom I could have met, I meet one who knows about my efforts to deal with goblins. I suppose that it is no great burden to tell you that tending to a goblin god is difficult – especially when the god is a mage’s familiar who can breathe fire.”

 

Sima looks curious, but Roxan giggles. “Dom’na,” she laughs, “you really are a swineherd’s apprentice sometimes – and the pig stinks. No fancy words can obscure these things. The Dom’na helps him to feed a pig, and he tries to teach her to read Renaglian – among other things.”

 

Dacota turns to Roxan. “You will be beaten for this so that you will lose interest in pigs,” she says. Then to Sima she says, “Roxan’s…zogolocal…claims are irrelevant to our dealings here and now. Tell your bodyguard to stop this! We have business matters of our own to discuss.”

 

When Roxan laughingly oinks, Dacota slaps her. Sima, to her credit, replies calmly, “I should not inquire into others’ private affairs when this would distract from business. But my bodyguard still may try to solve this issue – unless you want to try to attack us outright?”

 

Dacota begrudgingly agrees with a curt nod. Your words may not have driven her to irrationality, but Roxan’s oinking and discussion of pig-tending were very amusing. If only you were not dealing with her as a robber-girl! [+ 1 skill level Animal Husbandry, + 1 skill level Mimicry, choose another option]

[If PC completed adventure Enter the Work Force] Intimidate. “I fought you once, Pitts, when you were with your gang! I can fight you again when you have only a girl with you!”

 

Success

 

Dacota flinches and scowls at you, before saying, “Ah yes, you’re the Godina brat whose efforts with Mr. McCroskey caused such difficulty for my efforts to…offer protection, shall we say? But I am not afraid of you – you are not travelling, and that makes every fight much easier.”

 

Still, you can tell that your words have shaken her. This should make Dacota easier to control – or so you hope. [+ 1 skill level Intimidation, + 1 skill level Tactics, + 1 temporary Skill level to Wrestling, choose another option]

Failure

 

Dacota peers at at you before sneering, “Ah yes, you’re the Godina brat who interfered with my efforts to protect Mr. McCroskey’s business. Well, you are not working for Mr. McCroskey, and my goal is different here and now. So I am not afraid of you.”

 

Although Dacota’s logic may leave something to be desired – surely a person would not be unwise to fear a previous enemy in a hostile situation even when the reason for the hostile situation is different – Dacota’s argument has succeeded, so far as you can tell, in keeping her calm despite your challenge. Perhaps if you were to use actions rather than talking about past actions, she would yield to you. [+ 1 skill level Reasoning, choose another option]

Wrestling. “When you act tough, Dacota, you should be prepared to fight.”

 

Success

 

“But are you prepared to fight me?” Dacota replies, bracing her body for any physical response from you.

 

Realizing that words would distract you from your goal and give Dacota time to attack you, you simply charge towards Dacota and knock her down. Roxan screams then, and Dacota’s eyes harden as one hand reaches for her belt. But you strike her in a sensitive spot so that she howls and her arms go limp. You then seize her good hand and twist the fingers in such a way that you could easily break them if you were wanting to. She tries to move her hand from your grasp, but you are strong enough to maintain your grip and twist her fingers so that she yelps a bit.

 

“Do you yield?” Sima’s voice, calm despite the chaos on the ground in front of her, suggests that she is not unused to violence.

 

“Pax! O Dom’na, please say pax! Otherwise - ” Roxan’s eyes are wide with terror, but there is also, you think, a measure of thoughtful calculation in her voice. Is she trying to demonstrate her loyalty to the Southside Pitts’ leader?

 

“Yes. Pax! I yield!” Dacota follows with a string of syllables, some of which may be polite words in other languages, before her voice trails off into a sob. “What do you want? I can give you money or information about Roxan’s life these past three years, or -”

 

You never get to hear what else Dacota was about to offer because Sima interrupts.

 

“I am not here for your money, Pitts, nor for any treasure that you may have – not even a set of knives made from non-rusting steel. I just want to pay you for your services at the agreed upon rate.” Sima thrusts forward a pouch of money with an imperious sniff, and Roxan mutely gives her a reddish-brown cylinder before taking the money.

 

“Call your trained attack dog in human form off me,” Dacota whines. You only do so when Sima tells you to, after which Dacota springs to her feet and walk carefully away from you. Although she tries to appear uninjured, you can tell by her ginger motions that you have seriously hurt her. Nothing that a little rest or magic cannot fix, but you hope that you made your mark on her mind as a dangerous opponent.

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, thrasher,” Roxan replies.

 

You wish that you could have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but you assume, based upon her nicknaming you thrasher, that it may have a complimentary meaning. Dacota jerks Roxan away with a wince and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “Dacota was under much stress and pain after her botched robbery of me – she will be hanged if convicted for what she just tried to do to me, and that is on top of the hanging that she would get if convicted as a leader of a criminal gang. I am so glad that I had you to protect me in the simplest and most direct way – you are better than a student mage from the Contu school, since all they focus on is incantation. Dacota bit off more than she could chew when she tried to rob us, and she knows it. Maybe she will be more cautious about trying to rob people now. But if she were not bold, she would not be a leader.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which you fought Dacota into abandoning her demands, was useful if not imaginative – I even learned about certain painful points on bodies by watching you fight! Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, due to your competence, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are happy that you were able to save her from some financial risk through wrestling, that skill that in Academagia is often associated only with bullying. If all wrestlers, you think, were to use their wrestling skills only to help protect other people against wrong-doers, the world would be a better place and people would be in less fear of dragons. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 Strength, + 1 skill level Wrestling, + 1 skill level Anatomy, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Anatomy to Sima Venesico, add memory Dacota’s Pain, end adventure]

Failure

 

“But are you prepared to fight me?” Dacota snarls.

 

“I am, if you are pre -”

 

But your witty retort is cut short as Dacota tackles you with such force that you are knocked hard to the ground. As you try to raise your arms to defend yourself, you see the flash of a knife blade as it swoops in towards your throat. At the last second – or so you think – you are able to roll aside, but the blade still keeps seeking you and you feel its hilt scrapt against your back. You realize that you cannot dodge the weapon indefinitely.

 

“Pax! Say pax! Otherwise - ” Roxan’s voice is faintly gloating.

 

Sima interrupts, her voice revealing more concern for your safety. “There is no need for you to try to do any more. I can handle the matter now. I will write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me. But please do not harm my bodyguard!”

 

Dacota, after some growls, muttered curses, and slaps to your body, rolls you body so that you are facing her and then allows you to stand up facing her, all the while keeping her knife aimed at you and your body between her and Sima. Her suspicion is only mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota has lowered the knife a bit.

 

“I am so glad,” she says, “that we were able to resolve this issue before I had to kill or maim your bodyguard. Maybe this will teach you to be more cautious in dealing with me and my gang in future. Come, Roxan – return to her what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, miles gloriosus,” Roxan replies.

 

You wish that you could have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but since your knowledge of Elumian suggests that miles gloriosus means “braggart soldier”, perhaps it is just as well for you not to know what dombi means. Dacota jerks Roxan away with a snicker and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “Dacota’s easy defeat of you and easy robbery of me may have made her over-confident. She was lucky. not all student mages are as defenceless as I may be – I pity the robber who attacks a Contu student or a Godina student. She got lucky with us, and she knows it. But if she were not bold, she would not be a leader.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious. As, for that matter should you. Violence is not always the best solution to any problem, and it is riskier than many others because it can most easily be responded to by violence in return – and such violence cannot always be avoided as you avoided all serious contact with Dacota’s knife today. This is one of several reasons why I prefer trying to talk my way out of problems, even when the problems are dangerous people who could easily use violence against me.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask some noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money from you when you could have paid her so easily from the beginning?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which you fought Dacota in an attempt to get her to abandon her demands, was useful if not imaginative, even though you lacked the skill to defeat her. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. My unexpected shortage of pims now is…problematic to certain other people in my life, who will not be happy. I will, due to your defeat by Dacota, have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my shortage of money. At least I did not need to rush back and retrieve another eight hundred pims to pay Dacota due to the wonders of modern banking.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are sad that you could not save her from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of wrestling and related activities. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 Finesse, + 1 Stress, + 1 skill level Tactics, + 1 skill level Flawless Timing, - 1 Vitality, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 stress to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

Theory of Enchantment. How valuable is the artifact that Sima lent to the Southside Pitts?

 
 

Success

 

[If PC is not a Student in Vernin College]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You vaguely note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But then the answer strikes you.

 

The reddish-brown cylinder must be what you have heard called a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic. Some of the more sophisticated versions of such devices – of which this one must be an example, you think – have an internal sheath of paper and a stylus that, through further enchantment, record when the devices was used, where they were activated (according to a co-ordinate system), and what pillars of magic they detected and in what strength. A person can then read a record of the magics found in a given location at a given time by looking at the paper through an adjustable lens – which you presume to be embedded in one end of the tube so that it can function like a telescope.

 

Having Roxan use such a device in Zoe Melis’s bedroom while Zoe would be in the bedroom would be a very thorough way to address, without exposing Sima to the possibility of being caught and punished for trespassing, the possibility that Zoe’s information about the Triplets, regardless of what Zoe may believe its origins were, was implanted within her mind through mastery magic, glamour magic, or even gates magic bringing in some type of non-magical hypnotist. You well know that Sima always desires to be very thorough in her undertakings, no matter how impulsively she may have decided to do them. Plus, if any student at the Academagia would have access to such a thaumatometer, Sima Vensico, purveyor of magical jewelry and nebulously associated with some type of secretive organization, would be that student. The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that you are right.

 

“…and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you could try to sell her the thaumatometer in exchange for a reduction in the money that she is demanding from Sima. Or you could try something else. Regardless, your figuring out what Sima and Roxan were up to has given you more confidence in dealing with this situation. [+ 1 skill level clockwork, reveal Negotiate Option, temporary + 10% chance of success, choose other option]

[If PC is a Student in Vernin College]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You vaguely note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But then the answer strikes you. You are glad that your studies in Vernin have paid off in this way.

 

The reddish-brown cylinder must be what you have heard called a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic. Some of the more sophisticated versions of such devices – of which this one must be an example, you think – have an internal sheath of paper and a stylus that, through further enchantment, record when the devices was used, where they were activated (according to a co-ordinate system), and what pillars of magic they detected and in what strength. A person can then read a record of the magics found in a given location at a given time by looking at the paper through an adjustable lens – which you presume to be embedded in one end of the tube so that it can function like a telescope.

 

Having Roxan use such a device in Zoe Melis’s bedroom while Zoe would be in the bedroom would be a very thorough way to address, without exposing Sima to the possibility of being caught and punished for trespassing, the possibility that Zoe’s information about the Triplets, regardless of what Zoe may believe its origins were, was implanted within her mind through mastery magic, glamour magic, or even gates magic bringing in some type of non-magical hypnotist. You well know that Sima always desires to be very thorough in her undertakings, no matter how impulsively she may have decided to do them. Plus, if any student at the Academagia would have access to such a thaumatometer, Sima Vensico, purveyor of magical jewelry and nebulously associated with some type of secretive organization, would be that student. The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that you are right.

 

“…and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you could try to sell her the thaumatometer in exchange for a reduction in the money that she is demanding from Sima. Or you could try something else. Regardless, your figuring out what Sima and Roxan were up to has given you more confidence in dealing with this situation. [+ 1 skill level Clockwork, reveal Negotiate Option, temporary + 10% chance of success, choose other option]

[If PC was a Student in Vernin College during Y1 but is in another college]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You vaguely note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But then the answer strikes you. It almost makes you wish that you had remained in Vernin.

 

The reddish-brown cylinder must be what you have heard called a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic. Some of the more sophisticated versions of such devices – of which this one must be an example, you think – have an internal sheath of paper and a stylus that, through further enchantment, record when the devices was used, where they were activated (according to a co-ordinate system), and what pillars of magic they detected and in what strength. A person can then read a record of the magics found in a given location at a given time by looking at the paper through an adjustable lens – which you presume to be embedded in one end of the tube so that it can function like a telescope.

 

Having Roxan use such a device in Zoe Melis’s bedroom while Zoe would be in the bedroom would be a very thorough way to address, without exposing Sima to the possibility of being caught and punished for trespassing, the possibility that Zoe’s information about the Triplets, regardless of what Zoe may believe its origins were, was implanted within her mind through mastery magic, glamour magic, or even gates magic bringing in some type of non-magical hypnotist. You well know that Sima always desires to be very thorough in her undertakings, no matter how impulsively she may have decided to do them. Plus, if any student at the Academagia would have access to such a thaumatometer, Sima Vensico, purveyor of magical jewelry and nebulously associated with some type of secretive organization, would be that student. The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that you are right.

 

“…and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you could try to sell her the thaumatometer in exchange for a reduction in the money that she is demanding from Sima. Or you could try something else. Regardless, your figuring out what Sima and Roxan were up to has given you more confidence in dealing with this situation. [+ 1 skill level Clockwork, reveal Negotiate Option, temporary + 10% chance of success, choose other option]

[If PC was not a Student in Vernin College during Y1 but is in Vernin college]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You vaguely note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But then the answer strikes you. You guess that Vernin College was truly the best one for you, and are relieved that you transferred into it. Better late then never, as they say.

 

The reddish-brown cylinder must be what you have heard called a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic. Some of the more sophisticated versions of such devices – of which this one must be an example, you think – have an internal sheath of paper and a stylus that, through further enchantment, record when the devices was used, where they were activated (according to a co-ordinate system), and what pillars of magic they detected and in what strength. A person can then read a record of the magics found in a given location at a given time by looking at the paper through an adjustable lens – which you presume to be embedded in one end of the tube so that it can function like a telescope.

 

Having Roxan use such a device in Zoe Melis’s bedroom while Zoe would be in the bedroom would be a very thorough way to address, without exposing Sima to the possibility of being caught and punished for trespassing, the possibility that Zoe’s information about the Triplets, regardless of what Zoe may believe its origins were, was implanted within her mind through mastery magic, glamour magic, or even gates magic bringing in some type of non-magical hypnotist. You well know that Sima always desires to be very thorough in her undertakings, no matter how impulsively she may have decided to do them. Plus, if any student at the Academagia would have access to such a thaumatometer, Sima Vensico, purveyor of magical jewelry and nebulously associated with some type of secretive organization, would be that student. The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that you are right.

 

“…and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you could try to sell her the thaumatometer in exchange for a reduction in the money that she is demanding from Sima. Or you could try something else. Regardless, your figuring out what Sima and Roxan were up to has given you more confidence in dealing with this situation. [+ 1 skill level Clockwork, - 1 stress, reveal Negotiate Option, temporary + 10% chance of success, choose other option]

[If PC is not a Student in Vernin College and has memory Sima’s Ring to Zoe or Tabin’s Potion to Zoe]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You vaguely note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But then the answer strikes you.

 

The reddish-brown cylinder must be what you have heard called a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic. Some of the more sophisticated versions of such devices – of which this one must be an example, you think – have an internal sheath of paper and a stylus that, through further enchantment, record when the devices was used, where they were activated (according to a co-ordinate system), and what pillars of magic they detected and in what strength. A person can then read a record of the magics found in a given location at a given time by looking at the paper through an adjustable lens – which you presume to be embedded in one end of the tube so that it can function like a telescope.

 

Having Roxan use such a device in Zoe Melis’s bedroom while Zoe would be in the bedroom would be a very thorough way to address, without exposing Sima to the possibility of being caught and punished for trespassing, the possibility that Zoe’s information about the Triplets, regardless of what Zoe may believe its origins were, was implanted within her mind through mastery magic, glamour magic, or even gates magic bringing in some type of non-magical hypnotist. You well know that Sima always desires to be very thorough in her undertakings, no matter how impulsively she may have decided to do them. Plus, if any student at the Academagia would have access to such a thaumatometer, Sima Vensico, purveyor of magical jewelry and nebulously associated with some type of secretive organization, would be that student. The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that you are right.

 

“…and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you could try to sell her the thaumatometer in exchange for a reduction in the money that she is demanding from Sima. On the other hand, maybe you could use your greater knowledge of what Roxan was doing in Zoe Melis’s room in order to try to create the idea that Zoe Melis as dangerous – by implication inflating Sima’s power and making Dacota less eager to rob her. Or you could try something else. Regardless, your figuring out what Sima and Roxan were up to has given you more confidence in dealing with this situation. [+ 1 skill level Clockwork, temporary + 10% chance of success, reveal Negotiate Option, reveal appropriate Innuendo Option, choose other option]

[If PC is a Student in Vernin College and has memory Sima’s Ring to Zoe or Tabin’s Potion to Zoe]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You vaguely note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But then the answer strikes you. You are glad that your studies in Vernin have paid off in this way.

 

The reddish-brown cylinder must be what you have heard called a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic. Some of the more sophisticated versions of such devices – of which this one must be an example, you think – have an internal sheath of paper and a stylus that, through further enchantment, record when the devices was used, where they were activated (according to a co-ordinate system), and what pillars of magic they detected and in what strength. A person can then read a record of the magics found in a given location at a given time by looking at the paper through an adjustable lens – which you presume to be embedded in one end of the tube so that it can function like a telescope.

 

Having Roxan use such a device in Zoe Melis’s bedroom while Zoe would be in the bedroom would be a very thorough way to address, without exposing Sima to the possibility of being caught and punished for trespassing, the possibility that Zoe’s information about the Triplets, regardless of what Zoe may believe its origins were, was implanted within her mind through mastery magic, glamour magic, or even gates magic bringing in some type of non-magical hypnotist. You well know that Sima always desires to be very thorough in her undertakings, no matter how impulsively she may have decided to do them. Plus, if any student at the Academagia would have access to such a thaumatometer, Sima Vensico, purveyor of magical jewelry and nebulously associated with some type of secretive organization, would be that student. The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that you are right.

 

“…and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you could try to sell her the thaumatometer in exchange for a reduction in the money that she is demanding from Sima. On the other hand, maybe you could use your greater knowledge of what Roxan was doing in Zoe Melis’s room in order to try to create the idea that Zoe Melis as dangerous – by implication inflating Sima’s power and making Dacota less eager to rob her. Or you could try something else. Regardless, your figuring out what Sima and Roxan were up to has given you more confidence in dealing with this situation. [+ 1 skill level Clockwork, temporary + 10% chance of success, reveal Negotiate Option, reveal appropriate Innuendo Option, choose other option]

[If PC was a Student in Vernin College during Y1 but is in another college and has memory Sima’s Ring to Zoe or Tabin’s Potion to Zoe]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You vaguely note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But then the answer strikes you. It almost makes you wish that you had remained in Vernin.

 

The reddish-brown cylinder must be what you have heard called a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic. Some of the more sophisticated versions of such devices – of which this one must be an example, you think – have an internal sheath of paper and a stylus that, through further enchantment, record when the devices was used, where they were activated (according to a co-ordinate system), and what pillars of magic they detected and in what strength. A person can then read a record of the magics found in a given location at a given time by looking at the paper through an adjustable lens – which you presume to be embedded in one end of the tube so that it can function like a telescope.

 

Having Roxan use such a device in Zoe Melis’s bedroom while Zoe would be in the bedroom would be a very thorough way to address, without exposing Sima to the possibility of being caught and punished for trespassing, the possibility that Zoe’s information about the Triplets, regardless of what Zoe may believe its origins were, was implanted within her mind through mastery magic, glamour magic, or even gates magic bringing in some type of non-magical hypnotist. You well know that Sima always desires to be very thorough in her undertakings, no matter how impulsively she may have decided to do them. Plus, if any student at the Academagia would have access to such a thaumatometer, Sima Vensico, purveyor of magical jewelry and nebulously associated with some type of secretive organization, would be that student. The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that you are right.

 

“…and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you could try to sell her the thaumatometer in exchange for a reduction in the money that she is demanding from Sima. On the other hand, maybe you could use your greater knowledge of what Roxan was doing in Zoe Melis’s room in order to try to create the idea that Zoe Melis as dangerous – by implication inflating Sima’s power and making Dacota less eager to rob her. Or you could try something else. Regardless, your figuring out what Sima and Roxan were up to has given you more confidence in dealing with this situation. [+ 1 skill level Clockwork, temporary + 10% chance of success, reveal Negotiate Option, reveal appropriate Innuendo Option, choose other option]

[If PC was not a Student in Vernin College during Y1 but is in Vernin college and has memory Sima’s Ring to Zoe or Tabin’s Potion to Zoe]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You vaguely note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But then the answer strikes you. You guess that Vernin College was truly the best one for you, and are relieved that you transferred into it. Better late then never, as they say.

 

The reddish-brown cylinder must be what you have heard called a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic. Some of the more sophisticated versions of such devices – of which this one must be an example, you think – have an internal sheath of paper and a stylus that, through further enchantment, record when the devices was used, where they were activated (according to a co-ordinate system), and what pillars of magic they detected and in what strength. A person can then read a record of the magics found in a given location at a given time by looking at the paper through an adjustable lens – which you presume to be embedded in one end of the tube so that it can function like a telescope.

 

Having Roxan use such a device in Zoe Melis’s bedroom while Zoe would be in the bedroom would be a very thorough way to address, without exposing Sima to the possibility of being caught and punished for trespassing, the possibility that Zoe’s information about the Triplets, regardless of what Zoe may believe its origins were, was implanted within her mind through mastery magic, glamour magic, or even gates magic bringing in some type of non-magical hypnotist. You well know that Sima always desires to be very thorough in her undertakings, no matter how impulsively she may have decided to do them. Plus, if any student at the Academagia would have access to such a thaumatometer, Sima Vensico, purveyor of magical jewelry and nebulously associated with some type of secretive organization, would be that student. The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that you are right.

 

“…and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you could try to sell her the thaumatometer in exchange for a reduction in the money that she is demanding from Sima. On the other hand, maybe you could use your greater knowledge of what Roxan was doing in Zoe Melis’s room in order to try to create the idea that Zoe Melis as dangerous – by implication inflating Sima’s power and making Dacota less eager to rob her. Or you could try something else. Regardless, your figuring out what Sima and Roxan were up to has given you more confidence in dealing with this situation. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, - 1 stress, temporary + 10% chance of success, reveal Negotiate Option, reveal appropriate Innuendo Option, choose other option]

Failure

 

[If PC is not a Student in Vernin College and has no affection or love with Sima Venesico]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers and rolls her eyes. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up, her voice smug. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers. Maybe she finds Roxan’s pride annoying.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters sullenly, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But no answer strikes you. You were thinking that it might be a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic – but you dismiss such an idea as absurd. Roxan makes no claim to being a prodigy mage – which, given her boasting about other areas in which she is skilled, you assume she would do if she had any magical knowledge – and would therefore not know how to interpret a thaumatometer’s readings, let alone repeat them to Sima later. Therefore, Sima would only use a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe’s room if she herself could use it – which apparently she had not. It is possible, you suppose, that this could be a real thaumatometer that Sima lent out even though it could not be usefully used to investigate Zoe Melis because she wanted to distract people from her own effective use of a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe Melis, but that strikes you as the sort of paranoid misdirection and spycraft that you would associate with Lambert Cobo, Aymeri Couer, or possibly Tabin Furenzti - but not Sima Venesico. Sima is ambitious in her plans – and, as this whole situation reveals, very paranoid in her desire to prevent her relationship with Magsa and Tabin from becoming public knowledge – but she is not cunning to such a degree. Rather, she is impulsive more often then not.

 

“…just because we rescued and sheltered you from forced worship of gods in some temple orphanage and value your skills does not mean that you can be free in speaking around me. I will tell my brother about this and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you have to deal with her, even though you know nothing about what the reddish-brown cylinder is. You think that if you were wanting to meet only people with clearly defined agendas, you would not have the triplets as your firmest friends, nor would you have earned Sima’s trust through helping her. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, + 1 stress, choose other option]

[If PC is not a Student in Vernin College and has affection or love with Sima Venesico]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers and rolls her eyes. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up, her voice smug. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers. Maybe she finds Roxan’s pride annoying.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters sullenly, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But no answer strikes you. You were thinking that it might be a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic – but you dismiss such an idea as absurd. Roxan makes no claim to being a prodigy mage – which, given her boasting about other areas in which she is skilled, you assume she would do if she had any magical knowledge – and would therefore not know how to interpret a thaumatometer’s readings, let alone repeat them to Sima later. Therefore, Sima would only use a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe’s room if she herself could use it – which apparently she had not. It is possible, you suppose, that this could be a real thaumatometer that Sima lent out even though it could not be usefully used to investigate Zoe Melis because she wanted to distract people from her own effective use of a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe Melis, but that strikes you as the sort of paranoid misdirection and spycraft that you would associate with Lambert Cobo, Aymeri Couer, or possibly Tabin Furenzti - but not Sima Venesico. Sima is ambitious in her plans – and, as this whole situation reveals, very paranoid in her desire to prevent her relationship with Magsa and Tabin from becoming public knowledge – but she is not cunning to such a degree. Rather, she is impulsive more often then not.

 

“…just because we rescued and sheltered you from forced worship of gods in some temple orphanage and value your skills does not mean that you can be free in speaking around me. I will tell my brother about this and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you have to deal with her, even though you know nothing about what the reddish-brown cylinder is. You think that if you were wanting to meet only people with clearly defined agendas, you would not have the triplets as your firmest friends, nor would you have earned Sima’s trust and affection through helping her. At this reminder of how you feel about Sima, you feel a renewed surge of determination. You were able to fight through magical curses and elemental nymphs to help her make a fine necklace – surely you can help her against two magicless criminals. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, choose other option]

[If PC is a Student in Vernin College and has no affection or love with Sima Venesico]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers and rolls her eyes. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up, her voice smug. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers. Maybe she finds Roxan’s pride annoying.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters sullenly, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But no answer strikes you. Maybe you should focus more on being a Vernin student than on strange adventures. You were thinking that it might be a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic – but you dismiss such an idea as absurd. Roxan makes no claim to being a prodigy mage – which, given her boasting about other areas in which she is skilled, you assume she would do if she had any magical knowledge – and would therefore not know how to interpret a thaumatometer’s readings, let alone repeat them to Sima later. Therefore, Sima would only use a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe’s room if she herself could use it – which apparently she had not. It is possible, you suppose, that this could be a real thaumatometer that Sima lent out even though it could not be usefully used to investigate Zoe Melis because she wanted to distract people from her own effective use of a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe Melis, but that strikes you as the sort of paranoid misdirection and spycraft that you would associate with Lambert Cobo, Aymeri Couer, or possibly Tabin Furenzti - but not Sima Venesico. Sima is ambitious in her plans – and, as this whole situation reveals, very paranoid in her desire to prevent her relationship with Magsa and Tabin from becoming public knowledge – but she is not cunning to such a degree. Rather, she is impulsive more often then not.

 

“…just because we rescued and sheltered you from forced worship of gods in some temple orphanage and value your skills does not mean that you can be free in speaking around me. I will tell my brother about this and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you have to deal with her, even though you know nothing about what the reddish-brown cylinder is. You think that if you were wanting to meet only people with clearly defined agendas, you would not have the triplets as your firmest friends, nor would you have earned Sima’s trust through helping her. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, + 1 stress, choose other option]

[If PC is a Student in Vernin College and has affection or love with Sima Venesico]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers and rolls her eyes. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up, her voice smug. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers. Maybe she finds Roxan’s pride annoying.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters sullenly, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But no answer strikes you. Maybe you should focus more on being a Vernin student than on strange adventures. You were thinking that it might be a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic – but you dismiss such an idea as absurd. Roxan makes no claim to being a prodigy mage – which, given her boasting about other areas in which she is skilled, you assume she would do if she had any magical knowledge – and would therefore not know how to interpret a thaumatometer’s readings, let alone repeat them to Sima later. Therefore, Sima would only use a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe’s room if she herself could use it – which apparently she had not. It is possible, you suppose, that this could be a real thaumatometer that Sima lent out even though it could not be usefully used to investigate Zoe Melis because she wanted to distract people from her own effective use of a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe Melis, but that strikes you as the sort of paranoid misdirection and spycraft that you would associate with Lambert Cobo, Aymeri Couer, or possibly Tabin Furenzti - but not Sima Venesico. Sima is ambitious in her plans – and, as this whole situation reveals, very paranoid in her desire to prevent her relationship with Magsa and Tabin from becoming public knowledge – but she is not cunning to such a degree. Rather, she is impulsive more often then not.

 

“…just because we rescued and sheltered you from forced worship of gods in some temple orphanage and value your skills does not mean that you can be free in speaking around me. I will tell my brother about this and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you have to deal with her, even though you know nothing about what the reddish-brown cylinder is. You think that if you were wanting to meet only people with clearly defined agendas, you would not have the triplets as your firmest friends, nor would you have earned Sima’s trust and affection through helping her. At this reminder of how you feel about Sima, you feel a renewed surge of determination. You were able to fight through magical curses and elemental nymphs to help her make a fine necklace – surely you can help her against two magicless criminals. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, choose other option]

[If PC was a Student in Vernin College during Y1 but is in another college and has no affection or love with Sima Venesico]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers and rolls her eyes. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up, her voice smug. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers. Maybe she finds Roxan’s pride annoying.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters sullenly, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But no answer strikes you. Maybe it is for the best that you left Vernin College. You were thinking that it might be a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic – but you dismiss such an idea as absurd. Roxan makes no claim to being a prodigy mage – which, given her boasting about other areas in which she is skilled, you assume she would do if she had any magical knowledge – and would therefore not know how to interpret a thaumatometer’s readings, let alone repeat them to Sima later. Therefore, Sima would only use a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe’s room if she herself could use it – which apparently she had not. It is possible, you suppose, that this could be a real thaumatometer that Sima lent out even though it could not be usefully used to investigate Zoe Melis because she wanted to distract people from her own effective use of a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe Melis, but that strikes you as the sort of paranoid misdirection and spycraft that you would associate with Lambert Cobo, Aymeri Couer, or possibly Tabin Furenzti - but not Sima Venesico. Sima is ambitious in her plans – and, as this whole situation reveals, very paranoid in her desire to prevent her relationship with Magsa and Tabin from becoming public knowledge – but she is not cunning to such a degree. Rather, she is impulsive more often then not.

 

“…just because we rescued and sheltered you from forced worship of gods in some temple orphanage and value your skills does not mean that you can be free in speaking around me. I will tell my brother about this and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you have to deal with her, even though you know nothing about what the reddish-brown cylinder is. You think that if you were wanting to meet only people with clearly defined agendas, you would not have the triplets as your firmest friends, nor would you have earned Sima’s trust through helping her. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, + 1 stress, choose other option]

[If PC was a Student in Vernin College during Y1 but is in another college and has affection or love with Sima Venesico]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers and rolls her eyes. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up, her voice smug. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers. Maybe she finds Roxan’s pride annoying.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters sullenly, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But no answer strikes you. Maybe it is for the best that you left Vernin College. You were thinking that it might be a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic – but you dismiss such an idea as absurd. Roxan makes no claim to being a prodigy mage – which, given her boasting about other areas in which she is skilled, you assume she would do if she had any magical knowledge – and would therefore not know how to interpret a thaumatometer’s readings, let alone repeat them to Sima later. Therefore, Sima would only use a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe’s room if she herself could use it – which apparently she had not. It is possible, you suppose, that this could be a real thaumatometer that Sima lent out even though it could not be usefully used to investigate Zoe Melis because she wanted to distract people from her own effective use of a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe Melis, but that strikes you as the sort of paranoid misdirection and spycraft that you would associate with Lambert Cobo, Aymeri Couer, or possibly Tabin Furenzti - but not Sima Venesico. Sima is ambitious in her plans – and, as this whole situation reveals, very paranoid in her desire to prevent her relationship with Magsa and Tabin from becoming public knowledge – but she is not cunning to such a degree. Rather, she is impulsive more often then not.

 

“…just because we rescued and sheltered you from forced worship of gods in some temple orphanage and value your skills does not mean that you can be free in speaking around me. I will tell my brother about this and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you have to deal with her, even though you know nothing about what the reddish-brown cylinder is. You think that if you were wanting to meet only people with clearly defined agendas, you would not have the triplets as your firmest friends, nor would you have earned Sima’s trust and affection through helping her. At this reminder of how you feel about Sima, you feel a renewed surge of determination. You were able to fight through magical curses and elemental nymphs to help her make a fine necklace – surely you can help her against two magicless criminals. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, choose other option]

[If PC was not a Student in Vernin College during Y1 but is in Vernin college and has no affection or love with Sima Venesico]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers and rolls her eyes. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up, her voice smug. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers. Maybe she finds Roxan’s pride annoying.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters sullenly, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But no answer strikes you. So much for the idea that Vernin College was truly the best one for you in which you could truly thrive academically and magically. You were thinking that it might be a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic – but you dismiss such an idea as absurd. Roxan makes no claim to being a prodigy mage – which, given her boasting about other areas in which she is skilled, you assume she would do if she had any magical knowledge – and would therefore not know how to interpret a thaumatometer’s readings, let alone repeat them to Sima later. Therefore, Sima would only use a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe’s room if she herself could use it – which apparently she had not. It is possible, you suppose, that this could be a real thaumatometer that Sima lent out even though it could not be usefully used to investigate Zoe Melis because she wanted to distract people from her own effective use of a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe Melis, but that strikes you as the sort of paranoid misdirection and spycraft that you would associate with Lambert Cobo, Aymeri Couer, or possibly Tabin Furenzti - but not Sima Venesico. Sima is ambitious in her plans – and, as this whole situation reveals, very paranoid in her desire to prevent her relationship with Magsa and Tabin from becoming public knowledge – but she is not cunning to such a degree. Rather, she is impulsive more often then not.

 

“…just because we rescued and sheltered you from forced worship of gods in some temple orphanage and value your skills does not mean that you can be free in speaking around me. I will tell my brother about this and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you have to deal with her, even though you know nothing about what the reddish-brown cylinder is. You think that if you were wanting to meet only people with clearly defined agendas, you would not have the triplets as your firmest friends, nor would you have earned Sima’s trust through helping her. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, + 1 stress, choose other option]

[If PC was not a Student in Vernin College during Y1 but is in Vernin college and has affection or love with Sima Venesico]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers and rolls her eyes. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up, her voice smug. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers. Maybe she finds Roxan’s pride annoying.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters sullenly, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But no answer strikes you. So much for the idea that Vernin College was truly the best one for you in which you could truly thrive academically and magically. You were thinking that it might be a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic – but you dismiss such an idea as absurd. Roxan makes no claim to being a prodigy mage – which, given her boasting about other areas in which she is skilled, you assume she would do if she had any magical knowledge – and would therefore not know how to interpret a thaumatometer’s readings, let alone repeat them to Sima later. Therefore, Sima would only use a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe’s room if she herself could use it – which apparently she had not. It is possible, you suppose, that this could be a real thaumatometer that Sima lent out even though it could not be usefully used to investigate Zoe Melis because she wanted to distract people from her own effective use of a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe Melis, but that strikes you as the sort of paranoid misdirection and spycraft that you would associate with Lambert Cobo, Aymeri Couer, or possibly Tabin Furenzti - but not Sima Venesico. Sima is ambitious in her plans – and, as this whole situation reveals, very paranoid in her desire to prevent her relationship with Magsa and Tabin from becoming public knowledge – but she is not cunning to such a degree. Rather, she is impulsive more often then not.

 

“…just because we rescued and sheltered you from forced worship of gods in some temple orphanage and value your skills does not mean that you can be free in speaking around me. I will tell my brother about this and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you have to deal with her, even though you know nothing about what the reddish-brown cylinder is. You think that if you were wanting to meet only people with clearly defined agendas, you would not have the triplets as your firmest friends, nor would you have earned Sima’s trust and affection through helping her. At this reminder of how you feel about Sima, you feel a renewed surge of determination. You were able to fight through magical curses and elemental nymphs to help her make a fine necklace – surely you can help her against two magicless criminals. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, choose other option]

Negotiate. Try to sell Sima’s artifact to Dacota.

 

Success

 

[If PC has no affection or love with Sima Venesico]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder – to say nothing of my friend’s specific instructions about how it should be used – got me thinking about what it could be. I mean, I know that Hedi students are notorious for speaking quietly of riddles – itself a riddle of some sort from a certain perspective – but I trust my friend enough to believe that this reddish-brown cylinder is more than some type of obfuscation. It must have real value – value that she might be willing to give you in exchange for a reduced fee for your services.”

 

Sima’s eyes widen, but then she nods enthusiastically. “Yes, that would work. All I need to do is look at the reddish-brown cylinder for a few seconds, then you are welcome to have it – if you really want it. Better that then having to pay one thousand one hundred pims – more than the value of one year’s education at the Contu School.”

 

“It could be worth as much as all the goods in Alfi – to a mage,” Dacota snaps. “Maybe it is worthless to those without magical knowledge, as we are.”

 

“But Dom’na, even such an item could be sold to a mage. Is not your brother the Dom’nus trying to get in contact with some wizards from…Tai?” Roxan sounds excited at the prospect of selling a magical artifact.

 

“He is as likely to get into the Theian wizards’ circles as I am to be legitimately at a Golden Families’ dance – but point taken. Some mages would pay well for magical artifacts that only mages can use. Very well, bodyguard – tell us about this reddish-brown cylinder.” Dacota looks at you with curiosity and expectation.

 

Relieved that Sima’s comments confirm your beliefs about why she would need the reddish-brown cylinder, you briefly tell Dacota and Roxan about your conclusion that the reddish-brown cylinder is a device to detect magic called a thaumatometer, modified so that it keeps a record of what it detected and where it was used. You are careful to conceal your views about Sima’s personality and why she wants to know about any magic that might be affecting Zoe Melis – as much for preserving good relations with Sima as for preserving her privacy from the Southside Pitts – but you can tell that your words are having an effect on them. When you finish, Dacota whistles in appreciation.

 

“Yes, I can see how this thauma-thing would be very useful. There are so many magical things in Mineta, known and unknown. Even if we cannot figure out how to use it, we can sell it to some other mage, come in time. But why should I pay you kids eight hundred pims for it?”

 

Sima steps forward then, and says with calm determination, “Because that thaumatometer is special beyond its ability to keep a detailed record. I placed an astrological enchantment on it so that if it is used by the wrong person, it causes various embarassing – and easily perceivable – glamours. Right now, the enchantment is not activated – but it would be very inconvenient, I think, if some member of the Southside Pitts were to be using the thaumatometer in some…inconspicuous way only to trigger the enchantment. So perhaps you should regard the eight hundred pims that I would charge for the thaumatometer as not merely covering the sale of the thaumatometer to you, but also the elimination of my anti-theft protections.”

 

Dacota hesitates, and you assume that she is caught between greed over the thaumatometer and reluctance to forgo hundreds of pims in some other form that would be easier to sell or use for purchases. So you decide that you should intervene with another remark to push her into making the best decision.

 

“Dacota, my friend could use her magics to make life unpleasant for anyone whom she wants, if she sets her mind to it, but chooses to negotiate in the hopes that a more useful relationship may be formed between her and the Southside Pitts. But other magic users – students as well as mages – are not so reasonable, and may choose to use magics against you or your followers, sometimes entirely unprovoked, thinking, rightly or wrongly, that no one would listen to complaints from street urchins. To protect yourself from such magics, and to avoid being targeted by any of my friend’s hostile magics – which I assure you are not fun – it is best for you to purchase the thaumatometer from her.”

 

Dacota sighs and nods. “Working in a city with many mages, it is best to have protection against magic, but better than nothing to have a way to detect magic. And your…magic detector is easier for me to get than it would be for me to pay pims to some seller with such an item elsewhere. Pims have wieght and create long memories. Very well. I will accept three hundred pims for my services as well as ownership of the…magic tube. Roxan, give the client the tube once she gives you the money. Then you can look at the records and dispel the enchantment before giving it back to us.”

 

As Sima slips Roxan a pouch full of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, she asks the girl what the nickname dombi means.

 

“A professional entertainer from my home islands in my birth language,” Roxan replies.

 

Sima nods and grins. “Roxan, I would love to be an actress when I graduate. Your words are such encouragement to me.”

 

Sima then shows Roxan how to locate a catch on the reddish-brown cylinder, which, when pressed, opens a compartment in the reddish-brown cylinder in which is rolled up a piece of paper. Sima then closes the compartment and shows Roxan how to find the lens that allows a person to read what is on the paper, as well as how to adjust what the lens shows the viewer. Then she re-opens the reddish-brown cylinder and removes the paper, folding it in her hand, before telling Roxan how to replace paper inside the reddish-brown cylinder. Then, beaming, she writes a few phemes in the air with her wand, causing a series of lights to rise out of the thaumatometer. Assuring Roxan and Decota that the enchantment has been dispelled, she hands it over to Dacota, who leads Roxan away.


“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, merchant,” Roxan calls back as she goes into the mists.

 

Sima ignores this attempt at friendliness as she unfolds the paper and scans the writing on it. Then, sighing with exasperation, she moves as if to toss it toss on the ground before thinking better of it and placing it in a pocket.

 

“I had to give up a perfectly good thaumatometer because I wanted to investigate whether Zoe had been somehow influenced into revealing information about us,” she says. “But wouldn’t you know? There was no magic affectring her in her room – so this was all for nothing – and I will have to get another thaumatometer. O, [PCFirstName], did anything go right today in this meeting? Not that I am blaming you – you were able to resolve this issue without violence or magic or my being robbed, which reveals that you have much skill in selling things by making potential customers realize why they need what you are selling even when they had no idea that it existed before you tried to sell it.”

 

“Maybe we could get out of here first?” you suggest.

 

“Ah, true enough.” She leads you out of the alleyway into the blissfully normal Academagia. Then, after creating glamours to protect you from eavesdroppers, she turns to face you.

 

“Having thought more about your solution and my…situation, I realize that I over-reacted and that you handled it very well. I know how to get another thaumatometer, come in time, and my financial situation is so precarious right now due to certain problems that a loss of nine hundred pims by me could have had serious consequences. But I am now within my budget still, and my needling concerns about Zoe have been well addressed. I am just relieved that the Southside Pitts were too ignorant about magic to realize that I could not create, let alone dispel, any anti-theft measure of the sort that I pretended to deal with – I know not if it is even possible. But you know what?”

 

“What?” you ask. With Sima you can never be sure what she will reveal.

 

“I am sorry for having gotten us both involved in such shady and potentially dangerous business. But let us walk and talk as friends for a while.”

 

You agree, happy that Sima is happy despite the seeming set-backs that she has faced, and enjoy the next blissful few minutes walking while talking about various theatrical productions in Mineta. One issue, however, that you are not bold enough to ask Sima about is how it is that she had and apparently can continue to have easy access to a thaumatometer. But if you were wanting a fully open friend, you would not, you realize, be a friend to Sima Venesico. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, +1 Fitness, + 1 skill level Dispassion, + 1 skill level Theater, + 1 Skill level Confidence, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Confidence to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Dispassion to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has affection or love with Sima Venesico]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder – to say nothing of my friend’s specific instructions about how it should be used – got me thinking about what it could be. I mean, I know that Hedi students are notorious for speaking quietly of riddles – itself a riddle of some sort from a certain perspective – but I trust my friend enough to believe that this reddish-brown cylinder is more than some type of obfuscation. It must have real value – value that she might be willing to give you in exchange for a reduced fee for your services.”

 

Sima’s eyes widen, but then she nods enthusiastically. “Yes, that would work. All I need to do is look at the reddish-brown cylinder for a few seconds, then you are welcome to have it – if you really want it. Better that then having to pay one thousand one hundred pims – more than the value of one year’s education at the Contu School.”

 

“It could be worth as much as all the goods in Alfi – to a mage,” Dacota snaps. “Maybe it is worthless to those without magical knowledge, as we are.”

 

“But Dom’na, even such an item could be sold to a mage. Is not your brother the Dom’nus trying to get in contact with some wizards from…Tai?” Roxan sounds excited at the prospect of selling a magical artifact.

 

“He is as likely to get into the Theian wizards’ circles as I am to be legitimately at a Golden Families’ dance – but point taken. Some mages would pay well for magical artifacts that only mages can use. Very well, bodyguard – tell us about this reddish-brown cylinder.” Dacota looks at you with curiosity and expectation.

 

Relieved that Sima’s comments confirm your beliefs about why she would need the reddish-brown cylinder, you briefly tell Dacota and Roxan about your conclusion that the reddish-brown cylinder is a device to detect magic called a thaumatometer, modified so that it keeps a record of what it detected and where it was used. You are careful to conceal your views about Sima’s personality and why she wants to know about any magic that might be affecting Zoe Melis – as much for preserving good relations with Sima as for preserving her privacy from the Southside Pitts – but you can tell that your words are having an effect on them. When you finish, Dacota whistles in appreciation.

 

“Yes, I can see how this thauma-thing would be very useful. There are so many magical things in Mineta, known and unknown. Even if we cannot figure out how to use it, we can sell it to some other mage, come in time. But why should I pay you kids eight hundred pims for it?”

 

Sima steps forward then, and says with calm determination, “Because that thaumatometer is special beyond its ability to keep a detailed record. I placed an astrological enchantment on it so that if it is used by the wrong person, it causes various embarassing – and easily perceivable – glamours. Right now, the enchantment is not activated – but it would be very inconvenient, I think, if some member of the Southside Pitts were to be using the thaumatometer in some…inconspicuous way only to trigger the enchantment. So perhaps you should regard the eight hundred pims that I would charge for the thaumatometer as not merely covering the sale of the thaumatometer to you, but also the elimination of my anti-theft protections.”

 

Dacota hesitates, and you assume that she is caught between greed over the thaumatometer and reluctance to forgo hundreds of pims in some other form that would be easier to sell or use for purchases. So you decide that you should intervene with another remark to push her into making the best decision.

 

“Dacota, my friend could use her magics to make life unpleasant for anyone whom she wants, if she sets her mind to it, but chooses to negotiate in the hopes that a more useful relationship may be formed between her and the Southside Pitts. But other magic users – students as well as mages – are not so reasonable, and may choose to use magics against you or your followers, sometimes entirely unprovoked, thinking, rightly or wrongly, that no one would listen to complaints from street urchins. To protect yourself from such magics, and to avoid being targeted by any of my friend’s hostile magics – which I assure you are not fun – it is best for you to purchase the thaumatometer from her.”

 

Dacota sighs and nods. “Working in a city with many mages, it is best to have protection against magic, but better than nothing to have a way to detect magic. And your…magic detector is easier for me to get than it would be for me to pay pims to some seller with such an item elsewhere. Pims have wieght and create long memories. Very well. I will accept three hundred pims for my services as well as ownership of the…magic tube. Roxan, give the client the tube once she gives you the money. Then you can look at the records and dispel the enchantment before giving it back to us.”

 

As Sima slips Roxan a pouch full of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, she asks the girl what the nickname dombi means.

 

“A professional entertainer from my home islands in my birth language,” Roxan replies.

 

Sima nods and grins. “Roxan, I would love to be an actress when I graduate. Your words are such encouragement to me.”

 

Sima then shows Roxan how to locate a catch on the reddish-brown cylinder, which, when pressed, opens a compartment in the reddish-brown cylinder in which is rolled up a piece of paper. Sima then closes the compartment and shows Roxan how to find the lens that allows a person to read what is on the paper, as well as how to adjust what the lens shows the viewer. Then she re-opens the reddish-brown cylinder and removes the paper, folding it in her hand, before telling Roxan how to replace paper inside the reddish-brown cylinder. Then, beaming, she writes a few phemes in the air with her wand, causing a series of lights to rise out of the thaumatometer. Assuring Roxan and Decota that the enchantment has been dispelled, she hands it over to Dacota, who leads Roxan away.


“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, merchant,” Roxan calls back as she goes into the mists.

 

Sima ignores this attempt at friendliness as she unfolds the paper and scans the writing on it. Then, sighing with exasperation, she moves as if to toss it toss on the ground before thinking better of it and placing it in a pocket.

 

“I had to give up a perfectly good thaumatometer because I wanted to investigate whether Zoe had been somehow influenced into revealing information about us,” she says. “But wouldn’t you know? There was no magic affectring her in her room – so this was all for nothing – and I will have to get another thaumatometer. O, [PCFirstName], did anything go right today in this meeting? Not that I am blaming you – you were able to resolve this issue without violence or magic or my being robbed, which reveals that you have much skill in selling things by making potential customers realize why they need what you are selling even when they had no idea that it existed before you tried to sell it.”

 

“Maybe we could get out of here first?” you suggest.

 

“Ah, true enough.” She leads you out of the alleyway into the blissfully normal Academagia. Then, after creating glamours to protect you from eavesdroppers, she turns to face you.

 

“Having thought more about your solution and my…situation, I realize that I over-reacted and that you handled it very well. I know how to get another thaumatometer, come in time, and my financial situation is so precarious right now due to certain problems that a loss of nine hundred pims by me could have had serious consequences. But I am now within my budget still, and my needling concerns about Zoe have been well addressed. I am just relieved that the Southside Pitts were too ignorant about magic to realize that I could not create, let alone dispel, any anti-theft measure of the sort that I pretended to deal with – I know not if it is even possible. But you know what?”

 

“What?” you ask. With Sima you can never be sure what she will reveal.

 

“I am sorry for having gotten us both involved in such shady and potentially dangerous business. But let us walk and talk as friends – let no one think that we are dating yet – for a while.”

 

You agree, happy that Sima is happy despite the seeming set-backs that she has faced, and enjoy the next blissful few minutes walking while talking about various theatrical productions in Mineta. Despite Sima’s claims to the contrart, however, her laughter lingers in such a way and she touches your shoulder at such times that you believe that to her, at least, this is more than walking and talking as friends. One issue, however, that you are not bold enough to ask Sima about, despite her friendly intimacy, is how it is that she had and apparently can continue to have easy access to a thaumatometer. But if you were wanting a fully open friend, you would not, you realize, be a friend to Sima Venesico. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, +1 Fitness, + 1 skill level Dispassion, + 1 skill level Theater, + 1 Skill level Confidence, + 1 Skill level Flirting, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Confidence to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Flirting to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Dispassion to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has no affection or love with Sima Venesico and PC has Station: Merchant]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder – to say nothing of my friend’s specific instructions about how it should be used – got me thinking about what it could be. I mean, I know that Hedi students are notorious for speaking quietly of riddles – itself a riddle of some sort from a certain perspective – but I trust my friend enough to believe that this reddish-brown cylinder is more than some type of obfuscation. It must have real value – value that she might be willing to give you in exchange for a reduced fee for your services.”

 

 

Sima’s eyes widen, but then she nods enthusiastically. “Yes, that would work. All I need to do is look at the reddish-brown cylinder for a few seconds, then you are welcome to have it – if you really want it. Better that then having to pay one thousand one hundred pims – more than the value of one year’s education at the Contu School.”

 

 

“It could be worth as much as all the goods in Alfi – to a mage,” Dacota snaps. “Maybe it is worthless to those without magical knowledge, as we are.”

 

 

“But Dom’na, even such an item could be sold to a mage. Is not your brother the Dom’nus trying to get in contact with some wizards from…Tai?” Roxan sounds excited at the prospect of selling a magical artifact.

 

 

“He is as likely to get into the Theian wizards’ circles as I am to be legitimately at a Golden Families’ dance – but point taken. Some mages would pay well for magical artifacts that only mages can use. Very well, bodyguard – tell us about this reddish-brown cylinder.” Dacota looks at you with curiosity and expectation.

 

 

Relieved that Sima’s comments confirm your beliefs about why she would need the reddish-brown cylinder, you briefly tell Dacota and Roxan about your conclusion that the reddish-brown cylinder is a device to detect magic called a thaumatometer, modified so that it keeps a record of what it detected and where it was used. You are careful to conceal your views about Sima’s personality and why she wants to know about any magic that might be affecting Zoe Melis – as much for preserving good relations with Sima as for preserving her privacy from the Southside Pitts – but you can tell that your words are having an effect on them. When you finish, Dacota whistles in appreciation.

 

 

“Yes, I can see how this thauma-thing would be very useful. There are so many magical things in Mineta, known and unknown. Even if we cannot figure out how to use it, we can sell it to some other mage, come in time. But why should I pay you kids eight hundred pims for it?”

 

 

Sima steps forward then, and says with calm determination, “Because that thaumatometer is special beyond its ability to keep a detailed record. I placed an astrological enchantment on it so that if it is used by the wrong person, it causes various embarassing – and easily perceivable – glamours. Right now, the enchantment is not activated – but it would be very inconvenient, I think, if some member of the Southside Pitts were to be using the thaumatometer in some…inconspicuous way only to trigger the enchantment. So perhaps you should regard the eight hundred pims that I would charge for the thaumatometer as not merely covering the sale of the thaumatometer to you, but also the elimination of my anti-theft protections.”

 

 

Dacota hesitates, and you assume that she is caught between greed over the thaumatometer and reluctance to forgo hundreds of pims in some other form that would be easier to sell or use for purchases. So you decide that you should intervene with another remark to push her into making the best decision.

 

 

“Dacota, my friend could use her magics to make life unpleasant for anyone whom she wants, if she sets her mind to it, but chooses to negotiate in the hopes that a more useful relationship may be formed between her and the Southside Pitts. But other magic users – students as well as mages – are not so reasonable, and may choose to use magics against you or your followers, sometimes entirely unprovoked, thinking, rightly or wrongly, that no one would listen to complaints from street urchins. To protect yourself from such magics, and to avoid being targeted by any of my friend’s hostile magics – which I assure you are not fun – it is best for you to purchase the thaumatometer from her.”

 

 

Dacota sighs and nods. “Working in a city with many mages, it is best to have protection against magic, but better than nothing to have a way to detect magic. And your…magic detector is easier for me to get than it would be for me to pay pims to some seller with such an item elsewhere. Pims have wieght and create long memories. Very well. I will accept three hundred pims for my services as well as ownership of the…magic tube. Roxan, give the client the tube once she gives you the money. Then you can look at the records and dispel the enchantment before giving it back to us.”

 

 

As Sima slips Roxan a pouch full of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, she asks the girl what the nickname dombi means.

 

 

“A professional entertainer from my home islands in my birth language,” Roxan replies.

 

 

Sima nods and grins. “Roxan, I would love to be an actress when I graduate. Your words are such encouragement to me.”

 

 

Sima then shows Roxan how to locate a catch on the reddish-brown cylinder, which, when pressed, opens a compartment in the reddish-brown cylinder in which is rolled up a piece of paper. Sima then closes the compartment and shows Roxan how to find the lens that allows a person to read what is on the paper, as well as how to adjust what the lens shows the viewer. Then she re-opens the reddish-brown cylinder and removes the paper, folding it in her hand, before telling Roxan how to replace paper inside the reddish-brown cylinder. Then, beaming, she writes a few phemes in the air with her wand, causing a series of lights to rise out of the thaumatometer. Assuring Roxan and Decota that the enchantment has been dispelled, she hands it over to Dacota, who leads Roxan away.


“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, merchant,” Roxan calls back as she goes into the mists.

 

 

You are relieved that Roxan recognizes your mercantile talents, although you are sure that this is not the sort of praise that you should tell your parents about, no matter how pleased they might otherwise be to learn about your apparent success in following the trade through which they were able to afford raising you. Sima, for her part, ignores Roxan’s attempt at friendliness as she unfolds the paper and scans the writing on it. Then, sighing with exasperation, she moves as if to toss it toss on the ground before thinking better of it and placing it in a pocket.

 

 

“I had to give up a perfectly good thaumatometer because I wanted to investigate whether Zoe had been somehow influenced into revealing information about us,” she says. “But wouldn’t you know? There was no magic affectring her in her room – so this was all for nothing – and I will have to get another thaumatometer. O, [PCFirstName], did anything go right today in this meeting? Not that I am blaming you – you were able to resolve this issue without violence or magic or my being robbed, which reveals that you have much skill in selling things by making potential customers realize why they need what you are selling even when they had no idea that it existed before you tried to sell it.”

 

 

“Maybe we could get out of here first?” you suggest.

 

 

“Ah, true enough.” She leads you out of the alleyway into the blissfully normal Academagia. Then, after creating glamours to protect you from eavesdroppers, she turns to face you.

 

 

“Having thought more about your solution and my…situation, I realize that I over-reacted and that you handled it very well. I know how to get another thaumatometer, come in time, and my financial situation is so precarious right now due to certain problems that a loss of nine hundred pims by me could have had serious consequences. But I am now within my budget still, and my needling concerns about Zoe have been well addressed. I am just relieved that the Southside Pitts were too ignorant about magic to realize that I could not create, let alone dispel, any anti-theft measure of the sort that I pretended to deal with – I know not if it is even possible. But you know what?”

 

 

“What?” you ask. With Sima you can never be sure what she will reveal.

 

 

“I am sorry for having gotten us both involved in such shady and potentially dangerous business. But let us walk and talk as friends for a while.”

 

 

You agree, happy that Sima is happy despite the seeming set-backs that she has faced, and enjoy the next blissful few minutes walking while talking about various theatrical productions in Mineta. One issue, however, that you are not bold enough to ask Sima about is how it is that she had and apparently can continue to have easy access to a thaumatometer. But if you were wanting a fully open friend, you would not, you realize, be a friend to Sima Venesico. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, +1 Fitness, + 1 skill level Dispassion, + 1 skill level Theater, + 1 Skill level Confidence, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Confidence to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Dispassion to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has affection or love with Sima Venesico and PC has Station: Merchant]

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder – to say nothing of my friend’s specific instructions about how it should be used – got me thinking about what it could be. I mean, I know that Hedi students are notorious for speaking quietly of riddles – itself a riddle of some sort from a certain perspective – but I trust my friend enough to believe that this reddish-brown cylinder is more than some type of obfuscation. It must have real value – value that she might be willing to give you in exchange for a reduced fee for your services.”

 

Sima’s eyes widen, but then she nods enthusiastically. “Yes, that would work. All I need to do is look at the reddish-brown cylinder for a few seconds, then you are welcome to have it – if you really want it. Better that then having to pay one thousand one hundred pims – more than the value of one year’s education at the Contu School.”

 

“It could be worth as much as all the goods in Alfi – to a mage,” Dacota snaps. “Maybe it is worthless to those without magical knowledge, as we are.”

 

“But Dom’na, even such an item could be sold to a mage. Is not your brother the Dom’nus trying to get in contact with some wizards from…Tai?” Roxan sounds excited at the prospect of selling a magical artifact.

 

“He is as likely to get into the Theian wizards’ circles as I am to be legitimately at a Golden Families’ dance – but point taken. Some mages would pay well for magical artifacts that only mages can use. Very well, bodyguard – tell us about this reddish-brown cylinder.” Dacota looks at you with curiosity and expectation.

 

Relieved that Sima’s comments confirm your beliefs about why she would need the reddish-brown cylinder, you briefly tell Dacota and Roxan about your conclusion that the reddish-brown cylinder is a device to detect magic called a thaumatometer, modified so that it keeps a record of what it detected and where it was used. You are careful to conceal your views about Sima’s personality and why she wants to know about any magic that might be affecting Zoe Melis – as much for preserving good relations with Sima as for preserving her privacy from the Southside Pitts – but you can tell that your words are having an effect on them. When you finish, Dacota whistles in appreciation.

 

“Yes, I can see how this thauma-thing would be very useful. There are so many magical things in Mineta, known and unknown. Even if we cannot figure out how to use it, we can sell it to some other mage, come in time. But why should I pay you kids eight hundred pims for it?”

 

Sima steps forward then, and says with calm determination, “Because that thaumatometer is special beyond its ability to keep a detailed record. I placed an astrological enchantment on it so that if it is used by the wrong person, it causes various embarassing – and easily perceivable – glamours. Right now, the enchantment is not activated – but it would be very inconvenient, I think, if some member of the Southside Pitts were to be using the thaumatometer in some…inconspicuous way only to trigger the enchantment. So perhaps you should regard the eight hundred pims that I would charge for the thaumatometer as not merely covering the sale of the thaumatometer to you, but also the elimination of my anti-theft protections.”

 

Dacota hesitates, and you assume that she is caught between greed over the thaumatometer and reluctance to forgo hundreds of pims in some other form that would be easier to sell or use for purchases. So you decide that you should intervene with another remark to push her into making the best decision.

 

“Dacota, my friend could use her magics to make life unpleasant for anyone whom she wants, if she sets her mind to it, but chooses to negotiate in the hopes that a more useful relationship may be formed between her and the Southside Pitts. But other magic users – students as well as mages – are not so reasonable, and may choose to use magics against you or your followers, sometimes entirely unprovoked, thinking, rightly or wrongly, that no one would listen to complaints from street urchins. To protect yourself from such magics, and to avoid being targeted by any of my friend’s hostile magics – which I assure you are not fun – it is best for you to purchase the thaumatometer from her.”

 

Dacota sighs and nods. “Working in a city with many mages, it is best to have protection against magic, but better than nothing to have a way to detect magic. And your…magic detector is easier for me to get than it would be for me to pay pims to some seller with such an item elsewhere. Pims have wieght and create long memories. Very well. I will accept three hundred pims for my services as well as ownership of the…magic tube. Roxan, give the client the tube once she gives you the money. Then you can look at the records and dispel the enchantment before giving it back to us.”

 

As Sima slips Roxan a pouch full of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, she asks the girl what the nickname dombi means.

 

“A professional entertainer from my home islands in my birth language,” Roxan replies.

 

Sima nods and grins. “Roxan, I would love to be an actress when I graduate. Your words are such encouragement to me.”

 

Sima then shows Roxan how to locate a catch on the reddish-brown cylinder, which, when pressed, opens a compartment in the reddish-brown cylinder in which is rolled up a piece of paper. Sima then closes the compartment and shows Roxan how to find the lens that allows a person to read what is on the paper, as well as how to adjust what the lens shows the viewer. Then she re-opens the reddish-brown cylinder and removes the paper, folding it in her hand, before telling Roxan how to replace paper inside the reddish-brown cylinder. Then, beaming, she writes a few phemes in the air with her wand, causing a series of lights to rise out of the thaumatometer. Assuring Roxan and Decota that the enchantment has been dispelled, she hands it over to Dacota, who leads Roxan away.


“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, merchant,” Roxan calls back as she goes into the mists.

 

You are relieved that Roxan recognizes your mercantile talents, although you are sure that this is not the sort of praise that you should tell your parents about, no matter how pleased they might otherwise be to learn about your apparent success in following the trade through which they were able to afford raising you. Sima, for her part, ignores Roxan’s attempt at friendliness as she unfolds the paper and scans the writing on it. Then, sighing with exasperation, she moves as if to toss it toss on the ground before thinking better of it and placing it in a pocket.

 

“I had to give up a perfectly good thaumatometer because I wanted to investigate whether Zoe had been somehow influenced into revealing information about us,” she says. “But wouldn’t you know? There was no magic affectring her in her room – so this was all for nothing – and I will have to get another thaumatometer. O, [PCFirstName], did anything go right today in this meeting? Not that I am blaming you – you were able to resolve this issue without violence or magic or my being robbed, which reveals that you have much skill in selling things by making potential customers realize why they need what you are selling even when they had no idea that it existed before you tried to sell it.”

 

“Maybe we could get out of here first?” you suggest.

 

“Ah, true enough.” She leads you out of the alleyway into the blissfully normal Academagia. Then, after creating glamours to protect you from eavesdroppers, she turns to face you.

 

“Having thought more about your solution and my…situation, I realize that I over-reacted and that you handled it very well. I know how to get another thaumatometer, come in time, and my financial situation is so precarious right now due to certain problems that a loss of nine hundred pims by me could have had serious consequences. But I am now within my budget still, and my needling concerns about Zoe have been well addressed. I am just relieved that the Southside Pitts were too ignorant about magic to realize that I could not create, let alone dispel, any anti-theft measure of the sort that I pretended to deal with – I know not if it is even possible. But you know what?”

 

“What?” you ask. With Sima you can never be sure what she will reveal.

 

“I am sorry for having gotten us both involved in such shady and potentially dangerous business. But let us walk and talk as friends – let no one think that we are dating yet – for a while.”

 

You agree, happy that Sima is happy despite the seeming set-backs that she has faced, and enjoy the next blissful few minutes walking while talking about various theatrical productions in Mineta. Despite Sima’s claims to the contrart, however, her laughter lingers in such a way and she touches your shoulder at such times that you believe that to her, at least, this is more than walking and talking as friends. One issue, however, that you are not bold enough to ask Sima about, despite her friendly intimacy, is how it is that she had and apparently can continue to have easy access to a thaumatometer. But if you were wanting a fully open friend, you would not, you realize, be a friend to Sima Venesico. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, +1 Fitness, + 1 skill level Dispassion, + 1 skill level Theater, + 1 Skill level Confidence, + 1 Skill level Flirting, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Confidence to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Flirting to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Dispassion to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

Failure

 

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder – to say nothing of my friend’s instructions about how it should be used – got me thinking about what it could be. It must have real value – value that she might be willing to give you in exchange for a reduced fee for your services.”

 

Sima nods. “Yes, that would work. All I need to do is look at the reddish-brown cylinder for a few seconds, then you are welcome to have it – if you really want it. Better that then having to pay one thousand one hundred pims – more than the value of one year’s education at the Contu School.”

 

“It could be worth as much as all the goods in Alfi – to a mage,” Dacota says. “Maybe it is worthless to those without magical knowledge, as we are.”

 

“But Dom’na, even such an item could be sold to a mage. Is not your brother the Dom’nus trying to get in contact with some wizards from…Tai?” Roxan says..

 

“He is as likely to get into the Theian wizards’ circles as I am to be legitimately at a Golden Families’ dance – but point taken. Some mages would pay well for magical artifacts that only mages can use. Very well, bodyguard – tell us about this reddish-brown cylinder.” Dacota looks at you with curiosity and expectation.

 

Relieved that Sima’s comments confirm your beliefs about why she would need the reddish-brown cylinder, you tell Dacota and Roxan about your conclusion that the reddish-brown cylinder is a device to detect magic called a thaumatometer, modified so that it keeps a record of what it detected and where it was used. You conceal your views about Sima’s personality and why she wants to know about any magic that might be affecting Zoe Melis – as much for preserving good relations with Sima as for preserving her privacy from the Southside Pitts. When you finish, Dacota whistles in appreciation.

 

“Yes, I can see how this thauma-thing would be very useful. There are so many magical things in Mineta, known and unknown. Even if we cannot figure out how to use it, we can sell it to some other mage, come in time. But why should I pay you kids eight hundred pims for it?”

 

Sima steps forward then, and says with calm determination, “Because that thaumatometer is special beyond its ability to keep a detailed record. I placed an astrological enchantment on it so that if it is used by the wrong person, it causes various embarassing – and easily perceivable – glamours. Right now, the enchantment is not activated – but it would be very inconvenient, I think, if some member of the Southside Pitts were to be using the thaumatometer in some…inconspicuous way only to trigger the enchantment. So perhaps you should regard the eight hundred pims that I would charge for the thaumatometer as not merely covering the sale of the thaumatometer to you, but also the elimination of my anti-theft protections.”

 

Dacota hesitates. So you decide that you should intervene with another remark.

 

“Dacota, my friend could use her magics to make life unpleasant for anyone whom she wants, if she sets her mind to it, but chooses to negotiate in the hopes that a more useful relationship may be formed between her and the Southside Pitts.”

 

Dacota jerks. “If your friend is truly so dangerous, then I may be a fool to trust her when she says that she will remove the anti-theft magic on the…magic tube. Of course, I may be a fool to accept anyone’s claims about removing harmful magic, but not all such people are, like your friend, presented as sop dangerous. In any case, I prefer a more definite form of payment than an artifact that its owner admits is, as far as I care, cursed. Who is to say that she could get rid of the enchantment easily enough? However, since you gave a useful discussion of…magic-detecting devices, I will lower the fee to one thousand and ten pims. But if you resist me in any way, I will raise the price to the original sum.”

 

You suppose that this is the best you can get out of efforts to sell the thaumatometer. Still, you are interested to note that your presentation of Sima Venesico as a seriously dangerous mage has rattled Dacota. [+ 1 Skill Level Bluff, temporary + 10% chance of success, hide option “[If PC has 800 pims] Pay Dacota what she wants.”, reveal option “[If PC has 710 pims] Pay Dacota the lowered fee that she has agreed to.”, choose other option]

[If PC has memory Sima’s Ring to Zoe] Innuendo. Try to figure out whether Zoe used Sima’s ring – and imply that it was powerful. Subtly, you hope.

 

Success

 

[If PC has no love or affection with Sima Venesico and did not complete the adventure Just Going About Your Business]

 

You decide that the weakest link in the chain of factors that tries to bind Sima to paying more money than she had agreed to is Roxan – the person who actually did what Sima wanted and for whose services Dacota wants payment. You wonder if Zoe wore Sima’s ring to bed. Knowing her eagerness to be seen as popular and her low self-confidence, such a thing seems possible. Maybe by making implications about Zoe, the ring, and Sima, you can persuade Dacota to lower her fees. These thoughts and others flow through your mind as you look at Roxan. Then you open your mouth to speak.

 

“So, Roxan, you are very skilled at your…trade, right? I know how difficult it is to sneak around in Academagia, and I, as a student, know its layout well! Those hall patrols can be very good at finding people – but then again, they are meant to do this.”

 

“Just like the guards, public and private,” Roxan replies. Then, noting Dacota’s frown, she says, “I could talk about my accomplishments forever – stopping only to recite dharanis and eat and sleep, come in time – but if you have no purpose in talking to me, the Dom’na wants to end this meeting and collect her payment.”

 

You recognize that this is the key part of the conversation. “I am not meaning to distract you or anyone else – certainly not my friend – from concluding this business. But I ask, out of concern for your well-being: when you were in Zoe’s bedroom, did you notice any new jewelry? My friend is always…investigating powerful jewelry, and some of it can be quite dangerous.”

 

“Is this why she wanted to investigate Zoe?” Dacota’s words, sounding faintly alarmed, intrude with such volume that Roxan’s soft answer cannot be heard by you.

 

“Well, you know how strange certain magical items can be, right? No ordinary mage student – or even mage – would investigate magical items with no knowledge.” You hope that Sima does not mind how you are presenting her.

 

Sima, however, enthusiastically joins in…well, whatever type of deception you are doing. “Yes! Roxan, Dacota, did you know that there is a special office, called the Artifacts Office, dedicated to nothing but identifying the magical properties of items? So my interest in magical items is not common.”

 

“So you were trying to see whether this Zoe Melis, a student in a school for magic, has magical jewelry?” Roxan sounds sceptical – with good reason, you suppose - so you decide to try to play up the uniqueness of the item and Zoe’s relationship to it. Maybe you can make Sima seem so powerful or powerfully connected that Dacota should not seek more money than was earlier agreed upon.

 

“Precisely, Roxan,” you say. “But there is more to Sima’s search then this. Zoe Melis is a Cassettan from Cimone, you know, and…well, certain people associated with powerful interests paid her with a certain magical ring for information about certain people. If we could have evidence from more than the reddish-brown cylinder about what was in her room, certain other people would be extremely grateful.”

 

Roxan just looks at you with puzzlement, but Dacota swears and reaches forwards to touch Roxan not unkindly.

 

“I knew that this was a sordid business, but nothing as bad as what you are making it out to be,” she says. “But I suppose that Cassettans are not worthy of trust, especially when they come from Cimone and probably know about that ctiy’s starving time as well as I know about the…place of much trading.” And here she gives a shudder so violent that you are briefly wondering whether Sima is hypnotizing her. “You shouldn’t trust any people with proud tradirtion of greatness but no obvious wealth, I always said. They will go into various illegal ways to get their money – the worst kind, involving fancy scheming. But look,” and here she turns to face Sima, “I don’t want to get accused by anyone of taking sides in this matter – and by taking the big fee that I was wanting to take, some person may think that of me. But the Southside Pitts need money more than any Cassettan student of Academagia, even though her name is Zoe Melis.” Then Dacota uses a word so foul that yuou and Sima both gasp.

 

“I wish that I did not have to be on anyone’s side in any of this business,” Sima replies. “Still, I accet your reversion to the orginal agreement – as will…certain other people. Very well. Three hundred pims for you, the reddish-brown cylinder for me.”

 

She removes a pouch from beneath the fold of her cloaks and gives it to Dacota, after which Roxan gives Sima the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“Farewell, Dombi, and farewell, Implier,” Roxan says, but then Dacota pulls her away and the two of them vanish into the mists.

 

“We should go quickly,” Sima says, before you have much chance to try to figure out how you feel about your new nickname. And she takes your hand and runs with you out of the alley into the blissful normality of the Academagia. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask some risky questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And are you really associated with some sort of secret organization?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? I know not what you were trying to do when you spoke to Roxan, but together we discovered that Dacota Pitts has such strong anti-Cassettan prejudice that we were able to let her develop the crazy belief, through your brilliant series of truths, half-truths, and occasional lies, that Zoe Melis is involved is something very illegal – probably abduction, if my knowledge of stereotypes is correct. Stereotypes are poisonous weeds that can lead people astray, but they have their uses – because of anti-Cassetan stereotypes, I saved eight hundred pims. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, thanks to your clever words, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

“Alas,” Sima sighs, “I fear that it would not be wise for me alone to tell you about the other two; at minimum, they must be consulted first. Yet this is one of the wonderful things about our relationship, I think – you are willing to be my friend despite my mysterious aspects and friends. Others, knowing what you know, would think differently, I do not doubt, and would not want to be friends with me, thinking me a robber chief’s daughter, a pirate captain’s daughter, or even – as Miya once told me about – a dragon’s daughter taking human form. I am just glad that you are able to avoid assuming that I am like Miya just because we both have eyes that other have described as looking like almonds.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – although you are disappointed that you could not know more about Sima’s connections to mysterious and powerful organizations. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Bluff, + 1 Skill Level Deception, + 1 Charm, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Innuendo to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has love or affection with Sima Venesico and did not complete the adventure Just Going About Your Business]

 

You decide that the weakest link in the chain of factors that tries to bind Sima to paying more money than she had agreed to is Roxan – the person who actually did what Sima wanted and for whose services Dacota wants payment. You wonder if Zoe wore Sima’s ring to bed. Knowing her eagerness to be seen as popular and her low self-confidence, such a thing seems possible. Maybe by making implications about Zoe, the ring, and Sima, you can persuade Dacota to lower her fees. These thoughts and others flow through your mind as you look at Roxan. Then you open your mouth to speak.

 

“So, Roxan, you are very skilled at your…trade, right? I know how difficult it is to sneak around in Academagia, and I, as a student, know its layout well! Those hall patrols can be very good at finding people – but then again, they are meant to do this.”

 

“Just like the guards, public and private,” Roxan replies. Then, noting Dacota’s frown, she says, “I could talk about my accomplishments forever – stopping only to recite dharanis and eat and sleep, come in time – but if you have no purpose in talking to me, the Dom’na wants to end this meeting and collect her payment.”

 

You recognize that this is the key part of the conversation. “I am not meaning to distract you or anyone else – certainly not my friend – from concluding this business. But I ask, out of concern for your well-being: when you were in Zoe’s bedroom, did you notice any new jewelry? My friend is always…investigating powerful jewelry, and some of it can be quite dangerous.”

 

“Is this why she wanted to investigate Zoe?” Dacota’s words, sounding faintly alarmed, intrude with such volume that Roxan’s soft answer cannot be heard by you.

 

“Well, you know how strange certain magical items can be, right? No ordinary mage student – or even mage – would investigate magical items with no knowledge.” You hope that Sima does not mind how you are presenting her.

 

Sima, however, enthusiastically joins in…well, whatever type of deception you are doing. “Yes! Roxan, Dacota, did you know that there is a special office, called the Artifacts Office, dedicated to nothing but identifying the magical properties of items? So my interest in magical items is not common.”

 

“So you were trying to see whether this Zoe Melis, a student in a school for magic, has magical jewelry?” Roxan sounds sceptical – with good reason, you suppose - so you decide to try to play up the uniqueness of the item and Zoe’s relationship to it. Maybe you can make Sima seem so powerful or powerfully connected that Dacota should not seek more money than was earlier agreed upon.

 

“Precisely, Roxan,” you say. “But there is more to Sima’s search then this. Zoe Melis is a Cassettan from Cimone, you know, and…well, certain people associated with powerful interests paid her with a certain magical ring for information about certain people. If we could have evidence from more than the reddish-brown cylinder about what was in her room, certain other people would be extremely grateful.”

 

Roxan just looks at you with puzzlement, but Dacota swears and reaches forwards to touch Roxan not unkindly.

 

“I knew that this was a sordid business, but nothing as bad as what you are making it out to be,” she says. “But I suppose that Cassettans are not worthy of trust, especially when they come from Cimone and probably know about that ctiy’s starving time as well as I know about the…place of much trading.” And here she gives a shudder so violent that you are briefly wondering whether Sima is hypnotizing her. “You shouldn’t trust any people with proud tradirtion of greatness but no obvious wealth, I always said. They will go into various illegal ways to get their money – the worst kind, involving fancy scheming. But look,” and here she turns to face Sima, “I don’t want to get accused by anyone of taking sides in this matter – and by taking the big fee that I was wanting to take, some person may think that of me. But the Southside Pitts need money more than any Cassettan student of Academagia, even though her name is Zoe Melis.” Then Dacota uses a word so foul that yuou and Sima both gasp.

 

“I wish that I did not have to be on anyone’s side in any of this business,” Sima replies. “Still, I accet your reversion to the orginal agreement – as will…certain other people. Very well. Three hundred pims for you, the reddish-brown cylinder for me.”

 

She removes a pouch from beneath the fold of her cloaks and gives it to Dacota, after which Roxan gives Sima the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“Farewell, Dombi, and farewell, Implier,” Roxan says, but then Dacota pulls her away and the two of them vanish into the mists.

 

“We should go quickly,” Sima says, before you have much chance to try to figure out how you feel about your new nickname. And she takes your hand and runs with you out of the alley into the blissful normality of the Academagia. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask some risky questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And are you really associated with some sort of secret organization?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? I know not what you were trying to do when you spoke to Roxan, but together we discovered that Dacota Pitts has such strong anti-Cassettan prejudice that we were able to let her develop the crazy belief, through your brilliant series of truths, half-truths, and occasional lies, that Zoe Melis is involved is something very illegal – probably abduction, if my knowledge of stereotypes is correct. Stereotypes are poisonous weeds that can lead people astray, but they have their uses – because of anti-Cassetan stereotypes, I saved eight hundred pims. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, thanks to your clever words, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

“Alas,” Sima sighs, “I fear that it would not be wise for me alone to tell you about the other two; at minimum, they must be consulted first. Yet this is one of the wonderful things about our relationship, I think – you are willing to be my friend despite my mysterious aspects and friends. Others, knowing what you know, would think differently, I do not doubt, and would not want to be friends with me, thinking me a robber chief’s daughter, a pirate captain’s daughter, or even – as Miya once told me about – a dragon’s daughter taking human form. I am just glad that you are able to avoid assuming that I am like Miya just because we both have eyes that other have described as looking like almonds.” And fear not,” she says, looking at your face’s dawning horror. “What ever else I may be, I am no dragon’s daughter!”

 

“Sima, looking into your eyes I think not about almonds but about honey.”

 

“Ah, [PCFirstName], that is only because I am honey to you – sweet and more supportive than air! Thank you for your help, and for respecting my boundaries.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – although you are disappointed that you could not know more about Sima’s connections to mysterious and powerful organizations. At least you have assurances from her that she is no dragon’s daughter in human form – and given that you trust her so much you must believe her. But you wonder whether you would be willing to date a robber chief’s daughter, come in time – she may be that, given how little you know about her. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Bluff, + 1 skill level Dating, + 1 skill level Flirting, + 1 Skill Level Deception, + 1 Stress, + 1 Charm, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Innuendo to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Character Study to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Flirting to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has no love or affection with Sima Venesico and completed the adventure Just Going About Your Business]

 

You decide that the weakest link in the chain of factors that tries to bind Sima to paying more money than she had agreed to is Roxan – the person who actually did what Sima wanted and for whose services Dacota wants payment. You wonder if Zoe wore Sima’s ring to bed. Knowing her eagerness to be seen as popular and her low self-confidence, such a thing seems possible. Maybe by making implications about Zoe, the ring, and Sima, you can persuade Dacota to lower her fees. These thoughts and others flow through your mind as you look at Roxan. Then you open your mouth to speak.

 

“So, Roxan, you are very skilled at your…trade, right? I know how difficult it is to sneak around in Academagia, and I, as a student, know its layout well! Those hall patrols can be very good at finding people – but then again, they are meant to do this.”

 

“Just like the guards, public and private,” Roxan replies. Then, noting Dacota’s frown, she says, “I could talk about my accomplishments forever – stopping only to recite dharanis and eat and sleep, come in time – but if you have no purpose in talking to me, the Dom’na wants to end this meeting and collect her payment.”

 

You recognize that this is the key part of the conversation. “I am not meaning to distract you or anyone else – certainly not my friend – from concluding this business. But I ask, out of concern for your well-being: when you were in Zoe’s bedroom, did you notice any new jewelry? My friend is always…investigating powerful jewelry, and some of it can be quite dangerous.”

 

“Is this why she wanted to investigate Zoe?” Dacota’s words, sounding faintly alarmed, intrude with such volume that Roxan’s soft answer cannot be heard by you.

 

“Well, you know how strange certain magical items can be, right? No ordinary mage student – or even mage – would investigate magical items with no knowledge.” You hope that Sima does not mind how you are presenting her.

 

Sima, however, enthusiastically joins in…well, whatever type of deception you are doing. “Yes! Roxan, Dacota, did you know that there is a special office, called the Artifacts Office, dedicated to nothing but identifying the magical properties of items? So my interest in magical items is not common.”

 

“So you were trying to see whether this Zoe Melis, a student in a school for magic, has magical jewelry?” Roxan sounds sceptical – with good reason, you suppose - so you decide to try to play up the uniqueness of the item and Zoe’s relationship to it. Maybe you can make Sima seem so powerful or powerfully connected that Dacota should not seek more money than was earlier agreed upon.

 

“Precisely, Roxan,” you say. “But there is more to Sima’s search then this. Zoe Melis is a Cassettan from Cimone, you know, and…well, certain people associated with powerful interests paid her with a certain magical ring for information about certain people. If we could have evidence from more than the reddish-brown cylinder about what was in her room, certain other people would be extremely grateful.”

 

Roxan just looks at you with puzzlement, but Dacota swears and reaches forwards to touch Roxan not unkindly.

 

“I knew that this was a sordid business, but nothing as bad as what you are making it out to be,” she says. “But I suppose that Cassettans are not worthy of trust, especially when they come from Cimone and probably know about that ctiy’s starving time as well as I know about the…place of much trading.” And here she gives a shudder so violent that you are briefly wondering whether Sima is hypnotizing her. “You shouldn’t trust any people with proud tradirtion of greatness but no obvious wealth, I always said. They will go into various illegal ways to get their money – the worst kind, involving fancy scheming. But look,” and here she turns to face Sima, “I don’t want to get accused by anyone of taking sides in this matter – and by taking the big fee that I was wanting to take, some person may think that of me. But the Southside Pitts need money more than any Cassettan student of Academagia, even though her name is Zoe Melis.” Then Dacota uses a word so foul that yuou and Sima both gasp.

 

“I wish that I did not have to be on anyone’s side in any of this business,” Sima replies. “Still, I accet your reversion to the orginal agreement – as will…certain other people. Very well. Three hundred pims for you, the reddish-brown cylinder for me.”

 

She removes a pouch from beneath the fold of her cloaks and gives it to Dacota, after which Roxan gives Sima the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“Farewell, Dombi, and farewell, Implier,” Roxan says, but then Dacota pulls her away and the two of them vanish into the mists.

 

“We should go quickly,” Sima says, before you have much chance to try to figure out how you feel about your new nickname. And she takes your hand and runs with you out of the alley into the blissful normality of the Academagia. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask some risky questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And are you really associated with some sort of secret organization?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? I know not what you were trying to do when you spoke to Roxan, but together we discovered that Dacota Pitts has such strong anti-Cassettan prejudice that we were able to let her develop the crazy belief, through your brilliant series of truths, half-truths, and occasional lies, that Zoe Melis is involved is something very illegal – probably abduction, if my knowledge of stereotypes is correct. Stereotypes are poisonous weeds that can lead people astray, but they have their uses – because of anti-Cassetan stereotypes, I saved eight hundred pims. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, thanks to your clever words, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

“Alas,” Sima sighs, “I fear that it would not be wise for me alone to tell you about the other two; at minimum, they must be consulted first. Yet this is one of the wonderful things about our relationship, I think – you are willing to be my friend despite my mysterious aspects and friends. Others, knowing what you know, would think differently, I do not doubt, and would not want to be friends with me, thinking me a robber chief’s daughter, a pirate captain’s daughter, or even – as Miya once told me about – a dragon’s daughter taking human form. I am just glad that you are able to avoid assuming that I am like Miya just because we both have eyes that other have described as looking like almonds.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – although you are disappointed that you could not know more about Sima’s connections to mysterious and powerful organizations. One sure thing you now hope after having witnessed Dacota’s prejudice – if you are again abducted onto some ship, you will not refer to it has being Cassettaed, even if all involved are Cassettan and traveling to Cassetta. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Bluff, + 1 Skill Level Deception, + 1 Skill Level Etiquette, + 1 Charm, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Innuendo to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has love or affection with Sima Venesico and completed the adventure Just Going About Your Business]

 

You decide that the weakest link in the chain of factors that tries to bind Sima to paying more money than she had agreed to is Roxan – the person who actually did what Sima wanted and for whose services Dacota wants payment. You wonder if Zoe wore Sima’s ring to bed. Knowing her eagerness to be seen as popular and her low self-confidence, such a thing seems possible. Maybe by making implications about Zoe, the ring, and Sima, you can persuade Dacota to lower her fees. These thoughts and others flow through your mind as you look at Roxan. Then you open your mouth to speak.

 

“So, Roxan, you are very skilled at your…trade, right? I know how difficult it is to sneak around in Academagia, and I, as a student, know its layout well! Those hall patrols can be very good at finding people – but then again, they are meant to do this.”

 

“Just like the guards, public and private,” Roxan replies. Then, noting Dacota’s frown, she says, “I could talk about my accomplishments forever – stopping only to recite dharanis and eat and sleep, come in time – but if you have no purpose in talking to me, the Dom’na wants to end this meeting and collect her payment.”

 

You recognize that this is the key part of the conversation. “I am not meaning to distract you or anyone else – certainly not my friend – from concluding this business. But I ask, out of concern for your well-being: when you were in Zoe’s bedroom, did you notice any new jewelry? My friend is always…investigating powerful jewelry, and some of it can be quite dangerous.”

 

“Is this why she wanted to investigate Zoe?” Dacota’s words, sounding faintly alarmed, intrude with such volume that Roxan’s soft answer cannot be heard by you.

 

“Well, you know how strange certain magical items can be, right? No ordinary mage student – or even mage – would investigate magical items with no knowledge.” You hope that Sima does not mind how you are presenting her.

 

Sima, however, enthusiastically joins in…well, whatever type of deception you are doing. “Yes! Roxan, Dacota, did you know that there is a special office, called the Artifacts Office, dedicated to nothing but identifying the magical properties of items? So my interest in magical items is not common.”

 

“So you were trying to see whether this Zoe Melis, a student in a school for magic, has magical jewelry?” Roxan sounds sceptical – with good reason, you suppose - so you decide to try to play up the uniqueness of the item and Zoe’s relationship to it. Maybe you can make Sima seem so powerful or powerfully connected that Dacota should not seek more money than was earlier agreed upon.

 

“Precisely, Roxan,” you say. “But there is more to Sima’s search then this. Zoe Melis is a Cassettan from Cimone, you know, and…well, certain people associated with powerful interests paid her with a certain magical ring for information about certain people. If we could have evidence from more than the reddish-brown cylinder about what was in her room, certain other people would be extremely grateful.”

 

Roxan just looks at you with puzzlement, but Dacota swears and reaches forwards to touch Roxan not unkindly.

 

“I knew that this was a sordid business, but nothing as bad as what you are making it out to be,” she says. “But I suppose that Cassettans are not worthy of trust, especially when they come from Cimone and probably know about that ctiy’s starving time as well as I know about the…place of much trading.” And here she gives a shudder so violent that you are briefly wondering whether Sima is hypnotizing her. “You shouldn’t trust any people with proud tradirtion of greatness but no obvious wealth, I always said. They will go into various illegal ways to get their money – the worst kind, involving fancy scheming. But look,” and here she turns to face Sima, “I don’t want to get accused by anyone of taking sides in this matter – and by taking the big fee that I was wanting to take, some person may think that of me. But the Southside Pitts need money more than any Cassettan student of Academagia, even though her name is Zoe Melis.” Then Dacota uses a word so foul that yuou and Sima both gasp.

 

“I wish that I did not have to be on anyone’s side in any of this business,” Sima replies. “Still, I accet your reversion to the orginal agreement – as will…certain other people. Very well. Three hundred pims for you, the reddish-brown cylinder for me.”

 

She removes a pouch from beneath the fold of her cloaks and gives it to Dacota, after which Roxan gives Sima the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“Farewell, Dombi, and farewell, Implier,” Roxan says, but then Dacota pulls her away and the two of them vanish into the mists.

 

“We should go quickly,” Sima says, before you have much chance to try to figure out how you feel about your new nickname. And she takes your hand and runs with you out of the alley into the blissful normality of the Academagia. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask some risky questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And are you really associated with some sort of secret organization?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I adore, whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion and affection flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships and perhaps love are made of? I know not what you were trying to do when you spoke to Roxan, but together we discovered that Dacota Pitts has such strong anti-Cassettan prejudice that we were able to let her develop the crazy belief, through your brilliant series of truths, half-truths, and occasional lies, that Zoe Melis is involved is something very illegal – probably abduction, if my knowledge of stereotypes is correct. Stereotypes are poisonous weeds that can lead people astray, but they have their uses – because of anti-Cassetan stereotypes, I saved eight hundred pims. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, thanks to your clever words, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

“Alas,” Sima sighs, “I fear that it would not be wise for me alone to tell you about the other two; at minimum, they must be consulted first. Yet this is one of the wonderful things about our relationship, I think – you are willing to be my friend despite my mysterious aspects and friends. Others, knowing what you know, would think differently, I do not doubt, and would not want to be friends with me, thinking me a robber chief’s daughter, a pirate captain’s daughter, or even – as Miya once told me about – a dragon’s daughter taking human form. I am just glad that you are able to avoid assuming that I am like Miya just because we both have eyes that other have described as looking like almonds.” And fear not,” she says, looking at your face’s dawning horror. “What ever else I may be, I am no dragon’s daughter!”

 

“Sima, looking into your eyes I think not about almonds but about honey.”

 

“Ah, [PCFirstName], that is only because I am honey to you – sweet and more supportive than air! Thank you for your help, and for respecting my boundaries.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – although you are disappointed that you could not know more about Sima’s connections to mysterious and powerful organizations. At least you have assurances from her that she is no dragon’s daughter in human form – and given that you trust her so much you must believe her. But you wonder whether you would be willing to date a robber chief’s daughter, come in time – she may be that, given how little you know about her. One sure thing you now hope after having witnessed Dacota’s prejudice – if you are again abducted onto some ship, you will not refer to it has being Cassettaed, even if all involved are Cassettan and traveling to Cassetta. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Bluff, + 1 skill level Dating, + 1 skill level Flirting, + 1 Skill Level Deception, + 1 Skill Level Etiquette, + 1 Stress, + 1 Charm, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Innuendo to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Character Study to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Flirting to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

Failure

 

[If PC is male]

 

You decide that the weakest link in the chain of factors that tries to bind Sima to paying more money than she had agreed to is Roxan – the person who actually did what Sima wanted and for whose services Dacota wants payment. You wonder if Zoe wore Sima’s ring in bed. These thoughts and others flow through your mind as you look at Roxan. Then you open your mouth to speak.

 

“So, Roxan, you are very skilled at your…trade, right? I know how difficult it is to sneak around in Academagia, and I, as a student, know its layout well! Those hall patrols can be very good at finding people – but then again, they are meant to do this.”

 

“Just like the guards, public and private,” Roxan replies. Then, noting Dacota’s frown, she says, “I could talk about my accomplishments forever – stopping only to recite dharanis and eat and sleep, come in time – but if you have no purpose in talking to me, the Dom’na wants to end this meeting and collect her payment.”

 

You recognize that this is the key part of the conversation. “I am not meaning to distract you or anyone else – certainly not my friend – from concluding this business. But I must ask: when you were in Zoe’s bedroom, did you notice any evidence that she was wearing a striking jeweled ring?”

 

“We care nothing about your efforts to uncover secrets about a student in order to help you with your love life – although maybe you will need all the help you can get in order to succeed in love, come in time – unless you want to pay us for it,” Dacota snaps.

 

Roxan nods her head smugly. “Yes, Dom’na,” she says. “I will not answer any questions asked by the bodyguard until we are paid.”

 

“Ah, forget it,” you reply. “I could not care less what Zoe did with any potions.”

 

Well, it was a long shot plan anyway. But why must Dacota assume that you were asking for romantic reasons? You suppose that she replied in an insulting way to a situation that you had set up, as a male student asking about a female student’s bedroom and what she did in it. [+2 stress, + 1 skill level Innuendo, choose other option]

[If PC is female]

 

You decide that the weakest link in the chain of factors that tries to bind Sima to paying more money than she had agreed to is Roxan – the person who actually did what Sima wanted and for whose services Dacota wants payment. You wonder if Zoe wore Sima’s ring in bed. These thoughts and others flow through your mind as you look at Roxan. Then you open your mouth to speak.

 

“So, Roxan, you are very skilled at your…trade, right? I know how difficult it is to sneak around in Academagia, and I, as a student, know its layout well! Those hall patrols can be very good at finding people – but then again, they are meant to do this.”

 

“Just like the guards, public and private,” Roxan replies. Then, noting Dacota’s frown, she says, “I could talk about my accomplishments forever – stopping only to recite dharanis and eat and sleep, come in time – but if you have no purpose in talking to me, the Dom’na wants to end this meeting and collect her payment.”

 

You recognize that this is the key part of the conversation. “I am not meaning to distract you or anyone else – certainly not my friend – from concluding this business. But I must ask: when you were in Zoe’s bedroom, did you notice any evidence that she was wearing a striking jeweled ring?”

 

“We care nothing about your efforts to uncover dirt about a student – although maybe you will need all the help you can get in order to succeed in love, come in time – unless you want to pay us for it,” Dacota snaps.

 

Roxan nods her head smugly. “Yes, Dom’na,” she says. “I will not answer any questions asked by the bodyguard until we are paid.”

 

“Ah, forget it,” you reply. “I could not care less what Zoe did with any potions.”

 

Well, it was a long shot plan anyway. [+1 stress, choose other option]

[If PC has memory Tabin’s Potion to Zoe] Innuendo. Try to figure out whether Zoe used Tabin’s potion – and imply that it was powerful. Subtly, you hope.

 

Success

 

[If PC is not Student at Schohanwicht School]

 

You decide that the weakest link in the chain of factors that tries to bind Sima to paying more money than she had agreed to is Roxan – the person who actually did what Sima wanted and for whose services Dacota wants payment. You wonder if Zoe used Tabin’s potion. Knowing Tabin’s interest in mind-altering plants, it seems likely that if she used it, she would have had some strange reaction. These thoughts and others flow through your mind as you look at Roxan. Then you open your mouth to speak.

 

“So, Roxan, you are very skilled at your…trade, right? I know how difficult it is to sneak around in Academagia, and I, as a student, know its layout well! Those hall patrols can be very good at finding people – but then again, they are meant to do this.”

 

“Just like the guards, public and private,” Roxan replies. Then, noting Dacota’s frown, she says, “I could talk about my accomplishments forever – stopping only to recite dharanis and eat and sleep, come in time – but if you have no purpose in talking to me, the Dom’na wants to end this meeting and collect her payment.”

 

You recognize that this is the key part of the conversation. “I am not meaning to distract you or anyone else – certainly not my friend – from concluding this business. But I ask, out of concern for your well-being: when you were in Zoe’s bedroom, did you notice any evidence that she had taken any potion? She is such a sickly girl, and I would –”

 

But Roxan, seized by terror, shrieks. “Death and decay – O yes! That terrible smell in her room…her sound sleep…Woe! I could be ill from the same airs that gave her her illness – and killed my parents three years ago! And then where would my books go?”

 

Roxan then collapses to the ground with a moan. Dacota, muttering bad words, bends down to help Roxan, Roxan, however, cannot sit, cannot crouch, but keeps falling down and begins to vomit up gall.

 

“Looks like you triggered a bad emotion in Roxan,” Sima murmurs to you, looking at the scene with cool detachment. “Still, you have given me an opportunity to shine.”

 

Sima writes a few phemes in the air and a soothing array of writhing colours and sound emerges from the tip of her wand, accompanied by a sweet, earthy scent. Roxan, perceiving these stimuli, calms down enough to wipe her lips. Then she sits up, licks some of the gall from her lips, and rubs her cleaner hand on the ground, before saying in a quavering voice, “N…nam –”. But then Dacota clasps her hand over Roxan’s lips and says, not unkindly, “Hush, girl. You escaped disease’s death, orphanages, and terror – do not risk it all through calling upon your Good Man – not here!”

 

Roxan nods, and Dacota, standing up behind Roxan, turns to Sima, saying, “No one ever said that doing work for mages would be easy. But that spell – I would gladly pay for a copy of its phemes. My brother would like it, and even if he cannot use it, he could sell it to a mage who could. So why not trade to us the phemes for that spell and we will count it as worth eight hundred pims?”

 

Sima’s face is impassive as she nods in agreement, murmurs to Roxan about Zoe’s sickness not being contagious, and removes a pouch from beneath the fold of her cloak. Having handed the pouch to Dacota, she removes from beneath the fold of her cloak a pencil and two note books. Sitting in front of Roxan, she gestures for you to sit down also. Once you have done this, she carefully opens each note book and draws phemes, making notes in Renaglian and explaining the concept of perspective drawings. Once she has drawn each pheme from all six perspectives, as well as made notes about the ways to sequence them, she closes each note book. One she gives to Roxan, the other she gives to you.

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, summoner,” Roxan mutters, before standing up and givng the reddish-brown cylinder to Sima. Then she goes to Dacota, and the two of them walk off into the mists. You are upset that anyone would call you a summoner – such could lead to rumours that you are a gates mage – but hope that the word of a foreign orphan criminal would mean little in Mineta, especially when spoken…well, wherever here is. Besides, you summoned her fears to her.

 

Sima for her part does not seem to care about what Roxan called you, as she leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia grounds. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And what was that place? Was it really just a clever glamour, just like the glamour that you used to calm down Roxan?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? I know not what you were trying to do when you spoke to Roxan – Tabin’s experiments are difficult for anyone to understand – but you succeeded in so frightening her when you got her thinking about her parents’ deaths that I was able to impress her enough with my magic that I saved eight hundred pims. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, thanks to your triggering Roxan, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

She throws her head back with a laugh. “As for the alley, I know nothing about its origins or how it was made, but it is a convenient place, I find, for meeting with people who live outside the campus. The secret is knowing how to get into the alley. That is one of the many things that I love about magic – the constant surprises that one finds. For example, this spell was introduced to me by…someone as a way to calm people beset by stress, but it might have some hypnotic powers, given how easily Dacota reduced her demands. Ah well, it is a useful spell to have.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets and the places that they frequent are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are glad that Sima will be spared from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of glamour magic. [+ 1 Charm, + 1 skill level Glamour Methods, add item Sima’s Spell Codex, + 1 skill level Dispassion to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

 

ITEM: Sima’s Spell Codex

 

Description: When studied, this note book will teach the reader a spell named Soothing Sensations.

Value: 500 Pims.

Action: Study Sima’s Spell Codex

 

Spell: Soothing Sensations

 

Description: This spell causes a cloud of moving and shifting colors, accompanied by soothing music and an earthy sweet smell, to appear. Focusing on these phenomena causes profound relaxation (stress reset to 0) and heightened senses (+ 10 to Perception) but the relaxation causes impairment of certain higher functions dealing with money (- 10 to all economy subskills).

Dual Cost: 1

Duration: 6

Phemes: Miribilis, Soothe, Comfort, Aromatic

Difficulty: v. Charm/Glamour 13

 

Action: Study Sima’s Spell Codex

 

By studying Sima’s notes, you are informed of the spell Soothing Sensations and gain a better understanding of phemes (1 skill step to glamour phemes, + 1 skill step to phemes).

[If PC is Student at Schohanwicht School]

 

You decide that the weakest link in the chain of factors that tries to bind Sima to paying more money than she had agreed to is Roxan – the person who actually did what Sima wanted and for whose services Dacota wants payment. You wonder if Zoe used Tabin’s potion. Knowing Tabin’s interest in mind-altering plants, it seems likely that if she used it, she would have had some strange reaction. These thoughts and others flow through your mind as you look at Roxan. Then you open your mouth to speak.

 

“So, Roxan, you are very skilled at your…trade, right? I know how difficult it is to sneak around in Academagia, and I, as a student, know its layout well! Those hall patrols can be very good at finding people – but then again, they are meant to do this.”

 

“Just like the guards, public and private,” Roxan replies. Then, noting Dacota’s frown, she says, “I could talk about my accomplishments forever – stopping only to recite dharanis and eat and sleep, come in time – but if you have no purpose in talking to me, the Dom’na wants to end this meeting and collect her payment.”

 

You recognize that this is the key part of the conversation. “I am not meaning to distract you or anyone else – certainly not my friend – from concluding this business. But I ask, out of concern for your well-being: when you were in Zoe’s bedroom, did you notice any evidence that she had taken any potion? She is such a sickly girl, and I would –”

 

But Roxan, seized by terror, shrieks. “Death and decay – O yes! That terrible smell in her room…her sound sleep…Woe! I could be ill from the same airs that gave her her illness – and killed my parents three years ago! And then where would my books go?”

 

Roxan then collapses to the ground with a moan. Dacota, muttering bad words, bends down to help Roxan, Roxan, however, cannot sit, cannot crouch, but keeps falling down and begins to vomit up gall.

 

“Looks like you triggered a bad emotion in Roxan,” Sima murmurs to you, looking at the scene with cool detachment. “Still, you have given me an opportunity to shine.”

 

Sima writes a few phemes in the air and a soothing array of writhing colours and sound emerges from the tip of her wand, accompanied by a sweet, earthy scent. Roxan, perceiving these stimuli, calms down enough to wipe her lips. Then she sits up, licks some of the gall from her lips, and rubs her cleaner hand on the ground, before saying in a quavering voice, “N…nam –”. But then Dacota clasps her hand over Roxan’s lips and says, not unkindly, “Hush, girl. You escaped disease’s death, orphanages, and terror – do not risk it all through calling upon your Good Man – not here!”

 

Roxan nods, and Dacota, standing up behind Roxan, turns to Sima, saying, “No one ever said that doing work for mages would be easy. But that spell – I would gladly pay for a copy of its phemes. My brother would like it, and even if he cannot use it, he could sell it to a mage who could. So why not trade to us the phemes for that spell and we will count it as worth eight hundred pims?”

 

Sima’s face is impassive as she nods in agreement, murmurs to Roxan about Zoe’s sickness not being contagious, and removes a pouch from beneath the fold of her cloak. Having handed the pouch to Dacota, she removes from beneath the fold of her cloak a pencil and two note books. Sitting in front of Roxan, she gestures for you to sit down also. Once you have done this, she carefully opens each note book and draws phemes, making notes in Renaglian and explaining the concept of perspective drawings. Once she has drawn each pheme from all six perspectives, as well as made notes about the ways to sequence them, she closes each note book. One she gives to Roxan, the other she gives to you.

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, summoner,” Roxan mutters, before standing up and givng the reddish-brown cylinder to Sima. Then she goes to Dacota, and the two of them walk off into the mists. You jerk with fear when you hear her words – such words could lead to rumours that you are a gates mage, which could in turn lead to your being linked with Euneycia and the Schohanwicht School – but you calm your mind by hoping that the word of a foreign orphan criminal would mean little in Mineta, especially when spoken…well, wherever here is. Besides, you summoned her fears to her.

 

Sima for her part notices your jerk of fear, and after looking meaningfully at you she leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia grounds. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And what was that place? Was it really just a clever glamour, just like the glamour that you used to calm down Roxan?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? I know not what you were trying to do when you spoke to Roxan – Tabin’s experiments are difficult for anyone to understand – but you succeeded in so frightening her when you got her thinking about her parents’ deaths that I was able to impress her enough with my magic that I saved eight hundred pims. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, thanks to your triggering Roxan, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

She throws her head back with a laugh. “As for the alley, I know nothing about its origins or how it was made, but it is a convenient place, I find, for meeting with people who live outside the campus. The secret is knowing how to get into the alley. That is one of the many things that I love about magic – the constant surprises that one finds. For example, this spell was introduced to me by…someone as a way to calm people beset by stress, but it might have some hypnotic powers, given how easily Dacota reduced her demands. Ah well, it is a useful spell to have.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets and the places that they frequent are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are glad that Sima will be spared from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of glamour magic. Maybe it would be better to do such a thing than study gates magic – Sima may suspect you of being involved in Gates magic. But then again, Sima’s interest in forbidden magics is well known to you, so maybe she would not mind. Ah, now you are more tormented by your worries about Sima than by any temptation of Gates. [+ 1 Charm, + 2 Stress, + 1 skill level Glamour Methods, add memory Sima Suspects, add item Sima’s Spell Codex, + 1 skill level Dispassion to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Character Study to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

 

ITEM: Sima’s Spell Codex

 

Description: When studied, this note book will teach the reader a spell named Soothing Sensations.

Value: 500 Pims.

Action: Study Sima’s Spell Codex

 

Spell: Soothing Sensations

 

Description: This spell causes a cloud of moving and shifting colors, accompanied by soothing music and an earthy sweet smell, to appear. Focusing on these phenomena causes profound relaxation (stress reset to 0) and heightened senses (+ 10 to Perception) but the relaxation causes impairment of certain higher functions dealing with money (- 10 to all economy subskills).

Dual Cost: 1

Duration: 6

Phemes: Miribilis, Soothe, Comfort, Aromatic

Difficulty: v. Charm/Glamour 13

 

Action: Study Sima’s Spell Codex

 

By studying Sima’s notes, you are informed of the spell Soothing Sensations and gain a better understanding of phemes (1 skill step to glamour phemes, + 1 skill step to phemes).

Failure

 

[If PC is male]

 

You decide that the weakest link in the chain of factors that tries to bind Sima to paying more money than she had agreed to is Roxan – the person who actually did what Sima wanted and for whose services Dacota wants payment. You wonder if Zoe used Tabin’s potion. These thoughts and others flow through your mind as you look at Roxan. Then you open your mouth to speak.

 

“So, Roxan, you are very skilled at your…trade, right? I know how difficult it is to sneak around in Academagia, and I, as a student, know its layout well! Those hall patrols can be very good at finding people – but then again, they are meant to do this.”

 

“Just like the guards, public and private,” Roxan replies. Then, noting Dacota’s frown, she says, “I could talk about my accomplishments forever – stopping only to recite dharanis and eat and sleep, come in time – but if you have no purpose in talking to me, the Dom’na wants to end this meeting and collect her payment.”

 

You recognize that this is the key part of the conversation. “I am not meaning to distract you or anyone else – certainly not my friend – from concluding this business. But I must ask: when you were in Zoe’s bedroom, did you notice any evidence that she had taken any potion?”

 

“We care nothing about your efforts to uncover secrets about a student in order to help you with your love life – although maybe you will need all the help you can get in order to succeed in love, come in time – unless you want to pay us for it,” Dacota snaps.

 

Roxan nods her head smugly. “Yes, Dom’na,” she says. “I will not answer any questions asked by the bodyguard until we are paid.”

 

“Ah, forget it,” you reply. “I could not care less what Zoe did with any potions.”

 

Well, it was a long shot plan anyway. But why must Dacota assume that you were asking for romantic reasons? You suppose that she replied in an insulting way to a situation that you had set up, as a male student asking about a female student’s bedroom and what she did in it. [+2 stress, + 1 skill level Innuendo, choose other option]

[If PC is female]

 

You decide that the weakest link in the chain of factors that tries to bind Sima to paying more money than she had agreed to is Roxan – the person who actually did what Sima wanted and for whose services Dacota wants payment. You wonder if Zoe used Tabin’s potion. These thoughts and others flow through your mind as you look at Roxan. Then you open your mouth to speak.

 

“So, Roxan, you are very skilled at your…trade, right? I know how difficult it is to sneak around in Academagia, and I, as a student, know its layout well! Those hall patrols can be very good at finding people – but then again, they are meant to do this.”

 

“Just like the guards, public and private,” Roxan replies. Then, noting Dacota’s frown, she says, “I could talk about my accomplishments forever – stopping only to recite dharanis and eat and sleep, come in time – but if you have no purpose in talking to me, the Dom’na wants to end this meeting and collect her payment.”

 

You recognize that this is the key part of the conversation. “I am not meaning to distract you or anyone else – certainly not my friend – from concluding this business. But I must ask: when you were in Zoe’s bedroom, did you notice any evidence that she had taken any potion?”

 

“We care nothing about your efforts to uncover dirt about a student – although maybe you will need all the help you can get in order to succeed in love, come in time – unless you want to pay us for it,” Dacota snaps.

 

Roxan nods her head smugly. “Yes, Dom’na,” she says. “I will not answer any questions asked by the bodyguard until we are paid.”

 

“Ah, forget it,” you reply. “I could not care less what Zoe did with any potions.”

 

Well, it was a long shot plan anyway. [+1 stress, choose other option]

Pure Luck. Hope that something happens that will allow you to avoid doing anything.

 

Success

 

[If PC is not a Student in Aranaz College and was never in Avila College]

 

You find yourself paralyzed with indecision about what to do. Sima has really gotten you into a deep problem, as far as you can see – Dacota, a leader in the Southside Pitts, wants more money for her presumably illegal service to Sima, and seems willing to use violence to get it. If you do the wrong thing to prevent her from collecting such money, and your plan fails, you –well, you would hate to think about how things could go wrong.

 

“What’s the matter?” Dacota’s words interrupt your spinning thoughts. “Unwilling to help your friend?”

 

“Or unable?” Roxan’s words are not accompanied by concern in her voice.

 

“In any case, I have better things to do than wait in this creepy alley while you struggle to be brave – although recognizing myself as the source of your fear is very nice.” Dacota pulls a knife from her belt and takes a step towards you. “So unless you resolve this issue by giving me the money that I want, this could get unpleasant – although how unpleasant is your choice.”

 

In desperation, you turn to Sima, thinking that since only she may fully understand why you are here trying to make this deal – although maybe even she knows only parts – she must have some way to help you.

 

“Dear friend,” you wail, as you fall to your knees before Sima, “if ever I helped you in your quest for the finest jewels that you desired, freeing you from strange magics without caring for my safety, help me to resolve this issue without violence or pain.”

 

Sima looks down at you with heavily lidded eyes, then looks behind you – to Dacota, you assume – before replying in a sad voice, “Although not all issues can be resolved easily without violence or pain, I can resolve this one, much as it pains me – if only all issues could be so resolved.”

 

She reaches with one careful hand into her robe, saying as she does so, “Dacota, I will–”

 

But loud screams from behind you interrupt Sima’s words. Trembling, you turn, to see that Roxan and Dacota are screaming – and that a light is advancing up the alleyway towards you. In front of the light is a doomhound, who looks at Dacota with – well, you are not very sure what its body language conveys, but it does not seem aggressive. But Dacota and Roxan are frightened out of their wits by the doomhound.

 

“A doomhound! Dharani-reciter, you succeeded!” Roxan wails. “Let it spare us! Take this and go!”

 

She reaches into a pouch at her waist and tosses a reddish tube through the air towards you, which Sima catches. You are not sure what a dharani or a dombi are, but Sima’s relieved sigh tells you that you have other things to worry about. Thankfully, Dacota is too seized by panic to rebuke Roxan or attack Sima.

 

“I never should have gotten involved with mages! This doomhound – maybe it is the one with the cursing gaze!”

 

Seizing Roxan by the hand she drags Roxan down the alley and rushes past the approaching light, whose source you now recognize as a bemused Aaran Ledale.

 

“Greetings, Sima Venesico, [PCFullName],” he says formally, extinguishing the light that was floating in front of him. “I confess myself to have become a bit lost. I was at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor helping him to catch cheaters – I owe Feng a favor for…some reason – but then I found myself talking to a charming woman with cream colored skin and the most striking blue eyes who was fascinated by my Familiar Tepte and then we got to talking about my studies of…glamour magic and that must have affected my mind because I found myself in this strange alleyway with no memory of how I got here. At least I have Tepte with me, and my problem seems to have not manifested in any serious way.”

 

“Well, you certainly frightened away some robbers belonging to the Southside Pitts,” Sima replies. “If you had not intervened, I had only [PCFirstName] here to help me; had the help been inadequate, I know not what would have happened.”

 

“Really?” Aaran’s eyes gain an almost feverishly bright excitement. “I wish that I had been here to meet them. Such street gangs somewhat…interest me.”

 

“I doubt that they would have allowed that,” you reply. “Judging by their reaction to your familiar, you would have frightened them off.”

 

“If I and Tepte were frightening to no person, then my life would be much different…and better,” Aaran sighs, as he scratches Tepte’s ears. “I suppose, though, that my being here was a manifestation of pure luck being in your favor though, right, [PCFirstName]? I suppose that I shall have to think deeply about my day tonight. Maybe at Callo’s Tavern – whose atmosphere much helps me to understand matters of luck. If we can get out of here, that is.”

 

“O there is no trouble with that,” Sima says, and she leads you all out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia grounds. Aaran thanks Sima but declines to stay with her or you any longer, muttering something about needing to research glamour spells in the Venalicium. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And what was that place? Was it really just a clever glamour?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? Although you did not try to help me, we were not at risk because I had money to pay all of Dacota’s demands and Aaran’s arrival spared us from any harm and me from having to pay any moey. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, due to your luck, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

She throws her head back with a laugh. “As for the alley, I know nothing about its origins or how it was made, but it is a convenient place, I find, for meeting with people who live outside the campus. The secret is knowing how to get into the alley.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets and the places that they frequent are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are glad that Sima will be spared from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of luck and related magico-theological issues. [+ 1 Luck, + 1 skill level Pure Luck, add memory Dharanis and Drinks, + 1 skill level Cartography, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, Inform location Callo’s Tavern, + 1 relationship with Aaran Ledale, + 1 relationship between Sima Venesico and Aaran Ledale, end adventure]

[If PC is a Student in Aranaz College]

 

You find yourself paralyzed with indecision about what to do. Sima has really gotten you into a deep problem, as far as you can see – Dacota, a leader in the Southside Pitts, wants more money for her presumably illegal service to Sima, and seems willing to use violence to get it. If you do the wrong thing to prevent her from collecting such money, and your plan fails, you –well, you would hate to think about how things could go wrong.

 

“What’s the matter?” Dacota’s words interrupt your spinning thoughts. “Unwilling to help your friend?”

 

“Or unable?” Roxan’s words are not accompanied by concern in her voice.

 

“In any case, I have better things to do than wait in this creepy alley while you struggle to be brave – although recognizing myself as the source of your fear is very nice.” Dacota pulls a knife from her belt and takes a step towards you. “So unless you resolve this issue by giving me the money that I want, this could get unpleasant – although how unpleasant is your choice.”

 

In desperation, you turn to Sima, thinking that since only she may fully understand why you are here trying to make this deal – although maybe even she knows only parts – she must have some way to help you.

 

“Dear friend,” you wail, as you fall to your knees before Sima, “if ever I helped you in your quest for the finest jewels that you desired, freeing you from strange magics without caring for my safety, help me to resolve this issue without violence or pain.”

 

Sima looks down at you with heavily lidded eyes, then looks behind you – to Dacota, you assume – before replying in a sad voice, “Although not all issues can be resolved easily without violence or pain, I can resolve this one, much as it pains me – if only all issues could be so resolved.”

 

She reaches with one careful hand into her robe, saying as she does so, “Dacota, I will–”

 

But loud screams from behind you interrupt Sima’s words. Trembling, you turn, to see that Roxan and Dacota are screaming – and that a light is advancing up the alleyway towards you. In front of the light is a doomhound, who looks at Dacota with – well, you are not very sure what its body language conveys, but it does not seem aggressive. But Dacota and Roxan are frightened out of their wits by the doomhound.

 

“A doomhound! Dharani-reciter, you succeeded!” Roxan wails. “Let it spare us! Take this and go!”

 

She reaches into a pouch at her waist and tosses a reddish tube through the air towards you, which Sima catches. You are not sure what a dharani or a dombi are, but Sima’s relieved sigh tells you that you have other things to worry about. Thankfully, Dacota is too seized by panic to rebuke Roxan or attack Sima.

 

“I never should have gotten involved with mages! This doomhound – maybe it is the one with the cursing gaze!”

 

Seizing Roxan by the hand she drags Roxan down the alley and rushes past the approaching light, whose source you now recognize as a bemused Aaran Ledale.

 

“Greetings, Sima Venesico, [PCFullName],” he says formally, extinguishing the light that was floating in front of him. “I confess myself to have become a bit lost. I was at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor helping him to catch cheaters – I owe Feng a favor for…some reason – but then I found myself talking to a charming woman with cream colored skin and the most striking blue eyes who was fascinated by my Familiar Tepte and then we got to talking about my studies of…glamour magic and that must have affected my mind because I found myself in this strange alleyway with no memory of how I got here. At least I have Tepte with me, and my problem seems to have not manifested in any serious way.”

 

“Well, you certainly frightened away some robbers belonging to the Southside Pitts,” Sima replies. “If you had not intervened, I had only [PCFirstName] here to help me; had the help been inadequate, I know not what would have happened.”

 

“Really?” Aaran’s eyes gain an almost feverishly bright excitement. “I wish that I had been here to meet them. Such street gangs somewhat…interest me.”

 

“I doubt that they would have allowed that,” you reply. “Judging by their reaction to your familiar, you would have frightened them off.”

 

“If I and Tepte were frightening to no person, then my life would be much different…and better,” Aaran sighs, as he scratches Tepte’s ears. “I suppose, though, that my being here was a manifestation of pure luck being in your favor though, right, [PCFirstName]? So much for Aranaz College’s belittling luck in favor of careful planning – I know and now you know that sometimes luck saves the day. I suppose that I shall have to think deeply about my day tonight. Maybe at Callo’s Tavern – whose atmosphere much helps me to understand matters of luck. If we can get out of here, that is.”

 

“O there is no trouble with that,” Sima says, and she leads you all out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia grounds. Aaran thanks Sima but declines to stay with her or you any longer, muttering something about needing to research glamour spells in the Venalicium. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And what was that place? Was it really just a clever glamour?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? Although you did not try to help me, we were not at risk because I had money to pay all of Dacota’s demands and Aaran’s arrival spared us from any harm and me from having to pay any moey. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, due to your luck, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

She throws her head back with a laugh. “As for the alley, I know nothing about its origins or how it was made, but it is a convenient place, I find, for meeting with people who live outside the campus. The secret is knowing how to get into the alley.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets and the places that they frequent are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are glad that Sima will be spared from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of luck and related magico-theological issues, despite King Aranaz’s disdain for plans that relied upon luck. [+ 1 Luck, + 1 skill level Pure Luck, add memory Dharanis and Drinks, + 1 skill level Honor of Mallen Field, + 1 skill level Cartography, + 1 Stress, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, Inform location Callo’s Tavern, + 1 relationship with Aaran Ledale, + 1 relationship between Sima Venesico and Aaran Ledale, end adventure]

[If PC was a Student in Aranaz College during Y1 but is in another college not Avila]

 

You find yourself paralyzed with indecision about what to do. Sima has really gotten you into a deep problem, as far as you can see – Dacota, a leader in the Southside Pitts, wants more money for her presumably illegal service to Sima, and seems willing to use violence to get it. If you do the wrong thing to prevent her from collecting such money, and your plan fails, you –well, you would hate to think about how things could go wrong.

 

“What’s the matter?” Dacota’s words interrupt your spinning thoughts. “Unwilling to help your friend?”

 

“Or unable?” Roxan’s words are not accompanied by concern in her voice.

 

“In any case, I have better things to do than wait in this creepy alley while you struggle to be brave – although recognizing myself as the source of your fear is very nice.” Dacota pulls a knife from her belt and takes a step towards you. “So unless you resolve this issue by giving me the money that I want, this could get unpleasant – although how unpleasant is your choice.”

 

In desperation, you turn to Sima, thinking that since only she may fully understand why you are here trying to make this deal – although maybe even she knows only parts – she must have some way to help you.

 

“Dear friend,” you wail, as you fall to your knees before Sima, “if ever I helped you in your quest for the finest jewels that you desired, freeing you from strange magics without caring for my safety, help me to resolve this issue without violence or pain.”

 

Sima looks down at you with heavily lidded eyes, then looks behind you – to Dacota, you assume – before replying in a sad voice, “Although not all issues can be resolved easily without violence or pain, I can resolve this one, much as it pains me – if only all issues could be so resolved.”

 

She reaches with one careful hand into her robe, saying as she does so, “Dacota, I will–”

 

But loud screams from behind you interrupt Sima’s words. Trembling, you turn, to see that Roxan and Dacota are screaming – and that a light is advancing up the alleyway towards you. In front of the light is a doomhound, who looks at Dacota with – well, you are not very sure what its body language conveys, but it does not seem aggressive. But Dacota and Roxan are frightened out of their wits by the doomhound.

 

“A doomhound! Dharani-reciter, you succeeded!” Roxan wails. “Let it spare us! Take this and go!”

 

She reaches into a pouch at her waist and tosses a reddish tube through the air towards you, which Sima catches. You are not sure what a dharani or a dombi are, but Sima’s relieved sigh tells you that you have other things to worry about. Thankfully, Dacota is too seized by panic to rebuke Roxan or attack Sima.

 

“I never should have gotten involved with mages! This doomhound – maybe it is the one with the cursing gaze!”

 

Seizing Roxan by the hand she drags Roxan down the alley and rushes past the approaching light, whose source you now recognize as a bemused Aaran Ledale.

 

“Greetings, Sima Venesico, [PCFullName],” he says formally, extinguishing the light that was floating in front of him. “I confess myself to have become a bit lost. I was at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor helping him to catch cheaters – I owe Feng a favor for…some reason – but then I found myself talking to a charming woman with cream colored skin and the most striking blue eyes who was fascinated by my Familiar Tepte and then we got to talking about my studies of…glamour magic and that must have affected my mind because I found myself in this strange alleyway with no memory of how I got here. At least I have Tepte with me, and my problem seems to have not manifested in any serious way.”

 

“Well, you certainly frightened away some robbers belonging to the Southside Pitts,” Sima replies. “If you had not intervened, I had only [PCFirstName] here to help me; had the help been inadequate, I know not what would have happened.”

 

“Really?” Aaran’s eyes gain an almost feverishly bright excitement. “I wish that I had been here to meet them. Such street gangs somewhat…interest me.”

 

“I doubt that they would have allowed that,” you reply. “Judging by their reaction to your familiar, you would have frightened them off.”

 

“If I and Tepte were frightening to no person, then my life would be much different…and better,” Aaran sighs, as he scratches Tepte’s ears. “I suppose, though, that my being here was a manifestation of pure luck being in your favor though, right, [PCFirstName]? So I guess that your having left Aranaz College can be better understood as a good thing – sometimes luck saves the day, no matter what old King Aranaz said. I suppose that I shall have to think deeply about my day tonight. Maybe at Callo’s Tavern – whose atmosphere much helps me to understand matters of luck. If we can get out of here, that is.”

 

“O there is no trouble with that,” Sima says, and she leads you all out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia grounds. Aaran thanks Sima but declines to stay with her or you any longer, muttering something about needing to research glamour spells in the Venalicium. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And what was that place? Was it really just a clever glamour?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? Although you did not try to help me, we were not at risk because I had money to pay all of Dacota’s demands and Aaran’s arrival spared us from any harm and me from having to pay any moey. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, due to your luck, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

She throws her head back with a laugh. “As for the alley, I know nothing about its origins or how it was made, but it is a convenient place, I find, for meeting with people who live outside the campus. The secret is knowing how to get into the alley.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets and the places that they frequent are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are glad that Sima will be spared from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of luck and related magico-theological issues. After all, King Aranaz had not led the fleets against the dragons, yet humanity had won the battle. [+ 1 Luck, + 1 skill level Pure Luck, add memory Dharanis and Drinks, + 1 skill level Manner of a Champion, + 1 skill level Cartography, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, Inform location Callo’s Tavern, + 1 relationship with Aaran Ledale, + 1 relationship between Sima Venesico and Aaran Ledale, end adventure]

[If PC is a Student in Avila College]

 

You find yourself paralyzed with indecision about what to do. Sima has really gotten you into a deep problem, as far as you can see – Dacota, a leader in the Southside Pitts, wants more money for her presumably illegal service to Sima, and seems willing to use violence to get it. If you do the wrong thing to prevent her from collecting such money, and your plan fails, you –well, you would hate to think about how things could go wrong.

 

“What’s the matter?” Dacota’s words interrupt your spinning thoughts. “Unwilling to help your friend?”

 

“Or unable?” Roxan’s words are not accompanied by concern in her voice.

 

“In any case, I have better things to do than wait in this creepy alley while you struggle to be brave – although recognizing myself as the source of your fear is very nice.” Dacota pulls a knife from her belt and takes a step towards you. “So unless you resolve this issue by giving me the money that I want, this could get unpleasant – although how unpleasant is your choice.”

 

In desperation, you turn to Sima, thinking that since only she may fully understand why you are here trying to make this deal – although maybe even she knows only parts – she must have some way to help you.

 

“Dear friend,” you wail, as you fall to your knees before Sima, “if ever I helped you in your quest for the finest jewels that you desired, freeing you from strange magics without caring for my safety, help me to resolve this issue without violence or pain.”

 

Sima looks down at you with heavily lidded eyes, then looks behind you – to Dacota, you assume – before replying in a sad voice, “Although not all issues can be resolved easily without violence or pain, I can resolve this one, much as it pains me – if only all issues could be so resolved.”

 

She reaches with one careful hand into her robe, saying as she does so, “Dacota, I will–”

 

But loud screams from behind you interrupt Sima’s words. Trembling, you turn, to see that Roxan and Dacota are screaming – and that a light is advancing up the alleyway towards you. In front of the light is a doomhound, who looks at Dacota with – well, you are not very sure what its body language conveys, but it does not seem aggressive. But Dacota and Roxan are frightened out of their wits by the doomhound.

 

“A doomhound! Dharani-reciter, you succeeded!” Roxan wails. “Let it spare us! Take this and go!”

 

She reaches into a pouch at her waist and tosses a reddish tube through the air towards you, which Sima catches. You are not sure what a dharani or a dombi are, but Sima’s relieved sigh tells you that you have other things to worry about. Thankfully, Dacota is too seized by panic to rebuke Roxan or attack Sima.

 

“I never should have gotten involved with mages! This doomhound – maybe it is the one with the cursing gaze!”

 

Seizing Roxan by the hand she drags Roxan down the alley and rushes past the approaching light, whose source you now recognize as a bemused Aaran Ledale.

 

“Greetings, Sima Venesico, [PCFullName],” he says formally, extinguishing the light that was floating in front of him. “I confess myself to have become a bit lost. I was at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor helping him to catch cheaters – I owe Feng a favor for…some reason – but then I found myself talking to a charming woman with cream colored skin and the most striking blue eyes who was fascinated by my Familiar Tepte and then we got to talking about my studies of…glamour magic and that must have affected my mind because I found myself in this strange alleyway with no memory of how I got here. At least I have Tepte with me, and my problem seems to have not manifested in any serious way.”

 

“Well, you certainly frightened away some robbers belonging to the Southside Pitts,” Sima replies. “If you had not intervened, I had only [PCFirstName] here to help me; had the help been inadequate, I know not what would have happened.”

 

“Really?” Aaran’s eyes gain an almost feverishly bright excitement. “I wish that I had been here to meet them. Such street gangs somewhat…interest me.”

 

“I doubt that they would have allowed that,” you reply. “Judging by their reaction to your familiar, you would have frightened them off.”

 

“If I and Tepte were frightening to no person, then my life would be much different…and better,” Aaran sighs, as he scratches Tepte’s ears. “I suppose, though, that my being here was a manifestation of pure luck being in your favor though, right, [PCFirstName]? But then, you are in Avila – you would not be with me, I hope, unless you were believing that luck and astrology are more than illusions to make living under tyrants easy. Tyranny shall not prosper, whether as dragons who want to enslave us or as humans who unjustly rob us. I suppose that I shall have to think deeply about my day tonight. Maybe at Callo’s Tavern – whose atmosphere much helps me to understand matters of luck. If we can get out of here, that is.”

 

“O there is no trouble with that,” Sima says, and she leads you all out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia grounds. Aaran thanks Sima but declines to stay with her or you any longer, muttering something about needing to research glamour spells in the Venalicium. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And what was that place? Was it really just a clever glamour?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? Although you did not try to help me, we were not at risk because I had money to pay all of Dacota’s demands and Aaran’s arrival spared us from any harm and me from having to pay any moey. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, due to your luck, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

She throws her head back with a laugh. “As for the alley, I know nothing about its origins or how it was made, but it is a convenient place, I find, for meeting with people who live outside the campus. The secret is knowing how to get into the alley.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets and the places that they frequent are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are glad that Sima will be spared from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of luck and related magico-theological issues. Queen Avila was more than a determined opponent of Draconic might after all – she was a skilled astrologer whose magics, it is said, dragons could not comprehend. [+ 1 Luck, + 1 skill level Pure Luck, add memory Dharanis and Drinks, + 1 skill level Pride of a Rebel Queen, + 1 skill level Cartography, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, Inform location Callo’s Tavern, + 1 relationship with Aaran Ledale, + 1 relationship between Sima Venesico and Aaran Ledale, end adventure]

[If PC was a Student in Avila College in Y1 but is in another college not Aranaz]

 

You find yourself paralyzed with indecision about what to do. Sima has really gotten you into a deep problem, as far as you can see – Dacota, a leader in the Southside Pitts, wants more money for her presumably illegal service to Sima, and seems willing to use violence to get it. If you do the wrong thing to prevent her from collecting such money, and your plan fails, you –well, you would hate to think about how things could go wrong.

 

“What’s the matter?” Dacota’s words interrupt your spinning thoughts. “Unwilling to help your friend?”

 

“Or unable?” Roxan’s words are not accompanied by concern in her voice.

 

“In any case, I have better things to do than wait in this creepy alley while you struggle to be brave – although recognizing myself as the source of your fear is very nice.” Dacota pulls a knife from her belt and takes a step towards you. “So unless you resolve this issue by giving me the money that I want, this could get unpleasant – although how unpleasant is your choice.”

 

In desperation, you turn to Sima, thinking that since only she may fully understand why you are here trying to make this deal – although maybe even she knows only parts – she must have some way to help you.

 

“Dear friend,” you wail, as you fall to your knees before Sima, “if ever I helped you in your quest for the finest jewels that you desired, freeing you from strange magics without caring for my safety, help me to resolve this issue without violence or pain.”

 

Sima looks down at you with heavily lidded eyes, then looks behind you – to Dacota, you assume – before replying in a sad voice, “Although not all issues can be resolved easily without violence or pain, I can resolve this one, much as it pains me – if only all issues could be so resolved.”

 

She reaches with one careful hand into her robe, saying as she does so, “Dacota, I will–”

 

But loud screams from behind you interrupt Sima’s words. Trembling, you turn, to see that Roxan and Dacota are screaming – and that a light is advancing up the alleyway towards you. In front of the light is a doomhound, who looks at Dacota with – well, you are not very sure what its body language conveys, but it does not seem aggressive. But Dacota and Roxan are frightened out of their wits by the doomhound.

 

“A doomhound! Dharani-reciter, you succeeded!” Roxan wails. “Let it spare us! Take this and go!”

 

She reaches into a pouch at her waist and tosses a reddish tube through the air towards you, which Sima catches. You are not sure what a dharani or a dombi are, but Sima’s relieved sigh tells you that you have other things to worry about. Thankfully, Dacota is too seized by panic to rebuke Roxan or attack Sima.

 

“I never should have gotten involved with mages! This doomhound – maybe it is the one with the cursing gaze!”

 

Seizing Roxan by the hand she drags Roxan down the alley and rushes past the approaching light, whose source you now recognize as a bemused Aaran Ledale.

 

“Greetings, Sima Venesico, [PCFullName],” he says formally, extinguishing the light that was floating in front of him. “I confess myself to have become a bit lost. I was at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor helping him to catch cheaters – I owe Feng a favor for…some reason – but then I found myself talking to a charming woman with cream colored skin and the most striking blue eyes who was fascinated by my Familiar Tepte and then we got to talking about my studies of…glamour magic and that must have affected my mind because I found myself in this strange alleyway with no memory of how I got here. At least I have Tepte with me, and my problem seems to have not manifested in any serious way.”

 

“Well, you certainly frightened away some robbers belonging to the Southside Pitts,” Sima replies. “If you had not intervened, I had only [PCFirstName] here to help me; had the help been inadequate, I know not what would have happened.”

 

“Really?” Aaran’s eyes gain an almost feverishly bright excitement. “I wish that I had been here to meet them. Such street gangs somewhat…interest me.”

 

“I doubt that they would have allowed that,” you reply. “Judging by their reaction to your familiar, you would have frightened them off.”

 

“If I and Tepte were frightening to no person, then my life would be much different…and better,” Aaran sighs, as he scratches Tepte’s ears. “I suppose, though, that my being here was a manifestation of pure luck being in your favor though, right, [PCFirstName]? Tyranny shall not prosper, whether as dragons who want to enslave us or as humans who unjustly rob us. Maybe you should reconsider having left Avila now that you have seen the importance of luck in helping people to escape danger. I suppose that I shall have to think deeply about my day tonight. Maybe at Callo’s Tavern – whose atmosphere much helps me to understand matters of luck. If we can get out of here, that is.”

 

“O there is no trouble with that,” Sima says, and she leads you all out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia grounds. Aaran thanks Sima but declines to stay with her or you any longer, muttering something about needing to research glamour spells in the Venalicium. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And what was that place? Was it really just a clever glamour?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? Although you did not try to help me, we were not at risk because I had money to pay all of Dacota’s demands and Aaran’s arrival spared us from any harm and me from having to pay any moey. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, due to your luck, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

She throws her head back with a laugh. “As for the alley, I know nothing about its origins or how it was made, but it is a convenient place, I find, for meeting with people who live outside the campus. The secret is knowing how to get into the alley.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets and the places that they frequent are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are glad that Sima will be spared from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of luck and related magico-theological issues. Queen Avila was more than a determined opponent of Draconic might – she was a skilled astrologer whose magics, it is said, dragons could not comprehend. [+ 1 Luck, + 1 skill level Pure Luck, add memory Dharanis and Drinks, + 1 skill level Pride of a Rebel Queen, + 1 skill level Cartography, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, Inform location Callo’s Tavern, +1 Stress, + 1 relationship with Aaran Ledale, + 1 relationship between Sima Venesico and Aaran Ledale, end adventure]

[If PC was a Student in Avila College in Y1 but is in Aranaz College]

 

You find yourself paralyzed with indecision about what to do. Sima has really gotten you into a deep problem, as far as you can see – Dacota, a leader in the Southside Pitts, wants more money for her presumably illegal service to Sima, and seems willing to use violence to get it. If you do the wrong thing to prevent her from collecting such money, and your plan fails, you –well, you would hate to think about how things could go wrong.

 

“What’s the matter?” Dacota’s words interrupt your spinning thoughts. “Unwilling to help your friend?”

 

“Or unable?” Roxan’s words are not accompanied by concern in her voice.

 

“In any case, I have better things to do than wait in this creepy alley while you struggle to be brave – although recognizing myself as the source of your fear is very nice.” Dacota pulls a knife from her belt and takes a step towards you. “So unless you resolve this issue by giving me the money that I want, this could get unpleasant – although how unpleasant is your choice.”

 

In desperation, you turn to Sima, thinking that since only she may fully understand why you are here trying to make this deal – although maybe even she knows only parts – she must have some way to help you.

 

“Dear friend,” you wail, as you fall to your knees before Sima, “if ever I helped you in your quest for the finest jewels that you desired, freeing you from strange magics without caring for my safety, help me to resolve this issue without violence or pain.”

 

Sima looks down at you with heavily lidded eyes, then looks behind you – to Dacota, you assume – before replying in a sad voice, “Although not all issues can be resolved easily without violence or pain, I can resolve this one, much as it pains me – if only all issues could be so resolved.”

 

She reaches with one careful hand into her robe, saying as she does so, “Dacota, I will–”

 

But loud screams from behind you interrupt Sima’s words. Trembling, you turn, to see that Roxan and Dacota are screaming – and that a light is advancing up the alleyway towards you. In front of the light is a doomhound, who looks at Dacota with – well, you are not very sure what its body language conveys, but it does not seem aggressive. But Dacota and Roxan are frightened out of their wits by the doomhound.

 

“A doomhound! Dharani-reciter, you succeeded!” Roxan wails. “Let it spare us! Take this and go!”

 

She reaches into a pouch at her waist and tosses a reddish tube through the air towards you, which Sima catches. You are not sure what a dharani or a dombi are, but Sima’s relieved sigh tells you that you have other things to worry about. Thankfully, Dacota is too seized by panic to rebuke Roxan or attack Sima.

 

“I never should have gotten involved with mages! This doomhound – maybe it is the one with the cursing gaze!”

 

Seizing Roxan by the hand she drags Roxan down the alley and rushes past the approaching light, whose source you now recognize as a bemused Aaran Ledale.

 

“Greetings, Sima Venesico, [PCFullName],” he says formally, extinguishing the light that was floating in front of him. “I confess myself to have become a bit lost. I was at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor helping him to catch cheaters – I owe Feng a favor for…some reason – but then I found myself talking to a charming woman with cream colored skin and the most striking blue eyes who was fascinated by my Familiar Tepte and then we got to talking about my studies of…glamour magic and that must have affected my mind because I found myself in this strange alleyway with no memory of how I got here. At least I have Tepte with me, and my problem seems to have not manifested in any serious way.”

 

“Well, you certainly frightened away some robbers belonging to the Southside Pitts,” Sima replies. “If you had not intervened, I had only [PCFirstName] here to help me; had the help been inadequate, I know not what would have happened.”

 

“Really?” Aaran’s eyes gain an almost feverishly bright excitement. “I wish that I had been here to meet them. Such street gangs somewhat…interest me.”

 

“I doubt that they would have allowed that,” you reply. “Judging by their reaction to your familiar, you would have frightened them off.”

 

“If I and Tepte were frightening to no person, then my life would be much different…and better,” Aaran sighs, as he scratches Tepte’s ears. “I suppose, though, that my being here was a manifestation of pure luck being in your favor though, right, [PCFirstName]? Tyranny shall not prosper, whether as dragons who want to enslave us or as humans who unjustly rob us. Maybe you should reconsider having left Avila for Aranaz, the college that scorns luck – or so I understand. I suppose that I shall have to think deeply about my day tonight. Maybe at Callo’s Tavern – whose atmosphere much helps me to understand matters of luck. If we can get out of here, that is.”

 

“O there is no trouble with that,” Sima says, and she leads you all out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia grounds. Aaran thanks Sima but declines to stay with her or you any longer, muttering something about needing to research glamour spells in the Venalicium. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And what was that place? Was it really just a clever glamour?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? Although you did not try to help me, we were not at risk because I had money to pay all of Dacota’s demands and Aaran’s arrival spared us from any harm and me from having to pay any moey. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, due to your luck, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

She throws her head back with a laugh. “As for the alley, I know nothing about its origins or how it was made, but it is a convenient place, I find, for meeting with people who live outside the campus. The secret is knowing how to get into the alley.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets and the places that they frequent are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are glad that Sima will be spared from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of luck and related magico-theological issues. King Aranaz had not led the fleets against the dragons, yet humanity had won the battle, while Queen Avila was more than a determined opponent of Draconic might – she was a skilled astrologer whose magics, it is said, dragons could not comprehend. [+ 1 Luck, + 1 skill level Pure Luck, add memory Dharanis and Drinks, + 2 skill levels Pride of a Rebel Queen, + 1 skill level Cartography, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, Inform location Callo’s Tavern, + 1 Stress, + 1 relationship with Aaran Ledale, + 1 relationship between Sima Venesico and Aaran Ledale, end adventure]

[If PC is a Student in Avila College and completed the Y1 adventure The Pitts]

 

You find yourself paralyzed with indecision about what to do. Sima has really gotten you into a deep problem, as far as you can see – Dacota, a leader in the Southside Pitts, wants more money for her presumably illegal service to Sima, and seems willing to use violence to get it. If you do the wrong thing to prevent her from collecting such money, and your plan fails, you –well, you would hate to think about how things could go wrong.

 

“What’s the matter?” Dacota’s words interrupt your spinning thoughts. “Unwilling to help your friend?”

 

“Or unable?” Roxan’s words are not accompanied by concern in her voice.

 

“In any case, I have better things to do than wait in this creepy alley while you struggle to be brave – although recognizing myself as the source of your fear is very nice.” Dacota pulls a knife from her belt and takes a step towards you. “So unless you resolve this issue by giving me the money that I want, this could get unpleasant – although how unpleasant is your choice.”

 

In desperation, you turn to Sima, thinking that since only she may fully understand why you are here trying to make this deal – although maybe even she knows only parts – she must have some way to help you.

 

“Dear friend,” you wail, as you fall to your knees before Sima, “if ever I helped you in your quest for the finest jewels that you desired, freeing you from strange magics without caring for my safety, help me to resolve this issue without violence or pain.”

 

Sima looks down at you with heavily lidded eyes, then looks behind you – to Dacota, you assume – before replying in a sad voice, “Although not all issues can be resolved easily without violence or pain, I can resolve this one, much as it pains me – if only all issues could be so resolved.”

 

She reaches with one careful hand into her robe, saying as she does so, “Dacota, I will–”

 

But loud screams from behind you interrupt Sima’s words. Trembling, you turn, to see that Roxan and Dacota are screaming – and that a light is advancing up the alleyway towards you. In front of the light is a doomhound, who looks at Dacota with – well, you are not very sure what its body language conveys, but it does not seem aggressive. But Dacota and Roxan are frightened out of their wits by the doomhound.

 

“A doomhound! Dharani-reciter, you succeeded!” Roxan wails. “Let it spare us! Take this and go!”

 

She reaches into a pouch at her waist and tosses a reddish tube through the air towards you, which Sima catches. You are not sure what a dharani or a dombi are, but Sima’s relieved sigh tells you that you have other things to worry about. Thankfully, Dacota is too seized by panic to rebuke Roxan or attack Sima.

 

“I never should have gotten involved with mages! This doomhound – maybe it is the one with the cursing gaze!”

 

Seizing Roxan by the hand she drags Roxan down the alley and rushes past the approaching light, whose source you now recognize as a bemused Aaran Ledale.

 

“Greetings, Sima Venesico, [PCFullName],” he says formally, extinguishing the light that was floating in front of him. “I hope that I am not interrupting anything too important between you – and that [PCFirstName] treats you better than how he treats his female Avila peers. I confess myself to have become a bit lost. I was at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor helping him to catch cheaters – I owe Feng a favor for…some reason – but then I found myself talking to a charming woman with cream colored skin and the most striking blue eyes who was fascinated by my Familiar Tepte and then we got to talking about my studies of…glamour magic and that must have affected my mind because I found myself in this strange alleyway with no memory of how I got here. At least I have Tepte with me, and my problem seems to have not manifested in any serious way.”

 

“Well, you certainly frightened away some robbers belonging to the Southside Pitts,” Sima replies. “If you had not intervened, I had only [PCFirstName] here to help me; had the help been inadequate, I know not what would have happened.”

 

“Really?” Aaran’s eyes gain an almost feverishly bright excitement. “I wish that I had been here to meet them. Such street gangs somewhat…interest me. I know that we dorm-tower eight boys were supposed to stick together last year, but I was so occupied with researching glamours and the law that I guess I was unable to help us. Maybe my helping you now was the gods’ ensuring that even I would be able to do my bit against the Southside Pitts.”

 

“If you had been with us from the beginning, Sima and I might not have been in trouble,” you reply. “Judging by their reaction to your familiar, you would have frightened them off.”

 

“If I and Tepte were frightening to no person, then my life would be much different…and better,” Aaran sighs, as he scratches Tepte’s ears. “I suppose, though, that my being here was a manifestation of pure luck being in your favor though, right, [PCFirstName]? But then, you are in Avila – you would not be with me, I hope, unless you were believing that luck and astrology are more than illusions to make living under tyrants easy. Tyranny shall not prosper, whether as dragons who want to enslave us or as humans who unjustly rob us. I suppose that I shall have to think deeply about my day tonight. Maybe at Callo’s Tavern – whose atmosphere much helps me to understand matters of luck. If we can get out of here, that is.”

 

“O there is no trouble with that,” Sima says, and she leads you all out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia grounds. Aaran thanks Sima but declines to stay with her or you any longer, muttering something about needing to research glamour spells in the Venalicium. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And what was that place? Was it really just a clever glamour?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? Although you did not try to help me, we were not at risk because I had money to pay all of Dacota’s demands and Aaran’s arrival spared us from any harm and me from having to pay any moey. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, due to your luck, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

She throws her head back with a laugh. “As for the alley, I know nothing about its origins or how it was made, but it is a convenient place, I find, for meeting with people who live outside the campus. The secret is knowing how to get into the alley.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets and the places that they frequent are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are glad that Sima will be spared from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of luck and related magico-theological issues. Queen Avila was more than a determined opponent of Draconic might after all – she was a skilled astrologer whose magics, it is said, dragons could not comprehend. [+ 1 Luck, + 1 skill level Pure Luck, add memory Dharanis and Drinks, + 1 skill level Pride of a Rebel Queen, + 1 skill level Romance, + 1 skill level Cartography, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, Inform location Callo’s Tavern, + 1 relationship with Aaran Ledale, + 1 relationship between Sima Venesico and Aaran Ledale, end adventure]

[If PC was a Student in Avila College in Y1 but is in another college not Aranaz and completed the Y1 adventure The Pitts]

 

You find yourself paralyzed with indecision about what to do. Sima has really gotten you into a deep problem, as far as you can see – Dacota, a leader in the Southside Pitts, wants more money for her presumably illegal service to Sima, and seems willing to use violence to get it. If you do the wrong thing to prevent her from collecting such money, and your plan fails, you –well, you would hate to think about how things could go wrong.

 

“What’s the matter?” Dacota’s words interrupt your spinning thoughts. “Unwilling to help your friend?”

 

“Or unable?” Roxan’s words are not accompanied by concern in her voice.

 

“In any case, I have better things to do than wait in this creepy alley while you struggle to be brave – although recognizing myself as the source of your fear is very nice.” Dacota pulls a knife from her belt and takes a step towards you. “So unless you resolve this issue by giving me the money that I want, this could get unpleasant – although how unpleasant is your choice.”

 

In desperation, you turn to Sima, thinking that since only she may fully understand why you are here trying to make this deal – although maybe even she knows only parts – she must have some way to help you.

 

“Dear friend,” you wail, as you fall to your knees before Sima, “if ever I helped you in your quest for the finest jewels that you desired, freeing you from strange magics without caring for my safety, help me to resolve this issue without violence or pain.”

 

Sima looks down at you with heavily lidded eyes, then looks behind you – to Dacota, you assume – before replying in a sad voice, “Although not all issues can be resolved easily without violence or pain, I can resolve this one, much as it pains me – if only all issues could be so resolved.”

 

She reaches with one careful hand into her robe, saying as she does so, “Dacota, I will–”

 

But loud screams from behind you interrupt Sima’s words. Trembling, you turn, to see that Roxan and Dacota are screaming – and that a light is advancing up the alleyway towards you. In front of the light is a doomhound, who looks at Dacota with – well, you are not very sure what its body language conveys, but it does not seem aggressive. But Dacota and Roxan are frightened out of their wits by the doomhound.

 

“A doomhound! Dharani-reciter, you succeeded!” Roxan wails. “Let it spare us! Take this and go!”

 

She reaches into a pouch at her waist and tosses a reddish tube through the air towards you, which Sima catches. You are not sure what a dharani or a dombi are, but Sima’s relieved sigh tells you that you have other things to worry about. Thankfully, Dacota is too seized by panic to rebuke Roxan or attack Sima.

 

“I never should have gotten involved with mages! This doomhound – maybe it is the one with the cursing gaze!”

 

Seizing Roxan by the hand she drags Roxan down the alley and rushes past the approaching light, whose source you now recognize as a bemused Aaran Ledale.

 

“Greetings, Sima Venesico, [PCFullName],” he says formally, extinguishing the light that was floating in front of him. “I hope that I am not interrupting anything too important between you – and that [PCFirstName]’s treatment of you has improved now that he is no longer occupying the affections of so many of his female Avila peers. I confess myself to have become a bit lost. I was at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor helping him to catch cheaters – I owe Feng a favor for…some reason – but then I found myself talking to a charming woman with cream colored skin and the most striking blue eyes who was fascinated by my Familiar Tepte and then we got to talking about my studies of…glamour magic and that must have affected my mind because I found myself in this strange alleyway with no memory of how I got here. At least I have Tepte with me, and my problem seems to have not manifested in any serious way.”

 

“Well, you certainly frightened away some robbers belonging to the Southside Pitts,” Sima replies. “If you had not intervened, I had only [PCFirstName] here to help me; had the help been inadequate, I know not what would have happened.”

 

“Really?” Aaran’s eyes gain an almost feverishly bright excitement. “I wish that I had been here to meet them. Such street gangs somewhat…interest me. I know that we dorm-tower eight boys were supposed to stick together last year, but I was so occupied with researching glamours and the law that I guess I was unable to help us. Maybe my helping you now was the gods’ ensuring that even I would be able to do my bit against the Southside Pitts – though you were not sticking in dorm-tower eight at all.”

 

“If you had been with us from the beginning, Sima and I might not have been in trouble,” you reply. “Judging by their reaction to your familiar, you would have frightened them off.”

 

“If I and Tepte were frightening to no person, then my life would be much different…and better,” Aaran sighs, as he scratches Tepte’s ears. “I suppose, though, that my being here was a manifestation of pure luck being in your favor though, right, [PCFirstName]? But then, you are in Avila – you would not be with me, I hope, unless you were believing that luck and astrology are more than illusions to make living under tyrants easy. Tyranny shall not prosper, whether as dragons who want to enslave us or as humans who unjustly rob us. I suppose that I shall have to think deeply about my day tonight. Maybe at Callo’s Tavern – whose atmosphere much helps me to understand matters of luck. If we can get out of here, that is.”

 

“O there is no trouble with that,” Sima says, and she leads you all out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia grounds. Aaran thanks Sima but declines to stay with her or you any longer, muttering something about needing to research glamour spells in the Venalicium. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And what was that place? Was it really just a clever glamour?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? Although you did not try to help me, we were not at risk because I had money to pay all of Dacota’s demands and Aaran’s arrival spared us from any harm and me from having to pay any moey. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, due to your luck, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

She throws her head back with a laugh. “As for the alley, I know nothing about its origins or how it was made, but it is a convenient place, I find, for meeting with people who live outside the campus. The secret is knowing how to get into the alley.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets and the places that they frequent are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are glad that Sima will be spared from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of luck and related magico-theological issues. Queen Avila was more than a determined opponent of Draconic might after all – she was a skilled astrologer whose magics, it is said, dragons could not comprehend. Maybe you were wrong to hAave left Avilas after all – and for more reasons than your loss of potential girlfriends. [+ 1 Luck, + 1 skill level Pure Luck, add memory Dharanis and Drinks, + 1 skill level Pride of a Rebel Queen, + 1 skill level Flirting, + 1 skill level Cartography, + 1 Stress, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, Inform location Callo’s Tavern, + 1 relationship with Aaran Ledale, + 1 relationship between Sima Venesico and Aaran Ledale, end adventure]

[If PC was a Student in Avila College in Y1 but is in Aranaz College and completed the Y1 adventure The Pitts]

 

You find yourself paralyzed with indecision about what to do. Sima has really gotten you into a deep problem, as far as you can see – Dacota, a leader in the Southside Pitts, wants more money for her presumably illegal service to Sima, and seems willing to use violence to get it. If you do the wrong thing to prevent her from collecting such money, and your plan fails, you –well, you would hate to think about how things could go wrong.

 

“What’s the matter?” Dacota’s words interrupt your spinning thoughts. “Unwilling to help your friend?”

 

“Or unable?” Roxan’s words are not accompanied by concern in her voice.

 

“In any case, I have better things to do than wait in this creepy alley while you struggle to be brave – although recognizing myself as the source of your fear is very nice.” Dacota pulls a knife from her belt and takes a step towards you. “So unless you resolve this issue by giving me the money that I want, this could get unpleasant – although how unpleasant is your choice.”

 

In desperation, you turn to Sima, thinking that since only she may fully understand why you are here trying to make this deal – although maybe even she knows only parts – she must have some way to help you.

 

“Dear friend,” you wail, as you fall to your knees before Sima, “if ever I helped you in your quest for the finest jewels that you desired, freeing you from strange magics without caring for my safety, help me to resolve this issue without violence or pain.”

 

Sima looks down at you with heavily lidded eyes, then looks behind you – to Dacota, you assume – before replying in a sad voice, “Although not all issues can be resolved easily without violence or pain, I can resolve this one, much as it pains me – if only all issues could be so resolved.”

 

She reaches with one careful hand into her robe, saying as she does so, “Dacota, I will–”

 

But loud screams from behind you interrupt Sima’s words. Trembling, you turn, to see that Roxan and Dacota are screaming – and that a light is advancing up the alleyway towards you. In front of the light is a doomhound, who looks at Dacota with – well, you are not very sure what its body language conveys, but it does not seem aggressive. But Dacota and Roxan are frightened out of their wits by the doomhound.

 

“A doomhound! Dharani-reciter, you succeeded!” Roxan wails. “Let it spare us! Take this and go!”

 

She reaches into a pouch at her waist and tosses a reddish tube through the air towards you, which Sima catches. You are not sure what a dharani or a dombi are, but Sima’s relieved sigh tells you that you have other things to worry about. Thankfully, Dacota is too seized by panic to rebuke Roxan or attack Sima.

 

“I never should have gotten involved with mages! This doomhound – maybe it is the one with the cursing gaze!”

 

Seizing Roxan by the hand she drags Roxan down the alley and rushes past the approaching light, whose source you now recognize as a bemused Aaran Ledale.

 

“Greetings, Sima Venesico, [PCFullName],” he says formally, extinguishing the light that was floating in front of him. “I hope that I am not interrupting anything too important between you – and that [PCFirstName] is not merely leading you on as practice for his efforts to seduce Emilia Strolin now that he is no longer occupying the affections of so many of his female Avila peers. Strolin is quite a catch for a male student of anything short of meaningful nobility – her father is wealthy enough that he bought a noble title unencumbered by litigation, yet he is too new to nobility to easily find a serious noble husband for her, come in time. Maybe I should –“

 

“Aaran,” Sima laughs with a bit of forced cheer. “I would never be so bold as to violate the rules against dating – not even with this peer to Cyrus Dawes, who is, despite your allegations, a perfect gentleman as far as all female students whom I have spoken to are concerned. He and I just happened to take wrong turns on our ways back to campus. Such things are not unknown to Mineta – maybe the stars are in such a way that some magical rift has opened to here.”

 

You are not sure whether it is Sima’s natural charm or reference to the power of the stars that makes Aaran so easily accept Sima’s lies, but he swallows his anger and speaks in more measured words.

 

“I, um, confess myself to have become a bit lost. I was at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor helping him to catch cheaters – I owe Feng a favor for…some reason – but then I found myself talking to a charming woman with cream colored skin and the most striking blue eyes who was fascinated by my Familiar Tepte and then we got to talking about my studies of…glamour magic and that must have affected my mind because I found myself in this strange alleyway with no memory of how I got here. At least I have Tepte with me, and my problem seems to have not manifested in any serious way.”

 

“Well, you certainly frightened away some robbers belonging to the Southside Pitts,” Sima replies. “If you had not intervened, I had only [PCFirstName] here to help me; had his help been inadequate, I know not what would have happened.”

 

“Really?” Aaran’s eyes gain an almost feverishly bright excitement. “I wish that I had been here to meet them. Such street gangs somewhat…interest me. I know that we dorm-tower eight boys were supposed to stick together last year, but I was so occupied with researching glamours and the law that I guess I was unable to help us. Maybe my helping you now was the gods’ ensuring that even I would be able to do my bit against the Southside Pitts – though you were not sticking in dorm-tower eight at all. I know that it was and is a bad place, but you chose Aranaz College –”

 

“If you had been with us from the beginning, Sima and I might not have been in trouble,” you cut off what might be another incipient rant. “Judging by their reaction to your familiar, you would have frightened them off.”

 

“If I and Tepte were frightening to no person, then my life would be much different…and better,” Aaran sighs, as he scratches Tepte’s ears. “I suppose, though, that my being here was a manifestation of pure luck being in your favor though, right, [PCFirstName]? But then, you were in Avila – you would not have been with me, I hope, unless you believed at some point that luck and astrology are more than illusions to make living under tyrants easy. Tyranny shall not prosper, whether as dragons who want to enslave us or as humans who unjustly rob us. I suppose that I shall have to think deeply about my day tonight. Maybe at Callo’s Tavern – whose atmosphere much helps me to understand matters of luck. If we can get out of here, that is.”

 

“O there is no trouble with that,” Sima says, and she leads you all out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia grounds. Aaran thanks Sima but declines to stay with her or you any longer, muttering something about needing to research glamour spells in the Venalicium. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And what was that place? Was it really just a clever glamour?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? Although you did not try to help me, we were not at risk because I had money to pay all of Dacota’s demands and Aaran’s arrival spared us from any harm and me from having to pay any money. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, due to your luck, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up my money. The only downside was that we had to listen to Aaran’s anti-Aranaz bigotry of the sort that, if left unchecked, could earn him more than merely laughter from…certain foreigners to this fair city.”

 

She throws her head back with a laugh. “As for the alley, I know nothing about its origins or how it was made, but it is a convenient place, I find, for meeting with people who live outside the campus. The secret is knowing how to get into the alley.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets and the places that they frequent are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are glad that Sima will be spared from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of luck and related magico-theological issues, despite King Aranaz’s disdain for plans that relied upon luck. Queen Avila was more than a determined opponent of Draconic might after all – she was a skilled astrologer whose magics, it is said, dragons could not comprehend.

 

As far as Aaran’s dislike of your having gone to Aranaz, you attribute that to his strange fixation with fate, which seems in part to have manifested in the form of belief that Aranaz College tries to cheat fate through careful planning. Leaving Avila meant a loss of potential girlfriends, but since it also meant avoiding Aaran’s general eccentricity – which this encounter has revealed may easily lead to negative feelings towards people – it is a good thing over all. Besides, Emilia Strolin may indeed be a good girlfriend for many reasons, some of which may be what Aaran suggested. [+ 1 Luck, + 1 skill level Pure Luck, add memory Dharanis and Drinks, + 1 skill level Pride of a Rebel Queen, + 1 skill level Character Study, + 1 skill level Honor of Mallen Field, + 1 skill level Dating, + 1 skill level Cartography, + 1 Stress, - 1 relation with Aaran Ledale, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, Inform location Callo’s Tavern, end adventure]

[If PC is a Student in Avila College and was in Aranaz during Y1]

 

You find yourself paralyzed with indecision about what to do. Sima has really gotten you into a deep problem, as far as you can see – Dacota, a leader in the Southside Pitts, wants more money for her presumably illegal service to Sima, and seems willing to use violence to get it. If you do the wrong thing to prevent her from collecting such money, and your plan fails, you –well, you would hate to think about how things could go wrong.

 

“What’s the matter?” Dacota’s words interrupt your spinning thoughts. “Unwilling to help your friend?”

 

“Or unable?” Roxan’s words are not accompanied by concern in her voice.

 

“In any case, I have better things to do than wait in this creepy alley while you struggle to be brave – although recognizing myself as the source of your fear is very nice.” Dacota pulls a knife from her belt and takes a step towards you. “So unless you resolve this issue by giving me the money that I want, this could get unpleasant – although how unpleasant is your choice.”

 

In desperation, you turn to Sima, thinking that since only she may fully understand why you are here trying to make this deal – although maybe even she knows only parts – she must have some way to help you.

 

“Dear friend,” you wail, as you fall to your knees before Sima, “if ever I helped you in your quest for the finest jewels that you desired, freeing you from strange magics without caring for my safety, help me to resolve this issue without violence or pain.”

 

Sima looks down at you with heavily lidded eyes, then looks behind you – to Dacota, you assume – before replying in a sad voice, “Although not all issues can be resolved easily without violence or pain, I can resolve this one, much as it pains me – if only all issues could be so resolved.”

 

She reaches with one careful hand into her robe, saying as she does so, “Dacota, I will–”

 

But loud screams from behind you interrupt Sima’s words. Trembling, you turn, to see that Roxan and Dacota are screaming – and that a light is advancing up the alleyway towards you. In front of the light is a doomhound, who looks at Dacota with – well, you are not very sure what its body language conveys, but it does not seem aggressive. But Dacota and Roxan are frightened out of their wits by the doomhound.

 

“A doomhound! Dharani-reciter, you succeeded!” Roxan wails. “Let it spare us! Take this and go!”

 

She reaches into a pouch at her waist and tosses a reddish tube through the air towards you, which Sima catches. You are not sure what a dharani or a dombi are, but Sima’s relieved sigh tells you that you have other things to worry about. Thankfully, Dacota is too seized by panic to rebuke Roxan or attack Sima.

 

“I never should have gotten involved with mages! This doomhound – maybe it is the one with the cursing gaze!”

 

Seizing Roxan by the hand she drags Roxan down the alley and rushes past the approaching light, whose source you now recognize as a bemused Aaran Ledale.

 

“Greetings, Sima Venesico, [PCFullName],” he says formally, extinguishing the light that was floating in front of him. “I confess myself to have become a bit lost. I was at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor helping him to catch cheaters – I owe Feng a favor for…some reason – but then I found myself talking to a charming woman with cream colored skin and the most striking blue eyes who was fascinated by my Familiar Tepte and then we got to talking about my studies of…glamour magic and that must have affected my mind because I found myself in this strange alleyway with no memory of how I got here. At least I have Tepte with me, and my problem seems to have not manifested in any serious way.”

 

“Well, you certainly frightened away some robbers belonging to the Southside Pitts,” Sima replies. “If you had not intervened, I had only [PCFirstName] here to help me; had the help been inadequate, I know not what would have happened.”

 

“Really?” Aaran’s eyes gain an almost feverishly bright excitement. “I wish that I had been here to meet them. Such street gangs somewhat…interest me.”

 

“I doubt that they would have allowed that,” you reply. “Judging by their reaction to your familiar, you would have frightened them off.”

 

“If I and Tepte were frightening to no person, then my life would be much different…and better,” Aaran sighs, as he scratches Tepte’s ears. “I suppose, though, that my being here was a manifestation of pure luck being in your favor though, right, [PCFirstName]? But then, you are in Avila – you would not be with me, I hope, unless you were believing that luck and astrology are more than illusions to make living under tyrants easy. Tyranny shall not prosper, whether as dragons who want to enslave us or as humans who unjustly rob us. Sure this has convinced you all the more that you were right to abandon the fate-swindling Aranaz College in favor of Avila! I suppose that I shall have to think deeply about my day tonight. Maybe at Callo’s Tavern – whose atmosphere much helps me to understand matters of luck. If we can get out of here, that is.”

 

“O there is no trouble with that,” Sima says, and she leads you all out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia grounds. Aaran thanks Sima but declines to stay with her or you any longer, muttering something about needing to research glamour spells in the Venalicium. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And what was that place? Was it really just a clever glamour?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? Although you did not try to help me, we were not at risk because I had money to pay all of Dacota’s demands and Aaran’s arrival spared us from any harm and me from having to pay any moey. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, due to your luck, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

She throws her head back with a laugh. “As for the alley, I know nothing about its origins or how it was made, but it is a convenient place, I find, for meeting with people who live outside the campus. The secret is knowing how to get into the alley.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets and the places that they frequent are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are glad that Sima will be spared from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of luck and related magico-theological issues. Queen Avila was more than a determined opponent of Draconic might after all – she was a skilled astrologer whose magics, it is said, dragons could not comprehend. That having been said, you would not condemn Aranaz College as a College of fate-swindlers – they taught you useful skills, you think. [+ 1 Luck, + 1 skill level Pure Luck, add memory Dharanis and Drinks, + 1 skill level Pride of a Rebel Queen, + 1 skill level Honor of Mallen Field, + 1 skill level Cartography, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, Inform location Callo’s Tavern, + 1 relationship between Sima Venesico and Aaran Ledale, end adventure]

[If PC is a Student in Avila College and was in a College not Aranaz during Y1]

 

You find yourself paralyzed with indecision about what to do. Sima has really gotten you into a deep problem, as far as you can see – Dacota, a leader in the Southside Pitts, wants more money for her presumably illegal service to Sima, and seems willing to use violence to get it. If you do the wrong thing to prevent her from collecting such money, and your plan fails, you –well, you would hate to think about how things could go wrong.

 

“What’s the matter?” Dacota’s words interrupt your spinning thoughts. “Unwilling to help your friend?”

 

“Or unable?” Roxan’s words are not accompanied by concern in her voice.

 

“In any case, I have better things to do than wait in this creepy alley while you struggle to be brave – although recognizing myself as the source of your fear is very nice.” Dacota pulls a knife from her belt and takes a step towards you. “So unless you resolve this issue by giving me the money that I want, this could get unpleasant – although how unpleasant is your choice.”

 

In desperation, you turn to Sima, thinking that since only she may fully understand why you are here trying to make this deal – although maybe even she knows only parts – she must have some way to help you.

 

“Dear friend,” you wail, as you fall to your knees before Sima, “if ever I helped you in your quest for the finest jewels that you desired, freeing you from strange magics without caring for my safety, help me to resolve this issue without violence or pain.”

 

Sima looks down at you with heavily lidded eyes, then looks behind you – to Dacota, you assume – before replying in a sad voice, “Although not all issues can be resolved easily without violence or pain, I can resolve this one, much as it pains me – if only all issues could be so resolved.”

 

She reaches with one careful hand into her robe, saying as she does so, “Dacota, I will–”

 

But loud screams from behind you interrupt Sima’s words. Trembling, you turn, to see that Roxan and Dacota are screaming – and that a light is advancing up the alleyway towards you. In front of the light is a doomhound, who looks at Dacota with – well, you are not very sure what its body language conveys, but it does not seem aggressive. But Dacota and Roxan are frightened out of their wits by the doomhound.

 

“A doomhound! Dharani-reciter, you succeeded!” Roxan wails. “Let it spare us! Take this and go!”

 

She reaches into a pouch at her waist and tosses a reddish tube through the air towards you, which Sima catches. You are not sure what a dharani or a dombi are, but Sima’s relieved sigh tells you that you have other things to worry about. Thankfully, Dacota is too seized by panic to rebuke Roxan or attack Sima.

 

“I never should have gotten involved with mages! This doomhound – maybe it is the one with the cursing gaze!”

 

Seizing Roxan by the hand she drags Roxan down the alley and rushes past the approaching light, whose source you now recognize as a bemused Aaran Ledale.

 

“Greetings, Sima Venesico, [PCFullName],” he says formally, extinguishing the light that was floating in front of him. “I confess myself to have become a bit lost. I was at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor helping him to catch cheaters – I owe Feng a favor for…some reason – but then I found myself talking to a charming woman with cream colored skin and the most striking blue eyes who was fascinated by my Familiar Tepte and then we got to talking about my studies of…glamour magic and that must have affected my mind because I found myself in this strange alleyway with no memory of how I got here. At least I have Tepte with me, and my problem seems to have not manifested in any serious way.”

 

“Well, you certainly frightened away some robbers belonging to the Southside Pitts,” Sima replies. “If you had not intervened, I had only [PCFirstName] here to help me; had the help been inadequate, I know not what would have happened.”

 

“Really?” Aaran’s eyes gain an almost feverishly bright excitement. “I wish that I had been here to meet them. Such street gangs somewhat…interest me.”

 

“I doubt that they would have allowed that,” you reply. “Judging by their reaction to your familiar, you would have frightened them off.”

 

“If I and Tepte were frightening to no person, then my life would be much different…and better,” Aaran sighs, as he scratches Tepte’s ears. “I suppose, though, that my being here was a manifestation of pure luck being in your favor though, right, [PCFirstName]? But then, you are in Avila – you would not be with me, I hope, unless you were believing that luck and astrology are more than illusions to make living under tyrants easy. Tyranny shall not prosper, whether as dragons who want to enslave us or as humans who unjustly rob us. Sure this has convinced you all the more that you were right to transfer into Avila! I suppose that I shall have to think deeply about my day tonight. Maybe at Callo’s Tavern – whose atmosphere much helps me to understand matters of luck. If we can get out of here, that is.”

 

“O there is no trouble with that,” Sima says, and she leads you all out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia grounds. Aaran thanks Sima but declines to stay with her or you any longer, muttering something about needing to research glamour spells in the Venalicium. Sima then creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And what was that place? Was it really just a clever glamour?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? Although you did not try to help me, we were not at risk because I had money to pay all of Dacota’s demands and Aaran’s arrival spared us from any harm and me from having to pay any moey. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, due to your luck, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

She throws her head back with a laugh. “As for the alley, I know nothing about its origins or how it was made, but it is a convenient place, I find, for meeting with people who live outside the campus. The secret is knowing how to get into the alley.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets and the places that they frequent are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are glad that Sima will be spared from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of luck and related magico-theological issues. Queen Avila was more than a determined opponent of Draconic might after all – she was a skilled astrologer whose magics, it is said, dragons could not comprehend. [+ 1 Luck, + 1 skill level Pure Luck, add memory Dharanis and Drinks, + 2 skill levels Pride of a Rebel Queen, + 1 skill level Cartography, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, Inform location Callo’s Tavern, + 1 relationship with Aaran Ledale, + 1 relationship between Sima Venesico and Aaran Ledale, end adventure]

Failure

 

You do not know how to avoid hurting yourself – especially with your use of magic so limited. Sima has really gotten into a deep problem, as far as you can see – Dacota, a leader in the Southside Pitts, wants more money for her presumably illegal service to Sima, and seems willing to use violence to get it. If you do the wrong thing to prevent her from collecting such money, and your plan fails, thinks could go very wrong. Maybe if you just try to delay them, something will happen to save you.

“What’s the matter?” Dacota’s taunting voice interrupts your fearful thoughts. “Unwilling to help your friend?”

“Or unable?” Roxan’s words are not accompanied by concern in her voice.

“In any case, I have better things to do than wait in this creepy alley while you struggle to be brave – although recognizing myself as the source of your fear is very nice.” Dacota pulls a knife from her belt and takes a step towards you. “So unless you resolve this issue by giving me the money that I want, this could get unpleasant – although how unpleasant is your choice.”

In desperation, you turn to Sima, thinking that she must have some way to help you. She is Sima after all – some sort of…well, you aren’t exactly sure what, but more than your average 14 year old student mage.

“Dear friend,” you wail, as you fall to your knees before Sima, “help me with this.”

Sima looks down at you with heavily lidded eyes, then looks behind you – to Dacota, you assume – before replying in a sad voice, “I can help you – if only all issues could be so resolved.”

She reaches with one careful hand into her robe, saying as she does so, “Dacota, I will pay you the added money. Just…put the knife away and leave us alone.”

Dacota carefully puts the knfe away before rushing forwards. She seizes Sima by her hands and pulls her into a grotesque embrace so that Sima’s body shields her own. Sima does not struggle, but merely says, “There is no need for such caution. Dacota, you can take my wand and let me release one of my hands so that I can write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me.”

Dacota agrees with suspicion, but is mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota is practically smiling.

“I am so glad, Sima,” she gushes, “that we were able to resolve this issue so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to her what she lent you, then we must go!”

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out cheerfully. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, coward,” Roxan replies. “The two of you should both become dombis, if such is possible in Mineta. Better a dombi then a person who pretends to be brave when real courage is needed.”

Being insulted by a girl who seems to be some type of criminal is another humiliation, but Dacota jerks Roxan away with a laugh and retreats into the mist before Roxan can give more insults or you can give her a piece of your anger.

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “Dacota was giddy with stress after robbing me – she will be hanged if convicted for what she just did to me, and that is on top of the hanging that she would get if convicted as a leader of a criminal gang. And that is not even taking into account the fact that not all student mages are as defenceless as I may be – I pity the robber who attacks a Contu student or even a Godina student. She got lucky with us, and she knows it. But if she were not bold, she would not be a leader.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money when you could have paid her so easily?”

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? Unfortunately, you were too frightened to do anything to help me. Still, it is written that war spares not the brave person but the cowardly person, and the warrior who gives a shield to the enemy in order to flee the fight will easily survive where warriors who fight may not. With my funds reduced, other people in my life…will not be happy, shall we say? It would have been nice if you could have saved me such money, but I was the one who got so involved with the Southside Pitts and you tried to help me. I wonder if Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo might be able to make up my money.”

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. But now that she has all but called you a coward, maybe you will have less opportunity to be her friend. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Famous Prose, + 1 Skill level Famous Poetry, + 1 Fitness, - 5 relationship with Sima Venesico, + 5 stress, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 2 skill levels Tactics to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has 800 pims] Pay Dacota what she wants. [Auto]

 

Without further ado, you remove from beneath your robes a series of pouches, which you hand to Dacota.

“Count the money in these, Dacota,” you say. “These should be containing enough pims to pay for my friend’s…added expenses.”

Dacota does not hesitate, but seizes the bags, opens them, and counts through their contents. Although she is not fast, she is thorough and does not force Sima or you to wait too long. Once she is done, she looks up at yuou and says, “Well, you are more than a bodyguard to your friend. You are a good cart for her also – or maybe a warehouse.”

Roxan laughs. Then she says to Sima, “You still must give us your portion of the money.”

Once Sima has removed from beneath the fold of her cloak q pouch that she gives to Roxan, Roxan gives Sima the reddish-brown cylinder, before saying to you, “I think that I cannot improve upon the Domna’s words, cart.” Then she and Dacota go off into the mists.

Sima leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?”

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? You helped me in the most obvious way, but sometimes the most obvious ways are the best ways to succeed. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, due to your ability to pay pims sufficient for Dacota’s greed, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You hope that all problems that she and the other triplets face could be as easily solved as this one was, although you doubt that they will be. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, - 800 pims, + 1 skill level Accounting, + 1 Skill level Applications of Arithmetic, + 1 Strength, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Accounting to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has 710 pims] Pay Dacota the lowered fee that she has agreed to. [Auto]

 

Without further ado, you remove from beneath your robes a series of pouches, which you hand to Dacota.

“Count the money in these, Dacota,” you say. “These should be containing enough pims to pay for my friend’s…added expenses.”

Dacota does not hesitate, but seizes the bags, opens them, and counts through their contents. Although she is not fast, she is thorough and does not force Sima or you to wait too long. Once she is done, she looks up at yuou and says, “Well, you are more than a bodyguard to your friend. You could be a good banker to her.”

Roxan laughs. Then she says to Sima, “You still must give us your portion of the money.”

Once Sima has removed from beneath the fold of her cloak q pouch that she gives to Roxan, Roxan gives Sima the reddish-brown cylinder, before saying to you, “I think that I cannot improve upon the Domna’s words, banker.” Then she and Dacota go off into the mists.

Sima leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?”

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? You helped me in the most obvious way, but sometimes the most obvious ways are the best ways to succeed – and you were smart enough to be able to lower Dacota’s price, to your benefit and the benefit of our time. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, due to your ability to pay pims sufficient for Dacota’s greed, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You hope that all problems that she and the other triplets face could be as easily solved as this one was, although you doubt that they will be. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, - 710 pims, + 1 skill level Accounting, + 1 Skill level Applications of Arithmetic, + 1 Skill level Negotiate, + 1 Strength, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 2 skill levels Accounting to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

 

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1 hour ago, Rhialto said:

Sima’s Confrontation:

  Reveal hidden contents

When your eyes adjust to the shadowy space between buildings into which Sima has led you, you are relieved to see that she has not led you to an ambushing group of pirates, a mage of great power and unknown friendliness, or a meeting with Legate Orsi. Given that you are travelling with Sima, you feel that you should not be embarrassed that you seriously thought such things possible.

But although there is no surprising person whom you can see, the place where you are is surprising enough to your eyes. You and Sima are standing within an alleyway shrouded with mist and strewn with garbage. By itself, this would not be unusual – Mineta is a large enough city to have many alleys, and if even one half of one tenth of the hints about the Triplets’ deeds are true they must know many alleyways to interesting places that the City Guard would love to know about. But there is, to the best of your knowledge, no alleyway of this length in this part of the Academagia’s campus – and the walls that form the alleyway resemble no exteriors of buildings currently within the campus. Admittedly, the walls are too covered with dirty and torn paper covered with writing – in characters that you are not familiar with – for you to make out what the walls are made from, but since the Academagia permits no walls to be so thickly covered with papers – not even the Vernin College Message Board – this remains as proof that the walls are not familiar to you from Academagia. Or anywhere, for that matter. You know of no script that is so based upon circles and crossed lines with other lines radiating out from the circles or crossed lines.

This is disturbing enough on its own – your mind is forced to think of powerful glamours as the safest explanation, and you are relieved that no stars can be seen through the overhanging upper floors of buildings in the white sky – but Sima’s growing tension suggests that something in addition to the strange location may be wrong.

“Where are they? They were supposed to be waiting for me. Be wary and try not to mention my name. This could be an ambush. And be careful about how you use magic in this place – magic beyond glamours does strange things here at times, especially revision, incantation, mastery, and gates. This place seems to change quite often – it did not resemble this last time.”

You are shaken by how casually Sima mentions mastery and gates magic, but figure that now is not the time to question her about it – besides, maybe she just read about the use of those pillars in some long-forgotten manuscript that told her about this alley. There are many strange books in the Venalicium, you think, most of them making true claims.

“Yeah. About that,” you reply in what you hope is a casual voice that will convince listeners that you are a powerful mage who can fight off any opponent rather than an increasingly confused student. “Ambushes are easy to fight against when one knows who might be expected to prepare an ambush. Besides, maybe they are just late. This place is very confusing to newcomers.” You laugh, hoping to disguise the fact that you, as a newcomer to this place, are one of the confused.

Sima makes no effort to reply to you, and your confusion is only reduced by the fear that arises when you hear a harsh barking laugh – of the sort that Sima would never make outside a performance – and the word “You!” It does not sound friendly, and your wand rises into a better casting position, but Sima pats your arm down as her wand creates a light. Then she calls out in her clearest voice:

“Dacota! I am at this light. I hope that the mist is not too bad for you!”

“If you think that the mist in this gods-hated alley is worst, then you are stranger than I thought!”

From the mist emerge two people dressed in ragged clothing. One throws back the hood on her cloak to reveal a young woman with dirty blonde hair formed into many short beaded braids – whose face is currently scowling at Sima. The other, a girl of around 10 years with black hair cut short to her head, lacks a cloak, and her movements lack her older companion’s aggression. Nonetheless, her body moves quickly and her eyes are roaming in constant search, made only slightly slower by clear amazement – perhaps this alleyway is as unfamiliar to her as it is to you. When she speaks, however, it is with a calmness that causes Sima to reveal surprise and Dacota to lower her chin and become less visibly angry.

”Better to meet in a strange place with only two people than a familiar place with many enemies – or to not meet at all those who owe us money.” Her accent is strange even for Mineta, but it does not sound like a Bassan accent – maybe she is Saisynian? Her appearance would not rule it out.

Sima coos at her, “Is this the little prodigy who knows how to read whom Dacota said would help me with my problems? Show me the reddish-brown cylinder that I lent you and showed you how to use – and that you used, I assume – and you will have my gratitude, and you and your friends will have my money.”

The girl makes a move towards a pouch at her waist, but Dacota slaps her hand away and says, “Now is not the time to give her the reddish-brown cylinder, Roxan! You read much and have clever fingers for gears and eyes for hidden things, but in the ways of money I am better! Much planning and risk went into our fulfilling this…dombi’s request,” and here Dacota’s voice evinces a puzzlement matched in Sima’s eyes about what a dombi is, “and she must pay us money for your efforts.”

“But, Dom’na, what if the dombi cannot pay? Will she not learn about my skills?”

Sima decides to interrupt this strange girl’s apparently incipient anger. “Payment shall be as we agreed, Dacota. I have three hundred pims for you, after which you, Roxan, can return to me what I lent you.”

This seems to mollify Roxan, but Dacota’s hand seizes Roxan’s pouch and she says to Sima, “Three hundred pims? After all of that work and risk by us? Surely we Southside Pitts deserve more friendliness from you after that – after all, we still have the reddish-brown cylinder.”

“You make it sound as if I had you break into an archmage’s fortified compound or a prison, Pitts,” Sima replies, “but it was not nearly so dangerous. Especially with my help.”

Dacota gives a predatory grin. “I am sure, Miss, that a lot of people in the fancy school where you learn about magic and speaking quietly of riddles and other fine and fey stuff would be very interested to now about your help to us – to say nothing about the Captain of Mineta’s guards. Certainly, your task for us was not dangerous, but we prepared for great danger, as the wise do when dealing with magic. It was as if a great lord from the Chards had sent forth an army to capture a deer! The army must be paid regardless of whether it captures a deer or kills a dragon.”

“To call the Southside Pitts an army would be giving it too much praise. But what do you want from me?”

“Isn’t it obvious, dombi? The Dom’na wants more money!” Roxan’s voice sounds strangely happy and excited, as if this were some great game to her.

Sima sighs, looks at you, and then says, “Dacota, Roxan, I do not want to create controversy or beget brawling; my friend is here as a bodyguard to protect me rather than to ambush you. But I do not want to be taken advantage of – and this is what you are doing by changing the terms of our agreement against my will so late in the arrangement.”

“And I want my brother to be safer in his searches for knowledge,” Dacota snarls. “But we cannot all get get what we all want at all times. This makes the times when we can get what we want precious. I want one thousand one hundred pims from you. If you want to pay less, you should not have met me in a misty alley with only one friend for company. But I am a woman of my word. Pay me the money and Roxan will return to you what you lent to us!”

“I am not in the habit of carry around one thousand one hundred pims with me wherever I go,” Sima says, her lips tightening. “Such a large amount of money could easily be lost or stolen by certain people…such as you.”

Roxan giggles.

“Pity that you don’t use your great magical powers to carry more money,” Dacota says. “Maybe that is why magic school is useless for me – even if I could read. Memorizing all the phemes and learning about how to bend the world as you want it is really useless if you don’t use any of that power to carry loads of money with you at all times – secure from theft, ideally. But don’t you worry about your debt to me, mageling. If you won’t give us the money, we’ll search you for other valuables, and then we’ll see about other solutions. The fine purple overrobe that you wear – some child from a rich family may want to dress as a Hedi student for some Dance of Fools, and what better way to give a Hedi costume authenticity then with a real Hedi robe? Or those shoes that you wear – do you really need them for standing around inside, especially given that the Academagia has fires and many carpets?”

“Well, speaking quietly of riddles has its own advantages in dealing with your threats, such as my bodyguard here.” Sima turns to you. “Deal with these gang-members however you want. I look forward to seeing what you do.”

“Good reply, dombi! Hey, dombi’s friend, if you do well here, I’ll give you a nice title, like I gave to Dom’na Dacota!”

Looking at Dacota’s scowl, you see that you are not the only one exasperated at having extremely sensitive – and criminal – dealings reduced to some sort of spectator sport for a child’s amusement.

Still, you have to start something. No person unwilling to engage in illegal violence joins a street gang, and Dacota’s eagerness for money could easily lead her to attack you.

  Reveal hidden contents

[If PC has memory Sima’s Wit] Bluff. Try to make Sima sound like a mage whom even great mages fear.

  Reveal hidden contents

Success

  Reveal hidden contents

[If PC has no Affection or Love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

Remembering Sima’s interest in the theater and her ability to trick people with ambiguities, you hope that she is willing to put on a performance that could save her life – or at least her money.

“Roxan, your boss-lady Dacota is going in way over her head in this,” you try to say in a tone of voice that could be seen as tough or sympathetic. “Of all the student mages whom she had to try to rob, she chose Sima Venesico. Now, I know not how common either name is in the world, but I know that when this Sima Venesico tells people to do something, they do it!”

Sima smiles and nods enthusiastically to a frowning Dacota. “Yes. Do you know Phillippe Marchant – perhaps from his involvement in cart racing? He and his brothers are powerfully built and come from a powerful family. Yet whenever I come upon him beating up someone in Academagia whom I want to protect, I just whisper in his ear and he stops and becomes very friendly.”

“So what?” Dacota retorts, her face trying to maintain its fearsomeness. “Even if you have all of this power and you really are Sima Venesico, your power is only useful in fancy diplomatic stuff! You Hedi mages and students think you have such power through your fine words and glamours, but you are nothing when confronting a fist or a knife.”

“But Dacota,” you reply, “Sima is no ordinary student in Hedi, nor even an ordinary mage. She has powerful magic and skills, with which she was able to impress the Academagia’s Legate and defeat a powerful magical creature.”

Sima understands where you are going and joins in. “And you know how powerful the Academagia’s Legate is, right? He uses a man of great wisdom and cunning as his janitor because he is so superior to him. Rumor has it that the Captain of Mineta is planning to give him an Archmageship because of his greatness – and he believes that the Academagia’s Legate is so powerful and skilled that the Golden Families would not object. I am honoured to be the Academagia’s Legate student. And yet, I greatly surprised him with my powerful magic when we first met for my personal testing. Wanna know how?” Her trailing question has playful lilt that invites curiosity.

Dacota’s answer is cut off by Roxan’s excited squeal. “Yes, dombi, tell us! In my home islands, dombis are professional entertainers, but you are better than they are!”

Ignoring Dacota’s sigh, Sima replies with a light laugh. “The world has many cultures, Roxan, and I am honored to be known for my skills in many languages. But I was honored by the Academagia’s Legate in the following way. I, being so brilliant, wanted to show my brilliance and avoid the Legate’s tedious testing. So I persuaded him to bring me to a unicorn – the Academagia has many such creatures – with the promise that if I could force the unicorn from its feet for ten seconds, I would no longer be needed to be tested by the Academagia’s Legate. The Legate of Academagia agreed, saying that since not even he could do such a thing, he would be interested in seeing how I failed to hold it down for five seconds. But I, using my magical powers, knocked the unicorn to the ground and pinned it for fifteen seconds before he interrupted my count and told me that I was a powerful mage who deserved special instruction. Do you really want to risk robbing me?”

Roxan squeaks and shakes her head, but Dacota says, her eyes hardening, “Why should we believe your claims? If you are so powerful, why did you bring a bodyguard?”

Recognizing this as the time to deliver a witty line to shatter Dacota’s confidence, you say, “But Dacota, Sima would go to a meeting with a member of the Southside Pitts with only one person if she were either very naïve or very powerful. So tell me, are you willing to risk everything on the assumption – unsupported by Sima’s conduct – that she is a naïve fool, or will you play it safe by accepting the money that she has offered you?”

Dacota hesitates, then looks at Roxan, who is looking at her with eyes that seem tensely expectant. But then she jerks her head in a nod and says softly and slowly, as if trying to persuade herself, “Roxan is a skillful thief, and she knows how to read, and she urges caution. Very well. Sima – if this is your name – I accept our original agreement.”

Sima gives her a pouch of money, after which Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out cheerfully. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, dombi-feeder,” Roxan replies. “The two of you should both become dombis, if such is possible in Mineta.”

You are not sure how to respond to Roxan’s comment – is she saying that you feed Sima opportunities to be a great entertainer? – but Dacota jerks Roxan away with a snarl and retreats into the mist.

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?”

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which I used genuine aspects of my life to make myself seem more powerful to them, was ingenious. Any shortage of pims now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not have been happy. I thank you for sparing me from having to go to Iustus, Cyrus, Cirillo, or…certain other sources in order to be able to make for my shortage of money.”

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – to say nothing of her having to associate with people whom you suspect, based upon what little you know about Sima, Tabin, and Magsa’s activities, would make the type of people who gather at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor seem perfectly suited for one of Regent Badcrumble’s tea parties. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, +1 Charm, + 1 skill level Wit, + 1 skill level Acting, + 1 Skill level Wordliness, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Wit to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Acting to Sima Venesico, + 1 Skill level Wordliness to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has Affection or Love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

Remembering Sima’s interest in the theater and her ability to trick people with ambiguities, you hope that she is willing to put on a performance that could save her life – or at least her money.

“Roxan, your boss-lady Dacota is going in way over her head in this,” you try to say in a tone of voice that could be seen as tough or sympathetic. “Of all the student mages whom she had to try to rob, she chose Sima Venesico. Now, I know not how common either name is in the world, but I know that when this Sima Venesico tells people to do something, they do it!”

Sima smiles and nods enthusiastically to a frowning Dacota. “Yes. Do you know Phillippe Marchant – perhaps from his involvement in cart racing? He and his brothers are powerfully built and come from a powerful family. Yet whenever I come upon him beating up someone in Academagia whom I want to protect, I just whisper in his ear and he stops and becomes very friendly.”

“So what?” Dacota retorts, her face trying to maintain its fearsomeness. “Even if you have all of this power and you really are Sima Venesico, your power is only useful in fancy diplomatic stuff! You Hedi mages and students think you have such power through your fine words and glamours, but you are nothing when confronting a fist or a knife.”

“But Dacota,” you reply, “Sima is no ordinary student in Hedi, nor even an ordinary mage. She has powerful magic and skills, with which she was able to impress the Academagia’s Legate and defeat a powerful magical creature.”

Sima understands where you are going and joins in. “And you know how powerful the Academagia’s Legate is, right? He uses a man of great wisdom and cunning as his janitor because he is so superior to him. Rumor has it that the Captain of Mineta is planning to give him an Archmageship because of his greatness – and he believes that the Academagia’s Legate is so powerful and skilled that the Golden Families would not object. I am honored to be the Academagia’s Legate student. And yet, I greatly surprised him with my powerful magic when we first met for my personal testing. Wanna know how?” Her trailing question has playful lilt that invites curiosity.

Dacota’s answer is cut off by Roxan’s excited squeal. “Yes, dombi, tell us! In my home islands, dombis are professional entertainers, but you are better than they are!”

Ignoring Dacota’s sigh, Sima replies with a light laugh. “The world has many cultures, Roxan, and I am honored to be known for my skills in many languages. But I was honored by the Academagia’s Legate in the following way. I, being so brilliant, wanted to show my brilliance and avoid the Legate’s tedious testing. So I persuaded him to bring me to a unicorn – the Academagia has many such creatures – with the promise that if I could force the unicorn from its feet for ten seconds, I would no longer be needed to be tested by the Academagia’s Legate. The Legate of Academagia agreed, saying that since not even he could do such a thing, he would be interested in seeing how I failed to hold it down for five seconds. But I, using my magical powers, knocked the unicorn to the ground and pinned it for fifteen seconds before he interrupted my count and told me that I was a powerful mage who deserved special instruction. Do you really want to risk robbing me?”

Roxan squeaks and shakes her head, but Dacota says, her eyes hardening, “Why should we believe your claims? If you are so powerful, why did you bring a bodyguard?”

Recognizing this as the time to deliver a witty line to shatter Dacota’s confidence, you say, “But Dacota, Sima would go to a meeting with a member of the Southside Pitts with only one person if she were either very naïve or very powerful. So tell me, are you willing to risk everything on the assumption – unsupported by Sima’s conduct – that she is a naïve fool, or will you play it safe by accepting the money that she has offered you?”

Dacota hesitates, then looks at Roxan, who is looking at her with eyes that seem tensely expectant. But then she jerks her head in a nod and says softly, as if trying to persuade herself, “Roxan is a skillful thief, and she knows how to read, and she urges caution. Very well. Sima – if this is your name – I accept our original agreement.”

Sima gives her a pouch of money, after which Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out cheerfully. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, dombi-feeder,” Roxan replies. “The two of you should both become dombis, if such is possible in Mineta.”

You are not sure how to respond to Roxan’s comment – is she saying that you feed Sima opportunities to be a great entertainer? – but Dacota Jerks Roxan away with a snarl and retreats into the mist.

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?”

“You are a valuable friend whom I adore, whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion and affection flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships and possibly great love are made of? And your solution, in which I used genuine aspects of my life to make myself seem more powerful to them, was ingenious. Any shortage of pims now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not have been happy. I thank you for sparing me from having to go to Iustus, Cyrus, Cirillo, or…certain other sources in order to be able to make for my shortage of money.”

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – to say nothing of having to associate with the handsome Cyrus Dawes, the easily controlled Iustus Venture, the cheating Cirillo Laziosi, or people whom you suspect, based upon what little you know about Sima, Tabin, and Magsa’s activities, would make the type of people who gather at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor seem perfectly suited for one of Regent Badcrumble’s tea parties. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, +1 Charm, + 1 skill level Wit, + 1 skill level Acting, + 1 Skill level Wordliness, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Wit to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Acting to Sima Venesico, + 1 Skill level Wordliness to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

Failure

  Reveal hidden contents

[If PC did not complete Miya Hikari’s Y1 Adventure]

  Reveal hidden contents

Remembering Sima’s interest in the theater and her ability to trick people with ambiguities, you hope that she is willing to put on a performance that could save her life – or at least her money.

 

“Roxan, your boss-lady Dacota is going in way over her head in this,” you try to say in a tone of voice that could be seen as tough or sympathetic. “Of all the student mages whom she had to try to rob, she chose Sima Venesico. Now, I know that magic is more common in Mineta than it is in order cities, islands, and nations, but let me tell you: Sima Venesico is a cut above the types of student mages whom the Southside Pitts usually deal with.”

 

To your disappointment, Roxan’s interest in your remarks is not accompanied by fear. “Truly?” she muses. “Mages here are so different from those whom I remember from my home island. Here, most notable mages seem to be incantors – two schools, Dom’na tells me, are teaching Incantation alone, and one student mage whom I have heard is associated with Academagia is allegedly very proficient in it despite having no access to school or library of Incantation that is known to the Dom’nus - the Dom’na’s brother. Yet where I come from, many great mages are revisors. Probably it has to do with water. My home island’s centre is what was a small sea on Cyve, so it is easier to purify salt water. But in Mineta, much easier to incant water. I suppose that on islands with no water shortages, other pillars may be better taught. There are some people in a distant island whose merchants once sold my parents some porcelain who are apparently obessed with astrology because, having no lack of water, they are convinced that dolphins live within some river and hope to sell the dolphins’ skins. So, what type of magic do you study, Dombi Sima?”

 

Sima and Dacota both look at Roxan with surprised faces, but it is Dacota whose voice first breaks the silence, first with a barking syllable that Regent Badcrumble would hate and then with the words, “You are really something, Roxan! Times like this remind me why my brother values you beyond your reading and clever hands. So, Sima,” she snarls, “what magics are you studying that could make you so frightening to me? And don’t try to pretend that you are in Godina – I know Hedi robes from others, and you are glamour mages one and all!”

 

Sima sighs and spreads her arms in front of her. “I am, it is true, a glamour mage in training only, but -”

 

“Then you cannot prevent me from taking the money!” Dacota rushes forwards and seizes Sima by her hands.

 

Sima does not struggle, but merely says, “There is no need to resist this. Dacota, you can take my wand and let me release one of my hands so that I can write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me.”

 

Dacota agrees with suspicion, but is mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota is practically smiling.

 

“I am so glad, Sima,” she gushes, “that we were able to resolve this issue so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to Sima what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out cheerfully. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, dombi-feeder,” Roxan replies. “The two of you should both become dombis, if such is possible in Mineta.”

 

You are not sure how to respond to Roxan’s comment – is she saying that you feed her opportunities to be a great entertainer? – but Dacota jerks Roxan away with a laugh and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “Dacota was under much stress after robbing me – she will be hanged if convicted for what she just did to me, and that is on top of the hanging that she would get if convicted as a leader of a criminal gang. And that is not even taking into account the fact that not all student mages are as defenceless as I may be – I pity the robber who attacks a Contu student or even a Godina student. She got lucky with us, and she knows it. But if she were not bold, she would not be a leader.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money when you could have paid her so easily?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which I used genuine aspects of my life to make myself seem more powerful to them, was ingenious. A pity that Roxan the thief girl was so much more interested in talking about the world and its magical traditions rather than in being intimidated by my alleged powers. With my funds reduced, other people in my life…will not be happy, shall we say? It would have been nice if you could have saved me such money, but I was the one who got so involved with the Southside Pitts and you tried to help me. I wonder if Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo might be able to make up my money.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are sad that you could not save her from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of bluffing and related activities. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Storytelling, + 3 Skill levels Wordliness, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Wit to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Storytelling to Sima Venesico, + 3 Skill levels Wordliness to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC completed Miya Hikari’s Y1 Adventure]

  Reveal hidden contents

Remembering Sima’s interest in the theater and her ability to trick people with ambiguities, you hope that she is willing to put on a performance that could save her life – or at least her money.

 

“Roxan, your boss-lady Dacota is going in way over her head in this,” you try to say in a tone of voice that could be seen as tough or sympathetic. “Of all the student mages whom she had to try to rob, she chose Sima Venesico. Now, I know that magic is more common in Mineta than it is in order cities, islands, and nations, but let me tell you: Sima Venesico is a cut above the types of student mages whom the Southside Pitts usually deal with.”

 

To your disappointment, Roxan’s interest in your remarks is not accompanied by fear. “Truly?” she muses. “Mages here are so different from those whom I remember from my home island. Here, most notable mages seem to be incantors – two schools, Dom’na tells me, are teaching Incantation alone, and one student mage whom I have heard is associated with Academagia is allegedly very proficient in it despite having no access to school or library of incantation that is known to the Dom’nus - the Dom’na’s brother. Yet where I come from, many great mages are revisors. Probably it has to do with water. My island’s centre is what was a small sea on Cyve, so it is easier to purify salt water. But in Mineta, much easier to incant water. I suppose that on islands with no water shortages, other pillars may be better taught. There are some people in a distant island whose merchants once sold my parents some porcelain who are apparently obessed with astrology because, having no lack of water, they are convinced that dolphins live within some river and hope to sell the dolphins’ skins. So, what type of magic do you study, Dombi Sima?”

 

Sima and Dacota both look at Roxan with surprised faces, but it is Dacota whose voice first breaks the silence, first with a barking syllable that Regent Badcrumble would hate and then with the words, “You are really something, Roxan! Times like this remind me why my brother values you beyond your reading and clever hands. So, Sima,” she snarls, “what magics are you studying that could make you so frightening to me? And don’t try to pretend that you are in Godina – I know Hedi robes from others, and you are glamour mages one and all!”

 

Sima sighs and spreads her arms in front of her. “I am, it is true, a glamour mage in training only but -”

 

“Then you cannot prevent me from taking the money!” Dacota rushes forwards and seizes Sima by her hands.

 

Sima does not struggle, but merely says, “There is no need to resist this. Dacota, you can take my wand and let me release one of my hands so that I can write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me.”

 

Dacota agrees with suspicion, but is mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota is practically smiling.

 

“I am so glad, Sima,” she gushes, “that we were able to resolve this issue so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to Sima what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out cheerfully. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, dombi-feeder,” Roxan replies. “The two of you should both become dombis, if such is possible in Mineta.”

 

You are not sure how to respond to Roxan’s comment – is she saying that you feed her opportunities to be a great entertainer? – but Dacota jerks Roxan away with a laugh and retreats into the mist. You wonder whether all who are prodigies in theft are, like Roxan and Miya Hikari, able to spin fascinating tales that may not be true about foreign places.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “Dacota was under much stress after robbing me – she will be hanged if convicted for what she just did to me, and that is on top of the hanging that she would get if convicted as a leader of a criminal gang. And that is not even taking into account the fact that not all student mages are as defenceless as I may be – I pity the robber who attacks a Contu student or even a Godina student. She got lucky with us, and she knows it. But if she were not bold, she would not be a leader.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money when you could have paid her so easily?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which I used genuine aspects of my life to make myself seem more powerful to them, was ingenious. A pity that Roxan the thief girl was so much more interested in talking about the world and its magical traditions rather than in being intimidated by my alleged powers. With my funds reduced, other people in my life…will not be happy, shall we say? It would have been nice if you could have saved my such money, but I was the one who got so involved with the Southside Pitts and you tried to help me. I wonder if Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo might be able to make up my money.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are sad that you could not save her from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of bluffing and related activities. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 2 skill levels Storytelling, + 3 Skill levels Wordliness, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Wit to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Storytelling to Sima Venesico, + 3 Skill levels Wordliness to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has item Ring of Three Jewels] Jewelry. “Look at this beautiful ring, Dacota!”

  Reveal hidden contents

Success

  Reveal hidden contents

[If PC has affection or love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

With what you hope is a dramatic flourish, you thrust the ring into Dacota’s view, making sure that its stones are well illuminated by Sima’s lights.

 

“Ooh, pretty ring,” Roxan sighs. “I became what I am to have such things. Better than begging or sweeping or weaving or -”

 

“Enough! Foolish brat!” Despite Dacota’s harsh words, you can tell that you have piqued her greed. “Are you suggesting that we complete the payment for these services through exchanging this ring rather than any pims?”

 

“Nothing so unreasonable, Dacota,” you say in what you hope is a soothing tone of voice. “My friend will still pay you three hundred pims, but instead of her paying you the extra money that you want, she will give you this ring.”

 

Sima, as if cued, interjects with a slight sob, “It belonged to a dear aunt of mine, and has magic in it that benefits the wearer - it is easily worth nine hundred pims.”

 

Dacota turns to Sima. “The ring could have belonged to Octavius – aye, and have powers essential to Athanasius’s foundation of the Academagia – but I care nothing unless it has value that can be easily fenced or safe magic that can easily be used.”

 

Sima faintly smiles and turns to you. “Recite to them, if you can, the stones’ waters and values.”

 

You call out to Roxan, “You can read, but can you write? This will be better if you and Dacota have a record.”

 

She nods solemnly. “Yes, I can write in three scripts and the Dom’nus – Dom’na Dacota’s brother – wants me to learn a shorthand. So even if you were talking in Bassan, I guess, I could write down the sounds.” She takes a notebook and pencil from a pouch and indicates that you may begin.

 

There follow a harrowing few minutes in which you employ the latest Ruckmarnian technological expertise to explain to Dacota, Roxan, and Sima how you can determine, based upon various properties of the stones in response to various magical and mundane tests, what they are are well as their fineness and weight. Then, based upon what you remember about jewel trading at Brisbane the Gemologist’s shop, you calculate the three jewels’ value as eight hundred pims if removed from the iron setting. By the time you finish, both Sima and Dacota seem numbed by boredom, but Roxan looks fascinated.

 

“Wow!” Dacota laughs with relief when you finish. “Roxan, did you write that down?”

 

“Yes. I can read it out if you want.”

 

Dacota and Sima groan in protest, but Dacota’s smile never fades even as Roxan winces while she puts the notebook away. “Even if your bodyguard was creating stories and not facts, the story will be very useful if we want to fence the ring or its stones. I can get a boy to try the ring if my brother will not try to figure it out.”

 

You hand Sima’s ring to Dacota, who almost rips it from your hand. Sima then gives Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak.

 

“Be glad,” Dacota says, “that we were able to resolve this issue to my benefit so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to her what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, jewel-knower,” Roxan replies.

 

You wish that you could have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but you must admit that if you are to be nicknamed by an annoying child, jewel-knower is much better than alternatives. Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “Your lecture about jewelry was very thorough and useful – but very boring.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I adore, whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion and affection flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships and love are made of? And your solution, in which I gave up a ring rather than more pims, was useful if not imaginative. Pims are much easier to use for securing…useful services than jewelry, although harder to carry. Certainly, my aunt’s ring’s loss may be bad in future, but any shortage of pims now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not have been happy. I thank you for sparing me from having to go to Iustus, Cyrus, Cirillo, or some even worse person in order to be able to make up for my shortage of money.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – to say nothing of having to associate with the handsome Cyrus Dawes, the easily controlled Iustus Venture, the cheating Cirillo Laziosi, or people whom you suspect, based upon what little you know about Sima, Tabin, and Magsa’s activities, would make the type of people who gather at Privateer Feng's Gentle Parlor seem perfectly suited for one of Regent Badcrumble’s tea parties. It may have been serious, since Sima was so willing to give up a piece of her family’s jewelry rather than yield more pims – although much of Sima’s connections to magical jewelry is as secretive and mysterious as Sima is, and considerably less pleasant. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Negotiate, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 10 Research levels Jewelry, lose Ring of Three Jewels, + 3 skill levels Jewelry to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has no affection or love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

With what you hope is a dramatic flourish, you thrust the ring into Dacota’s view, making sure that its stones are well illuminated by Sima’s lights.

 

“Ooh, pretty ring,” Roxan sighs. “I became what I am to have such things. Better than begging or sweeping or weaving or -”

 

“Enough! Foolish brat!” Despite Dacota’s harsh words, you can tell that you have piqued her greed. “Are you suggesting that we complete the payment for these services through exchanging this ring rather than any pims?”

 

“Nothing so unreasonable, Dacota,” you say in what you hope is a soothing tone of voice. “She will still pay you three hundred pims, but instead of her paying you the extra money that you want, she will give you this ring.”

 

Sima, as if cued, interjects with a slight sob, “It belonged to a dear aunt of mine, and has magic in it that benefits the wearer - it is easily worth nine hundred pims.”

 

Dacota turns to Sima. “The ring could have belonged to Octavius – aye, and have powers essential to Athanasius’s foundation of the Academagia – but I care nothing unless it has value that can be easily fenced or safe magic that can easily be used.”

 

Sima faintly smiles and turns to you. “Recite to them, if you can, the stones’ waters and values.”

 

You call out to Roxan, “You can read, but can you write? This will be better if you and Dacota have a record.”

 

She nods solemnly. “Yes, I can write in three scripts and the Dom’nus – Dom’na Dacota’s brother – wants me to learn a shorthand. So even if you were talking in Bassan, I guess, I could write down the sounds.” She takes a notebook and pencil from a pouch and indicates that you may begin.

 

There follow a harrowing few minutes in which you employ the latest Ruckmarnian technological expertise to explain to Dacota, Roxan, and Sima how you can determine, based upon various properties of the stones in response to various magical and mundane tests, what they are are well as their fineness and weight. Then, based upon what you remember about jewel trading at Brisbane the Gemologist’s shop, you calculate the three jewels’ value as eight hundred pims if removed from the iron setting. By the time you finish, both Sima and Dacota seem numbed by boredom, but Roxan looks fascinated.

 

“Wow!” Dacota laughs with relief when you finish. “Roxan, did you write that down?”

 

“Yes. I can read it out if you want.”

 

Dacota and Sima groan in protest, but Dacota’s smile never fades even as Roxan winces while she puts the notebook away. “Even if your bodyguard was creating stories and not facts, the story will be very useful if we want to fence the ring or its stones. I can get a boy to try the ring if my brother will not try to figure it out.”

 

You hand Sima’s ring to Dacota, who almost rips it from your hand. Sima then gives Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak.

 

“Be glad,” Dacota says, “that we were able to resolve this issue to my benefit so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to her what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, jewel-knower,” Roxan replies.

 

You wish that you could have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but you must admit that if you are to be nicknamed by an annoying child, jewel-knower is much better than alternatives. Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “Your lecture about jewelry was very thorough and useful – but very boring.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which I gave up a ring rather than more pims, was useful if not imaginative. Pims are much easier to use for securing…useful services than jewelry, although harder to carry. Certainly, my aunt’s ring’s loss may be bad in future, but any shortage of pims now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not have been happy. I thank you for sparing me from having to go to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make for my shortage of money.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk. It may have been serious, since Sima was so willing to give up a piece of her family’s jewelry rather than yield more pims – although much about Sima’s connections to magical jewelry is secretive and mysterious. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Negotiate, + 10 Research levels Jewelry, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, lose Ring of Three Jewels, + 3 skill levels Jewelry to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

Failure

  Reveal hidden contents

With what you hope is a dramatic flourish, you thrust the ring into Dacota’s view.

 

“What strange ring,” Roxan says. “I became what I am to have better than what you show us.”

 

“Enough! Foolish brat!” Dacota’s harsh words are envenomed with contempt for your offer. “Are you suggesting that we complete the payment for these services through exchanging this ring – whose quality I know nothing about – rather than any pims?”

 

“Nothing so unreasonable, Dacota,” you say in what you hope is a soothing tone of voice. “Sima will still pay you three hundred pims, but instead of her paying you the extra money that you want, she will give you this ring.”

 

Sima, as if cued, interjects with a slight sob, “It belonged to a dear aunt of mine, and has magic in it that benefits the wearer - it is easily worth nine hundred pims.”

 

Dacota turns to Sima. “And my mother is from one of the Golden Families of Mineta, while my father teaches us about Ruckmarnian steam engines. We can all tell tales about ourselves that, if true, can resolve any problem, but that doesn’t make the stories true.”

 

Sima faintly smiles and turns to you. “Recite to them, if you can, the stones’ waters and values.”

 

You are seized by panic. “Sima, I had no idea that this ring involved incantation magic. Or are you saying that it has a secret water-proof compartment? How can I sell this ring if I know not its qualities?”

 

Roxan shrieks with laughter. “And older people are supposed to be better than I am! I know what water means in the jewelry context, as does the Dom’na.”

 

Sima shakes her head sadly. “There is no need for you to try to do any more. I can handle the matter now. I will write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me.”

 

Dacota agrees with suspicion, but is mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota is practically smiling.

 

“I am so glad, Sima,” she gushes, “that we were able to resolve this issue so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to Sima what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, glass-polisher,” Roxan replies.

 

You wish that you could have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but you must admit that if you are to be nicknamed by an annoying child, glass-polisher is much better than alternatives. Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money when you could have paid her so easily?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which I gave up a ring rather than more pims, was useful if not imaginative, although you lacked the knowledge of jewelry and effective sales techniques necessary to pull it off. Pims are much easier to use for securing…useful services than jewelry, although harder to carry. Certainly, my aunt’s ring’s loss may have been bad in future, but my unexpected shortage of pims now is…problematic to certain other people in my life, who will not be happy. I will, due to your overly ambitious incompetence, have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my shortage of money. At least I did not need to rush back and retrieve another eight hundred pims to pay Dacota due to the wonders of modern banking.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are sad that you could not save her from some financial risk. It may have been serious, since Sima was so willing to give up a piece of her family’s jewelry rather than yield more pims – although much about Sima’s connections to magical jewelry is secretive and mysterious. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Jewelry, + 1 skill level Negotiate, + 1 skill level Transport, + 1 Stress, - 1 relationship with Sima Venesico, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Jewelry to Sima Venesico, + 1 Stress to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has item Tabin’s Potion] Brew. “Look at this potion, Dacota!”

Success

  Reveal hidden contents

With what you hope is a dramatic flourish, you thrust the potion flask into Dacota’s view, making sure that its contents are well illuminated by Sima’s lights.

 

“Ooh, pretty liquid,” Roxan sighs. “I became what I am to have such things. Better than begging or sweeping or weaving or -”

 

“Enough! Foolish brat!” Despite Dacota’s harsh words, you can tell that you have piqued her greed. “Are you suggesting that we complete the payment for these services through exchanging this single potion rather than any pims?”

 

“Nothing so unreasonable, Dacota,” you say in what you hope is a soothing tone of voice. “Sima will still pay you three hundred pims, but instead of her paying you the extra money that you want, she will give you this potion and the remaning eight hundred and ten pims. Furthermore, she can get you more such potions if you want them.”

 

Sima, as if cued, interjects with a business-like calm, “It was brewed by a trusted friend of mine, and has magic in it that benefits the drinker for at least a day, so it is easily worth ninety pims.”

 

Dacota turns to Sima. “The potion could have belonged to Noemia – aye, and have powers that would allow Rostra to travel to Cyve below and back to the Empire of Man before I snap my fingers – but I care nothing unless it has value that can be easily fenced or safe magic that can easily be used.”

 

Sima faintly smiles and turns to you. “Recite to them, if you can, the essential oils that went into this potion.”

 

You call out to Roxan, “You can read, but can you write? This will be better if you and Dacota have a record.”

 

She nods solemnly. “Yes, I can write in three scripts and the Dom’nus – Dom’na Dacota’s brother – wants me to learn a shorthand. So even if you were talking in Bassan, I guess, I could write down the sounds.” She takes a notebook and pencil from a pouch and indicates that you may begin.

 

There follow a harrowing few minutes in which you employ the latest Ruckmarnian technological expertise to explain to Dacota, Roxan, and Sima how you can determine, based upon various properties of the liquid in response to various magical and mundane tests, what essential oild, herbs, and magic went into making it. Then, based upon what you remember about brewing from Professor Leith as well as other sources, you calculate the potions’ value as ninety pims if removed from the flask. By the time you finish, both Sima and Dacota seem numbed by boredom, but Roxan looks fascinated.

 

“Wow!” Dacota laughs with relief when you finish. “Roxan, did you write that down?”

 

“Yes. I can read it out if you want.”

 

Dacota and Sima groan in protest, but Dacota’s smile never fades even as Roxan winces while she puts the notebook away. “Even if your bodyguard was creating stories and not facts, the story will be very useful if we want to fence the potion. I can get a boy to try the potion if my brother will not try to figure it out.”

 

You hand Tabin’s potion to Dacota, who almost rips it from your hand. Sima then gives Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak. Then Dacota says, “Which one of you will pay the remainder? No more bargaining! And if you resist me, I will regard the deal as dead but keep the potion!” [+ 5 Research levels Brew, + 5 Research levels Analysis, lose Tabin’s potion, lock option [If PC has 800 pims] Pay Dacota what she wants.”, reveal option “[If PC has 710 pims] Pay Dacota the lowered fee the she has agreed to.”, choose again]

Failure

  Reveal hidden contents

With what you hope is a dramatic flourish, you thrust the potion into Dacota’s view.

 

“What strange potion,” Roxan says. “I became what I am to have better than what you show us.”

 

“Enough! Foolish brat!” Dacota’s harsh words are envenomed with contempt for your offer. “Are you suggesting that we complete the payment for these services through exchanging this potion – whose quality I know nothing about – rather than any pims?”

 

“Nothing so unreasonable, Dacota,” you say in what you hope is a soothing tone of voice. “Sima will still pay you three hundred pims, but instead of her paying you the extra money that you want, she will give you this potion and eight hundred and ten pims.”

 

Sima, as if cued, interjects with a business-like calm, “It was brewed by a trusted friend of mine, and has magic in it that benefits the drinker for at least a day, so it is easily worth ninety pims.”

 

Dacota turns to Sima. “And my mother is from one of the Golden Families of Mineta, while my father teaches us about Ruckmarnian steam engines. We can all tell tales about ourselves that, if true, can resolve any problem, but that doesn’t make the stories true.”

 

Sima faintly smiles and turns to you. “Recite to them, if you can, the essential oils that went into this potion.”

 

You are seized by panic. “Sima, I barely know enough about brewing to know the essential ingredients that all brewers should have, let alone the oils that forms the basis of this potion that your…friend elaborated upon. How can I sell this potion if I know so little about it?”

 

Roxan shrieks with laughter. “And older people are supposed to be better than I am! You shouldn’t try to sell when you are honest and know nothing about your product.”

 

Dacota rubs a grubby hand through her head’s hairs, and you wonder how much of her hair is dirty rather than dirty blonde. She says, “We are not traders, anyways. Try another effort to settle this matter.”

 

You are surprised that Dacota is willing to try to negotiate more with you, but perhaps she has a superstitious dread of potion brewers and those who sell potions – such sentimeents are not unknown to Mineta. Given your lack of knowledge about brewing, perhaps you might be better served by sharing this attitude – certainly, Cante Caviti’s numerous failures and lost pims to sellers of fake potions may suggest that such an attitude is better than trusting potion brewers! [+1 skill level Danger Sense, Choose another option]

[If PC has memory Tabin’s Gambit Played] Politics. Since Sima’s meeting with Dacota is already so reminiscent of espionage, presenting this meeting as part of some broader plot should be easy.

  Reveal hidden contents

Success

  Reveal hidden contents

[If PC has no affection or love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

You decide to approach this issue from a completely different angle, in an attempt to catch Dacota off guard.

 

“Dacota,” you sigh, in a way that could be condescending or sympathetic. “I undersatand that you have fallen into a bad course in life – which can always be abandoned if one has the will – but I must ask. Are you, among all of your other misdeeds, an atheist or an apostate from the Imperial religion?”

 

“What!?” Dacota looks first stunned, then puzzled, then angry. “You’re probably accusing me of being something unnatural, like an agent reporting to some dragon-worshipping Oursouk, or a wyvern breeder, or a dragon worshipper – but I’m not! And I won’t be insulted by a client’s bodyguard!”

 

She takes a step forward, but Roxan reaches up to tap her shoulder. “Dom’na, I know how to read, and my readings – both of my own books and of what the Dom’nus your brother lets me read – have taught me that an atheist is one who holds gods to be no standard for right conduct and an apostate is one who abandons a religion. Besides, it is not good to assume that a person is insulting when one cannot understand the words. Remember the time that you and I got all upset with your brother’s trying to speak Elumian?” Then, turning to Sima, Roxan says with pride, “I am no apostate, thanks to her kindness three years ago and since – the Awakened Man Measureless Life is still my guide, despite what the laws say about orphans in Mineta!”

 

Dacota flinches and her face can be seen to be getting pale. “Roxan, enough about your Good Man,” and here she digresses with foul language against her brother for his interest in magic and tolerance of strange magics and beliefs. “But in answer to your question, bodyguard, I am no…atospate or…aseitht; I attend services to Aemean when I can, and avoid preachers for him whose ideas seem heretical. Without the New Gods, we’d all be slaves to dragons. But why the question? Am I not a bit too old for you to bring to a temple as a person whom faith has turned away from crime? Don’t the temples prefer children in that role? Children even younger than you are?” And here Dacota, whose voice had been growing increasingly sarcastic, takes another step forwards.

 

“Dacota, I am glad that you are a pious woman who trusts and fears the gods.” The words rush from your lips in a torrent, and you hope that she will listen to what you have to say next – this is the key part. “In a world where the threat of dragons declines – may the gods keep it that way! – Pievre continues as a state that has embraced its twisted humanism and mass apostasy, and the Oursoukis remain a great power, I was worried that even some people not from those spiritually darkened lands in Mineta – the very heart of the True Religion – may have fallen into legal and spiritual errors. You, at least, are better than that. For this I and the girl whom I guard are grateful – as will our employer be, once we tell it about this. But you could risk such good favor by breaking the earlier agreement.”

 

“Your employer? It?” Dacota’s eyes widen as she makes an apotropaic gesture. “Whom do you kids work for?      What have I gotten us involved in, Roxan?”

 

Sima decides to chime in at this time. “Some people, Dacota, want to undermine temples’ powers through several subversive schemes for the dragons’ sakes, such as by spreading the strange doctrines of the Pievrian Republic in Mineta. There is a certain temple-affiliated organization, which we are junior members of, that hunts down such people – or failing that, their propaganda caches. Even schools, after all, can be infiltrated. I thought that Zoe Melis might have knowledge about some aspect of some plot, hence my need to investigate her. She is fierce rival to a Pievrian student, after all, and those who are rivals tend, if they are as smart as Zoe is, to learn about their rivals. I could gladly pay you some more money – my expense account would cover such a payment. But I would have to explain such a payment to the organization, and that would cause them to learn about how un-co-operative you have been, which could cause them to investigate you for being a potential vector for subversion. On the other hand, I was ready to tell them, until you wanted more money, how co-operative and valuable you could be.”

 

Dacota is silent, but you can see the struggle in her eyes. This is the best time, you think, to deliver a supporting idea to nudge Dacota in the right direction.

 

“You may think, Dacota, that all this effort to investigate Miss Melis due to her feud with a Pievrian peer is merely worthy of laughter in the wineshops of foreigners, whether Cassettan or Pievrian. But such lack of willingness to take clues seriously and follow them to their ends is precisely what may allow draconic agents to sow sordid seeds that become bitter blossoms or foul fruits leading to slavery.”

 

Dacota jerks as your words finish, then nods her head.

 

“Little Miss Mageling,” she says, “I am not sure what to believe about what you and your bodyguard say. Yet I follow the clues, and I know that you are no ordinary student mage, given your planning, knowledge, and access to magical artifacts. The risk is great that you are a member of some organization – maybe even what you and your bodyguard claim to be. And never let it be said that I am a dragon’s slave! Even if you are part of some other organization – a coster, say, or the thieves’ guild – I do not want to risk tangling with such a group – my thieves’ guild payments provide only some protection. For this reason, and only this reason – not because I am afraid of you or your bodyguard – please accept the reddish-brown cylinder for a lowered fee – and remember me kindly, never hesitating to hire me for certain jobs.”

 

Sima laughs lightly as she lightens a pouch that she removes from beneath the fold of her cloak, before handing it to Roxan in return for the reddish-brown cylinder. “You really are such a useful girl, Roxan. What is a dombi?”

 

“A professional entertainer from my home islands in my birth language,” Roxan replies.

 

Sima nods and grins. “Roxan, I was going to be an actor before I was recruited into the organization, and to this day I am encouraged to use acting in my work for the organization.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, spy,” Roxan replies. But then Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “I think that Dacota may be worried that I am trying to recruit Roxan – which would be useful, but is not easily doable.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask some risky questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And are you really part of some secret organization of spies that would benefit through recruiting Roxan?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which we pretended to be doing this investigation of Zoe Melis in order to serve a powerful temple-affiliated organization, rather than as a way to satisfy my caution, was truly ingenious. People will do so many things if they think that they are benefitting the gods whom they adore – or the powerful people who serve such gods. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services. Any shortage of pims now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not have been happy. I thank you for sparing me from having to go to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make for my shortage of money.”

 

“Alas,” Sima sighs, “I fear that it would not be wise for me alone to tell you about the other two; at minimum, they must be consulted first. Yet this is one of the wonderful things about our relationship, I think – you are willing to be my friend despite my mysterious aspects and friends. Others, knowing what you know, would think differently, I do not doubt, and would not want to be friends with me, thinking me a robber chief’s daughter, a pirate captain’s daughter, or even – as Miya once told me about – a dragon’s daughter taking human form.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – although you are disappointed that you could not know more about Sima’s connections to mysterious and powerful organizations. [- 50 pims Sima Venesico, - 50 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 50 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Bluff, + 1 Skill Level Theology, + 1 Insight, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Theology to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has affection or love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

You decide to approach this issue from a completely different angle, in an attempt to catch Dacota off guard.

 

“Dacota,” you sigh, in a way that could be condescending or sympathetic. “I undersatand that you have fallen into a bad course in life – which can always be abandoned if one has the will – but I must ask. Are you, among all of your other misdeeds, an atheist or an apostate from the Imperial religion?”

 

“What!?” Dacota looks first stunned, then puzzled, then angry. “You’re probably accusing me of being something unnatural, like an agent reporting to some dragon-worshipping Oursouk, or a wyvern breeder, or a dragon worshipper – but I’m not! And I won’t be insulted by a client’s bodyguard!”

 

She takes a step forward, but Roxan reaches up to tap her shoulder. “Dom’na, I know how to read, and my readings – both of my own books and of what the Dom’nus your brother lets me read – have taught me that an atheist is one who holds gods to be no standard for right conduct and an apostate is one who abandons a religion. Besides, it is not good to assume that a person is insulting when one cannot understand the words. Remember the time you and I got all upset with your brother’s trying to speak Elumian?” Then, turning to Sima, Roxan says with pride, “I am no apostate, thanks to her kindness three years ago and since – the Awakened Man Measureless Life is still my guide, despite what the laws say about orphans in Mineta!”

 

Dacota flinches and her face can be seen to be getting pale. “Roxan, enough about your Good Man,” and here she digresses with foul language against her brother for his interest in magic and tolerance of strange magics and beliefs. “But in answer to your question, bodyguard, I am no…atospate or…aseitht; I attend services to Aemean when I can, and avoid preachers for him whose ideas seem heretical. Without the New Gods, we’d all be slaves to dragons. But why the question? Am I not a bit too old for you to bring to a temple as a person whom faith has turned away from crime? Don’t the temples prefer children in that role? Children even younger than you are?” And here Dacota, whose voice had been growing increasingly sarcastic, takes another step forwards.

 

“Dacota, I am glad that you are a pious woman who trusts and fears the gods.” The words rush from your lips in a torrent, and you hope that she will listen to what you have to say next – this is the key part. “In a world where the threat of dragons declines – may the gods keep it that way! – Pievre continues as a state that has embraced its twisted humanism and mass apostasy, and the Oursoukis remain a great power, I was worried that even some people not from those spiritually darkened lands in Mineta – the very heart of the True Religion – may have fallen into legal and spiritual errors. You, at least, are better than that. For this I and the girl whom I guard are grateful – as will our employer be, once we tell it about this. But you could risk such good favor by breaking the earlier agreement.”

 

“Your employer? It?” Dacota’s eyes widen as she makes an apotropaic gesture. “Whom do you kids work for?      What have I gotten us involved in, Roxan?”

 

Sima decides to chime in at this time. “Some people, Dacota, want to undermine temples’ powers through several subversive schemes for the dragons’ sakes, such as by spreading the strange doctrines of the Pievrian Republic in Mineta. There is a certain temple-affiliated organization, which we are junior members of, that hunts down such people – or failing that, their propaganda caches. Even schools, after all, can be infiltrated. I thought that Zoe Melis might have knowledge about some aspect of some plot, hence my need to investigate her. She is fierce rival to a Pievrian student, after all, and those who are rivals tend, if they are as smart as Zoe is, to learn about their rivals. I could gladly pay you some more money – my expense account would cover such a payment. But I would have to explain such a payment to the organization, and that would cause them to learn about how un-co-operative you have been, which could cause them to investigate you for being a potential vector for subversion. On the other hand, I was ready to tell them, until you wanted more money, how co-operative and valuable you could be.”

 

Dacota is silent, but you can see the struggle in her eyes. This is the best time, you think, to deliver a supporting idea to nudge Dacota in the right direction.

 

“You may think, Dacota, that all this effort to investigate Miss Melis due to her feud with a Pievrian peer is merely worthy of laughter in the wineshops of foreigners, whether Cassettan or Pievrian. But such lack of willingness to take clues seriously and follow them to their ends is precisely what may allow draconic agents to sow sordid seeds that become bitter blossoms or foul fruits leading to slavery.”

 

Dacota jerks as your words finish, then nods her head.

 

“Little Miss Mageling,” she says, “I am not sure what to believe about what you and your bodyguard say. Yet I follow the clues, and I know that you are no ordinary student mage, given your planning, knowledge, and access to magical artifacts. The risk is great that you are a member of some organization – maybe even what you and your bodyguard claim to be. And never let it be said that I am a dragon’s slave! Even if you are part of some other organization – a coster, say, or the thieves’ guild – I do not want to risk tangling with such a group – my thieves’ guild payments provide only some protection. For this reason, and only this reason – not because I am afraid of you or your bodyguard – please accept the reddish-brown cylinder for a lowered fee – and remember me kindly, never hesitating to hire me for certain jobs.”

 

Sima laughs lightly as she lightens a pouch that she removes from beneath the fold of her cloak, before handing it to Roxan in return for the reddish-brown cylinder. “You really are such a useful girl, Roxan. What is a dombi?”

 

“A professional entertainer from my home islands in my birth language,” Roxan replies.

 

Sima nods and grins. “Roxan, I was going to be an actor before I was recruited into the organization, and to this day I am encouraged to use acting in my work for the organization.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, spy,” Roxan replies. But then Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “I think that Dacota may be worried that I am trying to recruit Roxan – which would be useful, but is not easily doable.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask some risky questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And are you really part of some secret organization of spies that would benefit through recruiting Roxan?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I adore, whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion and affection flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships and love are made of? And your solution, in which we pretended to be doing this investigation of Zoe Melis in order to serve a powerful temple-affiliated organization, rather than as a way to satisfy my caution, was truly ingenious. People will do so many things if they think that they are benefitting the gods whom they adore – or the powerful people who serve such gods. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services. Any shortage of pims now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not have been happy. I thank you for sparing me from having to go to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make for my shortage of money.”

 

“Alas,” Sima sighs, “I fear that it would not be wise for me alone to tell you about the other two; at minimum, they must be consulted first. Yet this is one of the wonderful things about our relationship, I think: you are willing to be my dearest friend – let no one accuse us of dating yet – despite my mysterious aspects and friends. Others, knowing what you know, would think differently, I do not doubt, and would not want to be friends with me, thinking me a robber chief’s daughter, a pirate captain’s daughter, or even – as Miya once told me about – a dragon’s daughter taking human form. And fear not,” she says, looking at your face’s dawning horror. “What ever else I may be, I am no dragon’s daughter!”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – although you are disappointed that you could not know more about Sima’s connections to mysterious and powerful organizations. At least you have assurances from her that she is no dragon’s daughter in human form – and given that you trust her so much you must believe her. But you wonder whether you would be willing to date a robber chief’s daughter, come in time – she may be that, given how little you know about her. [- 50 pims Sima Venesico, - 50 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 50 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Bluff, + 1 skill level Dating, + 1 Skill Level Theology, + 1 Stress, + 1 Insight, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Theology to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Character Study to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

Failure

  Reveal hidden contents

[If PC has no affection or love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

You decide to approach this issue from a different angle.

 

“Dacota,” you sigh. “I undersatand that you have fallen into a bad course in life – which can always be abandoned if one has the will – but I must ask. Are you, among all of your other misdeeds, an atheist or an apostate from the Imperial religion?”

 

“What!?” Dacota snarls. “You’re probably accusing me of being something unnatural, like an agent reporting to some dragon-worshipping Oursouk, or a wyvern breeder, or a dragon worshipper – but I’m not! And I won’t be insulted by a client’s bodyguard!”

 

She takes a step forward, but Roxan reaches up to tap her shoulder. “Dom’na, I know how to read, and my readings – both of my own books and of what the Dom’nus your brother lets me read – have taught me that an atheist is one who holds gods to be no standard for right conduct and an apostate is one who abandons a religion. Besides, it is not good to assume that a person is insulting when one cannot understand the words. Remember the time you and I got all upset with your brother’s trying to speak Elumian?” Then, turning to Sima, Roxan says with pride, “I am no apostate, thanks to her kindness three years ago and since – the Awakened Man Measureless Life is still my guide, despite what the laws say about orphans in Mineta!”

 

Dacota flinches. “Roxan, enough about your Good Man,” and here she digresses with foul language against her brother for his interest in magic and tolerance of strange magics and beliefs. “But in answer to your question, bodyguard, I am no…atospate or…aseitht; I attend services to Aemean when I can, and avoid preachers for him whose ideas seem heretical. Without the New Gods, we’d all be slaves to dragons. But why the question? Am I not a bit too old for you to bring to a temple as a person whom faith has turned away from crime? Don’t the temples prefer children in that role? Children even younger than you are?” And here Dacota takes another step forwards.

 

“Dacota,” the words rush from your lips in a torrent, “In a world where the threat of dragons declines – may the gods keep it that way! – Pievre continues as a state that has embraced its twisted humanism and mass apostasy, and the Oursoukis remain a great power, I was worried that even some people not from those spiritually darkened lands in Mineta – the very heart of the True Religion – may have fallen into legal and spiritual errors. You, at least, are better than that. For this I and the girl whom I guard are grateful – as will our employer be, once we tell it about this. But you could risk such good favor by breaking the earlier agreement.”

 

“Your employer? It?” Dacota’s eyes widen. “Whom are you kids claming to work for? What have I gotten us involved in, Roxan?”

 

Sima decides to chime in at this time. “Some people, Dacota, want to undermine temples’ powers through several subversive schemes for the dragons’ sakes, such as by spreading the strange doctrines of the Pievrian Republic in Mineta. There is a certain temple-affiliated organization, which we are junior members of, that hunts down such people – or failing that, their propaganda caches. Even schools, after all, can be infiltrated. I thought that Zoe Melis might have knowledge about some aspect of some plot, hence need to investigate her. She is fierce rival to a Pievrian student, after all, and those who are rivals tend, if they are as smart as Zoe is, to learn about their rivals. I could gladly pay you some more money – my expense account would cover such a payment. But I would have to explain such a payment to the organization, and that would cause them to learn about how un-co-operative you have been, which could cause them to investigate you for being a potential vector for subversion. On the other hand, I was ready to tell them, until you wanted more money, how co-operative and valuable you could be.”

 

After Sima has finished her words, Dacota says nothing, but looks at both of you, lost in thought.

 

“The two of you spin a good story – enough to be weavers in the Temple of Iudocia,” she finally says. “But I am not willing to believe your claims – not when there are eight hundred pims on the line for your claims. Do you even know how much eight hundred pims will buy us? Probably not. But for me, those eight hundred pims are more valuable than yielding to an implausible story in hope of some vaguely defined future reward come in time from an organization that I have no proof either of you are involved with. So pay the money that I want – or else!”

 

Sima shakes her head sadly. “Your choice has been noted, Dacota. I can handle the matter now. I will write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me.”

 

Dacota agrees with suspicion, but is mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota is practically smiling.

 

“I am so glad, Sima,” she gushes, “that we were able to resolve this issue so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to her what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder. “Don’t feel too bad that you weren’t able to convince Dom’na Dacota,” she says. “In my home islands, dombis are professional entertainers, but you are better than they are!”

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, faker,” Roxan replies.

 

You are glad that you have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but you must admit to wishing that she had used a more obscure nickname for you than faker. Still, you had tried to fake being part of a powerful organization. Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “I think that Dacota may be worried that I am trying to recruit Roxan as an actress for some confidence tricks – which would be useful, but is not easily doable.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask some risky questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? Are you part of some secret organization of spies that would benefit through recruiting Roxan? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money from you when you could have paid her so easily from the beginning?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which we pretended to be doing this investigation of Zoe Melis in order to serve a powerful temple-affiliated organization, rather than as a way to satisfy my caution, was truly ingenious, even though you were not skilled enough to succeed in it. People will do so many things if they think that they are benefitting the gods whom they adore – or the powerful people who serve such gods. But one must be able to convince people of this first, and that can be more difficult than creating an effective, internally consistent, plausible lie. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services. With my funds reduced, other people in my life…will not be happy, shall we say? It would have been nice if you could have saved me such money, but I was the one who got so involved with the Southside Pitts and you tried to help me. I wonder if Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo might be able to make up my money.”

 

“Alas,” Sima sighs, “I fear that it would not be wise for me alone to tell you about the other two; at minimum, they must be consulted first. Yet this is one of the wonderful things about our relationship, I think – you are willing to be my friend despite my mysterious aspects and friends. Others, knowing what you know, would think differently, I do not doubt, and would not want to be friends with me, thinking me a robber chief’s daughter, a pirate captain’s daughter, or even – as Miya once told me about – a dragon’s daughter taking human form.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are sad that you were unable to save her from some financial risk – and disappointed that you could not know more about Sima’s connections to mysterious and powerful organizations. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Character Study, + 1 Skill Level Story Telling, + 1 Charm, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Theology to Sima Venesico, + 1 stress to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has affection or love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

You decide to approach this issue from a different angle.

 

“Dacota,” you sigh. “I undersatand that you have fallen into a bad course in life – which can always be abandoned if one has the will – but I must ask. Are you, among all of your other misdeeds, an atheist or an apostate from the Imperial religion?”

 

“What!?” Dacota snarls. “You’re probably accusing me of being something unnatural, like an agent reporting to some dragon-worshipping Oursouk, or a wyvern breeder, or a dragon worshipper – but I’m not! And I won’t be insulted by a client’s bodyguard!”

 

She takes a step forward, but Roxan reaches up to tap her shoulder. “Dom’na, I know how to read, and my readings – both of my own books and of what the Dom’nus your brother lets me read – have taught me that an atheist is one who holds gods to be no standard for right conduct and an apostate is one who abandons a religion. Besides, it is not good to assume that a person is insulting when one cannot understand the words. Remember the time you and I got all upset with your brother’s trying to speak Elumian?” Then, turning to Sima, Roxan says with pride, “I am no apostate, thanks to her kindness three years ago and since – the Awakened Man Measureless Life is still my guide, despite what the laws say about orphans in Mineta!”

 

Dacota flinches. “Roxan, enough about your Good Man,” and here she digresses with foul language against her brother for his interest in magic and tolerance of strange magics and beliefs. “But in answer to your question, bodyguard, I am no…atospate or…aseitht; I attend services to Aemean when I can, and avoid preachers for him whose ideas seem heretical. Without the New Gods, we’d all be slaves to dragons. But why the question? Am I not a bit too old for you to bring to a temple as a person whom faith has turned away from crime? Don’t the temples prefer children in that role? Children even younger than you are?” And here Dacota takes another step forwards.

 

“Dacota,” the words rush from your lips in a torrent, “In a world where the threat of dragons declines – may the gods keep it that way! – Pievre continues as a state that has embraced its twisted humanism and mass apostasy, and the Oursoukis remain a great power, I was worried that even some people not from those spiritually darkened lands in Mineta – the very heart of the True Religion – may have fallen into legal and spiritual errors. You, at least, are better than that. For this I and the girl whom I guard are grateful – as will our employer be, once we tell it about this. But you could risk such good favor by breaking the earlier agreement.”

 

“Your employer? It?” Dacota’s eyes widen. “Whom are you kids claming to work for? What have I gotten us involved in, Roxan?”

 

Sima decides to chime in at this time. “Some people, Dacota, want to undermine temples’ powers through several subversive schemes for the dragons’ sakes, such as by spreading the strange doctrines of the Pievrian Republic in Mineta. There is a certain temple-affiliated organization, which we are junior members of, that hunts down such people – or failing that, their propaganda caches. Even schools, after all, can be infiltrated. I thought that Zoe Melis might have knowledge about some aspect of some plot, hence need to investigate her. She is fierce rival to a Pievrian student, after all, and those who are rivals tend, if they are as smart as Zoe is, to learn about their rivals. I could gladly pay you some more money – my expense account would cover such a payment. But I would have to explain such a payment to the organization, and that would cause them to learn about how un-co-operative you have been, which could cause them to investigate you for being a potential vector for subversion. On the other hand, I was ready to tell them, until you wanted more money, how co-operative and valuable you could be.”

 

After Sima has finished her words, Dacota says nothing, but looks at both of you, lost in thought.

 

“The two of you spin a good story – enough to be weavers in the Temple of Iudocia,” she finally says. “But I am not willing to believe your claims – not when there are eight hundred pims on the line for your claims. Do you even know how much eight hundred pims will buy us? Probably not. But for me, those eight hundred pims are more valuable than yielding to an implausible story in hope of some vaguely defined future reward come in time from an organization that I have no proof either of you are involved with. So pay the money that I want – or else!”

 

Sima shakes her head sadly. “Your choice has been noted, Dacota. I can handle the matter now. I will write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me.”

 

Dacota agrees with suspicion, but is mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota is practically smiling.

 

“I am so glad, Sima,” she gushes, “that we were able to resolve this issue so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to her what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder. “Don’t feel too bad that you weren’t able to convince Dom’na Dacota,” she says. “In my home islands, dombis are professional entertainers, but you are better than they are!”

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, faker,” Roxan replies.

 

You are glad that you have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but you must admit to wishing that she had used a more obscure nickname for you than faker. Still, you had tried to fake being part of a powerful organization. Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “I think that Dacota may be worried that I am trying to recruit Roxan as an actress for some confidence tricks – which would be useful, but is not easily doable.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask some risky questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? Are you part of some secret organization of spies that would benefit through recruiting Roxan? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money from you when you could have paid her so easily from the beginning?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I adore, whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion and affection flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which we pretended to be doing this investigation of Zoe Melis in order to serve a powerful temple-affiliated organization, rather than as a way to satisfy my caution, was truly ingenious, even though you were not skilled enough to succeed in it. People will do so many things if they think that they are benefitting the gods whom they adore – or the powerful people who serve such gods. But one must be able to convince people of this first, and that can be more difficult than creating an effective, internally consistent, plausible lie. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services. With my funds reduced, other people in my life…will not be happy, shall we say? It would have been nice if you could have saved me such money, but I was the one who got so involved with the Southside Pitts and you tried to help me. I wonder if Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo might be able to make up my money.”

 

“Alas,” Sima sighs, “I fear that it would not be wise for me alone to tell you about the other two; at minimum, they must be consulted first. Yet this is one of the wonderful things about our relationship, I think – you are willing to be my friend despite my mysterious aspects and friends. Others, knowing what you know, would think differently, I do not doubt, and would not want to be friends with me, thinking me a robber chief’s daughter, a pirate captain’s daughter, or even – as Miya once told me about – a dragon’s daughter taking human form. And fear not,” she says, looking at your face’s dawning horror. “What ever else I may be, I am no dragon’s daughter!”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are sad that you were unable to save her from some financial risk – and disappointed that you could not know more about Sima’s connections to mysterious and powerful organizations. At least you have assurances from her that she is no dragon’s daughter in human form – and given that you trust her so much you must believe her. But you wonder whether you would be willing to date a robber chief’s daughter, come in time – she may be that, given how little you know about her. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Character Study, + 1 Skill Level Story Telling, + 1 Charm, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Theology to Sima Venesico, + 1 stress to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has memory Magsa’s Gambit Played] Intrigue. Maybe you can build upon Magsa’s claim to make this business seem more than it is.

  Reveal hidden contents

Success

  Reveal hidden contents

[If PC has Tutoring: Grifter]

  Reveal hidden contents

You seize upon Dacota’s earlier reference to Chards. Magsa had mentioned to you the possibility that Prudence would be upset about being conflated with Flore, but Flore Yveuillet has a rivalry with Catherine Chard due to their families, and Catherine is wealthy, arrogant, and ruthless enough that she might try to bring Sima in to help investigate any possible source of bad tales about her rival – even those written in fiction by a quiet scholar, because who knows what such people may find and how they may write their findings. And where Catherine gets involved, her family cannot be far behind. Or so you hope you can convince Dacota.

 

All of these thoughts flash through your mind – resembling a dragon in flight in their terrifyingness if not wickedness – as you open your mouth.

 

“Dacota,” you say, with what you hope is a conspiratorial tone. “It is strange that you mention Chards in connection with this meeting. You knw who they are, I presume.”

 

“Just because I attend no fancy school does not make me a fool!” Dacota replies. “All with some knowledge of Mineta’s events and people know about the Golden Families, and since I am…working near Academagia, I know especially about the Chards. One of their daughters is continuing their custom of going there. Don’t tell me – she’s behind this, right?”

 

“I am so relieved, Dacota, that you are understanding the ways of Mineta and its great families so well – although I would not dare to confirm or deny whether Catherine Chard was truly behind this task that you and my friend undertook. Certain people, you know, can be so eager to find things to use against their rivals – and their families’ rivals – that they would sink to utterly illegal – and complicated – lengths to harm them. Such people make very useful...patrons, I guess you might call them, but can be very dangerous when crossed. Especially when crossing their clients involves not merely harming them, even if only indirectly, but also their families. Only indirectly, true, but such people are very attached to thier families. And such people, without their families, are…well, I fear that I may have digressed too much. Suffice it to say that our little operation against Zoe Melis was, at a certain level, much more than a student prank. But then, I am sure that Roxan already knows this.” You gesture towards Roxan, hoping that you have understood her role in Sima’s plan correctly. If you misunderstood it, your credibility as a hinter about Catherine Chard’s plotting would be seriously undermined.

 

“Yes, Dom’na, it was strange,” Roxan says, after seeing that no one is stopping her. “I have never been tolds to simply go into a room and use a magical device without being caught. And you, Dombi, emphatically told me that I was not to take anything from Zoe’s room or even mess with her clothing. I did such, though, as you had requested. And I have the tube for you, which I will give to you, come in time – once you pay us the money.”

 

Dacota, who has been growing a bit concerned by what she has heard, turns to Sima and says, “Yes, about the money – maybe I was wrong to break my agreement with you. I do not want to get on the bad side of any Golden Family – not that I am saying that I think that any particular family is behind this – and as more…polite people might say, it is not proper to change terms of any agreement at the last minute. So. Three hundred pims it will be, yes?”

 

Sima laughs lightly as she removes a pouch from beneath the fold of her cloak, before handing it to Roxan in return for the reddish-brown cylinder. “You really are such a useful girl, Roxan. What is a dombi?”

 

“A professional entertainer from my home islands in my birth language,” Roxan replies.

 

Sima nods and grins. “Roxan, I would love to be an actress when I graduate. Your words are such encouragement to me.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, hinter,” Roxan replies. But then Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “I think that Dacota may be worried that I am trying to turn Roxan into being an actress rather than burgler – although being an actor would not give her any greater respectability in society, despite the actor’s greater legality. Ah, this is but one of many strange things in the world that have nothing to do with magic.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. So you decide to ask some noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which you cleverly hinted that we were working for Catherine Chard doing this investigation of Zoe Melis rather than as a way to satisfy my caution, was truly ingenious. The best deceptions involve no lies – or at least very few – and are all about letting the mark make conclusions. That way, if the mark confronts you about the claim, you can avoid appearing dishonest, if such is necessary, by truthfully saying that you made fewer false claims than the mark thinks. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services. Any shortage of pims now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not have been happy. I thank you for sparing me from having to go to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make for my shortage of money.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – although you are somewhat disquieted by Sima’s casually talking about the best way to deceive people. Has she, like you, been trained by some grifter? Has she served as a grifter? But you trust her enough to believe that she would never harm you while the two of you are friends – your adventure last year on the mysterious island with the Triplets proved that to you. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Bluff, + 1 Skill Level Innuendo, + 1 skill level Flattery, + 1 Intelligence, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Intrigue to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has no Tutoring: Grifter]

  Reveal hidden contents

You seize upon Dacota’s earlier reference to Chards. Magsa had mentioned to you the possibility that Prudence would be upset about being conflated with Flore, but Flore Yveuillet has a rivalry with Catherine Chard due to their families, and Catherine is wealthy, arrogant, and ruthless enough that she might try to bring Sima in to help investigate any possible source of bad tales about her rival – even those written in fiction by a quiet scholar, because who knows what such people may find and how they may write their findings. And where Catherine gets involved, her family cannot be far behind. Or so you hope you can convince Dacota.

 

All of these thoughts flash through your mind – resembling a dragon in flight in their terrifyingness if not wickedness – as you open your mouth.

 

“Dacota,” you say, with what you hope is a conspiratorial tone. “It is strange that you mention Chards in connection with this meeting. You knw who they are, I presume.”

 

“Just because I attend no fancy school does not make me a fool!” Dacota replies. “All with some knowledge of Mineta’s events and people know about the Golden Families, and since I am…working near Academagia, I know especially about the Chards. One of their daughters is continuing their custom of going there. Don’t tell me – she’s behind this, right?”

 

“I am so relieved, Dacota, that you are understanding the ways of Mineta and its great families so well – although I would not dare to confirm or deny whether Catherine Chard was truly behind this task that you and my friend undertook. Certain people, you know, can be so eager to find things to use against their rivals – and their families’ rivals – that they would sink to utterly illegal – and complicated – lengths to harm them. Such people make very useful...patrons, I guess you might call them, but can be very dangerous when crossed. Especially when crossing their clients involves not merely harming them, even if only indirectly, but also their families. Only indirectly, true, but such people are very attached to thier families. And such people, without their families, are…well, I fear that I may have digressed too much. Suffice it to say that our little operation against Zoe Melis was, at a certain level, much more than a student prank. But then, I am sure that Roxan already knows this.” You gesture towards Roxan, hoping that you have understood her role in Sima’s plan correctly. If you misunderstood it, your credibility as a hinter about Catherine Chard’s plotting would be seriously undermined.

 

“Yes, Dom’na, it was strange,” Roxan says, after seeing that no one is stopping her. “I have never been tolds to simply go into a room and use a magical device without being caught. And you, Dombi, emphatically told me that I was not to take anything from Zoe’s room or even mess with her clothing. I did such, though, as you had requested. And I have the tube for you, which I will give to you, come in time – once you pay us the money.”

 

Dacota, who has been growing a bit concerned by what she has heard, turns to Sima and says, “Yes, about the money – maybe I was wrong to break my agreement with you. I do not want to get on the bad side of any Golden Family – not that I am saying that I think that any particular family is behind this – and as more…polite people might say, it is not proper to change terms of any agreement at the last minute. So. Three hundred pims it will be, yes?”

 

Sima laughs lightly as she removes a pouch from beneath the fold of her cloak, before handing it to Roxan in return for the reddish-brown cylinder. “You really are such a useful girl, Roxan. What is a dombi?”

 

“A professional entertainer from my home islands in my birth language,” Roxan replies.

 

Sima nods and grins. “Roxan, I would love to be an actress when I graduate. Your words are such encouragement to me.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, hinter,” Roxan replies. But then Dacota jerks Roxan away and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “I think that Dacota may be worried that I am trying to turn Roxan into being an actress rather than burgler – although being an actor would not give her any greater respectability in society, despite the actor’s greater legality. Ah, this is but one of many strange things in the world that have nothing to do with magic.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. So you decide to ask some noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which you cleverly hinted that we were working for Catherine Chard doing this investigation of Zoe Melis rather than as a way to satisfy my caution, was truly ingenious. The best deceptions involve no lies – or at least very few – and are all about letting the mark make conclusions. That way, if the mark confronts you about the claim, you can avoid appearing dishonest, if such is necessary, by truthfully saying that you made fewer false claims than the mark thinks. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services. Any shortage of pims now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not have been happy. I thank you for sparing me from having to go to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make for my shortage of money.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – although you are somewhat disquieted by Sima’s casually talking about the best way to deceive people. But you trust her enough to believe that she would never harm you while the two of you are friends – your adventure last year on the mysterious island with the Triplets proved that to you. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Bluff, + 1 Skill Level Innuendo, + 1 skill level Flattery, + 1 Intelligence, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Intrigue to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

Failure

  Reveal hidden contents

[If PC has Tutoring: Grifter]

  Reveal hidden contents

You seize upon Dacota’s earlier reference to Chards. Magsa had mentioned to you that Prudence would be upset about being conflated with Flore, but Flore has a rivalry with Catherine Chard due to their families, and Catherine is wealthy, arrogant, and ruthless enough that she would try to bring Sima in to help investigate any possible source of bad tales about her rival – even those written in fiction by a quiet scholar, because who knows what such people may find and how they may write their findings. And where Catherine gets involved, her family cannot be far behind.

 

All of these thoughts flash through your mind as you open your mouth.

 

“Dacota,” you say. “It is strange that you mention Chards in connection with this meeting. You knw who they are, surely.”

 

“Just because I attend no fancy school does not make me a fool, despite what you think!” Dacota replies. “All with some knowledge of Mineta’s events know about the Golden Families, and since I am…working near Academagia, I know especially about the Chards. One of their daughters is continuing the custom of going there. Is there a purpose to this aside from insulting me?”

 

“Catherine Chard was truly behind this task that you and my friend undertook. She is so eager to find things to use against her rivals – and her family’s rivals – that she would sink to utterly illegal – and complicated – lengths to harm them – rivals such as Flore Yveuillet. Miss Chard makes a very useful...patron, I guess you might call her, but can be very dangerous when crossed. Especially when crossing her client involves not merely harming her, even if only indirectly, but also her family. Suffice it to say that our little operation against Zoe Melis was, at a certain level, much more than a student prank. But then, I am sure that Roxan already knows this.” You gesture towards Roxan, hoping that you have understood her role in Sima’s plan correctly. If you misunderstood it, your credibility as a hinter about Catherine Chard’s plotting would be seriously undermined.

 

“Yes, Dom’na, it was strange,” Roxan says, after seeing that no one is stopping her. “I have never been tolds to simply go into a room and use a magical device without being caught. And you, Dombi, emphatically told me that I was not to take anything from Zoe’s room or even mess with her clothing. I did such, though, as you had requested. And I have the tube for you, which I will give to you, come in time – once you pay us the money.”

 

Dacota turns to Sima and says, “Your bodyguard makes bold claims about powerful families and their plans. But why should I believe such claims? Surely a Chard, especially one plotting against another noble, would have better sense than to employ students with such loose lips. Besides, if what your bodyguard says is true, it is so clear that the Chards’ enemies would doubtlessly pay many pims to me for this tip, which might make your lives…unpleasant, shall we say? So why not just agree to pay me the adjusted sum and we can all forget that your bodyguard said such things? Everything is so much simpler for everyone when this can be seen as a simple prank by a collegemate.”

 

Sima shakes her head sadly. “There is no need for you to try to do any more. I can handle the matter now. I will write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me.”

 

Dacota agrees with suspicion, but is mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota is practically smiling.

 

“I am so glad, Sima,” she gushes, “that we were able to resolve this issue so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to Sima what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, blabbermouth,” Roxan replies. You wish that you could have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but since Roxan just insulted you by calling you a blabbermouth, perhaps it is just as well for you not to know what dombi means. Dacota jerks Roxan away with a snicker and retreats into the mist.

 

“Dacota was under much stress after robbing me – she will be hanged if convicted for what she just did to me, and that is on top of the hanging that she would get if convicted as a leader of a criminal gang. And that is not even taking into account the fact that not all student mages are as defenceless as I may be – I pity the robber who attacks a Contu student or even a Godina student. She got lucky with us, and she knows it. But if she were not bold, she would not be a leader.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. So you decide to ask some noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money from you when you could have paid her so easily from the beginning?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which you cleverly hinted that we were working for Catherine Chard doing this investigation of Zoe Melis rather than as a way to satisfy my caution, was truly ingenious. But you need more training in tricking people. The best deceptions involve no lies – or at least very few – and are all about letting the mark make conclusions. That way, if the mark confronts you about the claim, you can avoid appearing dishonest, if such is necessary, by truthfully saying that you made fewer false claims than the mark thinks. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. My unexpected shortage of pims now is…problematic to certain other people in my life, who will not be happy. I will, due to your defeat by Dacota, have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my shortage of money. At least I did not need to rush back and retrieve another eight hundred pims to pay Dacota due to the wonders of modern banking.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are sad that you could not save her from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of confidence tricks and related activities. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – although you are somewhat disquieted by Sima’s casually talking about the best way to deceive people. Has she, like you, been trained by some grifter? Has she served as a grifter? But you trust her enough to believe that she would never harm you while the two of you are friends – your adventure last year on the mysterious island with the Triplets proved that to you. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Bluff, + 3 Skill Levels Flattery, + 1 Charm, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Intrigue to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has no Tutoring: Grifter]

  Reveal hidden contents

You seize upon Dacota’s earlier reference to Chards. Magsa had mentioned to you that Prudence would be upset about being conflated with Flore, but Flore has a rivalry with Catherine Chard due to their families, and Catherine is wealthy, arrogant, and ruthless enough that she would try to bring Sima in to help investigate any possible source of bad tales about her rival – even those written in fiction by a quiet scholar, because who knows what such people may find and how they may write their findings. And where Catherine gets involved, her family cannot be far behind.

 

All of these thoughts flash through your mind as you open your mouth.

 

“Dacota,” you say. “It is strange that you mention Chards in connection with this meeting. You knw who they are, surely.”

 

“Just because I attend no fancy school does not make me a fool, despite what you think!” Dacota replies. “All with some knowledge of Mineta’s events know about the Golden Families, and since I am…working near Academagia, I know especially about the Chards. One of their daughters is continuing the custom of going there. Is there a purpose to this aside from insulting me?”

 

“Catherine Chard was truly behind this task that you and my friend undertook. She is so eager to find things to use against her rivals – and her family’s rivals – that she would sink to utterly illegal – and complicated – lengths to harm them – rivals such as Flore Yveuillet. Miss Chard makes a very useful...patron, I guess you might call her, but can be very dangerous when crossed. Especially when crossing her client involves not merely harming her, even if only indirectly, but also her family. Suffice it to say that our little operation against Zoe Melis was, at a certain level, much more than a student prank. But then, I am sure that Roxan already knows this.” You gesture towards Roxan, hoping that you have understood her role in Sima’s plan correctly. If you misunderstood it, your credibility as a hinter about Catherine Chard’s plotting would be seriously undermined.

 

“Yes, Dom’na, it was strange,” Roxan says, after seeing that no one is stopping her. “I have never been tolds to simply go into a room and use a magical device without being caught. And you, Dombi, emphatically told me that I was not to take anything from Zoe’s room or even mess with her clothing. I did such, though, as you had requested. And I have the tube for you, which I will give to you, come in time – once you pay us the money.”

 

Dacota turns to Sima and says, “Your bodyguard makes bold claims about powerful families and their plans. But why should I believe such claims? Surely a Chard, especially one plotting against another noble, would have better sense than to employ students with such loose lips. Besides, if what your bodyguard says is true, it is so clear that the Chards’ enemies would doubtlessly pay many pims to me for this tip, which might make your lives…unpleasant, shall we say? So why not just agree to pay me the adjusted sum and we can all forget that your bodyguard said such things? Everything is so much simpler for everyone when this can be seen as a simple prank by a collegemate.”

 

Sima shakes her head sadly. “There is no need for you to try to do any more. I can handle the matter now. I will write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me.”

 

Dacota agrees with suspicion, but is mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota is practically smiling.

 

“I am so glad, Sima,” she gushes, “that we were able to resolve this issue so easily – and without your having to risk your bodyguard. Come, Roxan – return to Sima what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, blabbermouth,” Roxan replies. You wish that you could have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but since Roxan just insulted you by calling you a blabbermouth, perhaps it is just as well for you not to know what dombi means. Dacota jerks Roxan away with a snicker and retreats into the mist.

 

“Dacota was under much stress after robbing me – she will be hanged if convicted for what she just did to me, and that is on top of the hanging that she would get if convicted as a leader of a criminal gang. And that is not even taking into account the fact that not all student mages are as defenceless as I may be – I pity the robber who attacks a Contu student or even a Godina student. She got lucky with us, and she knows it. But if she were not bold, she would not be a leader.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. So you decide to ask some noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money from you when you could have paid her so easily from the beginning?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which you cleverly hinted that we were working for Catherine Chard doing this investigation of Zoe Melis rather than as a way to satisfy my caution, was truly ingenious. But you need more training in tricking people. The best deceptions involve no lies – or at least very few – and are all about letting the mark make conclusions. That way, if the mark confronts you about the claim, you can avoid appearing dishonest, if such is necessary, by truthfully saying that you made fewer false claims than the mark thinks. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. My unexpected shortage of pims now is…problematic to certain other people in my life, who will not be happy. I will, due to your defeat by Dacota, have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my shortage of money. At least I did not need to rush back and retrieve another eight hundred pims to pay Dacota due to the wonders of modern banking.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are sad that you could not save her from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of confidence tricks and related activities. Still, you are glad that you saved her from some financial risk – although you are somewhat disquieted by Sima’s casually talking about the best way to deceive people. But you trust her enough to believe that she would never harm you while the two of you are friends – your adventure last year on the mysterious island with the Triplets proved that to you. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 skill level Bluff, + 3 Skill Levels Flattery, + 1 Charm, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 3 skill levels Intrigue to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC completed adventure The Pitts] Romance. Maybe Dacota has some other reason to be here.

  Reveal hidden contents

Success

  Reveal hidden contents

“Dacota,” you lilt in a teasing voice, “how nice to see you again – and in much more pleasant circumstances, too. No goblins or mastery magic – but o, isn’t something missing? Something very pleasant and tender for you? Or rather, someone? A student mage of around your age, perhaps? Would this alley, leading to Academagia, not be a better way fo you to remedy this lack then trying to enter the campus through more conventional means? Especially given how unconventional a person and pig you may - ”

 

Dacoata’s shriek would not be out of place among the sophisticated ladies with no Minetan swagger whom she imagines are the majority of Sima’s peers – although as you would tell her if she were curious, such students are not the only ones whose charms interest you. Right now, however, she is curious about a very different thing – or person.

 

“What!? Which one are you?” She rushes forward to look at your face, but you leap out of the way with a laugh. It would not be appealing to the ladies if you were to be smelling of pig, even though the pig is a pig-god to Goblins and a Bruellian pot-bellied pig familiar to his owner.

 

“No one of much importance,” you sing back. “Just a friend to a certain swineherd. A swineherd whom you may have visited for certain reasons, perhaps related to pigs!”

 

Sima looks mildly amused as well as curious, but Roxan giggles at your display. “It’s true,” she crows. “Dom’na has a boyfriend! One from the fanciest of fancy colleges at Academagia – with all the towers and fine art. He is not so sophisticated, though. She helps him to feed a pig, and he tries to teach her to read Renaglian – when they allow me to be with them, that is!”

 

Dacota turns to Roxan. “Your beating will be so bad that you will lose interest in pigs!” she shouts. Then to Sima she says, “I am not having a boyfriend. He and I are involved in certain sensitive business and…tiogolocal…issues with goblins. Tell your bodyguard to stop this! We have business matters of our own to discuss.”

 

When Roxan laughingly kisses the air, Dacota slaps her. Sima, to her credit, replies calmly, “I should not inquire into others’ private affairs when this would distract from business. But my bodyguard still may try to solve this issue – unless you want to try to attack us outright?”

 

Dacota begrudgingly agrees with a curt nod. However, you can tell that your words have shaken her. This should make Dacota easier to control – or so you hope. [+ 1 skill level Tease, + 1 skill level Innuendo, +15% chance of success, choose another option]

Failure

  Reveal hidden contents

“Dacota,” you say, “how nice to see you again in better circumstances. No goblins or mastery magic – but isn’t something missing? Would this alley, leading to Academagia, not be a better way fo you to remedy this lack then trying to enter the campus through more conventional means? Especially given how unconventional a person and pig you may - ”

 

Dacoata sighs. “Of all the bodyguards whom I could have met, I meet one who knows about my efforts to deal with goblins. I suppose that it is no great burden to tell you that tending to a goblin god is difficult – especially when the god is a mage’s familiar who can breathe fire.”

 

Sima looks curious, but Roxan giggles. “Dom’na,” she laughs, “you really are a swineherd’s apprentice sometimes – and the pig stinks. No fancy words can obscure these things. The Dom’na helps him to feed a pig, and he tries to teach her to read Renaglian – among other things.”

 

Dacota turns to Roxan. “You will be beaten for this so that you will lose interest in pigs,” she says. Then to Sima she says, “Roxan’s…zogolocal…claims are irrelevant to our dealings here and now. Tell your bodyguard to stop this! We have business matters of our own to discuss.”

 

When Roxan laughingly oinks, Dacota slaps her. Sima, to her credit, replies calmly, “I should not inquire into others’ private affairs when this would distract from business. But my bodyguard still may try to solve this issue – unless you want to try to attack us outright?”

 

Dacota begrudgingly agrees with a curt nod. Your words may not have driven her to irrationality, but Roxan’s oinking and discussion of pig-tending were very amusing. If only you were not dealing with her as a robber-girl! [+ 1 skill level Animal Husbandry, + 1 skill level Mimicry, choose another option]

[If PC completed adventure Enter the Work Force] Intimidate. “I fought you once, Pitts, when you were with your gang! I can fight you again when you have only a girl with you!”

  Reveal hidden contents

Success

  Reveal hidden contents

Dacota flinches and scowls at you, before saying, “Ah yes, you’re the Godina brat whose efforts with Mr. McCroskey caused such difficulty for my efforts to…offer protection, shall we say? But I am not afraid of you – you are not travelling, and that makes every fight much easier.”

 

Still, you can tell that your words have shaken her. This should make Dacota easier to control – or so you hope. [+ 1 skill level Intimidation, + 1 skill level Tactics, + 1 temporary Skill level to Wrestling, choose another option]

Failure

  Reveal hidden contents

Dacota peers at at you before sneering, “Ah yes, you’re the Godina brat who interfered with my efforts to protect Mr. McCroskey’s business. Well, you are not working for Mr. McCroskey, and my goal is different here and now. So I am not afraid of you.”

 

Although Dacota’s logic may leave something to be desired – surely a person would not be unwise to fear a previous enemy in a hostile situation even when the reason for the hostile situation is different – Dacota’s argument has succeeded, so far as you can tell, in keeping her calm despite your challenge. Perhaps if you were to use actions rather than talking about past actions, she would yield to you. [+ 1 skill level Reasoning, choose another option]

Wrestling. “When you act tough, Dacota, you should be prepared to fight.”

  Reveal hidden contents

Success

  Reveal hidden contents

“But are you prepared to fight me?” Dacota replies, bracing her body for any physical response from you.

 

Realizing that words would distract you from your goal and give Dacota time to attack you, you simply charge towards Dacota and knock her down. Roxan screams then, and Dacota’s eyes harden as one hand reaches for her belt. But you strike her in a sensitive spot so that she howls and her arms go limp. You then seize her good hand and twist the fingers in such a way that you could easily break them if you were wanting to. She tries to move her hand from your grasp, but you are strong enough to maintain your grip and twist her fingers so that she yelps a bit.

 

“Do you yield?” Sima’s voice, calm despite the chaos on the ground in front of her, suggests that she is not unused to violence.

 

“Pax! O Dom’na, please say pax! Otherwise - ” Roxan’s eyes are wide with terror, but there is also, you think, a measure of thoughtful calculation in her voice. Is she trying to demonstrate her loyalty to the Southside Pitts’ leader?

 

“Yes. Pax! I yield!” Dacota follows with a string of syllables, some of which may be polite words in other languages, before her voice trails off into a sob. “What do you want? I can give you money or information about Roxan’s life these past three years, or -”

 

You never get to hear what else Dacota was about to offer because Sima interrupts.

 

“I am not here for your money, Pitts, nor for any treasure that you may have – not even a set of knives made from non-rusting steel. I just want to pay you for your services at the agreed upon rate.” Sima thrusts forward a pouch of money with an imperious sniff, and Roxan mutely gives her a reddish-brown cylinder before taking the money.

 

“Call your trained attack dog in human form off me,” Dacota whines. You only do so when Sima tells you to, after which Dacota springs to her feet and walk carefully away from you. Although she tries to appear uninjured, you can tell by her ginger motions that you have seriously hurt her. Nothing that a little rest or magic cannot fix, but you hope that you made your mark on her mind as a dangerous opponent.

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, thrasher,” Roxan replies.

 

You wish that you could have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but you assume, based upon her nicknaming you thrasher, that it may have a complimentary meaning. Dacota jerks Roxan away with a wince and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “Dacota was under much stress and pain after her botched robbery of me – she will be hanged if convicted for what she just tried to do to me, and that is on top of the hanging that she would get if convicted as a leader of a criminal gang. I am so glad that I had you to protect me in the simplest and most direct way – you are better than a student mage from the Contu school, since all they focus on is incantation. Dacota bit off more than she could chew when she tried to rob us, and she knows it. Maybe she will be more cautious about trying to rob people now. But if she were not bold, she would not be a leader.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which you fought Dacota into abandoning her demands, was useful if not imaginative – I even learned about certain painful points on bodies by watching you fight! Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. Any unexpected shortage of pims by me now would have been…problematic to certain other people in my life, who would not be happy. I will, due to your competence, not have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my money shortage.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are happy that you were able to save her from some financial risk through wrestling, that skill that in Academagia is often associated only with bullying. If all wrestlers, you think, were to use their wrestling skills only to help protect other people against wrong-doers, the world would be a better place and people would be in less fear of dragons. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 Strength, + 1 skill level Wrestling, + 1 skill level Anatomy, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Anatomy to Sima Venesico, add memory Dacota’s Pain, end adventure]

Failure

  Reveal hidden contents

“But are you prepared to fight me?” Dacota snarls.

 

“I am, if you are pre -”

 

But your witty retort is cut short as Dacota tackles you with such force that you are knocked hard to the ground. As you try to raise your arms to defend yourself, you see the flash of a knife blade as it swoops in towards your throat. At the last second – or so you think – you are able to roll aside, but the blade still keeps seeking you and you feel its hilt scrapt against your back. You realize that you cannot dodge the weapon indefinitely.

 

“Pax! Say pax! Otherwise - ” Roxan’s voice is faintly gloating.

 

Sima interrupts, her voice revealing more concern for your safety. “There is no need for you to try to do any more. I can handle the matter now. I will write a draft for the Renazlian Regional Bank to handle most of the money – the agreed upon sum I have with me. But please do not harm my bodyguard!”

 

Dacota, after some growls, muttered curses, and slaps to your body, rolls you body so that you are facing her and then allows you to stand up facing her, all the while keeping her knife aimed at you and your body between her and Sima. Her suspicion is only mollified when Roxan, looking over the paper that Sima produces and writes upon, announces that it is an authentic draft to withdraw eight hundred pims from an account at the Renazlian Regional Bank. By the time Sima has given Dacota a pouch of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, Dacota has lowered the knife a bit.

 

“I am so glad,” she says, “that we were able to resolve this issue before I had to kill or maim your bodyguard. Maybe this will teach you to be more cautious in dealing with me and my gang in future. Come, Roxan – return to her what she lent you, then we must go!”

 

Roxan hands Sima a reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“Farewell, Pitts, and farewell, Roxan,” Sima calls out. “I hope that you Southside Pitts will be more reliable in future dealings.”

 

“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, miles gloriosus,” Roxan replies.

 

You wish that you could have learned what Roxan’s nickname of dombi for Sima means, but since your knowledge of Elumian suggests that miles gloriosus means “braggart soldier”, perhaps it is just as well for you not to know what dombi means. Dacota jerks Roxan away with a snicker and retreats into the mist.

 

“I do hope that they remember the proper way to leave this place,” Sima mutters. “Dacota’s easy defeat of you and easy robbery of me may have made her over-confident. She was lucky. not all student mages are as defenceless as I may be – I pity the robber who attacks a Contu student or a Godina student. She got lucky with us, and she knows it. But if she were not bold, she would not be a leader.” She then leads you out of the alleyway and back into the blissfully normal Academagia. Once there, she creates glamours and puts an eye to one end of the reddish-brown cylinder.

 

“So Zoe’s room had no legal or illegal magics that might explain her knowledge,” she says after a few seconds’ gazing as she lowers the reddish-brown cylinder from her face. “Truly, this was a waste of my time. Still, I was cautious and must remain cautious. As, for that matter should you. Violence is not always the best solution to any problem, and it is riskier than many others because it can most easily be responded to by violence in return – and such violence cannot always be avoided as you avoided all serious contact with Dacota’s knife today. This is one of several reasons why I prefer trying to talk my way out of problems, even when the problems are dangerous people who could easily use violence against me.”

 

You suppose that you are unlikely to get, at least at this time, any further explanation, such as why the so-called Triplets are so secretive about their relationship, or how they get such easy access to so many magical artifacts, or what they are involved in. Still, you decide to ask some noncommittal questions.

 

“Sima, what about me? Where do I fit in all of this? And why were you so eager that I stop Dacota from collecting more money from you when you could have paid her so easily from the beginning?”

 

“You are a valuable friend whom I trust with great secrets and who has had fine adventures with me and…certain others, whom I would not hesitate to help in the direst circumstances,” Sima replies, passion flowing into her voice. “Is this not the thing that true friendships are made of? And your solution, in which you fought Dacota in an attempt to get her to abandon her demands, was useful if not imaginative, even though you lacked the skill to defeat her. Pims are easy to use for securing…useful services, as I well know from experience. My unexpected shortage of pims now is…problematic to certain other people in my life, who will not be happy. I will, due to your defeat by Dacota, have to see about going to Iustus, Cyrus, or Cirillo in order to be able to make up for my shortage of money. At least I did not need to rush back and retrieve another eight hundred pims to pay Dacota due to the wonders of modern banking.”

 

You have to admit that Sima is right. Mysterious as the Triplets are, they are truly wonderful friends to you, even though they are secretive and can be strange in pursuit of a mysterious goal that you are not fully informed about. You only wish that you could better know more about the true Sima Venesico rather than the mask that she creates for those who are not her closest friends. You are sad that you could not save her from some financial risk. Maybe you would better serve her and other friends through more serious study of wrestling and related activities. [- 900 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, + 1 Finesse, + 1 Stress, + 1 skill level Tactics, + 1 skill level Flawless Timing, - 1 Vitality, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 stress to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

Theory of Enchantment. How valuable is the artifact that Sima lent to the Southside Pitts?

  Reveal hidden contents
  Reveal hidden contents

Success

  Reveal hidden contents

[If PC is not a Student in Vernin College]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You vaguely note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But then the answer strikes you.

 

The reddish-brown cylinder must be what you have heard called a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic. Some of the more sophisticated versions of such devices – of which this one must be an example, you think – have an internal sheath of paper and a stylus that, through further enchantment, record when the devices was used, where they were activated (according to a co-ordinate system), and what pillars of magic they detected and in what strength. A person can then read a record of the magics found in a given location at a given time by looking at the paper through an adjustable lens – which you presume to be embedded in one end of the tube so that it can function like a telescope.

 

Having Roxan use such a device in Zoe Melis’s bedroom while Zoe would be in the bedroom would be a very thorough way to address, without exposing Sima to the possibility of being caught and punished for trespassing, the possibility that Zoe’s information about the Triplets, regardless of what Zoe may believe its origins were, was implanted within her mind through mastery magic, glamour magic, or even gates magic bringing in some type of non-magical hypnotist. You well know that Sima always desires to be very thorough in her undertakings, no matter how impulsively she may have decided to do them. Plus, if any student at the Academagia would have access to such a thaumatometer, Sima Vensico, purveyor of magical jewelry and nebulously associated with some type of secretive organization, would be that student. The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that you are right.

 

“…and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you could try to sell her the thaumatometer in exchange for a reduction in the money that she is demanding from Sima. Or you could try something else. Regardless, your figuring out what Sima and Roxan were up to has given you more confidence in dealing with this situation. [+ 1 skill level clockwork, reveal Negotiate Option, temporary + 10% chance of success, choose other option]

[If PC is a Student in Vernin College]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You vaguely note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But then the answer strikes you. You are glad that your studies in Vernin have paid off in this way.

 

The reddish-brown cylinder must be what you have heard called a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic. Some of the more sophisticated versions of such devices – of which this one must be an example, you think – have an internal sheath of paper and a stylus that, through further enchantment, record when the devices was used, where they were activated (according to a co-ordinate system), and what pillars of magic they detected and in what strength. A person can then read a record of the magics found in a given location at a given time by looking at the paper through an adjustable lens – which you presume to be embedded in one end of the tube so that it can function like a telescope.

 

Having Roxan use such a device in Zoe Melis’s bedroom while Zoe would be in the bedroom would be a very thorough way to address, without exposing Sima to the possibility of being caught and punished for trespassing, the possibility that Zoe’s information about the Triplets, regardless of what Zoe may believe its origins were, was implanted within her mind through mastery magic, glamour magic, or even gates magic bringing in some type of non-magical hypnotist. You well know that Sima always desires to be very thorough in her undertakings, no matter how impulsively she may have decided to do them. Plus, if any student at the Academagia would have access to such a thaumatometer, Sima Vensico, purveyor of magical jewelry and nebulously associated with some type of secretive organization, would be that student. The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that you are right.

 

“…and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you could try to sell her the thaumatometer in exchange for a reduction in the money that she is demanding from Sima. Or you could try something else. Regardless, your figuring out what Sima and Roxan were up to has given you more confidence in dealing with this situation. [+ 1 skill level Clockwork, reveal Negotiate Option, temporary + 10% chance of success, choose other option]

[If PC was a Student in Vernin College during Y1 but is in another college]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You vaguely note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But then the answer strikes you. It almost makes you wish that you had remained in Vernin.

 

The reddish-brown cylinder must be what you have heard called a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic. Some of the more sophisticated versions of such devices – of which this one must be an example, you think – have an internal sheath of paper and a stylus that, through further enchantment, record when the devices was used, where they were activated (according to a co-ordinate system), and what pillars of magic they detected and in what strength. A person can then read a record of the magics found in a given location at a given time by looking at the paper through an adjustable lens – which you presume to be embedded in one end of the tube so that it can function like a telescope.

 

Having Roxan use such a device in Zoe Melis’s bedroom while Zoe would be in the bedroom would be a very thorough way to address, without exposing Sima to the possibility of being caught and punished for trespassing, the possibility that Zoe’s information about the Triplets, regardless of what Zoe may believe its origins were, was implanted within her mind through mastery magic, glamour magic, or even gates magic bringing in some type of non-magical hypnotist. You well know that Sima always desires to be very thorough in her undertakings, no matter how impulsively she may have decided to do them. Plus, if any student at the Academagia would have access to such a thaumatometer, Sima Vensico, purveyor of magical jewelry and nebulously associated with some type of secretive organization, would be that student. The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that you are right.

 

“…and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you could try to sell her the thaumatometer in exchange for a reduction in the money that she is demanding from Sima. Or you could try something else. Regardless, your figuring out what Sima and Roxan were up to has given you more confidence in dealing with this situation. [+ 1 skill level Clockwork, reveal Negotiate Option, temporary + 10% chance of success, choose other option]

[If PC was not a Student in Vernin College during Y1 but is in Vernin college]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You vaguely note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But then the answer strikes you. You guess that Vernin College was truly the best one for you, and are relieved that you transferred into it. Better late then never, as they say.

 

The reddish-brown cylinder must be what you have heard called a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic. Some of the more sophisticated versions of such devices – of which this one must be an example, you think – have an internal sheath of paper and a stylus that, through further enchantment, record when the devices was used, where they were activated (according to a co-ordinate system), and what pillars of magic they detected and in what strength. A person can then read a record of the magics found in a given location at a given time by looking at the paper through an adjustable lens – which you presume to be embedded in one end of the tube so that it can function like a telescope.

 

Having Roxan use such a device in Zoe Melis’s bedroom while Zoe would be in the bedroom would be a very thorough way to address, without exposing Sima to the possibility of being caught and punished for trespassing, the possibility that Zoe’s information about the Triplets, regardless of what Zoe may believe its origins were, was implanted within her mind through mastery magic, glamour magic, or even gates magic bringing in some type of non-magical hypnotist. You well know that Sima always desires to be very thorough in her undertakings, no matter how impulsively she may have decided to do them. Plus, if any student at the Academagia would have access to such a thaumatometer, Sima Vensico, purveyor of magical jewelry and nebulously associated with some type of secretive organization, would be that student. The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that you are right.

 

“…and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you could try to sell her the thaumatometer in exchange for a reduction in the money that she is demanding from Sima. Or you could try something else. Regardless, your figuring out what Sima and Roxan were up to has given you more confidence in dealing with this situation. [+ 1 skill level Clockwork, - 1 stress, reveal Negotiate Option, temporary + 10% chance of success, choose other option]

[If PC is not a Student in Vernin College and has memory Sima’s Ring to Zoe or Tabin’s Potion to Zoe]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You vaguely note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But then the answer strikes you.

 

The reddish-brown cylinder must be what you have heard called a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic. Some of the more sophisticated versions of such devices – of which this one must be an example, you think – have an internal sheath of paper and a stylus that, through further enchantment, record when the devices was used, where they were activated (according to a co-ordinate system), and what pillars of magic they detected and in what strength. A person can then read a record of the magics found in a given location at a given time by looking at the paper through an adjustable lens – which you presume to be embedded in one end of the tube so that it can function like a telescope.

 

Having Roxan use such a device in Zoe Melis’s bedroom while Zoe would be in the bedroom would be a very thorough way to address, without exposing Sima to the possibility of being caught and punished for trespassing, the possibility that Zoe’s information about the Triplets, regardless of what Zoe may believe its origins were, was implanted within her mind through mastery magic, glamour magic, or even gates magic bringing in some type of non-magical hypnotist. You well know that Sima always desires to be very thorough in her undertakings, no matter how impulsively she may have decided to do them. Plus, if any student at the Academagia would have access to such a thaumatometer, Sima Vensico, purveyor of magical jewelry and nebulously associated with some type of secretive organization, would be that student. The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that you are right.

 

“…and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you could try to sell her the thaumatometer in exchange for a reduction in the money that she is demanding from Sima. On the other hand, maybe you could use your greater knowledge of what Roxan was doing in Zoe Melis’s room in order to try to create the idea that Zoe Melis as dangerous – by implication inflating Sima’s power and making Dacota less eager to rob her. Or you could try something else. Regardless, your figuring out what Sima and Roxan were up to has given you more confidence in dealing with this situation. [+ 1 skill level Clockwork, temporary + 10% chance of success, reveal Negotiate Option, reveal appropriate Innuendo Option, choose other option]

[If PC is a Student in Vernin College and has memory Sima’s Ring to Zoe or Tabin’s Potion to Zoe]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You vaguely note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But then the answer strikes you. You are glad that your studies in Vernin have paid off in this way.

 

The reddish-brown cylinder must be what you have heard called a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic. Some of the more sophisticated versions of such devices – of which this one must be an example, you think – have an internal sheath of paper and a stylus that, through further enchantment, record when the devices was used, where they were activated (according to a co-ordinate system), and what pillars of magic they detected and in what strength. A person can then read a record of the magics found in a given location at a given time by looking at the paper through an adjustable lens – which you presume to be embedded in one end of the tube so that it can function like a telescope.

 

Having Roxan use such a device in Zoe Melis’s bedroom while Zoe would be in the bedroom would be a very thorough way to address, without exposing Sima to the possibility of being caught and punished for trespassing, the possibility that Zoe’s information about the Triplets, regardless of what Zoe may believe its origins were, was implanted within her mind through mastery magic, glamour magic, or even gates magic bringing in some type of non-magical hypnotist. You well know that Sima always desires to be very thorough in her undertakings, no matter how impulsively she may have decided to do them. Plus, if any student at the Academagia would have access to such a thaumatometer, Sima Vensico, purveyor of magical jewelry and nebulously associated with some type of secretive organization, would be that student. The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that you are right.

 

“…and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you could try to sell her the thaumatometer in exchange for a reduction in the money that she is demanding from Sima. On the other hand, maybe you could use your greater knowledge of what Roxan was doing in Zoe Melis’s room in order to try to create the idea that Zoe Melis as dangerous – by implication inflating Sima’s power and making Dacota less eager to rob her. Or you could try something else. Regardless, your figuring out what Sima and Roxan were up to has given you more confidence in dealing with this situation. [+ 1 skill level Clockwork, temporary + 10% chance of success, reveal Negotiate Option, reveal appropriate Innuendo Option, choose other option]

[If PC was a Student in Vernin College during Y1 but is in another college and has memory Sima’s Ring to Zoe or Tabin’s Potion to Zoe]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You vaguely note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But then the answer strikes you. It almost makes you wish that you had remained in Vernin.

 

The reddish-brown cylinder must be what you have heard called a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic. Some of the more sophisticated versions of such devices – of which this one must be an example, you think – have an internal sheath of paper and a stylus that, through further enchantment, record when the devices was used, where they were activated (according to a co-ordinate system), and what pillars of magic they detected and in what strength. A person can then read a record of the magics found in a given location at a given time by looking at the paper through an adjustable lens – which you presume to be embedded in one end of the tube so that it can function like a telescope.

 

Having Roxan use such a device in Zoe Melis’s bedroom while Zoe would be in the bedroom would be a very thorough way to address, without exposing Sima to the possibility of being caught and punished for trespassing, the possibility that Zoe’s information about the Triplets, regardless of what Zoe may believe its origins were, was implanted within her mind through mastery magic, glamour magic, or even gates magic bringing in some type of non-magical hypnotist. You well know that Sima always desires to be very thorough in her undertakings, no matter how impulsively she may have decided to do them. Plus, if any student at the Academagia would have access to such a thaumatometer, Sima Vensico, purveyor of magical jewelry and nebulously associated with some type of secretive organization, would be that student. The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that you are right.

 

“…and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you could try to sell her the thaumatometer in exchange for a reduction in the money that she is demanding from Sima. On the other hand, maybe you could use your greater knowledge of what Roxan was doing in Zoe Melis’s room in order to try to create the idea that Zoe Melis as dangerous – by implication inflating Sima’s power and making Dacota less eager to rob her. Or you could try something else. Regardless, your figuring out what Sima and Roxan were up to has given you more confidence in dealing with this situation. [+ 1 skill level Clockwork, temporary + 10% chance of success, reveal Negotiate Option, reveal appropriate Innuendo Option, choose other option]

[If PC was not a Student in Vernin College during Y1 but is in Vernin college and has memory Sima’s Ring to Zoe or Tabin’s Potion to Zoe]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You vaguely note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But then the answer strikes you. You guess that Vernin College was truly the best one for you, and are relieved that you transferred into it. Better late then never, as they say.

 

The reddish-brown cylinder must be what you have heard called a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic. Some of the more sophisticated versions of such devices – of which this one must be an example, you think – have an internal sheath of paper and a stylus that, through further enchantment, record when the devices was used, where they were activated (according to a co-ordinate system), and what pillars of magic they detected and in what strength. A person can then read a record of the magics found in a given location at a given time by looking at the paper through an adjustable lens – which you presume to be embedded in one end of the tube so that it can function like a telescope.

 

Having Roxan use such a device in Zoe Melis’s bedroom while Zoe would be in the bedroom would be a very thorough way to address, without exposing Sima to the possibility of being caught and punished for trespassing, the possibility that Zoe’s information about the Triplets, regardless of what Zoe may believe its origins were, was implanted within her mind through mastery magic, glamour magic, or even gates magic bringing in some type of non-magical hypnotist. You well know that Sima always desires to be very thorough in her undertakings, no matter how impulsively she may have decided to do them. Plus, if any student at the Academagia would have access to such a thaumatometer, Sima Vensico, purveyor of magical jewelry and nebulously associated with some type of secretive organization, would be that student. The more you think about it, the more you are convinced that you are right.

 

“…and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you could try to sell her the thaumatometer in exchange for a reduction in the money that she is demanding from Sima. On the other hand, maybe you could use your greater knowledge of what Roxan was doing in Zoe Melis’s room in order to try to create the idea that Zoe Melis as dangerous – by implication inflating Sima’s power and making Dacota less eager to rob her. Or you could try something else. Regardless, your figuring out what Sima and Roxan were up to has given you more confidence in dealing with this situation. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, - 1 stress, temporary + 10% chance of success, reveal Negotiate Option, reveal appropriate Innuendo Option, choose other option]

Failure

  Reveal hidden contents

[If PC is not a Student in Vernin College and has no affection or love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers and rolls her eyes. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up, her voice smug. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers. Maybe she finds Roxan’s pride annoying.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters sullenly, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But no answer strikes you. You were thinking that it might be a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic – but you dismiss such an idea as absurd. Roxan makes no claim to being a prodigy mage – which, given her boasting about other areas in which she is skilled, you assume she would do if she had any magical knowledge – and would therefore not know how to interpret a thaumatometer’s readings, let alone repeat them to Sima later. Therefore, Sima would only use a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe’s room if she herself could use it – which apparently she had not. It is possible, you suppose, that this could be a real thaumatometer that Sima lent out even though it could not be usefully used to investigate Zoe Melis because she wanted to distract people from her own effective use of a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe Melis, but that strikes you as the sort of paranoid misdirection and spycraft that you would associate with Lambert Cobo, Aymeri Couer, or possibly Tabin Furenzti - but not Sima Venesico. Sima is ambitious in her plans – and, as this whole situation reveals, very paranoid in her desire to prevent her relationship with Magsa and Tabin from becoming public knowledge – but she is not cunning to such a degree. Rather, she is impulsive more often then not.

 

“…just because we rescued and sheltered you from forced worship of gods in some temple orphanage and value your skills does not mean that you can be free in speaking around me. I will tell my brother about this and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you have to deal with her, even though you know nothing about what the reddish-brown cylinder is. You think that if you were wanting to meet only people with clearly defined agendas, you would not have the triplets as your firmest friends, nor would you have earned Sima’s trust through helping her. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, + 1 stress, choose other option]

[If PC is not a Student in Vernin College and has affection or love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers and rolls her eyes. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up, her voice smug. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers. Maybe she finds Roxan’s pride annoying.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters sullenly, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But no answer strikes you. You were thinking that it might be a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic – but you dismiss such an idea as absurd. Roxan makes no claim to being a prodigy mage – which, given her boasting about other areas in which she is skilled, you assume she would do if she had any magical knowledge – and would therefore not know how to interpret a thaumatometer’s readings, let alone repeat them to Sima later. Therefore, Sima would only use a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe’s room if she herself could use it – which apparently she had not. It is possible, you suppose, that this could be a real thaumatometer that Sima lent out even though it could not be usefully used to investigate Zoe Melis because she wanted to distract people from her own effective use of a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe Melis, but that strikes you as the sort of paranoid misdirection and spycraft that you would associate with Lambert Cobo, Aymeri Couer, or possibly Tabin Furenzti - but not Sima Venesico. Sima is ambitious in her plans – and, as this whole situation reveals, very paranoid in her desire to prevent her relationship with Magsa and Tabin from becoming public knowledge – but she is not cunning to such a degree. Rather, she is impulsive more often then not.

 

“…just because we rescued and sheltered you from forced worship of gods in some temple orphanage and value your skills does not mean that you can be free in speaking around me. I will tell my brother about this and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you have to deal with her, even though you know nothing about what the reddish-brown cylinder is. You think that if you were wanting to meet only people with clearly defined agendas, you would not have the triplets as your firmest friends, nor would you have earned Sima’s trust and affection through helping her. At this reminder of how you feel about Sima, you feel a renewed surge of determination. You were able to fight through magical curses and elemental nymphs to help her make a fine necklace – surely you can help her against two magicless criminals. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, choose other option]

[If PC is a Student in Vernin College and has no affection or love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers and rolls her eyes. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up, her voice smug. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers. Maybe she finds Roxan’s pride annoying.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters sullenly, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But no answer strikes you. Maybe you should focus more on being a Vernin student than on strange adventures. You were thinking that it might be a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic – but you dismiss such an idea as absurd. Roxan makes no claim to being a prodigy mage – which, given her boasting about other areas in which she is skilled, you assume she would do if she had any magical knowledge – and would therefore not know how to interpret a thaumatometer’s readings, let alone repeat them to Sima later. Therefore, Sima would only use a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe’s room if she herself could use it – which apparently she had not. It is possible, you suppose, that this could be a real thaumatometer that Sima lent out even though it could not be usefully used to investigate Zoe Melis because she wanted to distract people from her own effective use of a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe Melis, but that strikes you as the sort of paranoid misdirection and spycraft that you would associate with Lambert Cobo, Aymeri Couer, or possibly Tabin Furenzti - but not Sima Venesico. Sima is ambitious in her plans – and, as this whole situation reveals, very paranoid in her desire to prevent her relationship with Magsa and Tabin from becoming public knowledge – but she is not cunning to such a degree. Rather, she is impulsive more often then not.

 

“…just because we rescued and sheltered you from forced worship of gods in some temple orphanage and value your skills does not mean that you can be free in speaking around me. I will tell my brother about this and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you have to deal with her, even though you know nothing about what the reddish-brown cylinder is. You think that if you were wanting to meet only people with clearly defined agendas, you would not have the triplets as your firmest friends, nor would you have earned Sima’s trust through helping her. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, + 1 stress, choose other option]

[If PC is a Student in Vernin College and has affection or love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers and rolls her eyes. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up, her voice smug. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers. Maybe she finds Roxan’s pride annoying.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters sullenly, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But no answer strikes you. Maybe you should focus more on being a Vernin student than on strange adventures. You were thinking that it might be a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic – but you dismiss such an idea as absurd. Roxan makes no claim to being a prodigy mage – which, given her boasting about other areas in which she is skilled, you assume she would do if she had any magical knowledge – and would therefore not know how to interpret a thaumatometer’s readings, let alone repeat them to Sima later. Therefore, Sima would only use a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe’s room if she herself could use it – which apparently she had not. It is possible, you suppose, that this could be a real thaumatometer that Sima lent out even though it could not be usefully used to investigate Zoe Melis because she wanted to distract people from her own effective use of a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe Melis, but that strikes you as the sort of paranoid misdirection and spycraft that you would associate with Lambert Cobo, Aymeri Couer, or possibly Tabin Furenzti - but not Sima Venesico. Sima is ambitious in her plans – and, as this whole situation reveals, very paranoid in her desire to prevent her relationship with Magsa and Tabin from becoming public knowledge – but she is not cunning to such a degree. Rather, she is impulsive more often then not.

 

“…just because we rescued and sheltered you from forced worship of gods in some temple orphanage and value your skills does not mean that you can be free in speaking around me. I will tell my brother about this and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you have to deal with her, even though you know nothing about what the reddish-brown cylinder is. You think that if you were wanting to meet only people with clearly defined agendas, you would not have the triplets as your firmest friends, nor would you have earned Sima’s trust and affection through helping her. At this reminder of how you feel about Sima, you feel a renewed surge of determination. You were able to fight through magical curses and elemental nymphs to help her make a fine necklace – surely you can help her against two magicless criminals. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, choose other option]

[If PC was a Student in Vernin College during Y1 but is in another college and has no affection or love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers and rolls her eyes. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up, her voice smug. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers. Maybe she finds Roxan’s pride annoying.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters sullenly, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But no answer strikes you. Maybe it is for the best that you left Vernin College. You were thinking that it might be a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic – but you dismiss such an idea as absurd. Roxan makes no claim to being a prodigy mage – which, given her boasting about other areas in which she is skilled, you assume she would do if she had any magical knowledge – and would therefore not know how to interpret a thaumatometer’s readings, let alone repeat them to Sima later. Therefore, Sima would only use a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe’s room if she herself could use it – which apparently she had not. It is possible, you suppose, that this could be a real thaumatometer that Sima lent out even though it could not be usefully used to investigate Zoe Melis because she wanted to distract people from her own effective use of a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe Melis, but that strikes you as the sort of paranoid misdirection and spycraft that you would associate with Lambert Cobo, Aymeri Couer, or possibly Tabin Furenzti - but not Sima Venesico. Sima is ambitious in her plans – and, as this whole situation reveals, very paranoid in her desire to prevent her relationship with Magsa and Tabin from becoming public knowledge – but she is not cunning to such a degree. Rather, she is impulsive more often then not.

 

“…just because we rescued and sheltered you from forced worship of gods in some temple orphanage and value your skills does not mean that you can be free in speaking around me. I will tell my brother about this and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you have to deal with her, even though you know nothing about what the reddish-brown cylinder is. You think that if you were wanting to meet only people with clearly defined agendas, you would not have the triplets as your firmest friends, nor would you have earned Sima’s trust through helping her. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, + 1 stress, choose other option]

[If PC was a Student in Vernin College during Y1 but is in another college and has affection or love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers and rolls her eyes. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up, her voice smug. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers. Maybe she finds Roxan’s pride annoying.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters sullenly, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But no answer strikes you. Maybe it is for the best that you left Vernin College. You were thinking that it might be a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic – but you dismiss such an idea as absurd. Roxan makes no claim to being a prodigy mage – which, given her boasting about other areas in which she is skilled, you assume she would do if she had any magical knowledge – and would therefore not know how to interpret a thaumatometer’s readings, let alone repeat them to Sima later. Therefore, Sima would only use a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe’s room if she herself could use it – which apparently she had not. It is possible, you suppose, that this could be a real thaumatometer that Sima lent out even though it could not be usefully used to investigate Zoe Melis because she wanted to distract people from her own effective use of a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe Melis, but that strikes you as the sort of paranoid misdirection and spycraft that you would associate with Lambert Cobo, Aymeri Couer, or possibly Tabin Furenzti - but not Sima Venesico. Sima is ambitious in her plans – and, as this whole situation reveals, very paranoid in her desire to prevent her relationship with Magsa and Tabin from becoming public knowledge – but she is not cunning to such a degree. Rather, she is impulsive more often then not.

 

“…just because we rescued and sheltered you from forced worship of gods in some temple orphanage and value your skills does not mean that you can be free in speaking around me. I will tell my brother about this and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you have to deal with her, even though you know nothing about what the reddish-brown cylinder is. You think that if you were wanting to meet only people with clearly defined agendas, you would not have the triplets as your firmest friends, nor would you have earned Sima’s trust and affection through helping her. At this reminder of how you feel about Sima, you feel a renewed surge of determination. You were able to fight through magical curses and elemental nymphs to help her make a fine necklace – surely you can help her against two magicless criminals. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, choose other option]

[If PC was not a Student in Vernin College during Y1 but is in Vernin college and has no affection or love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers and rolls her eyes. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up, her voice smug. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers. Maybe she finds Roxan’s pride annoying.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters sullenly, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But no answer strikes you. So much for the idea that Vernin College was truly the best one for you in which you could truly thrive academically and magically. You were thinking that it might be a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic – but you dismiss such an idea as absurd. Roxan makes no claim to being a prodigy mage – which, given her boasting about other areas in which she is skilled, you assume she would do if she had any magical knowledge – and would therefore not know how to interpret a thaumatometer’s readings, let alone repeat them to Sima later. Therefore, Sima would only use a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe’s room if she herself could use it – which apparently she had not. It is possible, you suppose, that this could be a real thaumatometer that Sima lent out even though it could not be usefully used to investigate Zoe Melis because she wanted to distract people from her own effective use of a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe Melis, but that strikes you as the sort of paranoid misdirection and spycraft that you would associate with Lambert Cobo, Aymeri Couer, or possibly Tabin Furenzti - but not Sima Venesico. Sima is ambitious in her plans – and, as this whole situation reveals, very paranoid in her desire to prevent her relationship with Magsa and Tabin from becoming public knowledge – but she is not cunning to such a degree. Rather, she is impulsive more often then not.

 

“…just because we rescued and sheltered you from forced worship of gods in some temple orphanage and value your skills does not mean that you can be free in speaking around me. I will tell my brother about this and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you have to deal with her, even though you know nothing about what the reddish-brown cylinder is. You think that if you were wanting to meet only people with clearly defined agendas, you would not have the triplets as your firmest friends, nor would you have earned Sima’s trust through helping her. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, + 1 stress, choose other option]

[If PC was not a Student in Vernin College during Y1 but is in Vernin college and has affection or love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder,” you muse aloud. “It must be pretty special for my friend to be willing to go through such risk and pay even three hundred pims just to get it back. But what is it?”


Dacota sneers and rolls her eyes. “Why should I care? All that I know is that your friend wanted Roxan here to bring it into the bedroom of a certain student named Zoe Melis while she was in the room, press a certain button on the device, and then bring the reddish tube back to her.”

 

“All without being detected,” Roxan pipes up, her voice smug. “And I did it, too. All by myself.”

 

“You had help,” Sima whispers. Maybe she finds Roxan’s pride annoying.

 

Roxan looks a bit embarrassed, but then mutters sullenly, “Yes, you did leave the doors to the common room and the doors leading to the corridor with the girls’ rooms unlocked. But I had to sneak into the girls’ rooms areas, then I had to unlock the door to Zoe’s room, then go into her room without waking her, then use the device, then leave the room without being caught, then lock the door, then sneak out of the Academagia - all while avoiding patrols. So really, I did all of the important stuff on my own!”

 

Dacota looks horrified. “Roxan! You must be less obvious about what you do. If the wrong people hear you, respecting your Good Man is the least of your worries – you could be hanged, regardless of your age!”

 

“As the robber-chief said to the thief girl!” Roxan retorts.

 

You note Sima’s expression of concern and try to avoid hearing Dacota’s furious yelling at Roxan – while feeling grateful for such distractions – as you try to figure out what the reddish-brown cylinder could be. But no answer strikes you. So much for the idea that Vernin College was truly the best one for you in which you could truly thrive academically and magically. You were thinking that it might be a thaumatometer – a device to detect magic – but you dismiss such an idea as absurd. Roxan makes no claim to being a prodigy mage – which, given her boasting about other areas in which she is skilled, you assume she would do if she had any magical knowledge – and would therefore not know how to interpret a thaumatometer’s readings, let alone repeat them to Sima later. Therefore, Sima would only use a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe’s room if she herself could use it – which apparently she had not. It is possible, you suppose, that this could be a real thaumatometer that Sima lent out even though it could not be usefully used to investigate Zoe Melis because she wanted to distract people from her own effective use of a thaumatometer to investigate Zoe Melis, but that strikes you as the sort of paranoid misdirection and spycraft that you would associate with Lambert Cobo, Aymeri Couer, or possibly Tabin Furenzti - but not Sima Venesico. Sima is ambitious in her plans – and, as this whole situation reveals, very paranoid in her desire to prevent her relationship with Magsa and Tabin from becoming public knowledge – but she is not cunning to such a degree. Rather, she is impulsive more often then not.

 

“…just because we rescued and sheltered you from forced worship of gods in some temple orphanage and value your skills does not mean that you can be free in speaking around me. I will tell my brother about this and you will be beaten for this – better to have a sore body than a broken neck, as I hope your Awakened Man Measureless Life says in one of those pamphlets whose scribblings you hold to be wisdom. Now, I must collect our money.”

 

Dacota turns to you. You realize that you have to deal with her, even though you know nothing about what the reddish-brown cylinder is. You think that if you were wanting to meet only people with clearly defined agendas, you would not have the triplets as your firmest friends, nor would you have earned Sima’s trust and affection through helping her. At this reminder of how you feel about Sima, you feel a renewed surge of determination. You were able to fight through magical curses and elemental nymphs to help her make a fine necklace – surely you can help her against two magicless criminals. [+ 1 skill level Awareness, choose other option]

Negotiate. Try to sell Sima’s artifact to Dacota.

  Reveal hidden contents

Success

  Reveal hidden contents

[If PC has no affection or love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder – to say nothing of my friend’s specific instructions about how it should be used – got me thinking about what it could be. I mean, I know that Hedi students are notorious for speaking quietly of riddles – itself a riddle of some sort from a certain perspective – but I trust my friend enough to believe that this reddish-brown cylinder is more than some type of obfuscation. It must have real value – value that she might be willing to give you in exchange for a reduced fee for your services.”

 

Sima’s eyes widen, but then she nods enthusiastically. “Yes, that would work. All I need to do is look at the reddish-brown cylinder for a few seconds, then you are welcome to have it – if you really want it. Better that then having to pay one thousand one hundred pims – more than the value of one year’s education at the Contu School.”

 

“It could be worth as much as all the goods in Alfi – to a mage,” Dacota snaps. “Maybe it is worthless to those without magical knowledge, like us.”

 

“But Dom’na, even such an item could be sold to a mage. Is not your brother the Dom’nus trying to get in contact with some wizards from…Tai?” Roxan sounds excited at the prospect of selling a magical artifact.

 

“He is as likely to get into the Theian wizards’ circles as I am to be legitimately at a Golden Families’ dance – but point taken. Some mages would pay well for magical artifacts that only mages can use. Very well, bodyguard – tell us about this reddish-brown cylinder.” Dacota looks at you with curiosity and expectation.

 

Relieved that Sima’s comments confirm your beliefs about why she would need the reddish-brown cylinder, you briefly tell Dacota and Roxan about your conclusion that the reddish-brown cylinder is a device to detect magic called a thaumatometer, modified so that it keeps a record of what it detected and where it was used. You are careful to conceal your views about Sima’s personality and why she wants to know about any magic that might be affecting Zoe Melis – as much for preserving good relations with Sima as for preserving her privacy from the Southside Pitts – but you can tell that your words are having an effect on them. When you finish, Dacota whistles in appreciation.

 

“Yes, I can see how this thauma-thing would be very useful. There are so many magical things in Mineta, known and unknown. Even if we cannot figure out how to use it, we can sell it to some other mage, come in time. But why should I pay you kids eight hundred pims for it?”

 

Sima steps forward then, and says with calm determination, “Because that thaumatometer is special beyond its ability to keep a detailed record. I placed an astrological enchantment on it so that if it is used by the wrong person, it causes various embarassing – and easily perceivable – glamours. Right now, the enchantment is not activated – but it would be very inconvenient, I think, if some member of the Southside Pitts were to be using the thaumatometer in some…inconspicuous way only to trigger the enchantment. So perhaps you should regard the eight hundred pims that I would charge for the thaumatometer as not merely covering the sale of the thaumatometer to you, but also the elimination of my anti-theft protections.”

 

Dacota hesitates, and you assume that she is caught between greed over the thaumatometer and reluctance to forgo hundreds of pims in some other form that would be easier to sell or use for purchases. So you decide that you should intervene with another remark to push her into making the best decision.

 

“Dacota, my friend could use her magics to make life unpleasant for anyone whom she wants, if she sets her mind to it, but chooses to negotiate in the hopes that a more useful relationship may be formed between her and the Southside Pitts. But other magic users – students as well as mages – are not so reasonable, and may choose to use magics against you or your followers, sometimes entirely unprovoked, thinking, rightly or wrongly, that no one would listen to complaints from street urchins. To protect yourself from such magics, and to avoid being targeted by any of my friend’s hostile magics – which I assure you are not fun – it is best for you to purchase the thaumatometer from her.”

 

Dacota sighs and nods. “Working in a city with many mages, it is best to have protection against magic, but better than nothing to have a way to detect magic. And your…magic detector is easier for me to get than it would be for me to pay pims to some seller with such an item elsewhere. Pims have wieght and create long memories. Very well. I will accept three hundred pims for my services as well as ownership of the…magic tube. Roxcan, give the client the tube once she gives you the money. Then you can look at the records and dispel the enchantment before giving it back to us.”

 

As Sima slips Roxan a pouch full of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, she asks the girl what the nickname dombi means.

 

“A professional entertainer from my home islands in my birth language,” Roxan replies.

 

Sima nods and grins. “Roxan, I would love to be an actress when I graduate. Your words are such encouragement to me.”

 

Sima then shows Roxan how to locate a catch on the reddish-brown cylinder, which, when pressed, opens a compartment in the reddish-brown cylinder in which is rolled up a piece of paper. Sima then closes the compartment and shows Roxan how to find the lens that allows a person to read what is on the paper, as well as how to adjust what the lens shows the viewer. Then she re-opens the reddish-brown cylinder and removes the paper, folding it in her hand, before telling Roxan how to replace paper inside the reddish-brown cylinder. Then, beaming, she writes a few phemes in the air with her wand, causing a series of lights to rise out of the thaumatometer. Assuring Roxan and Decota that the enchantment has been dispelled, she hands it over to Dacota, who leads Roxan away.


“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, merchant,” Roxan calls back as she goes into the mists.

 

Sima ignores this attempt at friendliness as she unfolds the paper and scans the writing on it. Then, sighing with exasperation, she moves as if to toss it toss on the ground before thinking better of it and placing it in a pocket.

 

“I had to give up a perfectly good thaumatometer because I wanted to investigate whether Zoe had been somehow influenced into revealing information about us,” she says. “But wouldn’t you know? There was no magic affectring her in her room – so this was all for nothing – and I will have to get another thaumatometer. O, [PCFirstName], did anything go right today in this meeting? Not that I am blaming you – you were able to resolve this issue without violence or magic or my being robbed, which reveals that you have much skill in selling things by making potential customers realize why they need what you are selling even when they had no idea that it existed before you tried to sell it.”

 

“Maybe we could get out of here first?” you suggest.

 

“Ah, true enough.” She leads you out of the alleyway into the blissfully normal Academagia. Then, after creating glamours to protect you from eavesdroppers, she turns to face you.

 

“Having thought more about your solution and my…situation, I realize that I over-reacted and that you handled it very well. I know how to get another thaumatometer, come in time, and my financial situation is so precarious right now due to certain problems that a loss of nine hundred pims by me could have had serious consequences. But I am now within my budget still, and my needling concerns about Zoe have been well addressed. I am just relieved that the Southside Pitts were too ignorant about magic to realize that I could not create, let alone dispel, any anti-theft measure of the sort that I pretended to deal with – I know not if it is even possible. But you know what?”

 

“What?” you ask. With Sima you can never be sure what she will reveal.

 

“I am sorry for having gotten us both involved in such shady and potentially dangerous business. But let us walk and talk as friends for a while.”

 

You agree, happy that Sima is happy despite the seeming set-backs that she has faced, and enjoy the next blissful few minutes walking while talking about various theatrical productions in Mineta. One issue, however, that you are not bold enough to ask Sima about is how it is that she had and apparently can continue to have easy access to a thaumatometer. But if you were wanting a fully open friend, you would not, you realize, be a friend to Sima Venesico. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, +1 Fitness, + 1 skill level Dispassion, + 1 skill level Theater, + 1 Skill level Confidence, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Confidence to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Dispassion to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has affection or love with Sima Venesico]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder – to say nothing of my friend’s specific instructions about how it should be used – got me thinking about what it could be. I mean, I know that Hedi students are notorious for speaking quietly of riddles – itself a riddle of some sort from a certain perspective – but I trust my friend enough to believe that this reddish-brown cylinder is more than some type of obfuscation. It must have real value – value that she might be willing to give you in exchange for a reduced fee for your services.”

 

Sima’s eyes widen, but then she nods enthusiastically. “Yes, that would work. All I need to do is look at the reddish-brown cylinder for a few seconds, then you are welcome to have it – if you really want it. Better that then having to pay one thousand one hundred pims – more than the value of one year’s education at the Contu School.”

 

“It could be worth as much as all the goods in Alfi – to a mage,” Dacota snaps. “Maybe it is worthless to those without magical knowledge, like us.”

 

“But Dom’na, even such an item could be sold to a mage. Is not your brother the Dom’nus trying to get in contact with some wizards from…Tai?” Roxan sounds excited at the prospect of selling a magical artifact.

 

“He is as likely to get into the Theian wizards’ circles as I am to be legitimately at a Golden Families’ dance – but point taken. Some mages would pay well for magical artifacts that only mages can use. Very well, bodyguard – tell us about this reddish-brown cylinder.” Dacota looks at you with curiosity and expectation.

 

Relieved that Sima’s comments confirm your beliefs about why she would need the reddish-brown cylinder, you briefly tell Dacota and Roxan about your conclusion that the reddish-brown cylinder is a device to detect magic called a thaumatometer, modified so that it keeps a record of what it detected and where it was used. You are careful to conceal your views about Sima’s personality and why she wants to know about any magic that might be affecting Zoe Melis – as much for preserving good relations with Sima as for preserving her privacy from the Southside Pitts – but you can tell that your words are having an effect on them. When you finish, Dacota whistles in appreciation.

 

“Yes, I can see how this thauma-thing would be very useful. There are so many magical things in Mineta, known and unknown. Even if we cannot figure out how to use it, we can sell it to some other mage, come in time. But why should I pay you kids eight hundred pims for it?”

 

Sima steps forward then, and says with calm determination, “Because that thaumatometer is special beyond its ability to keep a detailed record. I placed an astrological enchantment on it so that if it is used by the wrong person, it causes various embarassing – and easily perceivable – glamours. Right now, the enchantment is not activated – but it would be very inconvenient, I think, if some member of the Southside Pitts were to be using the thaumatometer in some…inconspicuous way only to trigger the enchantment. So perhaps you should regard the eight hundred pims that I would charge for the thaumatometer as not merely covering the sale of the thaumatometer to you, but also the elimination of my anti-theft protections.”

 

Dacota hesitates, and you assume that she is caught between greed over the thaumatometer and reluctance to forgo hundreds of pims in some other form that would be easier to sell or use for purchases. So you decide that you should intervene with another remark to push her into making the best decision.

 

“Dacota, my friend could use her magics to make life unpleasant for anyone whom she wants, if she sets her mind to it, but chooses to negotiate in the hopes that a more useful relationship may be formed between her and the Southside Pitts. But other magic users – students as well as mages – are not so reasonable, and may choose to use magics against you or your followers, sometimes entirely unprovoked, thinking, rightly or wrongly, that no one would listen to complaints from street urchins. To protect yourself from such magics, and to avoid being targeted by any of my friend’s hostile magics – which I assure you are not fun – it is best for you to purchase the thaumatometer from her.”

 

Dacota sighs and nods. “Working in a city with many mages, it is best to have protection against magic, but better than nothing to have a way to detect magic. And your…magic detector is easier for me to get than it would be for me to pay pims to some seller with such an item elsewhere. Pims have wieght and create long memories. Very well. I will accept three hundred pims for my services as well as ownership of the…magic tube. Roxcan, give the client the tube once she gives you the money. Then you can look at the records and dispel the enchantment before giving it back to us.”

 

As Sima slips Roxan a pouch full of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, she asks the girl what the nickname dombi means.

 

“A professional entertainer from my home islands in my birth language,” Roxan replies.

 

Sima nods and grins. “Roxan, I would love to be an actress when I graduate. Your words are such encouragement to me.”

 

Sima then shows Roxan how to locate a catch on the reddish-brown cylinder, which, when pressed, opens a compartment in the reddish-brown cylinder in which is rolled up a piece of paper. Sima then closes the compartment and shows Roxan how to find the lens that allows a person to read what is on the paper, as well as how to adjust what the lens shows the viewer. Then she re-opens the reddish-brown cylinder and removes the paper, folding it in her hand, before telling Roxan how to replace paper inside the reddish-brown cylinder. Then, beaming, she writes a few phemes in the air with her wand, causing a series of lights to rise out of the thaumatometer. Assuring Roxan and Decota that the enchantment has been dispelled, she hands it over to Dacota, who leads Roxan away.


“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, merchant,” Roxan calls back as she goes into the mists.

 

Sima ignores this attempt at friendliness as she unfolds the paper and scans the writing on it. Then, sighing with exasperation, she moves as if to toss it toss on the ground before thinking better of it and placing it in a pocket.

 

“I had to give up a perfectly good thaumatometer because I wanted to investigate whether Zoe had been somehow influenced into revealing information about us,” she says. “But wouldn’t you know? There was no magic affectring her in her room – so this was all for nothing – and I will have to get another thaumatometer. O, [PCFirstName], did anything go right today in this meeting? Not that I am blaming you – you were able to resolve this issue without violence or magic or my being robbed, which reveals that you have much skill in selling things by making potential customers realize why they need what you are selling even when they had no idea that it existed before you tried to sell it.”

 

“Maybe we could get out of here first?” you suggest.

 

“Ah, true enough.” She leads you out of the alleyway into the blissfully normal Academagia. Then, after creating glamours to protect you from eavesdroppers, she turns to face you.

 

“Having thought more about your solution and my…situation, I realize that I over-reacted and that you handled it very well. I know how to get another thaumatometer, come in time, and my financial situation is so precarious right now due to certain problems that a loss of nine hundred pims by me could have had serious consequences. But I am now within my budget still, and my needling concerns about Zoe have been well addressed. I am just relieved that the Southside Pitts were too ignorant about magic to realize that I could not create, let alone dispel, any anti-theft measure of the sort that I pretended to deal with – I know not if it is even possible. But you know what?”

 

“What?” you ask. With Sima you can never be sure what she will reveal.

 

“I am sorry for having gotten us both involved in such shady and potentially dangerous business. But let us walk and talk as friends – let no one think that we are dating yet – for a while.”

 

You agree, happy that Sima is happy despite the seeming set-backs that she has faced, and enjoy the next blissful few minutes walking while talking about various theatrical productions in Mineta. Despite Sima’s claims to the contrart, however, her laughter lingers in such a way and she touches your shoulder at such times that you believe that to her, at least, this is more than walking and talking as friends. One issue, however, that you are not bold enough to ask Sima about, despite her friendly intimacy, is how it is that she had and apparently can continue to have easy access to a thaumatometer. But if you were wanting a fully open friend, you would not, you realize, be a friend to Sima Venesico. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, +1 Fitness, + 1 skill level Dispassion, + 1 skill level Theater, + 1 Skill level Confidence, + 1 Skill level Flirting, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Confidence to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Flirting to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Dispassion to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

[If PC has no affection or love with Sima Venesico and PC has Station: Merchant]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder – to say nothing of my friend’s specific instructions about how it should be used – got me thinking about what it could be. I mean, I know that Hedi students are notorious for speaking quietly of riddles – itself a riddle of some sort from a certain perspective – but I trust my friend enough to believe that this reddish-brown cylinder is more than some type of obfuscation. It must have real value – value that she might be willing to give you in exchange for a reduced fee for your services.”

 

 

 

Sima’s eyes widen, but then she nods enthusiastically. “Yes, that would work. All I need to do is look at the reddish-brown cylinder for a few seconds, then you are welcome to have it – if you really want it. Better that then having to pay one thousand one hundred pims – more than the value of one year’s education at the Contu School.”

 

 

 

“It could be worth as much as all the goods in Alfi – to a mage,” Dacota snaps. “Maybe it is worthless to those without magical knowledge, like us.”

 

 

 

“But Dom’na, even such an item could be sold to a mage. Is not your brother the Dom’nus trying to get in contact with some wizards from…Tai?” Roxan sounds excited at the prospect of selling a magical artifact.

 

 

 

“He is as likely to get into the Theian wizards’ circles as I am to be legitimately at a Golden Families’ dance – but point taken. Some mages would pay well for magical artifacts that only mages can use. Very well, bodyguard – tell us about this reddish-brown cylinder.” Dacota looks at you with curiosity and expectation.

 

 

 

Relieved that Sima’s comments confirm your beliefs about why she would need the reddish-brown cylinder, you briefly tell Dacota and Roxan about your conclusion that the reddish-brown cylinder is a device to detect magic called a thaumatometer, modified so that it keeps a record of what it detected and where it was used. You are careful to conceal your views about Sima’s personality and why she wants to know about any magic that might be affecting Zoe Melis – as much for preserving good relations with Sima as for preserving her privacy from the Southside Pitts – but you can tell that your words are having an effect on them. When you finish, Dacota whistles in appreciation.

 

 

 

“Yes, I can see how this thauma-thing would be very useful. There are so many magical things in Mineta, known and unknown. Even if we cannot figure out how to use it, we can sell it to some other mage, come in time. But why should I pay you kids eight hundred pims for it?”

 

 

 

Sima steps forward then, and says with calm determination, “Because that thaumatometer is special beyond its ability to keep a detailed record. I placed an astrological enchantment on it so that if it is used by the wrong person, it causes various embarassing – and easily perceivable – glamours. Right now, the enchantment is not activated – but it would be very inconvenient, I think, if some member of the Southside Pitts were to be using the thaumatometer in some…inconspicuous way only to trigger the enchantment. So perhaps you should regard the eight hundred pims that I would charge for the thaumatometer as not merely covering the sale of the thaumatometer to you, but also the elimination of my anti-theft protections.”

 

 

 

Dacota hesitates, and you assume that she is caught between greed over the thaumatometer and reluctance to forgo hundreds of pims in some other form that would be easier to sell or use for purchases. So you decide that you should intervene with another remark to push her into making the best decision.

 

 

 

“Dacota, my friend could use her magics to make life unpleasant for anyone whom she wants, if she sets her mind to it, but chooses to negotiate in the hopes that a more useful relationship may be formed between her and the Southside Pitts. But other magic users – students as well as mages – are not so reasonable, and may choose to use magics against you or your followers, sometimes entirely unprovoked, thinking, rightly or wrongly, that no one would listen to complaints from street urchins. To protect yourself from such magics, and to avoid being targeted by any of my friend’s hostile magics – which I assure you are not fun – it is best for you to purchase the thaumatometer from her.”

 

 

 

Dacota sighs and nods. “Working in a city with many mages, it is best to have protection against magic, but better than nothing to have a way to detect magic. And your…magic detector is easier for me to get than it would be for me to pay pims to some seller with such an item elsewhere. Pims have wieght and create long memories. Very well. I will accept three hundred pims for my services as well as ownership of the…magic tube. Roxcan, give the client the tube once she gives you the money. Then you can look at the records and dispel the enchantment before giving it back to us.”

 

 

 

As Sima slips Roxan a pouch full of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, she asks the girl what the nickname dombi means.

 

 

 

“A professional entertainer from my home islands in my birth language,” Roxan replies.

 

 

 

Sima nods and grins. “Roxan, I would love to be an actress when I graduate. Your words are such encouragement to me.”

 

 

 

Sima then shows Roxan how to locate a catch on the reddish-brown cylinder, which, when pressed, opens a compartment in the reddish-brown cylinder in which is rolled up a piece of paper. Sima then closes the compartment and shows Roxan how to find the lens that allows a person to read what is on the paper, as well as how to adjust what the lens shows the viewer. Then she re-opens the reddish-brown cylinder and removes the paper, folding it in her hand, before telling Roxan how to replace paper inside the reddish-brown cylinder. Then, beaming, she writes a few phemes in the air with her wand, causing a series of lights to rise out of the thaumatometer. Assuring Roxan and Decota that the enchantment has been dispelled, she hands it over to Dacota, who leads Roxan away.

 


“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, merchant,” Roxan calls back as she goes into the mists.

 

 

 

You are relieved that Roxan recognizes your mercantile talents, although you are sure that this is not the sort of praise that you should tell your parents about, no matter how pleased they might otherwise be to learn about your apparent success in following the trade through which they were able to afford raising you. Sima, for her part, ignores Roxan’s attempt at friendliness as she unfolds the paper and scans the writing on it. Then, sighing with exasperation, she moves as if to toss it toss on the ground before thinking better of it and placing it in a pocket.

 

 

 

“I had to give up a perfectly good thaumatometer because I wanted to investigate whether Zoe had been somehow influenced into revealing information about us,” she says. “But wouldn’t you know? There was no magic affectring her in her room – so this was all for nothing – and I will have to get another thaumatometer. O, [PCFirstName], did anything go right today in this meeting? Not that I am blaming you – you were able to resolve this issue without violence or magic or my being robbed, which reveals that you have much skill in selling things by making potential customers realize why they need what you are selling even when they had no idea that it existed before you tried to sell it.”

 

 

 

“Maybe we could get out of here first?” you suggest.

 

 

 

“Ah, true enough.” She leads you out of the alleyway into the blissfully normal Academagia. Then, after creating glamours to protect you from eavesdroppers, she turns to face you.

 

 

 

“Having thought more about your solution and my…situation, I realize that I over-reacted and that you handled it very well. I know how to get another thaumatometer, come in time, and my financial situation is so precarious right now due to certain problems that a loss of nine hundred pims by me could have had serious consequences. But I am now within my budget still, and my needling concerns about Zoe have been well addressed. I am just relieved that the Southside Pitts were too ignorant about magic to realize that I could not create, let alone dispel, any anti-theft measure of the sort that I pretended to deal with – I know not if it is even possible. But you know what?”

 

 

 

“What?” you ask. With Sima you can never be sure what she will reveal.

 

 

 

“I am sorry for having gotten us both involved in such shady and potentially dangerous business. But let us walk and talk as friends for a while.”

 

 

 

You agree, happy that Sima is happy despite the seeming set-backs that she has faced, and enjoy the next blissful few minutes walking while talking about various theatrical productions in Mineta. One issue, however, that you are not bold enough to ask Sima about is how it is that she had and apparently can continue to have easy access to a thaumatometer. But if you were wanting a fully open friend, you would not, you realize, be a friend to Sima Venesico. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, +1 Fitness, + 1 skill level Dispassion, + 1 skill level Theater, + 1 Skill level Confidence, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Confidence to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Dispassion to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

 

[If PC has affection or love with Sima Venesico and PC has Station: Merchant]

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder – to say nothing of my friend’s specific instructions about how it should be used – got me thinking about what it could be. I mean, I know that Hedi students are notorious for speaking quietly of riddles – itself a riddle of some sort from a certain perspective – but I trust my friend enough to believe that this reddish-brown cylinder is more than some type of obfuscation. It must have real value – value that she might be willing to give you in exchange for a reduced fee for your services.”

 

Sima’s eyes widen, but then she nods enthusiastically. “Yes, that would work. All I need to do is look at the reddish-brown cylinder for a few seconds, then you are welcome to have it – if you really want it. Better that then having to pay one thousand one hundred pims – more than the value of one year’s education at the Contu School.”

 

“It could be worth as much as all the goods in Alfi – to a mage,” Dacota snaps. “Maybe it is worthless to those without magical knowledge, like us.”

 

“But Dom’na, even such an item could be sold to a mage. Is not your brother the Dom’nus trying to get in contact with some wizards from…Tai?” Roxan sounds excited at the prospect of selling a magical artifact.

 

“He is as likely to get into the Theian wizards’ circles as I am to be legitimately at a Golden Families’ dance – but point taken. Some mages would pay well for magical artifacts that only mages can use. Very well, bodyguard – tell us about this reddish-brown cylinder.” Dacota looks at you with curiosity and expectation.

 

Relieved that Sima’s comments confirm your beliefs about why she would need the reddish-brown cylinder, you briefly tell Dacota and Roxan about your conclusion that the reddish-brown cylinder is a device to detect magic called a thaumatometer, modified so that it keeps a record of what it detected and where it was used. You are careful to conceal your views about Sima’s personality and why she wants to know about any magic that might be affecting Zoe Melis – as much for preserving good relations with Sima as for preserving her privacy from the Southside Pitts – but you can tell that your words are having an effect on them. When you finish, Dacota whistles in appreciation.

 

“Yes, I can see how this thauma-thing would be very useful. There are so many magical things in Mineta, known and unknown. Even if we cannot figure out how to use it, we can sell it to some other mage, come in time. But why should I pay you kids eight hundred pims for it?”

 

Sima steps forward then, and says with calm determination, “Because that thaumatometer is special beyond its ability to keep a detailed record. I placed an astrological enchantment on it so that if it is used by the wrong person, it causes various embarassing – and easily perceivable – glamours. Right now, the enchantment is not activated – but it would be very inconvenient, I think, if some member of the Southside Pitts were to be using the thaumatometer in some…inconspicuous way only to trigger the enchantment. So perhaps you should regard the eight hundred pims that I would charge for the thaumatometer as not merely covering the sale of the thaumatometer to you, but also the elimination of my anti-theft protections.”

 

Dacota hesitates, and you assume that she is caught between greed over the thaumatometer and reluctance to forgo hundreds of pims in some other form that would be easier to sell or use for purchases. So you decide that you should intervene with another remark to push her into making the best decision.

 

“Dacota, my friend could use her magics to make life unpleasant for anyone whom she wants, if she sets her mind to it, but chooses to negotiate in the hopes that a more useful relationship may be formed between her and the Southside Pitts. But other magic users – students as well as mages – are not so reasonable, and may choose to use magics against you or your followers, sometimes entirely unprovoked, thinking, rightly or wrongly, that no one would listen to complaints from street urchins. To protect yourself from such magics, and to avoid being targeted by any of my friend’s hostile magics – which I assure you are not fun – it is best for you to purchase the thaumatometer from her.”

 

Dacota sighs and nods. “Working in a city with many mages, it is best to have protection against magic, but better than nothing to have a way to detect magic. And your…magic detector is easier for me to get than it would be for me to pay pims to some seller with such an item elsewhere. Pims have wieght and create long memories. Very well. I will accept three hundred pims for my services as well as ownership of the…magic tube. Roxcan, give the client the tube once she gives you the money. Then you can look at the records and dispel the enchantment before giving it back to us.”

 

As Sima slips Roxan a pouch full of pims from beneath the fold of her cloak, she asks the girl what the nickname dombi means.

 

“A professional entertainer from my home islands in my birth language,” Roxan replies.

 

Sima nods and grins. “Roxan, I would love to be an actress when I graduate. Your words are such encouragement to me.”

 

Sima then shows Roxan how to locate a catch on the reddish-brown cylinder, which, when pressed, opens a compartment in the reddish-brown cylinder in which is rolled up a piece of paper. Sima then closes the compartment and shows Roxan how to find the lens that allows a person to read what is on the paper, as well as how to adjust what the lens shows the viewer. Then she re-opens the reddish-brown cylinder and removes the paper, folding it in her hand, before telling Roxan how to replace paper inside the reddish-brown cylinder. Then, beaming, she writes a few phemes in the air with her wand, causing a series of lights to rise out of the thaumatometer. Assuring Roxan and Decota that the enchantment has been dispelled, she hands it over to Dacota, who leads Roxan away.


“Farewell, dombi, and farewell, merchant,” Roxan calls back as she goes into the mists.

 

You are relieved that Roxan recognizes your mercantile talents, although you are sure that this is not the sort of praise that you should tell your parents about, no matter how pleased they might otherwise be to learn about your apparent success in following the trade through which they were able to afford raising you. Sima, for her part, ignores Roxan’s attempt at friendliness as she unfolds the paper and scans the writing on it. Then, sighing with exasperation, she moves as if to toss it toss on the ground before thinking better of it and placing it in a pocket.

 

“I had to give up a perfectly good thaumatometer because I wanted to investigate whether Zoe had been somehow influenced into revealing information about us,” she says. “But wouldn’t you know? There was no magic affectring her in her room – so this was all for nothing – and I will have to get another thaumatometer. O, [PCFirstName], did anything go right today in this meeting? Not that I am blaming you – you were able to resolve this issue without violence or magic or my being robbed, which reveals that you have much skill in selling things by making potential customers realize why they need what you are selling even when they had no idea that it existed before you tried to sell it.”

 

“Maybe we could get out of here first?” you suggest.

 

“Ah, true enough.” She leads you out of the alleyway into the blissfully normal Academagia. Then, after creating glamours to protect you from eavesdroppers, she turns to face you.

 

“Having thought more about your solution and my…situation, I realize that I over-reacted and that you handled it very well. I know how to get another thaumatometer, come in time, and my financial situation is so precarious right now due to certain problems that a loss of nine hundred pims by me could have had serious consequences. But I am now within my budget still, and my needling concerns about Zoe have been well addressed. I am just relieved that the Southside Pitts were too ignorant about magic to realize that I could not create, let alone dispel, any anti-theft measure of the sort that I pretended to deal with – I know not if it is even possible. But you know what?”

 

“What?” you ask. With Sima you can never be sure what she will reveal.

 

“I am sorry for having gotten us both involved in such shady and potentially dangerous business. But let us walk and talk as friends – let no one think that we are dating yet – for a while.”

 

You agree, happy that Sima is happy despite the seeming set-backs that she has faced, and enjoy the next blissful few minutes walking while talking about various theatrical productions in Mineta. Despite Sima’s claims to the contrart, however, her laughter lingers in such a way and she touches your shoulder at such times that you believe that to her, at least, this is more than walking and talking as friends. One issue, however, that you are not bold enough to ask Sima about, despite her friendly intimacy, is how it is that she had and apparently can continue to have easy access to a thaumatometer. But if you were wanting a fully open friend, you would not, you realize, be a friend to Sima Venesico. [- 100 pims Sima Venesico, - 100 pims Tabin Furenzti, - 100 pims Magsa Nembo, +1 Fitness, + 1 skill level Dispassion, + 1 skill level Theater, + 1 Skill level Confidence, + 1 Skill level Flirting, Inform location Nugen’s Alley, + 1 skill level Confidence to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Flirting to Sima Venesico, + 1 skill level Dispassion to Sima Venesico, end adventure]

Failure

  Reveal hidden contents

“All of this fuss over a reddish-brown cylinder – to say nothing of my friend’s instructions about how it should be used – got me thinking about what it could be. It must have real value – value that she might be willing to give you in exchange for a reduced fee for your services.”

 

Sima nods. “Yes, that would work. All I need to do is look at the reddish-brown cylinder for a few seconds, then you are welcome to have it – if you really want it. Better that then having to pay one thousand one hundred pims – more than the value of one year’s education at the Contu School.”

 

“It could be worth as much as all the goods in Alfi – to a mage,” Dacota says. “Maybe it is worthless to those without magical knowledge, like us.”

 

“But Dom’na, even such an item could be sold to a mage. Is not your brother the Dom’nus trying to get in contact with some wizards from…Tai?” Roxan says..

 

“He is as likely to get into the Theian wizards’ circles as I am to be legitimately at a Golden Families’ dance – but point taken. Some mages would pay well for magical artifacts that only mages can use. Very well, bodyguard – tell us about this reddish-brown cylinder.” Dacota looks at you with curiosity and expectation.

 

Relieved that Sima’s comments confirm your beliefs about why she would need the reddish-brown cylinder, you tell Dacota and Roxan about your conclusion that the reddish-brown cylinder is a device to detect magic called a thaumatometer, modified so that it keeps a record of what it detected and where it was used. You conceal your views about Sima’s personality and why she wants to know about any magic that might be affecting Zoe Melis – as much for preserving good relations with Sima as for preserving her privacy from the Southside Pitts. When you finish, Dacota whistles in appreciation.

 

“Yes, I can see how this thauma-thing would be very useful. There are so many magical things in Mineta, known and unknown. Even if we cannot figure out how to use it, we can sell it to some other mage, come in time. But why should I pay you kids eight hundred pims for it?”

 

Sima steps forward then, and says with calm determination, “Because that thaumatometer is special beyond its ability to keep a detailed record. I placed an astrological enchantment on it so that if it is used by the wrong person, it causes various embarassing – and easily perceivable – glamours. Right now, the enchantment is not activated – but it would be very inconvenient, I think, if some member of the Southside Pitts were to be using the thaumatometer in some…inconspicuous way only to trigger the enchantment. So perhaps you should regard the eight hundred pims that I would charge for the thaumatometer as not merely covering the sal