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Rhialto

Rhialto's Marvelous Writings

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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 other 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, 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 – 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 endeavour, 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 endeavour, 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 haver less opportunity to seize upon my writings to use against me.”

You numbly wish her well in her endeavour, 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 eye’s 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 throws a mean punch and is skilled at incantation, and Lambert knows how to find rumours 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 endeavour, 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 eye’s 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 throws 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! Eve 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 endeavour, 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 even crudely speak quietly of riddles. 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 her. 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 glamourous 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 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. 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 her. 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 glamourous 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 –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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