Metis Posted February 17, 2016 Author Report Share Posted February 17, 2016 (edited) Captain of the Watchtower, stage 11: The other door in the dining room is unfortunately locked, but the door leading to the same room from the kitchen is not, so through that door you enter the room. It appears to have once been some manner of living room, complete with a fireplace, but it's as desolate and empty at the dining room itself is now. Thankfully it, too, has another door for you to try, so you go through that door and into the room beyond. It leads into a library that's clearly seen a lot of use recently. Bookshelves build into the walls are partially stocked full of all manners of scrolls and books, though mostly empty and even collapsed at a few points. A desk at the end of the room is ready to be used with a quill and inkwell ready and waiting, and shoved into one of the corners there's a large table covered in some large cloth that doesn't seem to serve any apparent purpose. You'd guess this is where the mage did his research, and if so, these must be his books and scrolls. Well, time to look around for anything of use or note. You start by rooting through the desk, and encounter mostly mundane things. Bookmarks, a small knife presumably used as a quill sharpener, several spare inkwells and a few spare quills, a basic and likely spare wand, an unlabelled potion that you can't identify the contents of, empty flasks that have been cleaned out, and a set of leather gloves that have seen some use, in total. On the less mundane side you find a graduation certificate from the University of Pievre. You can't make sense of the titles, but you can see rather clearly that the mage apparently focussed on studying Negation, as well as the mage's name: Marque von Beseaux. Well, you certainly learned that early enough to make any appreciable use of it. That, for better or worse, is all you find in the desk. Next you take a look at the bookshelves that actually have been stuffed with books and scrolls. Picking out a few at random you find everything from utterly mundane grocery lists to a self-help textbook about standing up for yourself. You don't even want to think about why this is here. Ultimately you don't find anything interesting. Nothing to suggest that Marque was practising Mastery rather than bookkeeping. You suppose it's not a wise idea to keep records of that, but if law enforcement came in here and asked why he had an entire Mastery-tainted pirate crew imprisoned in a building he likely doesn't own it's not like it'd matter anyway. Maybe he just kept his research separate from his mundane stuff? That sounds like a reasonable idea, but than where is he keeping it? Secrecy isn't that big a deal when you're living in a place like this... Aha! Throwing the table's cloth out of the way reveals a second supply of writings, this one much smaller and compact, and comprised entirely of books. This must be Marque's research, whatever he was doing, and still feeling annoyed at the myriad of unanswered questions you've been facing and mostly been left with you decide to at least answer one more - what was Marque doing? Picking a book at random and reading through it you can see that the book describes a particular member of the pirate crew, and documents various spells and potions that he's been exposed to, what his reactions were, and how his performance at a basic memory test has either remained stagnant or deteriorated over time. Comparing the earliest tests to the last ones it seems like this particular pirate started with a below-average ability to retain information, but over time has been reduced all the way to the level of a toddler. It's frightening to think of. Taking out another few books confirms that it's pretty much the same all around. Experimenting with the effects of spells that combine Mastery and Negation, documenting their effects, and seeing to what extend time and various theoretical "cures" undoes the damage that's caused. It seems like over time the damage becomes permanent, or at least long-lasting enough that several months aren't enough to reverse what's been done. With a sigh you put the fifth book you pulled out next to you, and take a closer look at the books. All of them have completely blank covers and nothing other than the names of the pirates that are written on the spine, but there's actually four books that are different color than the others, one of which is of a different color than the other three as well. And that last book has "Marque" written on the spine. You decide to save that one for later and take a loot a the other three books first. They're the longest you've seen yet, and start like the first books you checked. At some point, though, the writing seems to change. Rather than memory tests it lists a series of increasingly complex orders, and observations on how well they're executed. The simplest one involves picking up a stone cup without dropping it, but the most complex one involves...actually going out into Mineta? And there's several mentions of these three having successfully executed this order too! You flip back to where the memory tests stop, and in one of the books there's mention that the pirate in question has had his mind broken beyond all repair. The thoroughly botched memory tests certainly indicate as much. These pirates were shifted to having their capacity for...re-education tested? That's not an ominous statement at all. Yet it seems to have succeeded, because the later pages mention that the pirates have been following just their orders wonderfully, enough so that they were trusted with being charged with going to Mineta to buy new stock for the larder. None of them are said to have caused trouble, but you might have a reason to doubt that... Letting out an even bigger sigh you take out the last book and look through it. You figure it's a diary, but strangely enough you can't read any of it. Maybe it's written in a language you don't know, but that seems weird considering that none of the other books are. Maybe it's some form of magical encryption? Why would this be worth encrypting, but the stacks of books about Mastery research is not? Well, either way your wand isn't enough to break it, so that's another pile of mysteries you might never uncover. Even from beyond the grave this guy manages to stick his finger in your eye just one last time. As you put all the books back where they were before a thought suddenly crosses your mind. That bit about you being "miraculously" rescued, in a sense, from your brief stay in the upper floor's prison. You're pretty sure that no one followed you all the way out here, and you've had plenty of time to look behind your back to check, yet someone still provided you with just the right tools for a very non-standard, very specific job. And here there is the mage's diary or something else that is somehow so important that it warrants being magically encrypted, literally just as part of a series of highly incriminating and unbelievably illegal Mastery research written, entirely, in plain old Renaglian. You know there's some sort of plot going on behind your back. You know that the key pieces are right in front of you somewhere in this place, you know that you have access to those pieces and are in a position to maybe do something to, for or against said plot, but you just can't figure out what. What are you going to do? Nothing. You've played your part and you survived. You're done. (requires NOT having stage 6's Mastery Methods memory) -With a wistful sigh you take one more look at the room before standing up, walking to the door and quietly closing it on your way out. It's difficult to tell whether you've really given up or just broken down from fatigue, but either way you think you've seen and heard everything there is to see and hear in this place. So with a heavy feeling you cross through the kitchen and the dining room and head back to the outside tower. Back to the outside. --- proceed with adventure stage 12a --- You've incriminated yourself more than enough. Time to leave. (requires stage 6's Mastery Methods memory) -With a nervous sigh you take one more look at the room before standing up, walking to the door and quietly closing it on your way out. It's difficult to tell whether you're scared that someone is going to question you about what happened here or whether you're more scared by the idea that someone might already know everything you've seen and done, but either way you think you've seen and done everything there is to see and do in this place. So with a very conflicted feeling you cross through the kitchen and the dining room and head back to the outside tower. Back to the outside, where Mastery is not tolerated and where you've got a very important secret that, you have proven, you're both able and willing to keep. --- proceed with adventure stage 12a --- Take the diary and gulp down that amnesia potion to cover your tracks. -It's fairly obvious what that unknown potion in Marque's desk is now. And according to the books, they work pretty damn well. Most of the pirates utterly fail to remember anything they see or hear shortly after imbibing it even after the effects wear off. And even Mastery can't bring those memories back. It's like they never existed. You slowly stand up, open the drawer with the potion and flasks, and take a look at the one filled potion. Your entire body tenses as you pick it up and look it over, stroking it like it's some kind of pet. The diary must be the key. It must be for it to be magically encrypted while nothing else here is. You can just replace it with, oh, that self-help book and who'd be the wiser? The fairy? Marque's corpse? One of the pirates, who never even saw you and couldn't remember you with their greatly diminished memories even if they did? You? No one. No one would know, and with everyone talking about it you wouldn't be allowed to forget what happened on this day. Not allowed to forget, no matter what, no matter what you did. With shaking hands you uncork the vial and take a whiff of the brew inside. It smells sweet, like someone used a pastry as the basis for the brew. You'll have no trouble keeping this down, not after that last potion you've had to drink. There's a brief moment of hesitation, but after several seconds you clutch the vial and drink all the contents, all in one quick gulp. As expected, it actually tastes good. You can feel the potion slide down and settle in your stomach, and a second later you realize that you've got to move quickly, before the potion makes you forget something important. First you run to the kitchen and clean the vial, then run back and put it back in the drawer with the others. Next you take the self-help book from the collection of mundane writings, switch it out with the uniquely colored book labelled with "Marque", and place the table and cloth back as they were. While doing this you mentally test yourself by trying to recite what you've just done in your head, and you can feel the potion's effects taking hold when you can't remember what you did before. Slightly panicking now that you can literally notice your own memories fade away you take the diary, shove it as far down your knapsack as it will go, and start running for the exit. The mantra of "two left turns", to remind you which way the exit is once you're inside the dining hall, runs circles through your head like a racehorse that's gone mad. You reach the door that will lead you to the exit, but as you go through you realize that you don't know why you're running. The fairy is gone, the mage is dead, the pirates you were going to leave behind for...some...reason? There shouldn't be any reason for you to-no! Now is not the time for questions! You can still feel the potion swimming around in your stomach, you wanted this! It's time to leave, time to go back to the Academagia. You can pick up the pieces later. --- proceed with adventure stage 12b, add Encrypted Book (Item) --- Burn this entire room, contents included, down to the ground. -"A puppet should never just sever all (his/her) strings, even if (s/he) doesn't wish to be controlled." That's something an old lady once told you when you were complaining about people bigger than you ordering you around, back when you were just a wee little tyke. It didn't make sense to you than, and it doesn't make sense to you now. As grateful as you are to whoever set up your prison rescue you're more mad at not being saved before you got into that situation in the first place, and you're utterly pissed at the thought that someone would make you and maybe even Marque dance around like this! Who could possibly know enough of this situation to set you up like this without not also knowing what atrocities they were just letting happen! And for what!? What kind of excuse do you need to walk into the lair of a Mastery mage committing all manners of horrible crimes, rounding him up and grabbing whatever you need, a written invitation!? You walked in here just fine and whoever has been watching was way better prepared than...argh! Enough! Secrets, plot, schemes, ploys, whatever is going on here and whatever intent lies behind it, you're going to do what whoever is behind this should do and should have done a while ago, before this whole mess got as bad as it did or maybe even before it got started! Because you are more than tired of being controlled like someone's pawn in this! In short, this entire room is going to burn! Knuckles cracking from how tightly you're clutching your wand you step out of the room, toss in some extra flammable material for good measure, and proceed to blast the room with so much fire that soon you can't even hear your own thoughts over the sound of the furniture, books and scrolls and other things cracking and dying in the heat and fire. That doesn't stop you from throwing around even more fire, more and more until you literally run out of places or things not already on fire. The heat, stench and cracking noises coming from the room is intense, and you're very happy that the building is made of stone because otherwise you'd be in serious trouble. There's...kind of a large cloud of smoke gathering above you, but, eh, that's not going to be a problem for long. When you're finally satisfied that everything in that room is going to burn to ashes before a lack of fresh air is going to put the fire out you step to the side and look at the research books. They're nothing but smoldering heaps, scattered on the floor in front of the now-thoroughly broken bookshelf. Anything powerful enough to put the fire out is going to destroy them utterly in the process. You're done. Nothing from that room is going to survive. Finally feeling like you can compose yourself again you turn around and start walking off, making sure you close the door behind you so that the fire will eventually burn out. There's technically an entire section of this castle that you've not set foot in yet, but you don't think it'll contain anything valuable or interesting. And even if it does, you're just tired of this whole mess. From the dining hall to take a left turn and start making your way out, ready to go back to the Academagia. --- proceed with adventure stage 12c --- Come stage 12 there will hopefully be fewer questions as to which of these options is the best option. I make no promises. Edited February 29, 2016 by Metis Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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