Fall 1222 [Scene, continued]
Back at the burning cave of thorns…
Zeuxis fails a strength check to get untangled. “Zotikos, help me! I want to blast these people and I can’t!”
“Zotikos if you try to help him escape I’ll have to bind you too!” from Asiza. Zotikos tries to go invisible (silently) and single botched – and it hits Zeuxis, who fails his resistance roll. So picture this: suddenly Zeuxis randomly goes invisible after Asiza tells Zotikos not to interfere.
After some confusion, Asiza (who is actually thinking straight) then goes to bind Zotikos in the same fashion. As Asiza begins his incantation, Zotikos is trying to fast-cast Illusion of the Shifted Image. Asiza trips as he gets confused by the shifting Zotikos and misses.
Zotikos casts an improvised Chamber of Spring Breezes to waft the smoke from the thorn fire into the cave because he’s a dbag. Meanwhile, invisible, bound Zeuxis casts Arc of Fiery Ribbons at the cave. The spell hits the wall of thorns and the fire spreads larger.
As a reaction, partly due to her fear of fire, Castalia casts Call to Slumber on Zeuxis. It succeeds, and he becomes sleepy and will fall asleep. “Remember, it’s like banking a fi—” ZONK. Castalia kinda freaks out about what she just did.
Asiza successfully casts Tangle of Wood and Thorns again at Zotikos, and hits him. Alexis tries and fails to destroy the wood on fire. Castalia casts a sponted ReAu spell to redirect the Chamber of Spring Breezes.
Suddenly, the cave fire gets really huge, and accelerates to highly dangerous levels. Asiza fireman carries a happy comatose Zotikos towards the river. Now it sounds like the screaming might include people on fire. Castalia and Alexis put out the fire with L5 terram spells to torrent sand onto it.
However, when the smoke clears, everyone inside the cave is dead except the priest, who laughs and before he disappears in a bout of smoke, says, “Satan thanks you for your assistance.”
Now what? Arguments ensue, particularly between Castalia and Zeuxis. Zeuxis believes that the weak should not survive, whereas Castalia argues they were tricked and scared into their actions and they didn’t deserve to die and be sent to hell without a chance to redeem themselves.
They decide to seal up the cave and go find a priest, which requires them going back to the covenant. But during the argument, Alexis slipped into wolf form and headed back to the covenant ahead of everyone else.
She goes to find Nyssa, who is at the temple of Arethusa, performing a ritual. After hearing a little bit of what came to pass, she tells Alexis she has to come back to the main building, and bring in Klyses. She asks Alexis to cut to the chase – so Alexis tells them that all the villagers are dead except the priest who was a demon. Klyses insists on a covenant meeting with all the mages once everyone else arrives.
When they do, Alexis tells Castalia she did not talk about the specifics regarding the violations of the Code.
Klyses begins the meeting. Names the “test” of letting the younger mages go deal with this as a failure. He read some minds (presumably of grog witnesses) enough to know what happened from their eyes. Zeuxis says that with regards to blame, he will deal with them one on one. But everything worked out.
Nyssa verbally disagrees with him on that last part. She sees it as a total failure.
Klyses has it out with Asiza, with regards his choices to leave the group and make decisions on his own. He put Alexis in a bad place having to follow him without asking her opinion. When he originally says he stands by his choices, Klyses says, “then you are stupid.” Klyses finally gets him to admit he needs to work on some things, like not being quite so impetuous without consulting his sodales.
“We didn’t work as a team,” Zeuxis says. “You employed no strategy,” says Klyses.
“If he mocks me again, I’ll end him!” Zeuxis says, indicating Zotikos who keeps making faces as Zeuxis talks. Klyses points at Zotikos, and says, “This thing I’m talking about? It’s the reason that Constantinople burned.”
Klyses then lectures on how they handed the adversary a victory. “I have need of you, and now I don’t know if I can depend on you.”
Zeuxis: “I’m aware that we went into it without a plan, and that concerns me. I’m confused by the idea that burning people to death is not a solution. I want you to know I recognize my failure. One, we didn’t have a plan and we should be a team. Two, I don’t wish to be manipulated by any entity, and three that the fact we lost to a demon is bad.”
“You had enough information to realize the priest was a problem. You should have worked against him and won the villagers over.”
Zotikos, when asked, says “the bad people died.” Nyssa asks if nothing of this conversation has affected him. He insists that he is happy with the outcome. Nyssa says he helped cause the demon to gain more power to do the same elsewhere. A better outcome would be destroying the demon and forcing him back to hell. She also expresses the concern that this action and outcome makes the young mages more susceptible to the next demon.
Zotikos to Castalia: “If you grew up the way I grew up, you would have burned them to the ground too. Instead, you turned your magic against us, and you (pointing to Asiza) too.”
Zeuxis suggests they need more tests working together, more practice. Klyses starts to talk about something he wants them to do, but then addresses Zotikos because he is the one he is concerned with. Klyses says he wants to avenge the sacking of Constantinople, but he wants to go after the masterminds. “Cities don’t fall because of soldiers.”
“In my dreams I dream of soldiers.”
“I understand why that is, but tonight I want you to dream of generals. Then of kings, and of kingmakers. There will always be soldiers…the people who were behind the sack of Constantinople manipulated kings. I know because I was manipulating kings in its defense.” “Do you want to be a part of that or do I set you aside?”
“I won’t do anything without permission,” says Zotikos.
Klyses: “I’ve done a lot of talking. I’m going to do some more. I’m going to bring you in. I believe I am watched – my moves are noted. I need compatriots to help me. I brought the jeweler around with me to cities looking for a Mentam device. Someone stole a token from inside the Ageis. The other mages scattered to other places, and they think they’re going to take Constantinople back by force. They’re gravely mistaken.”
“So we found this token at the secret Flambeau covenant. That was our token. If the guy was still alive I could get more information. The trail has gone cold. I’m going to send you to Thebes.”
“This mage was last seen in Thebes, and I believe he carried an item I planted on one of the Latins. I was going to get more information, but two things happened: one, the device was stolen, and two: the mage disappeared.”
“I believe I know a person whose mind I can read who witnessed the theft, which will give me a picture of the person who stole the device.”
About an hour later, Klyses sends a grog to Castalia. “Klyses requests a meeting, he says you would know what it’s about.”
“Of course he did,” she replies.
When she arrives, he tells her he needs to read her and her brother’s minds, to ascertain what happened. “More events unfolded than your brother getting hurt.” Castalia is reluctant, because she witnessed what her pater did and it makes her pater more vulnerable. Klyses says he doesn’t care about her pater, he just needs to get a view of the thief, so he can interrogate him.
“I suspect that who it is, is in your memory somewhere.” “I have no interest in harming you or your pater and I’ll clue you in: the infernal may have been involved. The more we know, it might help.”
“All right, I’ll do it.”
Zeuxis goes to see Klyses. “I have questions. Do you think I was manipulated by the fae (Zotikos)?”
“Friends can manipulate each other. The fact that one acts one way in one context and another in a different one is a normal thing.” “Your willingness to course-correct is your greatest asset, probably. Don’t lose that.”
“I’ll be cautious of that, and of the half-fae.”
“Your earnestness makes you a candidate to be a great leader. Your main problem at this point is you could use a dose of strategy and analysis. Anyone walking around with 100% confidence that they are right is delusional. We can only arrive at good decisions with as much perspective as we can get, which means getting council.”
Zeuxis then goes to see Zotikos, and knocks on his door. “Have a moment?”
“Yes?” He indicates he’s rather tired and spent four hours throwing up, so he doesn’t want any food.
“Well then let me in so I can come eat it.” “I helped you!” Eventually Zotikos lets him in. “We were partners, we helped each other there. Sorry you had it so rough in the meeting.” Zotikos responds to a fire reference (“The kitchen fire appears tame but soon the kitchen fire escapes and burns everything.”) to speak of his mother’s demise.
“Our time will come, is what that means,” he says. “It waits to exact revenge on those who tamed it.”
“I don’t want to destroy everyone.”
“Have a nice day…”
Zotikos goes to see Arethusa. [Rich notes to the GM that he wants to get to know the spirits and fae in the area.] “Lady I have a favor to ask. I need guidance.”
“I need to know who I am, so that I may know better what to do.”
“And you think I can give this to you?”
“To be honest, I don’t know. I’m looking for a guide. I’d like to find my father. I know I’m not entirely human, and I know he’s out there somewhere.”
Arethusa talks to him about legacies, but that “Zeus wasn’t Cronos, and that’s a good thing. Your legacy and its control over you and your future and identity, isn’t out of your control.”
“I’m not looking for someone tell me what to do…”
She explains that finding out about his legacy does not mean setting his fate. He says he’s looking for someone who can teach him fae travel. She says she’ll help him.
Alexis goes to talk to her sept, at her old covenant. She is found by the other wolf in the sept. She says she needs to speak to her mater. She finds her. Alexis tells her what happened with the villagers. Her mater indicates they knew about the villagers dying, and that not all were there. She fills in the rest of the story. Alexis finds out that the villagers died because her sept poisoned their well and killed them.
Alexis sticks to being on her sept’s side for destroying the village. “Thank you for…I don’t know. Sharing this information.”
End of dénouement.