Prequel Chapter 3

GM: You awaken the next morning to the sound of boisterous laughter coming from the dining hall. The smell of breakfast fills the air.

Serek: Wash, dress and eat.

GM: You enter the dining hall. Vargo and Scipius are at a table, rehashing their battle stories from earlier in the morning, laughing excitedly. Pelron is there too, off on his own, nibbling quietly at his food. Syd is nowhere to be found. A servant comes up offering you a plate of eggs, ham and toast.

Serek: Go sit across from Pelron

“Morning”

GM: He looks up.

“Hi Sarek.”

Successful Perception Check

You overhear two of the servants talking as they are serving food and drink that apparently the staff is all abuzz about the fact that Lord Revaldi’s son is not present. Apparently he was supposed to arrive over a week ago, but no one amongst the staff knows where he is. One of them mentions that she will ask Tobias about it later.

Serek: can you describe the “Hi Serek”. Is he down? Just tired? Normal?

GM:Seems a little down.

Serek: “So, did he post the results from last night yet?”

GM:”Don’t know, I don’t think so. He mentioned after breakfast. I haven’t looked.”

Syd enters the hall at this time, and takes a plate from one of the servants and sits down next to you.

“I think we need to talk, Wizard.”

Serek: “I doubt it. What do you want, oh high and mighty one?” (not too mean, like han solo might say it)

GM:”Please, humility is for the weak. I am good at what I do and I know it. It’s good that others do too. As a Wizard, I would have thought you would realize that. Assuming the stories are true. In any case, I think yesterday’s exercise proved that you and I are a cut above the rest of these people. I propose an alliance of sorts, to work together until just the two of us remain. The meathead twins over there seem to be in cahoots, so it appears prudent.”

Pelron is avoiding eye contact with both of you, staring at his food and has gotten very fidgety.

Serek: OK, I’m going to try to mock her in front of everyone else while also trying to make the two meatheads/everyone think about how stupid such alliances are (in my opinion).

(To my table) “Actually, I’m a little confused as to how were are supposed to team up when there is only one spot open…”

(Turning back to look at the two “meatheads”) ” Hey guys,” I call out. “Supergirl here thinks the two of us should “team up” against the two of you. What do you think, should we be the “blue” team and you two could be the “red” team?”

“Maybe Lord Rivaldi will be impressed by how cut-throat we can be.”

GM: Scipius and Vargo both stop their conversation. Scipius takes a moment to process what you said, but then bursts out laughing. Vargo has a much more subdued reaction, but he does chuckle softly.

Syd glares at you, giving you the darkest of dark looks, hatred in her eyes.

“Mark my words, you’ll regret that Serek.” And starts to leave.

Serek: perfect!

To her, “Maybe I will. But you have to stop taking yourself so seriously.” (I’ll raise my voice to be heard if I need to because she is walking away.)

I turn back to pelron smirking and with give him a quick raise of the eyebrows as if to say, “wasn’t that fun…”

GM: She storms out of the room. The serving staff seems frozen in place, clearly uncomfortable. Vargo and Scipius eventually return to their conversation.

Pelron does not meet your gaze, but remains staring at his plate. He speaks softly, in a very somber tone:

“You shouldn’t have done that. She has a…. reputation.”

Serek: Do Tell

GM: “Well, if the stories are true, she was exiled from her homeland for some unspeakable act. No one knows exactly what. But she is an incredibly capable mercenary. She’s held off dozens of soldier by herself. I would tend to believe these tales, you saw what she did to that dragon after all. She is a very dangerous woman, you would be wise to stay out of her way.”

This is said in the same quiet, somber tone.

Serek: well, if she tries to kill me I think everyone will have a good idea of who did it.

I’ll eat for a while and then if he is still “down” I’ll say, without preamble, “A friend once told me, ‘You have to decide to learn from your past experiences not be defined by them in the present.’”

I would like that to be something my mentor told me.

GM: “She won’t try to kill you. Certainly not here. But she isn’t one you want to cross.”

You both eat in silence for a bit, then you impart the wisdom from your mentor.

Pelron looks up and smiles a bit.

“Wow, that’s a really deep like thing to say. My momma used to say something like that. She’d say ‘Boy, if you don’t stop chasin them chickens, you’ll be called a chicken chaser yer whole life!’ She was really smart, my momma.”

Serek: eat and go check for results

If I have a chance to ask Tobias about the missing son, let me know. Also I’ll try to find out about the son: age, temperament, where he was, that sort of thing.

GM: As you finish up your meal, a very smug and arrogant Syd re-enters the room. She takes a new plate and sites down. Without looking at you she says:

“I guess I don’t need you after all, Wizard.”

The others quickly get up after hearing this and begin to make for the door.

So you want to do/say anything else before proceeding with your course of action?

Serek: no.

GM: You begin making your way to the study. As you get closer, you pass a slightly open doorway. Perception Check You hear what sounds like Tobias speaking in a raised, almost shouting, voice.

Serek: slow down, what does he say?

GM: He is speaking down to someone.

”.... and quite frankly Veronica it is none of your business. Matters dealing with the Lordship’s son are the Lordship’s concern, not yours. You have your own responsibilities, which you are neglecting by being here in the first place. While you may think your concern for Master Rufus is touching and commendable, the last thing I need in this household is you spreading incendiary gossip and rumor. Unfounded gossip and rumor at that!”

And then, more calmly:

“Now, if you return to the kitchen this instant, I will do you the courtesy of pretending this conversation never happened.”

The one you presume to be Veronica responds:

“Yes Mr. Tobias, thank you Mr. Tobias”

Perception Check

You were the third person out of the dining hall after Vargo and Scipius, Pelron was behind you. You slow to eavesdrop, and Pelron continues right past you, not pausing in the slightest. I’ll turn around to go back to the dinning room as if I forgot something. Trying to cover up the reason for slowing down.

Serek: I’ll be keeping an eye out for Syd.

GM: You travel your diversionary route back to the dining hall. Syd is still eating, she looks up when you walk back in and smiles.

“Come to ask for forgiveness after you’ve changed your mind? I may be serious, but I can also be merciful. The offer is still open, I suppose.”

Serek: What? Ah, no, I lost something…” I’ll look around where I was sitting for a second and then start to leave again.

Just before walking out the door, I’ll say, “Hey, sorry for making such a show. I’m a bit flippant in the morning.” and then continue out the door.

Then I will go see the results and NOT bring up Rufus to Tobias.

GM: She watches you looking around. After you speak:

“Flippant, yeah. I get flippant too when I loose air. I hate it when I forget my air and loose it in the dining hall. Yep.”

Serek: “I wasn’t flippant because I lost something. I was flippant because you have been acting like an ass. The “air” as you say, is why I came back into the room. See ya.”

GM: She doesn’t respond as you leave.

You approach the study. Pelron, Scipius and Vargo are all reading the posted results.

“Situation Room results on a scale of 100.

Obsydian Nightengale 100 Shift Wizard Sarek 90 Scipius 80 Sgt Claudio Emeritus Vargo 65 Pelron Thornsby 22”

Serek: so, are we supposed to be going to work today or what?

GM: Scipius says

“We were just going to wait here until we heard something. I think Lord Revaldi is in the study.”

The study door is closed.

Tobias shows up shortly there after with Syd in tow. He looks at everyone and says:

“Please wait here, Lord Revaldi will receive you shortly.”

Tobias knocks on and opens the study door.

“My Lord, everyone is here.”

Lord Revaldi is at his desk, and sitting across from him is Herald Evana.

He looks up and says “Thank you Tobias.” and the turning back to Evana:

“So you have everything you need then?”

She replies: “Yes my Lord. Don’t worry, you can count on me. I’ll find him.”

With that she gets up and leaves the study.

Lord Revaldi motions for you all the enter the study.

“I trust you have all seen the results. Don’t put too much or too little into them, they are what they are. This afternoon, I will be staging another test in the Situation room. Construction at the site will continue around us, but the room is ready for us to use full time. Please report to the Academy at 3. If there are no questions, your time is yours until then.”

He pauses for a moment, then chuckles and says:

“However, if you don’t know how to dance, I suggest you head to the library and study up a bit.”

Serek: Well, I guess I’ll study up on dancing then. To the library.

Oh, and I will right a brief letter to Garendgar (my mentor back at the Academy) telling him what’s happened so far.

GM: Do you write that immediately, or go to the library? It’s currently 10 AM.

Serek: I’ll go to the library now. I’ll write the letter when I have a chance. Maybe tonight in my room.

GM: Ok. Joining you in the library is Pelron and Vargo. You all manage to find your books and begin to study. After about an hour, you hear some soft snoring from Vargo’s table. Pelron is reading inently, but appears to be hopelessly lost.

Do you want to do anything other than study until it’s time to go?

Serek: I’ll make sure to get a small bite to eat at 1:30 or so but then get right back to studying and practicing.

GM: Ok, Vargo is gone when you get back from lunch. Pelron never leaves the library, from what you can tell. I assume you go directly to the Academy from the Library at the proper time?

Serek: yes

GM: You go directly to the Academy and into the Situation Room. Lord Revaldi and Rekal are already there, as are Scipius and Syd. They are engaged in a conversation about yesterday’s test. They are speculating about what today’s test might be. Syd is convinced it will be some kind of undercover mission, and Scipius hasn’t got a clue.

Vargo and Pelron arrive shortly thereafter.

Lord Revaldi addresses all of you:

“As you know, a Patron will frequently send one or more of his Heralds to another Lord’s social gatherings. This can be a sign of great respect. However, sending too few can also be a sign of disrespect. As I have the fewest Heralds, this puts in me in a unique situation. Today’s scenario will put you at one of these gatherings alone. Unlike yesterday’s test, this one will be blind. The others will not be able to see what you are doing, and afterwards you will only be able to talk those who have completed their test. As with yesterday, we will draw straws.”

He again holds out a fistful of straws, and motions for you all to take one.

You have drawn the short straw, and will be going first. As before, Lord Revaldi says:

“Please everyone take a few moments to get ready, we’ll begin shortly. Serek, when you are ready, please step to the middle of the room.”

Serek: I’m assuming the clothes I’m wearing will be fine…if so, I’m good to go.

GM: If you ask, you’re told that the projection will respond to you as if you were wearing appropriate attire.

You walk to the center of the room and it vanishes, replaced by a stark white landscape as far as the eye can see (think the white room in the Matrix).

Tobias, or at least a representation of Tobias, stands before you.

“Greetings Master Herald. Lord Revaldi has been invited to attend a gathering celebrating the 18th birthday of Lord Gaius Pembroke’s Son, Jotun. He can not attend, so he is sending you to represent him. This is not intended as a sign of disrespect to Lord Pembroke, Lord Revaldi simply has obligations elsewhere. You are the only Herald not currently engaged in matters of realm security and stability. Please act accordingly.”

He hands and envelope to you.

“Here is your invitation. You will find yourself at the Pembroke Manor front gates as soon as you accept it. Do you have any questions?”

Serek: What is Lord Rivaldi’s current relationship to Lord Pembroke? Are there any other tasks that I should keep an eye out for an opportunity to pursue?

GM: His relationship to this Lord is Neutral. No other opportunities, just represent your Patron to the best of your ability.

Serek: ok. I accept the invitation

GM: The scene changes. Before you is a vast manor with large fountains and ornate sculptures are in the courtyard before you. The dulcet tones of a harpsichord can be heard from within the manor, as well as the ambient noise of a large crowd. A leisurely stream of guests are making their way into the manor via the large door in the front. Many of them are smiling and nodding to you as they pass.

Serek: “Smile and wave boys. Smile and wave.”

Ok, I will follow the crowd into the manor. I’ll be polite to smilers and nodders alike.

GM: You make nice with the lord and ladies. Some of the women blush, giggle and hide their faces behind their fans as you return their greetings.

As you approach door the line significantly slows. As the doorman takes each invitation, gives a cursory glance, then announces each group to the crowd.

Your turn comes up at the front of the line, and the doorman looks at you expectantly.

Serek: Hand him the invitation. I’m assuming the invitation does not have my name on it, but rather Lord Revaldi’s. So…

I will announce to him in a kind, but firm and commanding voice, “I am Wizard Serek, Herald to Lord Revaldi, Lord of the Valorian Plains.”

(Are there other titles that I should know for Lord Revaldi, or other ways of being super formal about his name and/or mine?)

GM: You said that right.

The doorman looks over your invitation. “This way Sir Herald.”

He leads you a few short steps to the ballroom. He bangs a large scepter on the ground loudly three times (something that was not done for the other party guests). The band stops playing, and most of the crowd hushes and looks in your direction.

“Lords and Ladies, may I present to you the Wizard Serek, Herald to Lord Revaldi, Lord of the Valorian Plains!”

The band busts out into a very lively march and the people smile and applaud loudly. The doorman bows to you and returns to his duties.

A number of Lords are already moving to approach you with hands outstretched in greeting.

Serek: I’ll make sure to at least move out of the doorway.

I will be friendly and greet everyone that comes over to me, but I will make a point to be making my way to the Lord that issued the invitation and pass along Lord Revaldi’s greetings. Something like, “Ah nice to meet you good sir.” and after a minute of idle chit-chat, “I hate to impose, but could you please point me toward Lord Pembroke so that I may extend my Lord’s greetings to him.”

GM: You have numerous conversations, and you slowly begin to make your way to the platform that everyone says Lord Pembroke is on. Many of your new friends thrust drinks at you.

Serek: I will accept the first drink offered, but only sip it for the rest of the night.

I will, of course, put the drink down somewhere as I approach Lord Pembroke.

GM: You do so, and the drink offers stop while you have drink in hand.

You approach the platform, and a man dressed in full plate armor from head to toe steps in front of you. He carries a mammoth bastard sword on his back. He is easily a good half foot talker than you.

He looks down at you.

“Greetings Sarek, Herald of Revaldi, Lord of the Valorian Plains.”

You perceive he isn’t your typical party guest, and you conclude he is likely another Herald.

Serek: “Greetings Sir. I fear you have me at a disadvantage…”

GM: “I am Luther, Herald of Pembroke, Lawgiver and High Lord of the Crystal Sea.”

Serek: “Ah, I had thought as much. Your deeds are well know. You are a credit to your Lord and his people.”

GM: “I thank you for your kind words. You are quite new to our fraternity, your deeds do no yet proceed you. But that will come in time. So, I see Lord Revaldi has only sent one Herald to honor his Lordship son.”

Serek: “As I am new to the Fraternity of Heralds, so my Lord is new to the Greater Circle of Patrons.”

“As such my lone presence here should not be looked upon as a slight to this glorious house, but rather as a sign of my Lord’s great esteem for the Lord Pembroke. Lord Pembroke is so highly esteemed by my Lord that he send a full third of his Heralds to pay his respects to this grand assemblage and to pay tribute on this the Prince’s grand day.”

GM: He laughs loudly and claps you on the shoulder:

“HA, I like you, Herald Serek. Come, please allow me the honor of introducing you to Lord Pembroke.”

You get the impression that several guests nearby where holding their breath, but are now breathing a little easier.

Serek: “You do me a kindness, Sir. I would be honored.”

GM: He takes you up the platform and stops before a very lavish dressed, rather corpulent middle aged man. Sitting next to him is a scrawny, sour faced young man.

Luther speaks:

“My Lords, may I present the Wizard Sarek, Herald of Gaius Revaldi, Lord of the Valorian Plains. He wishes to pay his respects.”

How bows to both men and to you, and then goes back down from the platform. The older man turns to you.

“Ah, so you are the Gaius’s newest, eh? Well, we call come from somewhere. Welcome welcome, to both your new station and to my humble home. Thanks to you for attending this joyous occasion.”

The young man looks at you but says nothing.

Serek: Bowing to each in turn…

“My Lord, you are too kind. May I please extend the gratitude of Lord Revaldi and all of all of his household at being allowed to share in this celebration. And, of course, my best wishes to you, Sir Prince, on behalf of myself and my Lord, on this the occasion of your birthday.”

Back to looking and the Lord, “May I also, Lord, extend my thanks to you for the extremely warm welcome that has been extended to me by your guest and your household. You and yours do you credit, my Lord.”

GM: The young man says nothing.

Lord Pembroke:

“Yes well, you are a Herald, are you not? Tis a perk of your station, and deservedly so. Heaven knows where we would be without you folk. Or us Patrons, for that matter. So by all means, enjoy it. You may be staring death in the face tomorrow for all you know. If you will excuse me, I have a few more guests to greet.”

He moves to meet another guest approaching the platform.

The young man narrows his eyes at you and approaches, speaking quietly.

“I won’t forget this slight, Herald. My father is an old man, and won’t live forever. Revaldi will rue the day of this insult.”

Serek: Also speaking quietly, and acting quite taken aback, “I’m sorry that I have given offense, sir prince, but, I must confess that I am unsure as to what I have done to slight you in any way. Please tell me what I have done, so that I may explain or apologize.”

GM: “Please, sending one Herald? Do you really think I don’t see what is going on here? I know you Heralds don’t really understand the politics, but you can’t be THAT naive.”

Serek: “Ah, I see. I’m sorry you feel that my Lord is so far beneath your attention.” (just a little something to get him off guard)

“I’m quite sure that Lord Revaldi especially wanted to extend friendship and well-wishes to you and your father. You must realize that for my Lord to send one of only three Heralds is a huge sacrifice, and not one given lightly.”

(Said somewhat conspiratorially.) “In fact, the sacrifice I believe was meant to pay you particular regard, as others of your station have not been able to be so honored.”

“It is unfortunate that Lord Revaldi’s high esteem for you and your father has not been adequately conveyed. I am sure that is due more to my lack of ability than it is a lack of regard for you on the part of Lord Revaldi.”

GM: He looks you up and down and for a moment appears lost in thought.

“See? There, I knew you had a head about you. Wizards are, of course, highly intelligent. Fine, let’s assume I take you at your word. Would you be willing to undertake a trivial task for me, to show your good faith? It would go a long way to prevent this rift.”

Serek: “Well, it would, of course, depend on the task. But, if it will not impugn the dignity of the office I hold, or the honor of either of our Lords, then perhaps I could.”

GM: “It is a simple thing, really. The Countess Sefina Hephia seems to be rather obsessed with me. Madly in love or some such thing. While she is a very attractive woman, I am already betrothed to the Lady Jenna Littleton. Sefina is rather obsessive, and she has made it clear to me that she will stop at nothing to ‘get’ me. This betrothal is incredibly important to House Pembroke, it cements a political alliance between our two houses. Buries a rather old hatchet, to turn a phrase. I can not have this jeopardized.

Now, Countess Hephia has something of a hero-worship complex, which is why she is so infatuated with me. If a Herald could talk to her, and explain it to her delicately, I think she might listen.”

He points out a very stunning woman in a rather gaudy dress.

“That’s her over there. What I would like you to do is ask her to dance, and then afterwards calmly explain this to her. I will arrange for her favorite song to start playing shortly after you get there, she’ll want to dance and it will make it look like it’s her idea. You needn’t worry about her becoming obsessed with you. While she will listen to you, she is aware of her station and knows that a relationship with a Herald, while exciting, would be improper. So you are safe in that regard.

Preserving this alliance would be a tremendous show of good faith on behalf of House Revaldi.”

Serek: DETECT LIES

“I’ll see what I can do, Sir Prince.”

GM: Ok, I looked it up, you don’t have detect lies, but I made a check for you with your best default.

You believe he is sincere in everything he says.

Serek: OK, I’ll wander over to the lady and wait to be asked to dance.

Any protocol I would be aware up about heralds dancing with Ladies?

GM: No protocol, really. Just don’t maker her look bad, I suppose.

You walk over near her and wait for the cue. Before anything can happen, she spots you and rushes over.

“Oh my, an honest to goodness Herald! Aren’t you just darling! I am the Countess Sefina Hephia.”

She holds out her hand to you, palm facing the ground.

Serek: “I’ll take her hand and bow formally. How are you this fine evening Countess.”

GM: “Oh, you are just ADORABLE. To tell you the truth, I was bored to tears until I saw you. Now things are MUCH more interesting.”

She is rather loud and a few people nearby are looking.

At that moment, the band strikes up a very festive tune.

“My word, what luck, this is absolutely my most FAVORITE song. Please Sir Herald, you must do me the Honor of this dance!”

FYI, Dance defaults to Dex-5, unless you had something else in mind.

Serek: “My lady, as a wizard I am not left much time to learn the fine art of dancing. I must warn you that I would make a terrible dancing partner. I’m sure that I would ruin the Princes’ fine party.”

GM: “Oh that stuffy shirt? Fiddlesticks to him. You simply MUST dance with me, it will just make my night to have a dance with a Herald. Don’t worry, I won’t let you look bad in front of us normal folk. Come come!”

Serek: “ok, here goes nothin’”

(At this point I’m realizing that the Prince just wanted to have me get caught up with whats-her-face, so there is a good chance he is still miffed about being slighted. I guess i’ll try to play the “well played, you got me” card later with the prince. You know, the gracious looser bit.)

GM: Needless to say, you don’t dance well. However, if you had not spent the time studying earlier today, it would have been much worse (+2 bonus to the roll). The Countess does a graceful job of covering up your gaffes, and by the time the dance ends, everyone was having a lot of fun. Afterwards, she says to you:

“Oh thank you Herald, I simply can NOT express how much that meant to me. I must say, that was simply delightful. I am ashamed to say I was otherwise occupied when you were introduced, and I did not catch your name. Who is your Patron?”

Serek: I am a herald of Lord Revaldi.

GM: “Gaius Revaldi? My my, Father will just be TICKLED when I tell him that. This day could not be any better. I thought I was going to be bored to tears. Well, thank you for the dance.”

And she begins to make her way through the crowd.

Serek: wonderfull…

well, i guess I’ll wait for the image to die off, or something interesting to happen.

GM: A little later, the prince catches your eye and waves you over.

Serek: go over to him

GM: “Ah Herald Serek, I saw you dancing with the Countess. Did you have fun? I trust you delivered my message?”

He has a smirking grin on his face.

Serek: (With a slight nod as I say it) “Ah. Well played, sir.” (sometimes the old lines work the best.)

(With a rueful smile) “I might have asked if you are enjoying yourself this evening, but I think I’m quite sure of the answer to that particular question.”

(I’m being vague so as to make a way out for myself in case he was ever serious about the “message”)

“I don’t know about you, but I could use a drink.”

GM: He throws his head back and laughs heartily.

“You are an easy mark, even for a Herald. You really don’t know the magnitude of this situation, do you? I told you would rue this slight, but I must admit this is a record, even for me. Do you even know who the Countess’s father is?”

Serek: I can only answer, that no, I have no idea who her father is.

GM: “Her Father is Lord Hephia. House Hephia is the sworn enemy of House Velear, politically speaking of course. And House Velear is the stongest ally of House Revaldi. Just how does it look that Revaldi’s newest Herald is seen dancing and having fun with the daughter of his Ally’s sworn enemy? I certainly don’t envy the conversation you’ll have when get you get back.”

He again throws his head back in laughter, and the scene fades. You are back in the room.

Lord Revaldi nods at you ‘Thank you Wizard Sarek please step to the opposite side of the room.’

Serek: Neat. So, was I supposed to know any of that?

Are we supposed to have a class at some time on the politic that surround Lord Revaldi or are we just supposed to figure it out as we go?

GM: Well, I did make rolls to see if you picked up on any of that during your time, but only just returned to the four kingdoms, and don’t really know any of the nobility. So you played that as well as you could, and with the correct amount of knowledge.

Serek would now be very aware of how such knowledge would be an absolute necessity. He would probably ask to get the lay of the land from Tobias at the earliest available opportunity.

I guess I’ll wait for all of the others to finish. Maybe now’s a good time to write my mentor. Hey, I’ll ask him, in my letter, to give me a brief sketch of that kind of information as well as filling him in on what’s been going on.

GM: It’s Pelron’s turn, and he walks to the center of the room. He vanishes. He is gone for about 30 minutes. During that time you can see Rekal and Revaldi speaking a few words to each other, as they watch a scene in the center of the room only they can see. At the end of those 30 minutes, Pelron reappears. He is in mid-laugh when he does so. He is embarassed for a moment, then comes over to join you.

Obsydian then walks to the center of the room and vanishes as well. Pelron is humming one of the songs you heard in the scenario. Do you want to talk to him, or just wait?

Serek: I don’t feel too much like talking, but I’ll mumble something like, “Seems to have gone well? Good for you.”

GM: “Yeah, it was a lot of fun. Lot’s of good folk, food and drink. I’ve never been to such a big shindig! And they all though I was the next big thing too!”

Serek: Smile, but say nothing, and wait for the others to finish.

GM: Halfway through Syd’s task, Revaldi turns to talk to Rekal, and they engage in a furiously intense conversation, back and forth. Pelron’s eyes gradually grow wider, and his face turns a deep shade of red embarrassment.

Serek: “something up?”, I say quietly.

GM: “Um, from what I can tell, they are saying Miss Nightengale has done some very unexpected and a bit…. inappropriate.”

Revaldi chuckles and nods to Rekal, looks back to the center of the room, and shakes his head in a “I can’t believe it” type of expression.

Pelron adds:

“I guess they were able to adapt quickly without interrupting the scenario.”

His face is still bright red.

Serek: “By “inappropriate” you mean…something “physical”?

“Oh, and what did they say about me when I was running through it?”

GM: “Um, I would rather not say. It’s embarrassing. And I’d rather not talk about her behind her back. And they didn’t say anything about you during yours, they just watched.”

Serek: “Oh, ok. No biggie.”

About 10 minutes later Syd reappears. She is naked as a jaybird and her clothes are in a heap upon the floor.

“Thank you Herald Candidate, please step over with the others.”

She picks up her clothes and confidently strides over to your area. She ignores you and Pelron and begins to get dressed. Pelron is studying the floor intently.

Scipius walks forward and disappears, as his turn begins.

Do you want to do anything else or just wait?

Serek: I’ll say to her. “Now that’s a story we should talk about in private…” (smirking)

GM: She halts her clothing process:

“If you insist, we can make it very.. private.”

She bats her eyes.

Your perception tells you that this is obviously a mocking gesture, though you are unsure about the actual comment.

Serek: (taking it only as seriously as she appears to be) “Maybe. But I think, based on this afternoon’s conversation, that it might be a bit hazardous. However, from where I’m standing right now, it just might be worth it.”

GM: She appears taken aback for the slightest of seconds, then scoffs at you and resumes dressing.

Pelron has achieved his Masters Degree of Floorology and appears to be going for PhD as he is still intensely starting at it, bright red.

Serek: Floorology! awesome.

ok, I guess I’ll wait for the end.

GM: Both Scipius and Vargo complete their scenarios uneventfully with no comments from Lord Revaldi.

After everyone is done, Lord Revaldi addresses the group:

“First off, this was as much a learning experience as it was a test. It is important to be aware of the fact that EVERYTHING you do as a Herald reflects in some way upon your Patron. Even the slightest gesture can be interpreted to have some meaning, real or imagined. As for the official results:

Wizard Sarek, you conducted yourself with dignity and honor. You followed protocol and did everything by the book. A textbook engagement. Even so, you still fell victim to political intrigue. This is not a slight on you at all, and I hope you took this for the lesson it was. Still, you are graded on how you conducted yourself based on what you had available to you, and as such you receive high marks for this exercise.

Pelron, there is no denying your charm in a social setting. You lit up that room and were truly the toast of the party. The fame and popularity that comes with Heraldship suits you and you maximized it in a social setting. However, you got so caught up in the party you forgot your true purpose of being there. You did not introduce yourself to the Lord or his son, and as such would have brought great disrespect to our House. I am sorry to say I have no choice but to give you a failing mark.

Obsydian, you conducted yourself with grace and courtly intrigues did not deter you in the slightest. Your method to gain the prince’s trust was creative and unorthoxed, if not also inappropriate. Still, such creativity and quick thinking are commendable traits, and I do not think the eventual outcome of inter-House relations would have been negative. I have no other choice but to also award you high marks for this exercise.

Scipius, your encounter was a lot like Sarek’s. You were polite and formal, but also very stiff and uninterested. You conducted yourself well, but even disinterest can been seen as an insult. I understand your upbringing in the monastery most likley did not prepare you for a lavish party, and considering that you performed well. Passing marks.

Vargo, it is clear you have attended such functions before. You knew exactly what to say and who to say it to. You were not taken in by various intrigues, and you cleverly disarmed the situation with the Prince and Countess by simply removing yourself from the equation. A simple yet elegant solution, in the short term. It could have long term effects, but well done. High marks as well.

If you wish to individually discuss your performances, I will be here for another 30 minutes, if not we are done for the day and I will see you tomorrow.”

Serek: I guess I would ask, “Will there be a time and a place to learn all of the political ins and outs?”

GM: “There are a number of books I could refer you too in order to become more familiar with the great houses. And there will be opportunities for you to increase your skills in intrigue, yes.”

Serek: “Ok. Thanks. I’ll get those book names later.”

GM: Anything else you want to do?

Serek: - Write letter - Read some of those books - Listen for news of the lost son

GM: You finish your letter and hand it off to a servant to be sent out. You go to the library and check out some of those books. No news of the son at all, from gossip. Are you directly asking anyone?

Serek: Maybe I’ll ask Tobias if there has been any news from [Herald’s name who was sent off after him].

no maybe, I do, if I can find him alonish

GM: You spy Tobias later that evening reading a book by the fire in the atrium. How exactly do you phrase the question?

Serek: “Tobias, would I be intruding to ask you a quick question?”

GM: “Yes, of course Wizard Serek.”

Serek: “Has there been any news from Evana?”

GM: “Herald Evana? She is going about her Herald duties, I would imagine. Why, do you need her for something?”

Serek: “Well, no. I was just wondering if there had been any news. Is it true that she is looking for Revaldi’s son?”

GM: He raises an eyebrow.

“I am afraid it really isn’t my place to be commenting about that, Sir Wizard. I am but a humble servant.”

Serek: “Oh, sorry about that.”

(to GM) Would it be possible to speak with Revaldi in person for a couple of minutes?

GM: You can try, he was in his study last time you saw him.

Serek: I’ll go knock on his door.

GM: The time is still late evening. You approach the study and knock. “Enter”

Lord Revaldi looks up. “Ah Wizard Sarek, what can I do for you this night?”

He motions for a chair in front of his desk.

Serek: “Ah, Lord, sorry to disturb you at this late hour, but I wanted to ask you about something. I’ve heard a rumor that your son is missing. Is that true?”

GM: He sets down some papers he was reviewing and gives you a hard look.

“I wouldn’t say missing per se, just overdue. Where exactly did you hear that from?”

Serek: “I overheard a few servants whispering about it. They seemed scared for his safety.”

“I wasn’t sure it was true, gossip usually only has half the story, but it’s been bothering me as the day has warn on, so…here I am.”

“If you would rather me forget I heard anything about it, I can do that.”

GM: “Really? I’ll have to speak with Tobias about that. I think it would be best if you forgot about ti for now. As I said, he is not missing. He could just be delayed due to weather or some other problem.”

Serek: “OK. Well, I guess that’s all.”

He nods and returns to his paperwork.

You get the distinct impression that he is not worried about your statement, but he is certainly not telling you the whole truth.

Serek: OK, i Guess that’s everything. until the next day?

GM: Ok. In the middle of the night, you are awoken by a blood curdling scream.

Serek: Go investigate! Running towards the noise.

You open your door to see Vargo already in the hallway, sword in hand. He sees you and says:

“I think it came from the Study!”

Syd also emerges, looking very cross.

“This had better be important. God help me if this is just some serving wench who saw a mouse!”

Scipius’ door is open, but you do not see him. Pelron’s door is closed.

Serek: I’ll run down to the study.

I’ll take one second to cast Armor (as high a + to DR that I can get, +4 I think) on myself as I run down. (DC 12)

GM: You run towards the study, Vargo and Syd on your heels. As you round the corner, you see a woman (one of the servants) white as a ghost and crying. One of the guards is talking to her, and the other is kneeling on the ground examining something.

On the ground, in front of the (closed) study door, is the lifeless and scarred body of Scipius, Monk of the Ya-Ti.

End Chapter 3

Serek’s Thoughts: I guess Serek is beginning to think he might be able to do this. He is seeing some of the other candidate’s weaknesses instead of just his own.

Prequel Chapter 3

Heralds of the Crescent Moon mrtauntaun