I don't think there is a way I can defend myself. All I can say is believed that HH was an eliminator based on his voting patterns and lack of motivation in analyzing the events of the game so far. It seemed to me more like he was hiding in plain sight / going with the flow of the game, and I apparently made a really bad assumption about Sart getting bus'd by a teammate. When El died, I doubled down on my suspicion of HH when I probably should have listened to him. I admittedly had some doubts when he responded to my accusation post-Striker's death, but I decided that his word wasn't enough. I needed more solid proof.
Now I have it, and I have a lot of regrets. I also dismissed El's line of thought because it was tied heavily to either Araris or myself being evil. I know I'm a Villager, and I was just as confident about Araris being village as I was HH being elim, so I didn't give her theories on the Striker kill enough merit.
But if Sart didn't get killed by his teammates, then my question was, where were they? The inevitable conclusion I have to draw is that they were inactive D2, which makes me even more concerned about Bard, in addition to worrying about Drake.
I realize now that a part of the reason I've been kept alive is because I've been leading the village down a wrong tangent. Now I will probably get lynched for it, which means the elims have no reason to attack me tonight. If someone has a protection item, like @Straw and @STINK, I recommend using it on anyone but me.
And STINK. What were you even talking about bribes? I never bribed you with anything. I never asked you for anything. I gave you a Spanreed N1 because I had no idea what to use my action on and figured you would appreciate it since you were asking for PMs. By the time I was active enough to put in my next order (N3), Araris was one of my top trusts and he had a PM with me, which meant we could coordinate protection. That's the whole reason that I decided it was worth sacrificing El for me. I was hoping to block the elim's only kill that night.
And it was Araris himself who suggested I give the item to someone else. We anticipated him being a potential target and we both thought it was best not to put all of our eggs in a single basket. My list of options was the same I asked HH to PM for me, and I figured you were the best bet because you weren't really active enough to be in danger of the night kill and I'd already established trust for you N2, when you found out my role and nothing happened to me.
I made a really bad assumption regarding Sart's lynch and I'm willing to accept the consequences of my pushing his lynch, however, the numbers are close enough that one more mislynch could mean the end of the game.
On that note, I'm back to doubting Straw again. We know now that HH was honest about being roleblocked by a Pain Knife, which means the elims didn't use it on Araris. That means Araris' protection went through (unless I'm missing something in the Order of Actions), which makes me think Straw was trying to get credit so I'd give him more leeway.
I find it extremely suspicious that no one has also claimed Artifabrian at this point. I'll admit the main reason I don't believe the Grandbow attack on me was perpetrated by a villager is because I don't think any of them would take a gamble like that. The problem is if the elims do have an Artifabrian, that means they've been active as early as N2, I think? Grandbows take two turns to make. Which means the Artifabrian can't be Bard or Drake. But both of them could still be the third culprit.
And can we go back to the bribing thing? Cast your "shade" aside for a second and think. What would you expect me to do if I was a villager? Not try to form a network and coordinate? Maybe if I was evil I'd choose to go the same route, but I'm not so sure. Between my Reverser, which I've proven two turns in a row now (that I also didn't use at any point until my life was in danger), and the Pain Knife the elims got from Elandera, why would I not just make more vote-manipulation items and completely dominate the lynch from N2 onward? Or why would I not make a Grandbow every other turn to accelerate victory?
To me it seems you're only reaching half-formed conclusions and running with them. At this point it's hard for me not to worry that this whole time you've known about my role, you've also been telling the elims to keep me alive until we reach this exact situation. Not to mention the fact you immediately 180'd on me after Araris' death; our alignments had no impact on the others. Which is a part of the reason why I wanted to find a loophole for the duel so we could both live. Her death was wasted, and I'd much rather have gone for HH sooner, that way we could have cleaned up this mess turns ago.
In conclusion, I was wrong. I understand why my being wrong looks bad, but I think you anyone takes the time to read my progression throughout this game, you'll find that it was genuine and natural. Nobody's always right, especially not me, and I think my absence from this forum / lack of time in comparison to the amount I used to have for playing has significantly reduced the accuracy of my reads.
I'm aware that saying this at all is probably a waste of time. After all, in games like this, our word is worth as much as a grain of salt. Had I not backed off Sart on D2 then maybe I would be in a better situation. Sadly this is how the cards have fallen and I have no choice to work with what we've got.
Thinking more on the Artifabrian thing, I don't think it can be anyone but STINK. Bard and Drake were too inactive, Coda had a lull in activity around the time the Grandbow would have been made, if I recall correcty. Straw is still a decent candidate, but I think it's more likely that he was being honest about protecting me than STINK genuinely flopping on me like this. It feels way too sudden / premeditated to me.
That leaves either Drake or Bard as the third teammate. Both "returned" to the game at the same time so it's impossible to determine which one of them was collaborating with the Artifabrian to hit me and Araris at the same time.
Which reminds me. Araris. Why would I request for him to make all of those PMs if I was just going to kill him the same turn? I had no idea they'd be closed, true, but it seems like a huge waste for an eliminator to kill the villager that's been working with him so closely all game.
Most times the simplest explanations are the correct ones. What's more likely? I'm an elim who killed the one friendly, cooperative villager that was constantly helping me, or the elims killed a friendly, cooperative villager to a Village Artifabrian who was clearly setting up contingencies?
Which brings me back to Bard. He's the only one of the four group PMs who never replied. I suspect as soon as he saw it, he told the doc and they decided to kill Araris so the PMs would close.
The worst part of this situation is that both Rath and Bard have been as quiet as ghosts. The one post I do remember about Bard was saying he should have trusted El more, which makes no sense since the vast majority of the thread had already established it was a Village / Village duel.
Whoever has the Shardblade tonight, the game is in your hands. You could either make or break this game depending on who you kill, or if you kill no one at all, give us one more chance to lynch the right person.
@Fifth Scholar, @Devotary of Spontaneity, @Snipexe, can you tell me if the Ghostblood Kill comes before the victim's use of Painrial protection on another player in the Order of Actions?