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Talbot Oswin was a man who didn’t have enemies. Of course, you might say, that’s ridiculous. Everyone has enemies. Even worse, some of us have friends. (You laugh at that, now. But the worst enemy is a friend, the close sort. The sort that keeps closer to you than your own shadow. Easiest to hurt that which is dearest to you, that which knows you best. Best keep an eye out for knives in your own back.) But listen. Talbot Oswin didn’t have enemies. Not the former flame, no; they’d met before, and their paths had crossed for a little while before they parted again. No resentment, no bitterness there, surely, nothing left unfinished. Surely not the university chum, in those days of wild abandon, when they caroused and skipped classes to go entertain themselves in the tradition of the young. After all, Talbot Oswin was a Heron, on his ma’s side, and as loaded as they come. Old blood, and old money there, the Herons. In Tremredare in the West, during the days of the Old Empire, it’s said you can’t stumble upon a plot or a business venture that doesn’t trace back to the Herons one way or another. Plenty of amusements you can buy in Elendel, if you’re a young, hotblooded noble, and there was never a vice Talbot Oswin hadn’t tried. Not from fellow nobles either; surely no one at all resented the Oswin marriage to Thekla Heron. A cadet branch of the Herons, all things considered—the Oswins were really nowhere near important enough otherwise. Yet the Oswins moved up in the world with Thekla’s marriage...too quickly, you might think? Quickly enough to ruffle feathers, even? There was no reason for anyone at all to resent or dislike Talbot Oswin. After all, it’s hard to be disliked or hated when you have all the wealth in Bilming and absolutely no compunctions about lavishing it on your companions. And Talbot Oswin was far too focused on his own pleasurable pursuits to really bother with vendettas or feuds, or anything of that sort. Take it from someone who knows, though: someday, your crows come back to roost. So: Talbot Oswin. He had enemies, of course. He just didn’t keep track of them. He never had the energy or time to consider anyone an enemy. But could Talbot Oswin, in his own careless, intensely selfish way have any real enemies, anyone with a grudge burning inside of them, anyone who hated enough to kill? Well. You’ll have to tell me about that. But I’m getting ahead of myself, aren't I? We haven’t come to the deaths yet, or to the corpse. Talbot Oswin, his throat cut like a pig before the butcher’s knife. Or the guests. Let’s start again from the beginning, shall we? It’s a beautiful day, on the outskirts of Bilming, at a manor overlooking the Sea of Yomend. Picture blue skies, with barely any wisp of cloud at all. Picture a gentle sea breeze stirring the flowers. Breezehome, the Oswins call the manor. A summer home, and a place of carefree play. No wonder Talbot Oswin all but took up residence there, in his final months. Talbot Oswin is sitting in his study and writing letters, one after another. Invitations, most of them, in his sloppy calligraphy, because learning to write a decent copperplate or spencerian is too much work for Talbot, and the Survivor defend him from having to learn to print legibly! The letters, ink-blotted and stained and sometimes indecipherable, one after another, will be conveyed on a silver tray to his secretary, the esteemable if intimidating Miss Priscilla, who will in turn be tasked with turning the tortured scraps of card into aesthetically pleasing invitations. Sometimes, she adds flourishes of her own, for authenticity. Talbot Oswin approves, of course. All the less work for him. It’s a beautiful day, on the outskirts of Bilming, and Talbot Oswin is making plans for a party. A grand party; the lavish, sprawling sort you normally see in Elendel. He scrawls invitation after invitation, sometimes adding names from name cards he barely recalls receiving at some function or other. Perhaps an Elendel ball. Perhaps a weekend in Tathingdwel, with an optional hunting excursion. Perhaps a house party in Wyllion, with a detour to the Sea of Yomend for a boating trip. Talbot Oswin is sparing no expense. Since when has he? The remedied invitations leave the Oswin manor, Breezehome, travelling on by the railway and courier post. And that’s where you come in. MR43: Death Comes As The End (aka a Scadrian murderparty) “Life was not a matter of safety — it must be hazarded to win the game.” —Death Comes As The End, Agatha Christie To tell you the truth, I should’ve never accepted the invitation. And neither should you. Bit too late for that now, though. If House Oswin had gathered and collectively decided to produce the greatest waste of space, the most useless person ever since the Catacendre—then they couldn’t really have done any worse than Talbot Oswin. Talbot Oswin; flirt, rake, dabbler, wastrel. Throws the best parties, though. Guess it must be nice to never run out of Mam’s cash. Mam was a Heron, see. Born rolling in the money, as they say. ‘Course, all of that’s besides the point. Talbot Oswin now, he’s dead. Never thought a berk could bleed out that much. The more you know. Shame about the carpet though. And the wine. Thing is, someone iced Talbot Oswin. And with the manor locked tighter than a gixie’s purse, we’re shut in here with them as did it. You’d best be finding them soon, Chief. ‘Cause Talbot Oswin? He didn’t just fall onto a knife now, did he? He was helped. Takes a certain coldness to cut a man’s throat as he’s lying there, helpless, like a trussed pig. That sort of scum? They’re as like to strike again. General Rules: Win Conditions: The Manor: Roles: Sign-ups have opened and will remain open until 5th July, 2200hrs, GMT+8. (Same as any normal rollover for this game.) The IM for this game will be @Fifth Scholar. As indicated in the rules, I'd like to draw your attention to two other things: 1. The current win-con requires the Killers to lynch the Secretary. They may choose to do so by outnumbering the guests. They may not. (This is under discussion and if there is a change, I will inform you all before the game starts, and once again on C1.) 2. This is a partial blackout game, though you really don't have to be Hercule Poirot to figure out what's going on underneath the hood. But again, I make no promises whether this is balanced because RNGesus sometimes desires sorrow and suffering. Play at your own risk. 3. The third thing, because I apparently have a worse memory than the Spanish Inquisition - sign-up RP is fine, but please don't RP yourselves at the party yet, as the party hasn't started Thank you! Quicklinks