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Found 64 results

  1. Callor, Child of the Light and personal retainer to the Lord Captain Commander, Pedron Niall, stepped into the open plain. Or, at least, what was now an open plain. What the scene of carnage around him had been before was all but impossible to determine. It was those Aes Sedai witches, he knew, and not all female ones too; the eyewitness reports of the scouts which had been sent back did not deny the presence of male channelers, even under the shadow of the Hand of the Light. A truly frightening prospect, yet one he would have to stomach. The Children would need to redouble their vigilance against the witches and other Darkfriends, if the world had any chance of surviving these troubling times. Of course, few rulers saw the wisdom of this course of action, and those who did—mostly in Amadicia and Arad Doman—did so in fear of Niall’s armies instead of true belief. True belief would come later, he presumed, when they realised the vast scope of the threats against them. But for now, Callor was in the dark about what the future or even the past held. And judging from the expressions of the men and women who were slowly ringing him, they did not either. But such explanation as could be given, would. Welcome to MR41: Lord of Chaos! The rules should be fairly simple to explain, as it’s blackout, so just a few basic guidelines: - This MR runs on a single 48-hour cycle. Most players have one action a turn. - The setting is Wheel of Time. Most players will be channelers. The specific site is the nation of Amadicia in a location which was recently utterly destroyed by unknown forces. - A few other rules will be released C1, including those guiding PM usage. - The game needs exactly 14 players to run, and is anonymous. You may sign up either in this thread, or via a PM to myself and my co-GM @StrikerEZ entitled “MR41 Signup Request: [Your Name Here].” Please refer to the anonymous account rules, which govern your usage of the accounts and are replicated below for your reference. (I’m going to be a bit more lax about Rule #3, but the others remain in full force.) Given the restricted player counts, there will be a strictly enforced two-cycle inactivity filter. If you sign up, please participate. Anonymous Accounts There are a number of rules associated with the use of an Anonymous Account. Please follow them carefully. Given the potential for abuse of Anonymous Accounts, any rule breaking using the accounts will be dealt with harshly. 1) Do not change the password of the anonymous account you are issued. The IM and the GMs will have access to all anonymous accounts for the duration of the game being played. 2) Do not use the anonymous accounts to PM any non-anonymous account, other than the accounts of the GMs or the IM. Please do not use your normal accounts to PM anonymous accounts. 3) Do not tell any other player or individual associated with SE, whether you are playing or not playing the Anonymous Game. Player identities will be revealed after the game, not on the death of their avatar. Players must not reveal their own identity after their death, until the end of the game, including in the dead/spec doc. Part of the attraction of anonymous games is keeping identities obscured, and we'd like to eliminate any chance of information becoming known that undermines the integrity of the anonymity. 4) Do not change anything cosmetic about the accounts, including their member title, username, signature, and avatar. 5) Anonymous accounts have been restricted from posting outside the Roleplaying subforum, but must not be used to post in any thread other than the thread of the game they are currently being used in. If you would rather not play, you are welcome to publicly or privately request a spec doc. Signups will close in a week’s time on Thursday 9 April at 9 PM EDT. If we get enough players before this, the game will still start on schedule, but signups will remain open so anyone who still wants to play can join as a pinch-hitter. Good luck! I will keep a running count of the number of players signed up here: 14 (updated 07:17 Tuesday 7 April)
  2. Welcome to Mid-Range game 40! It takes place about five years before the events of Skyward. A group of Disputers have decided it is time to change the Defiant culture with a little defiance of their own. Rules doc, for better formatting Alignments: Defiant Defense Force - Your job is normally to aid in the effort of battling Krell, but a new threat has risen in the cavern depths that demands your attention. A small number of Disputers - an eccentric counter-culture movement - aim to cripple the DDF. You must stop them before it threatens the survival of the entire Defiant League. The DDF wins when all the Disputers have been arrested or killed. Disputers - Defiant culture has gone too far. The jingoistic teachings are indoctrinating the citizens, and often leading them straight to their deaths. You are members of the DDF who are tired of seeing your friends killed because they feel it is their obligation. While you understand and sympathize with the fight against the Krell, you believe there is a better way. You believe now is the time to start the change and stop the hero-worship of the DDF and First Citizens. The Disputers win when they reach parity with, or out number the DDF members. The Disputers have access to a kill every cycle. Any member can use their role action to submit the kill. General Rules: 48-hour cycles, day/night combined No vote minimum to make an arrest PMs are closed, unless player possesses a radio To create a PM, message the GM with the target. If it is a valid target, the GM will open the communication line at the end of the turn. (See Radio item for further) One role action and one item action per cycle Roles: Items: When a player is arrested or killed, all items are taken back to the quartermaster to be available for purchase. Chits will be distributed randomly among those involved in the arrest or death. Sign-ups will close at 10 p.m. PST on Sunday, February 16. @Devotary of Spontaneity is the IM this game! Player List Quick Links Rule Clarifications and Updates
  3. (((RP to be written and added at some point, hopefully))) --- Kidpen was arrested! They were a First Citizen and a member of the Defiant Defense Force. The_God_King was killed! They were a Bountiful Gunner and a member of the Defiant Defense Force. Vote Count: Kidpen (6) - Elkanah, Rathmaskal, Araris Valerian, The_God_King, Xinoehp512, Fifth Scholar Elkanah (2) - Kidpen, Abstrusity, Sart Player List Available at the Quartermaster The next turn ends at 10 p.m. PST on Saturday, February 22nd!
  4. El has a writeup started, but is at D&D right now, and she should post it separately to get the upvotes she deserves once she’s done. Voting has concluded! The winners of the three non-Sanderson passes you have voted for are Emerald Falcon/Arraenae, Magenta Albatross/StrikerEZ, and Violet Axolotl/Burnt Spaghetti. Final Player List: 1. Amber Vulture: Jashi, Stormwarden Devotary of Spontaneity 2. Amethyst Scorpion: Jesh, Lost Axehound Elandera 3. Chartreuse Penguin: Taladir, Gambler Mailliw73 4. Coral Swan: Germaine, Scholar Sart 5. Cream Tuatara: Dfyan, Scholar Haelbarde 6. Emerald Falcon: Sein, Inquisitive Arraenae 7. Indigo Weasel: Adhom Inem, Ardent Straw 8. Ivory Dragonfly: Krask, Conspiracy Theorist Hemalurgic Headshot 9. Magenta Albatross: Jonan Wikim, Lost Axehound (Gren) StrikerEZ 10. Mauve Crocodile: Sernes, Paranoid Scout Araris Valerian 11. Mint Heron: Sam, Once a Darkeyes Coda 12. Onyx Flamingo: Kir, Kleptomaniac Scout Dalinar Kholin 13. Opal Lion: Tnaidar, Scout xinoehp512 14. Pearl Chameleon: Purrl, Adolin’s Former Girlfriend Rathmaskal 15. Plum Rhinoceros: Logalog, Scholar _Stick_ 16. Quartz Zebra: Arauna Khadal, Adolin’s Former Girlfriend Lumgol 17. Saffron Iguana: Merinira, Scout DeTess 18. Sage Kangaroo: Gilglin, Ardent (Devotary of the Mind) Snipexe 19. Salmon Meerkat: Cadamum, Ghostblood Recruit Cadmium Compounder 20. Scarlet Octopus: Max Mercury, Past Lives A Joe in the Bush 21. Sunburst Toucan: Tafud, Slightly Crazy STINK/Kasimir 22. Taupe Gecko: Brana, Scholar Young Bard 23. Turqoise Gorilla: Bomer, Gambler Elkanah 24. Violet Axolotl: Adi, Anxious Burnt Spaghetti Please sign out of your anonymous accounts, and use your regular ones to post in here. The mods will be going through and resetting all the passwords throughout this week. Thank you once again to everyone for playing. This was among my favourite games to GM; part of that was certainly thanks to the invaluable help of @Elbereth, whose beautiful spreadsheet made GM errors next to impossible (though she still couldn’t make it idiot-proof enough for me ), and who was a tremendous help early in the game when I was too busy drowning in relatives to deal with crises like moderator anon accounts. But this game was great mostly thanks to all of you, who took our trolling in stride and took the writeups and prompting El and I gave you and turned them into wonderful RP of your own. I’ll make an acknowledgements and reflection post later in the week about all of that and more, but right now I need to go to bed, and in any case you all deserve a chance to talk to each other as yourselves. Oh, and for those of you who caught the whitetext and captions earlier, yes, the aftermath writeup is based roughly on the 1812 Overture. Or at least it will be once El puts the final piece into the puzzle. Right now it’s only reflective of about the first 11 minutes.
  5. Hello SE, and congratulations on somehow surviving another year of murders and bloodshed. Welcome to Anniversary Game 6/Anonymous Game 7: We Shall All Be Changed. Before discussing the game itself, however, I have several important announcements to make on behalf of the moderating team, and would encourage all of you to fully read through them. The first and most pressing matter is that of the moderation team itself. Unfortunately for all of us, both @Orlok Tsubodai and @Alvron have felt that their schedules no longer permit them to serve as effective moderators for the subforum, and have decided to step down. Needless to say, this is very saddening, as both have given years of service to SE and its community, helping to shape it into a better place, and both the logic and clarity of Orlok and the (sometimes lurking) activity of Alv will be missed on the moderating team and the subforum. We wish them the best of luck as they dedicate themselves to their respective pursuits, and hope that they will find the time to occasionally sneak back into a game or two. Their replacements on the moderating team will be @Elbereth, the other GM for this game, and @Devotary of Spontaneity, and I am confident that both will be excellent additions who will help Wilson and I tremendously in the coming years. El brings with her a wealth of experience in conflict resolution and a veteran perspective as two other long-time players depart, and Devotary’s keen sense of balance and impartiality will also be welcome in game balance review and our thankfully infrequent moderation. With changes in the moderation team, our game balance committee is also undergoing a shift in membership. We are pleased to welcome both @Amanuensis and @STINK back into the committee, and to receive @Elandera, @Araris Valerian, and @Sart as its new members who will be helping with game review. The committee will also be taking on responsibilities such as keeping the GM spreadsheet updated, revising the rules and Lexicon to reflect a post-AG2 understanding of SE, and giving additional feedback in the Art of Game Creation thread—undertakings which moderation has historically wished to be able to do, but there never seems to be enough hours in the day. With the revitalised committee, however, we hope to see these changes finally be made. The final significant alteration to SE policy is with respect to the SE Discord server established by @A Joe in the Bush and currently owned by @little wilson. While the Discord has been incredibly successful on its own merits, its well-being and the casual community fostered there have come at the expense of the subforum’s health and the activity of socialising institutions such as spectator and dead docs, PMs, and the games themselves, which have experienced a falling-off in activity recently. Therefore, to stem community migration to the server, we are officially divorcing it from the subforum—it will be removed from the General Rules thread, the #game_creation channel will be archived to incentivise participation in the largely defunct Art of Game Creation thread, and we ask that you not invite new members to the Discord, but instead encourage them to remain in the subforum and use the games and docs for social interaction. With these changes, we hope to revitalise the SE community and bring personal discussion and RP back into the games. It might surprise you, but you are allowed to talk about your life or begin off topic discussions in docs and PMs, and doing so actually helps both the community and the games. That should be it for sweeping structural changes, so onto a couple of smaller points. First, the variety of GMs in the spreadsheet for upcoming games is depressingly low, and we’d love to see more people creating and running games. With the reinvigorated committee and mod team, there are plenty of people eager to help out if you have a game idea you’re looking to refine, including El and I, and we’ll get you signed up on whichever list you’d like. (And once it comes to actually GMing, there are plenty of experienced players happy to help you co-GM.) So please contact us if you have any ideas you’d like to see run. Second, we’re implementing automatic spectator lists, which you can sign up for to be immediately PMed a spec doc for any game you’re not participating in, hopefully further incentivising people to contribute to spec docs. Finally, after a break during AG5, we are back to handing out non-Sanderson game passes, and will be distributing 3 or 4 after the game to worthy recipients. We won’t be revealing exact criteria, but worthy players are likely to be active, thoughtful and sensible players who foster discussion and community within the games. Just a thought. /announcements Oh no! Although Dalinar Kholin has successfully re-founded the Knights Radiant upon the formerly lost city of Urithiru, there looks to be an insurgent faction of the new Knights sympathetic to ODIUM, the Lord of Hate. While you’re aware of their existence, a small group of cornered individuals with mystical powers and incentive to kill...well, that can be a dangerous thing. Besides, should the Knights fall, who will guard Roshar when the Final Desolation begins in earnest? Factions: Roles: Cosmetic Roles (please read before signing up): Housekeeping: Each Day turn will be 48 hours long, with a simple no-vote-minimum lynch. The player receiving the most votes at the end of the Day turn will be killed; should there be a tie, a random player from among those lynched will die. Each Night turn will be 24 hours long, allowing the various factions and Radiants to submit orders. An inactivity filter of two cycles will be enforced. This is subject to change based on player count. To reiterate, PMs are open so long as an Edgedancer is alive. Please remember to include both @Elbereth and myself in any PMs made. Rollover will occur at 4 AM EST (-4:00 UTC) and may be posted by either El or myself. Due to writeups and the need to send PMs, this will typically take about an hour. Please be patient and bear in mind that there are likely thirty of you to keep tabs on. This game is a completely anonymous game. Please sign up by PMing both @Elbereth and myself with the title “AG6 Signup Request: [Your Name Here]” and include your chosen character and Cosmetic Role (details above) in the PM. Do not tell anyone whether or not you are playing the game. This both makes identity-guessing more fun and ensures the integrity of any voting we may do at the end of the game for non-Sanderson passes. If you wish to spectate, please PM us in a similar manner, and do not reveal that you are doing so. To facilitate anonymity, this thread will be locked, and we urge any discussion about rules changes to be made in the Q&A/Meta Discussion thread. At the start of the game, you will be issued an anonymous account. There are a number of rules associated with the use of an Anonymous Account. Please follow them carefully. Given the potential for abuse of Anonymous Accounts, any rule breaking using the accounts will be dealt with harshly. 1) Do not change the password of the anonymous account you are issued. Wilson (the IM), El and I will have access to all anonymous accounts for the duration of the game. 2) Do not use the anonymous accounts to PM any non-anonymous account, other than the accounts of the GMs. Please do not use your normal accounts to PM anonymous accounts. 3) Once again, do not tell any other player or individual associated with SE whether you are playing or not playing the Anonymous Game. Player identities will be revealed after the game, not on the death of their avatar. Players must not reveal their own identity after their death, until the end of the game, including in the dead/spec doc. Players wishing to spectate rather than play should PM El and myself for a link to the spectator doc. Questions and rules clarifications should be submitted in your sign up PMs, and will be posted by myself in the signups thread. 4) Do not change anything cosmetic about the accounts, including member title, username, signature, and avatar. Good luck to all, and we hope to get this thing started in about a week. Quick Links:
  6. Brightness Kareana sat with her head between her hands, muttering quietly to herself. So few remained after the bloodshed of the recent nights, with the Radiants taking matters into their own hands, failing more often than not. Now there were three senior Radiants left besides her; a far cry from the twenty-four she had started with, and populated with at least one traitor. She figured that she would be dead already if more than one of them had been working with Odium, yet the clandestine murders at night continued, Kir stabbed in his sleep, so the scouting party was by no means free of evil influences. The Breakaway seemed to be shielded against Re-Shephir’s shadows, or at least they had not ventured into her domain yet, so one of Cadamum, Adi or Adhom Inem was still responsible for the murders. Kareana frowned. It would not be too difficult to kill all three. She had blackbane in her bag, and the Radiants were notorious tea drinkers. It would be a simple matter of slipping some into everyone’s portion, guaranteeing she was the only one left after the mess the scouting party had been. A few now-terrified scribes and mostly terrified soldiers remained, and they had the data Dalinar wanted. If she were able to expunge the remaining lackey of Odium and get Radiant reinforcements from properly vetted men, it would be a step in the right direction. Yet Adi and Cadamum were experienced Radiants, and Adhom Inem showed good potential; besides, she could hardly call herself honourable by avoiding a difficult decision by condemning the innocent with the guilty. And explaining what had happened to Dalinar would be...difficult. Approaching footsteps clicked on the stone tiles, and Kareana lifted her head in time to see Adi trotting towards her, the same furrowed look of concentration and anxiety on her brow which she had had since the expedition began. Of the three senior Radiants, she trusted Adi the most; she had admitted to leaving a long glyph message in the rock the night Gilglin was murdered, and judging by its length and location she had done little else at the time; besides, she had a general air of honesty about her. The grooves of thought in her forehead were plowed particularly deep, though, and Kareana’s caring instincts took over. “What’s the matter, child?” she asked, sidling up next to her and studying her face. She was distraught, and it came through in her speech, which became scattered and broken. “I just know—later today—I’ll have to choose between—Cadamum and Adhom for who’s going to die—and I could end up picking the wrong one and dooming the world. What if I got it wrong, Brightness? Would I be reviled for—for what I did? How can we get out of this mess?” Kareana took Adi’s shoulders in a firm grip, but trembled internally. She had been thinking of how she was going to approach the situation, but what about the near-child upon which she was allowing their fate to be hung? She was shortsighted, at times. But she could not be here. “Listen, Adi. Your decision today, be it right or wrong, will not cause anyone to despise you, and if it does, that’s a reflection on them and not you. The Almighty won’t let us doom the world, and he’ll watch over you no matter how you choose. We came up here knowing there would be risk, yes?” Adi nodded tearfully. “Well, we’ve had to take those risks, and you’ve already won your share of them. You took it when you helped condemn Merinira. Almighty willing, the risk will be equally in our favour tomorrow. But even if it isn’t, we’ll still take it. Strength before weakness, child.” That straightened her up. Drying her tears, Adi nodded at Kareana. “Well, thank you, Brightness,” she said, pausing awkwardly as Kareana inclined her head in acknowledgement. Her voice trailed off. “Well...I’m going to find the other two now, if you’ll excuse me.” “Of course,” Kareana said softly. Watching the child make a bumbling retreat, she suddenly smiled. It was high time she took her own advice. She had been a bystander in the fighting amongst her Radiants for too long. Starting now, that would change. Grabbing a conventional broadsword and latching it to her belt, and taking one of the half-Shards from her pack which Dalinar had set up, she tailed the girl at a distance. This time, she would ensure that the aftermath of a decision would be strictly under her control. On the forty-fourth floor, Adhom Inem glared over the fire at Cadamum. He knew the man had to be the final Sympathiser to Odium. The girl was too innocent to have been going around murdering people, especially given that she had spent the night carving a message into a rock wall—what self-respecting murderer did that? Yet the four Radiant squires with them made the question of dispatching the man a much trickier one. Cadamum would be expecting the Surge of Division, and Adhom doubted an arrow or knife would be quick enough to pierce his defences, based on watching him fight in the past. Adhom gritted his teeth. He had to find a way to get at him! Yet there seemed to be no chink in his armour, at least in a public setting like this one. Lunging over the fire would certainly be effective if the two were alone, but the squires could easily arrest his progress if they had to. And perhaps it was best that the squires were there, or he’d have been dead a long time ago. Cadamum certainly hadn’t backed away from murder before, and with so few of them left now... A pair of running footsteps sounded in the hallway. Cadamum pivoted to face the door, giving Adhom a clear view of his exposed back. Yet two of the squires were watching him with eyes that radiated warning. For the first time, he felt seriously discomfited. Were they also with Odium? Or was the paranoid atmosphere of Urithiru simply seeping into his bones? Either way, he had cause for concern. The pattering stopped, and Adi appeared in the doorway, looking more concerned than usual. Understandably so, of course; she did not have the clarity afforded to him by the situation. However, he had come prepared to convince her, and immediately began launching into his explanation. Cadamum’s hands were creeping towards an array of daggers at his belt, and so he made it as quick as possible, trying to look Adi in the eye while keeping the other eye trained on the traitor's hands. It wasn’t easy, and the skeptical glances from Adi made it even more difficult. As he pled that Cadamum had been unable to prove he had not murdered, she finally silenced his explanations with a wave of her hand. Adhom felt sick. Was he being left to die? “If you don’t believe me,” he shouted, feeling a sudden burst of passion, who do you trust? Him?” He jabbed in the direction of Cadamum’s back with his knife. Adi bit her lip, blood trickling down her cheek. Suddenly, she snapped too. “I don’t trust either of you!” she yelled, drawing her knives. “You two sort this out! I can’t...I’m not condemning either of you!” Adhom’s heart sank. Not the answer he needed to hear. For his part, Cadamum grinned. “Suit yourself,” he said, and released the dagger in his hand. Adi yelped, jumping out of the doorway into the main hall as the dagger whizzed past her head. The four squires stirred, but the two Adhom had noted earlier were far faster, sinking their blades into the others. They died almost silently, their screams cut off by the steel sliding into their lungs. Looking up, he saw both Cadamum and his squires facing him. He was a powerful Radiant, but not that powerful. He would simply have to see how many of Odium’s scum he could take with him. Whirling, he went for Cadamum’s head, Lashing himself to the opposite wall for additional unexpected momentum. The Ghostblood seemed taken aback, barely moving himself out of the way of the oncoming blade, and Adhom felt a hint of satisfaction as the edge of his sword skirted along the other man’s shoulder, drawing blood. The satisfaction was short-lived, however, as Cadamum’s own sword came with impressive speed at his own head. Too disoriented from the Lashing to effectively move, it hit true, and Adi’s quickly retreating figure was the only Loyal Radiant remaining in the expedition. Adi flew down the hallway as fast as her legs could carry her, away from whatever Cadamum and his men were doing in there. Adhom Inem was likely already dead, and she was the only one left who could warn Kareana and get her to stop their threat before it was too late. Internally, she berated herself for her stupidity. How difficult could it have been to just choose? But you had to go and choose the wrong person, and doom us all! Kareana would be furious when she heard what had happened. Or perhaps she’d be understanding. It could be hard to tell with that woman, at times, but right now she was the Radiants’ best hope. As she turned a corner, still sprinting doggedly, a silhouette jumped into her vision from behind the wall, and she screamed, awkwardly braking but still slamming into the mail-plated Kareana and falling to the paving-stones. The brightlady was taken aback, but maintained her footing, pulling Adi to her feet. “You gave me a fright there, child. What’s the matter?” Too exhausted to cry at the memory, Adi related her tale. Kareana’s lips tightened as she related the betrayal of the squires, and she sighed at Adhom’s death. “There was nothing you could have done by staying, Adi, though I wish things had gone otherwise. It’s too late to berate ourselves for our blunders at this point, and our best hope is isolating the squires and killing them, then dealing with Cadamum. Do you figure the three are still on the forty-fourth floor?” “Probably,” Adi replied, wiping the blood from where it had run down her cheek and turning down the passage where she had come from. “At least one would be, to watch for my return, probably. Though they probably think you’re still holed up in the Breakaway—I know I did, or I’d have had you help.” “That's not exactly excellent news,” Kareana said grimly, “but Ellira and Errdal can probably hold the Breakaway for now if they have to. If they don’t expect me, we can probably scatter them here. But I’ll need your help. You will be required here, Adi—I can’t watch my back for those shadows without you, and it’s high time you started striking at these false Radiants now that they’ve unmasked themselves.” Adi breathed deeply, allowing Kareana’s words to sink in. “Okay,” she said, and peered around the doorframe leading to the forty-fourth floor. Her breath caught in her throat. Motioning Kareana to also look, she took in what she observed. Led by one of the squires she had seen earlier, a regiment of about four dozen of the shadowed figures was forming, oily black spears and shields and swords coalescing from seemingly nothing. A marching beat shook the floor, led by the back rank of shadows, which seemed to be the ones responsible for the discordant drumming reaching her ears. It was an impressive force, given that two or three of these shadows could give a Radiant trouble, and there were few of them left anyway. Ordinary soldiers would be hopeless against such a force. The squire motioned, and the section pivoted, heading perpendicular to the doorway towards another point in the hall. Realisation flooded Adi with dread. “They’re heading for the lift system!” she hissed to Kareana, who only nodded grimly. “If they reach it, they’ll get the Breakaway, and cut off the Oathgate!” “Then we follow them!” Kareana replied, and pushed past Adi into the open chamber, producing her Shardblade. Bracing herself, Adi did the same, and charged after her mentor. She would make Cadamum pay for the deaths of her companions. Kareana charged out of the doorframe, swinging her Shardblade at the two nearest shadowed figures, who were taken aback. Their blades of shadow somehow managed to block Kareana’s initial wild strokes, but the neatly formed ranks collapsed, and consternation reigned in the chamber. Behind her, Adi had already speared a shadow with her Blade, and was fending off another with her dagger. She was awfully quick with it, and Kareana stopped worrying about her as she began having her own problems. Her Shardplate marking her as the greater threat, the shadows thronged around her, jabbing with spears and slashing with swords. Somehow, her Blade managed to intervene, chopping the weapons apart, and occasionally ending a shadowed form. Unlike what Errdal had reported, these units actually seemed to die, their essence in the Cognitive Realm disappearing entirely when she struck. Perhaps it was the cost of allowing the shadows to roam so freely far from Re-Shephir’s lair. Or perhaps it simply made them more dangerous—some of their weapons had blocked a Shardblade, after all. Setting to her task with renewed determination, Kareana struck out at the soldiers around her, not relying on the Blade’s destructive power as some did, but maintaining the forms she had been taught, and looking for the gaps in her enemy’s. A slice here, a thrust there, and the ranks began to collapse further, with perhaps half the shadows dead. Adi was making quick work of a group of three that came up behind her—was that Soulcasting the girl had used on that one shadow behind her? She was full of surprises, and good ones to boot. Cutting down two more figures in her way, Kareana renewed her charge, Adi in tow, aiming for the squire who led the group. They met halfway, blades clashing again, and Kareana left Adi to do most of the work with the shadows as Cadamum’s squire produced an aluminum sword. Easy to block a Shardblade with, and potentially deadly in the hands of a skilled user. Sparks flew as the blades met, and the remaining shadows surged, forcing Kareana back again. She gritted her teeth. How on Braize was she supposed to fight this many enemies at once conventionally? Adi was already desperately fending off a group of five shadows, which were wisely staying out of Blade range. That left her a dozen or so. There was nothing to be done, then, except use Surges. Breathing deeply from one of the two large gemstones she carried, she drew enough Stormlight for a low-powered Surge of Division, which pulsed out from her in a wave of heat and light. Adi gritted her teeth as her torso was burnt, but Kareana had no alternative. The shadows quaked as well, their forms loosening, and she wasted no time. Their cluster of attack was easy to hit with a Blade, and only one of the dozen escaped immolation. Kareana was pleased to see that none of Adi’s five were giving her trouble either. Grinning, she blocked the vengeful squire’s quick strike, twisting her Shardblade as she did so to cut off the vanguard of his sword. He back-pedalled, frantically attempting to escape the wheeling arc of light which Kareana’s blade had become, but he instead fell, tripping over an outcropping which a thousand years of crem buildup had magnified to many times its initial size. He stumbled forward, overbalancing, directly into Kareana’s thrust. Behind her, Adi swept the legs out from the final shadow, which crackled and dissipated into nothing. A sudden silence fell, broken only by the crackling of small fires that Kareana’s Surge had begun. That’s right, Adi’s injured! Kareana remembered, rushing over to the girl. “How badly were you burnt?” she asked, kneeling over her. “Not too badly,” she replied, “though I don’t know Progression, so you’ll have to take care of that.” Kareana winced. “I don’t exactly know it either,” she admitted, “so you’ll have to manage. Sorry.” The word felt odd in her mouth, especially to her subordinate, but it was also necessary—the girl had every right to be annoyed. “I had to scatter those things somehow so I could deal with the squire.” “It’s not an issue,” Adi replied. “Strength before weakness, as you say.” The ghost of a smile flickered across her face. “Come on, let’s use the lift to get back to the Breakaway. Walking off my injury will be best anyway, and I’m sure Errdal and Ellira want to know about this attack.” “Remind me again why we’re entering on this level?” Adi whispered, following Kareana off the lift onto the floor below the Breakaway. “If there’s a battle up there, we’d have heard it by now.” “I’m not worried about walking into a battle,” she retorted, “but walking into a battlefield where the shadows have already won. That’s a trap I’m not putting my leg in. I’d have obviously headed straight up if there was any commotion, because we’d need to help. But this situation calls for caution.” “D’you reckon anyone is left in the Breakaway that the shadows would care about?” Adi asked. While Errdal was a Shardbearer, and Ellira had shown herself to be eerily competent, neither were Radiant. And the Breakaway was a good distance away from the Oathgate platform, enough that there were entry points that were closer to the gates on the lift system. Of course, given how forces were amassing, Cadamum might have had enough of the shadowed warriors to destroy the Breakaway with one group and secure the Oathgate with another. Suddenly, Kareana’s concerns didn’t seem so far-fetched. She gulped. Was she going to have to fight those shadows again? Kareana had fallen silent beside her, and Adi turned to look at the woman. The same set and determined face as always looked out, the eyes iron with resolve. Yet her posture suggested only weariness. “Brightness, if you can’t make it through another one of these battles…” “No, child,” the reply came. “I will endure as many battles as I need to get everyone down to safety and warn Dalinar that Urithiru is inhabited by traitors and Odiumspren. Remember, we were placed on this mission because Brightlord Kholin thought us able to handle any potential dangers. That includes armies of ancient spren. Worry about your own health—you’ll need to if we get into another of these scrapes.” Adi nodded. “As you say, Brightness.” She glanced around the passageway, which was narrowing and starting to ascend. The familiar golden and blue strata here gave her hope—normally the Midnight Mother’s creations made those bleed to red or purple—but caution was still necessary. She squinting, casting her eyes into the distance, and to her surprise found a Shardblade-wielding figure already standing in the doorway. She nudged Kareana, who muttered assent. “I see him. Though I think that’s Errdal, judging by the stance.” As they drew closer, Adi saw with relief that it was indeed the Shardbearer who had accompanied Radler on that fatal expedition, in what seemed like so long ago. Had it really been less than a week? It seemed unthinkable that a party of traitors could wipe out their entire group that quickly. Though we certainly did enough of their work for them, she thought grimly, wincing at the memory of failed murders and executions. For his part, Errdal peered back, and Adi saw his knuckles tighten on his Blade, then loosen and dismiss the Shard when he saw them. “Kareana, Adi!” he exclaimed, smiling. “It is you two. I’d worried you were shadows coming up to attack us again.” Adi felt a spike of alarm, and Kareana’s eyebrow visibly rose. “Again?” they said, Kareana’s indignance mixing with Adi’s worry. “When?” demanded the other woman. “An hour or so ago, Brightness. After you and Adi left, they assaulted us, a group of maybe fifty—” “Four dozen,” Adi muttered. “—pouring through that gateway. The soldiers were shaken, and I was as well, but Ellira and I managed to rally them. They were harder to kill than in the chamber, I think, but the deaths seemed permanent.” “I felt the same, oddly enough. Casualties?” Kareana’s voice was certainly strained. “Five dead and seven wounded, mostly those caught unaware in the initial rush. A lot more are shocked, though, and barely survived the mental strain. Once we grouped up, they were easier to handle, though without my Shard and Ellira’s daggers…” His voice trailed off, and Kareana resumed. “Where is Ellira? Wasn’t she supporting you? I don’t fully trust that girl.” “I don’t either,” Errdal replied grimly, “but she’s had two chances to kill me in the middle of combat and hasn’t yet. I think she went—” Errdal’s next words were cut off as a resounding boom echoed throughout the chamber, then the marching beat of drums. Adi heard Kareana swear under her breath, and looked askance at the brightlady. Errdal wasted no time, however. “Get inside the Breakaway!” he yelled, shoving both women towards its entrance, and slamming the doors to the area behind him as the three sprinted through. Adi panted, her legs already exhausted, but Kareana pulled herself up. “We will hold this door,” she announced, raising her voice. “Every person not a Radiant, which should be everyone that was in this room five minutes ago, should exit immediately towards the Oathgate platform. That is an order. We will meet you there later. Am I clear?” Assent was murmured, scribes and soldiers making their way with various speeds towards the direction Kareana had indicated. A group of soldiers tried to approach Adi, clearly wanting to help despite knowing it was hopeless, but Kareana affixed them with an icy enough glare that they saluted, retreating back down the hall. Adi looked back at the door. The red and purple veins in the rock weren’t just spreading, they were creeping up the door, and approaching the handles. Drums shook her ears, and she winced, bracing herself against the onslaught that was to come. Darkness slowly suffocated the window slats, leaving only Kareana and Errdal’s Blades to cast thin rays of light about them. The chamber shuddered again, then lay still. Adi closed her eyes as the veins reached the handles, pulling on them with sudden force and strength. The doors flew open, and chaos began anew. The shadows always came first, Kareana decided as she watched the doors to the Breakaway physically crumble, and an army twice the size she and Adi had faced down earlier emerge from its depths. The squire here had evidently learned, and was in the far back, using his aluminum-coated blade to urge the thronging army into the Breakaway chamber. Plans of holding the doorway immediately evaporated upon the sudden onslaught of figures, and Kareana stood back-to-back with Adi and Errdal, almost unable to distinguish the oily figures from each other. Her Blade was again a wheel of light, albeit a slower one than last time, as there was no alternative to that fighting style even if it tired you quickly—whatever those shadows actually were, their weapons bit like real ones, and only by covering all of herself could she keep the hordes from simply crushing her. Behind her, Errdal did the same, though less defensively, and Adi continued awkwardly squished between the two of them, yet still picking off unwary shadows and deflecting stray blows which threatened to hit the Shardwielders. Kareana had to admit to herself, even as she again fought for her life, that she had two of the bravest companions she’d had the privilege of fighting with. Errdal fearlessly took the offensive with his Blade, striking at the shadows in the gaps between their weapons and shields, and forcing them into an awkward defensive, while Adi seemed to find it nothing to throw herself between a blade and one of her companions to save them. She had already blocked Kareana from being hit twice, and had managed with her spear-work and small manoeuvrability to avoid damage. Yet it was undeniable that they were losing. The second wave of shadows slammed in after the first, the disarmed and limbless replaced by fresher and stronger forces, if the concepts of strength and energy could be said to apply to the constructs. Some of these had what looked to be pikes, and were staying out of Shardblade range, forming into a ring around the encircled defenders, behind the sword-wielding constructs which still hacked away. Kareana winced, seeing what was about to happen seconds before it did, yet unable to use Division to prevent it without outright killing her companions in the process. That didn’t stop her from unleashing a concentrated storm on the figures in front of her, however, which crackled to pieces against the blast of fire and wind. Then the ring closed, the ordinary soldiers receding to make room for the charge, and Kareana saw several things happen at once. Most immediately, in front of her, were four pikemen with their spears levelled at her chest. Division would be too slow, and an ineffective blast was more of a risk to Adi than a help to her. So she rolled out, ducking beneath the long spears and swinging her Blade, watching in satisfaction as all four figures jerked and died. However, a mass of shadows immediately filled the space between her and Adi, leaving the girl stranded with Errdal as the rest of the ring closed. Horrified, she let her guard drop for a brief moment, feeling her Shardplate suddenly double in weight as it cracked underneath the weapons of the shadows, but Kareana had eyes only for Errdal, whose lack of Plate had cost him dearly in the assault. Though his Blade had cleft nearly a dozen of the figures as he died, only one needed to get through, and now he lay prone on the floor, gazing with sightless eyes at the ephemeral pike protruding through his chest. Adi, to her credit, was facing off well against the crowd of shadows, ignoring Errdal’s corpse and using her energy to frantically block the jabbing spears and blades of her enemies. She had only moments, though. Snapping out of her reverie, Kareana let her Shardplate, which felt only like lead, drop to the floor, cutting the straps with her dagger which she held in her safehand. Making wide sweeps with the Blade to clear room for herself, Kareana beckoned Adi over, and the child hurriedly disengaged from the group she was fending off. Kareana was pleased to see that the crowd of shadows had thinned, returning to perhaps slightly more than the fifty or so she had encountered earlier. However, combined with the squire, who was approaching the rapidly tiring women like a circling whitespine, she wondered if the two of them could take on such a force. Cutting down two more shadows with her Blade, and watching as Adi Soulcast four more into oblivion, Kareana resumed the grim battle, feeling her arms grow more tired with each stroke. Next to her, Adi was flagging as well. “Can’t give up—now,” she grunted, darting her sword into another figure, which collapsed. “Life before—death. We can’t—leave things as they are now—we can’t die yet.” Kareana laughed, feeling Adi’s confidence infuse her with a burst of fresh energy. Spinning, she caught another shadow’s weapon, sending it flying into a neighbour. “You speak well, Radiant. We will hold this yet.” She only wished she was as confident as she sounded. With the squire drawing ever closer to them, and the shadows continuing to die, it would be only a matter of time before the deciding move was made. Half a minute and five more dead shadows later, as both Adi and Kareana continued bleeding in multiple places, she was proven correct. The squire raised his arm, and the shadows all disengaged, retreating to behind him. Walking forward, he addressed Kareana. “You put up a brave resistance against the Lord Odium. Surrender now, and he may deign to spare your immaterial lives. We are always looking for new servants.” A humourless smile touched his lips. “Or you may die here, exhausted and overwhelmed. It is your choice.” Kareana spat at the ambassador's feet, and he recoiled, glaring at the brightlady. “Very well, then,” he responded. “Death it is.” Without warning, the shadows attacked with renewed vigour, pressing Kareana back against the wall of the enormous chamber. Adi stayed beside her, but she was having to contend with the human squire at the same time, who was far more skilled than the shadowed copycats. A resounding clamour could easily be heard every time the two clashed blades, the squire’s heavy overhand strokes forcing Adi to her knees, holding her sword above her in a desperate attempt to ward off the blows. Beside her, where Kareana’s Blade could not reach in time, a shadow stabbed, its spear entering Adi’s side and causing the girl to scream in pain. Fighting for her own life, Kareana could only watch as Adi’s sword fell from numb fingertips, and the squire’s blade swept in one last motion, cleaving the head of the last member of the expedition loyal to Dalinar. So I really am alone, then. Odium has already won. No. She would not—could not—accept that. She screamed in rage, unleashing a Surge of Division almost unconsciously—with no allies for her to hit, it worked wonderfully as intended, the squire hissing in pain and the shadows shuddering, as they had before. Kareana took the opportunity to lay about her with her Blade, and the very advantage of the compact group when assailing her now became a liability as strokes killed five at a time. The shadows that could quickly retreated, once more making a ring around the squire. There were a mere handful left, at least compared to the numbers she had faced down earlier, but her body was screaming in pain, particularly her arms. She was definitely too old to be carousing around fighting Odium’s spawn. But as Adi had said, there was no choice. It was in the First Ideal from the beginning. Life before death. Strength before weakness. So she did the only logical thing for any outnumbered and exhausted force to do: charge. The squire was unfazed, meeting her Shardblade with the aluminum-coated rapier he held. It had a strangely heavy weight to it, if that wasn’t simply her torpid arm speaking for her. The shadows seemed to stay back, refusing to engage with her. A duel, then. That’s the fairest odds I’ve been offered all day. The squire parried with a vengeance, his thin blade whipping around to strike at Kareana’s exposed sides. Off-balance, she tried to pivot away, but had slowed too much from sheer exhaustion, and she felt cold steel pierce her upper leg. Groaning but staying upright, she swung weakly at the man’s exposed head, but he ducked easily as he withdrew the Blade. One, two, powerful strokes, and Kareana felt her Blade drop, her fingers reverberating with the clash of the metals. Looking up at the Sympathiser, who was clearly relishing his victory, she felt her heart speed up as he drew back to plunge his sword into her. My heart is speeding up. It seemed like such an odd detail to latch onto when she was about to die, but it was somehow important. Ten heartbeats. My Blade... The sword moved forward, but Kareana was faster, a final burst of energy allowing her to roll beneath the thrusting blade and stand on the other side, summoning the Blade through the back of the squire. He fell without a word. Kareana hit the ground before the last shadow had completed its screech of death, skewered on the end of her Shardblade. She had never felt so utterly exhausted in her life. And yet I must keep going, she reminded herself. There's a whole room of non-Radiants waiting to be slaughtered if you don’t act! Overcoming the sluggishness of her brain, she tried to get up, and found that one of her legs felt like lead, and that the other was numb. Odd, that—there had been sharp pain there before. She looked down, and saw blood still oozing from it in a thin red trickle. Well, it was little wonder she was in no state to be moving around. Suddenly, she began laughing. There she was, the victor and only survivor of a great battle, and she could not lift a leg to help herself. Brightness Kareana, Captain Radiant, Shardwielder, warrior, force of nature, lay prone and useless. Heedless of Errdal and Adi’s corpses, she laughed, unable to process the ridiculousness of the situation, laughed until her sides began hurting and she was gasping for air. After a good minute, however, she began sobering up, her breaths coming more evenly and slowly than the shuddered gasps she had been taking. A sudden pain in her bad leg flared, then subsided. She looked down, and saw her wounds close, her dizziness subside, and fresh energy flow through her veins. Standing with ease yet with wonder, Kareana looked down into her pouch, and saw with horror that almost an entire gemstone had been drained. Well, apparently I lied to Adi when I said I didn’t have Progression. Though it only works on myself? Either way, this was probably the greatest gift she could have been given—perhaps there would be no Stormlight left after the first trip, and perhaps she would remain stuck at the top, but there would be no usage of the Oathgate if she was lying half-dead in the Breakaway. Thank you, Almighty, she prayed, and ran with renewed vigour for the doorway leading to the Oathgate platform, taking care to put the sack of gemstones behind her to avoid accidentally inhaling more Stormlight. With happiness, she noted that her assistants were already well ahead, as she was unable to see them, and she blessed the Almighty again for unthinking obedience. It wasn’t always ideal, but here it had saved many lives. Making the final turn into the Oathgate complex, she was greeted by two jumpy soldiers, who brandished their spears at her before studying her face. “Brightness!” one exclaimed, dropping his aggressive stance. “You’re here! Where did the others go?” “They’re dead,” said Kareana simply. That sobered the room up, and silence fell among the chatting scribes. “And we all will be soon, if we don’t use this opportunity to get away. Klavin!” “Brightness?” a young soldier asked, stepping forward. He was barely old enough to shave, Kareana mused, but he had a cool head about him, and she had observed him calming the troops earlier after the first attack. He’d hold them together for long enough, and had an ordered mind to remember what he was told. She began again. “You get a battlefield promotion to second-in-command, now that all my Radiants are dead. Lead this group after you arrive in the Shattered Plains to Dalinar’s tent immediately, and tell him that Urithiru has been overrun by the servants of Odium, led by a man named Cadamum. Brightlord Kholin and his forces are to avoid the city, particularly the thirty-eighth floor, until he has a trained, powerful and trustworthy group of Radiants to reclaim it. Within the scribes’ notes is everything we know about the city. I, Kareana, testify to this report and its accuracy, and am not giving this in person in order that I might defend the Oathgate from above. Do you have all that?” Klavin’s face was knitted in concentration. “Yes, Brightness,” he said hesitantly. “Repeat it back to me.” He did, and switched only two words. Kareana was impressed, correcting him and having him lead the dishevelled party onto the platform, Vamah’s sorry regiment forming a ring around the distraught scribes. It was unlikely to do much good if they were attacked, but it was better than nothing. As they filed up, one of the scribes tapped Kareana’s shoulderplate. “What about Ellira, Brightness?” she asked. Damnation alive, that girl! Kareana felt like screaming at someone, probably herself, but she kept her face straight, though her lips were drawn in a thin line. “She’ll have to find her way here, or help me hold the shadows back at the top. I’m not responsible for her wanderings. If she chose to disobey my commands, I can only assume suspicious motives. We’ll wait a bit, I suppose, but time is precious here, and I can only countenance so much delay.” “You will not need to tolerate much more, Brightness,” a voice came from behind her, and Kareana spun around. Ellira stood there, a smug expression on her face, and Kareana began to wonder if she had wanted the girl back after all. Indigo Weasel (Adhom Inem) was lynched! He was a Loyal Knight Radiant Worldhopper! Violet Axolotl (Adi) was killed! She was a Loyal Knight Radiant Worldhopper! Errdal was killed! He was a Loyal Shardbearer! You will discover the ultimate fates of Kareana, Ellira and Cadamum after El finishes her section of the writeup. After a few delays, AG6/AN7 is over, and Odium’s Sympathisers have triumphed yet again! Congratulations to Quartz Zebra, Ivory Dragonfly, Plum Rhinoceros, Scarlet Octopus, Saffron Iguana and Salmon Meerkat for engineering a narrow late-game victory. Please DO NOT log out of your anonymous accounts yet, or post with your regular ones in this thread (though you are free to, and are indeed encouraged to talk with your anon account). Identity will still be presumed to be anonymous as we vote for the annual dissemination of non-Sanderson passes. This year, the passes (of which there are three) should go to the individuals who exhibited a consistent dedication to and engagement with the game by, for instance, engaging people in PMs, being an active or frequent participant in the thread, using their CRs and sticking with RP, etc. Everyone who participated in the game (so yes, Toucan will get two votes from the original and the pinch-hitter) will submit a ranked list of five people in their GM PM who they believe to have best exhibited these qualities, or otherwise demonstrated a desire or ability to maintain and encourage thread activity. You have until 9:00 PM EDT on Saturday 25 January (so about three and a half days) to submit or modify this list. At the end of that time, El and I will use the STV (Single Transferable Vote) system to select the top three players, who will be awarded a pass to run a non-Sanderson game. Thanks to everyone for playing, and tolerating your slow GM as he constructs an overly long final scene. While I’ll give most of my final thoughts after voting has taken place, I’ll note quickly that the post count on this AG was lower, but I think each person was able to stay at least somewhat engaged over the course of the game, which was wonderful to see—outright inactivity was very low. And I loved all the RP, especially the people who took it beyond the first few cycles. Expect my next game to have some kind of minor reward built-in for that, as it was fun to read and then later kill you in a manner more befitting your character. Final playerlist to be posted with correct identities after voting is over. Some doc links for those who want them: Eliminator Doc (The Knights Errant) Spectator/Dead Doc (The Tranquiline Halls) Master Spreadsheet (forthcoming) Thanks again to everyone for playing and providing an awesome start to SE’s new year. We couldn’t do these games without you.
  7. The sun was lower in the sky than it should be, and Kir was sure of it. Why was this night longer than any other night? “That’s the wrong question,” a voice boomed in his head. “The correct question is, have you considered that you had more time to live because of the longer night, before your existence was revoked?” Kir gulped. He had not considered that. Sadly, he would have no opportunity to, as the sun finally rose over Urithiru and he no longer existed, just as the Almighty GM had decreed. The reasons were to be filled in later, of course. But the insolence was up there. And the fact that someone had killed him. The GM considered a giant walrus killing him as the means of death, and ultimately decided against it. Why did it matter? The daylight hours were being frittered away, and Kir could have just died. Perhaps he did. Either way, he needed sleep and the players needed to decide who to butcher. Maybe they’d kill the giant walrus. Onyx Flamingo was killed! They were a Loyal Radiant Worldhopper! Day Eight has begun! It will last 47 hours, and end at 9:00 PM EST on 18 January 2020. There was an error in previous playerlists which showed Magenta Albatross as an Odium Sympathiser. This is not the case, and his alignment flip of Loyal Knight/Village was correct. PMs are still closed! Not that you’d get too much use out of them... Player List: 1. Amber Vulture: Jashi, Stormwarden Radiant Worldhopper 2. Amethyst Scorpion: Jesh, Lost Axehound Radiant Worldhopper 3. Chartreuse Penguin: Taladir, GamblerRadiant Worldhopper 4. Coral Swan: Germaine, Scholar Radiant Worldhopper 5. Cream Tuatara: Dfyan, Scholar Radiant Worldhopper 6. Emerald Falcon: Sein, Inquisitive Radiant Worldhopper 7. Indigo Weasel: Adhom Inem, Ardent 8. Ivory Dragonfly: Krask, Conspiracy Theorist Sympathizer Worldhopper 9. Magenta Albatross: Jonan Wikim, Lost Axehound (Gren) Radiant Worldhopper 10. Mauve Crocodile: Sernes, Paranoid Scout Radiant Worldhopper 11. Mint Heron: Sam, Once a Darkeyes Radiant Worldhopper 12. Onyx Flamingo: Kir, Kleptomaniac Scout Radiant Worldhopper 13. Opal Lion: Tnaidar, Scout Radiant Worldhopper 14. Pearl Chameleon: Purrl, Adolin’s Former Girlfriend Radiant Worldhopper 15. Plum Rhinoceros: Logalog, Scholar Sympathizer Worldhopper 16. Quartz Zebra: Arauna Khadal, Adolin’s Former Girlfriend Sympathizer Worldhopper 17. Saffron Iguana: Merinira, Scout Sympathizer Worldhopper 18. Sage Kangaroo: Gilglin, Ardent (Devotary of the Mind) Radiant Worldhopper 19. Salmon Meerkat: Cadamum, Ghostblood Recruit 20. Scarlet Octopus: Max Mercury, Past Lives Sympathizer Worldhopper 21. Sunburst Toucan: Tafud, Slightly Crazy Radiant Worldhopper 22. Taupe Gecko: Brana, Scholar Radiant Worldhopper 23. Turquoise Gorilla: Bomer, Gambler Radiant Worldhopper 24. Violet Axolotl: Adi, Anxious Good luck!
  8. Gilglin smiled wryly as he leafed through Merinira’s documents. The scout had disappeared several days ago, and the numbers of Radiants had dwindled so far that Kareana stalwartly refused to risk sending search parties, insisting she would return alone or not at all. But somehow, it had occurred to nobody but him to check for associations with the great Enemy, Odium, and plain as day, there was a folded paper at the bottom of her briefcase with a list of “priority” targets. He continued his wry grin as he perused the names, seeing many Brightlord which had left Urithiru with the other team of Radiants. Still probably be best to redouble their guards, though, Gilglin noted. He then slid his eyes to the final name on the list, and his smile quickly disappeared. His name? What was it doing there? He was just an Ardent! Trembling slightly, he took the paper, folded it gently, and slid it into the breast-pocket of his coat. He had to show this to Kareana. At the very least, it might get her to direct her Radiants to look elsewhere for the last few traitors in their midst. As he stood, he looked around the corner, where the other Radiants in their initial group were looking at him disapprovingly. Distrust flared towards the lot of them, but he shoved it down. He was hardly the most vocal person on Roshar, and his unwillingness to answer questions was often construed as guilt. While he sympathised with the sentiment that he should publicly speak more, he needed to be left alone most of the time. Especially when he was preparing prayers for the Almighty to send men to stop the madness. Especially when he was meant to offer private spiritual help specific to the Devotary of the Divine, and not interact with the public much at all. He bent back over to the barrel of glyphward ink, which he had insisted on bringing, despite its flammable nature, up to the mountain. Prayer glyphs were especially necessary at this time, if they wanted the Almighty’s favour—the only factor that mattered—to rest upon them. Dipping his brush into the ink, he began painting on the barren rocks, aware as he did so that the other Radiants were closing in on him. Within a minute, he was staring into three hostile faces, none of which looked pleased at his silence. Gilglin put the finishing touches on his glyph, an odd form of “guidance” which was used most often for determining one’s Calling—as such, the prayer had more rarity, significance, and power. The matters ahead of them would require a blessing from the Almighty greater than the one which he gave upon the realisation of a Calling, for the corresponding threat was far greater. Yet he had confidence that Honour and the Heralds would provide, and so he was fearless when turning towards the three. “Where were you last night?” one demanded. “I was reading my book here,” Gilglin replied, unsure where the conversation was going. The leader only nodded. “Exactly. Are you sure about that?” “Yes…” Gilglin was confused. “I had nothing to do with Jonan’s death, if that’s what you mean!” Again, only that infuriating nod in reply. “I’m sure you didn’t. Alright, boys, take him.” Strong arms suddenly seized his own, attempting to drag him towards Kareana. He avoided being grappled narrowly, writhing out of one man’s grip and allowing the second to pick up the sheet he’d dropped when the fighting began. Unfortunately, his momentum took him into the second man, body-slamming him into the table where the barrel of glyphward ink was sitting. There was a crash, and a low groan emitted from the downed man. Well, no need to worry over him much now. How do I get out? he mused; his way was blocked by the two able-bodied Radiants in front of him, whose blades were now out. Casting around him, he saw the winded Radiant he had slammed into earlier, with only a few of Vamah’s soldiers supporting him. That’ll be where I have to break through, Gilglin thought. He charged at the man, preparing to shove him away and jump over the table, and expecting little resistance; however, instinct took over, and the man grabbed the entire barrel of ink, quickly swinging it between himself and the charging Gilglin. The ardent was unable to spring away, and the flimsy sides broke, deluging the unfortunate Gilglin in gallons of ink. Scrabbling to clear his eyes, Gilglin did not see who lit the match and threw it at his blackened form, but he did know—and now felt—how quickly and effectively glyphward ink burnt. By the time all that was on him had burned away, his own spirit had long since risen as a final sacrifice to the Almighty. Sage Kangaroo was lynched! He was a Loyal Worldhopper. Vote Count: Sage Kangaroo (3): Indigo Weasel, Onyx Flamingo, Violet Axolotl Indigo Weasel (1): Salmon Meerkat Night 7 has begun! It will end in about 22.5 hours, at 9 PM EST on 16 January. Please do not forget that PMs are still CLOSED! Player List 1. Amber Vulture: Jashi, Stormwarden Radiant Worldhopper 2. Amethyst Scorpion: Jesh, Lost Axehound Radiant Worldhopper 3. Chartreuse Penguin: Taladir, Gambler Radiant Worldhopper 4. Coral Swan: Germaine, Scholar Radiant Worldhopper 5. Cream Tuatara: Dfyan, Scholar Radiant Worldhopper 6. Emerald Falcon: Sein, Inquisitive Radiant Worldhopper 7. Indigo Weasel: Adhom Inem, Ardent 8. Ivory Dragonfly: Krask, Conspiracy Theorist Sympathizer Worldhopper 9. Magenta Albatross: Jonan Wikim, Lost Axehound (Gren) Sympathizer Worldhopper 10. Mauve Crocodile: Sernes, Paranoid Scout Radiant Worldhopper 11. Mint Heron: Sam, Once a Darkeyes Radiant Worldhopper 12. Onyx Flamingo: Kir, Kleptomaniac Scout 13. Opal Lion: Tnaidar, Scout Radiant Worldhopper 14. Pearl Chameleon: Purrl, Adolin’s Former Girlfriend Radiant Worldhopper 15. Plum Rhinoceros: Logalog, Scholar Sympathizer Worldhopper 16. Quartz Zebra: Arauna Khadal, Adolin’s Former Girlfriend Sympathizer Worldhopper 17. Saffron Iguana: Merinira, Scout Sympathizer Worldhopper 18. Sage Kangaroo: Gilglin, Ardent (Devotary of the Mind) Radiant Worldhopper 19. Salmon Meerkat: Cadamum, Ghostblood Recruit 20. Scarlet Octopus: Max Mercury, Past Lives Sympathizer Worldhopper 21. Sunburst Toucan: Tafud, Slightly Crazy Radiant Worldhopper 22. Taupe Gecko: Brana, Scholar Radiant Worldhopper 23. Turquoise Gorilla: Bomer, Gambler Radiant Worldhopper 24. Violet Axolotl: Adi, Anxious
  9. Merinira found herself, quite by accident, on the thirty-eighth floor. She did not fear it, as most did—she trusted her master to not rip one of her most effective tools to shreds—but it was not where she had intended to scout. For her reports to Kareana, she was to do the forty-fifth floor, and Re-Shephir wanted the levels around her cleared of humans to prevent an “unfortunate” incident like Radler’s again, and so wanted false reports of danger spread about the floods immediately around her. She had seemed genuinely worried about the Worldhoppers after the fight, and was perceived to be greatly weakened by those in the group who had visited in the immediate aftermath of the attacks; nevertheless, Merinira’s group had forged along, not willing to risk an assault against such a powerful being. The Lord of Hate rewarded ambition, but that was a step too far. Walking past the murals, the intricately decorated ceiling above her head, Merinira approached the chamber with the gem column rising into the air. She knelt, and watched as the oily black Midnight Essence curled around the pillar, consolidating into a face which gazed disapprovingly down at her. WHY HAVE YOU RETURNED HERE, CHILD? As always, the voice was in Merinira’s head. “Mother”—that word had always felt strange in her mouth, yet Re-Shephir insisted on its use—“I was drawn here, somehow, when I tried to get to the forty-fifth floor. I thought it was you, and you had instructions for me.” A general aura of confusion emanated from the Unmade, mingling with her own doubts. I DO NOT HAVE THE POWER TO DRAW YOU HERE IN THAT MANNER, CHILD, the reply came. SOMETHING ELSE—SOMEONE ELSE—HAS DONE THIS. AND YET IT IS ON THIS VERY LEVEL, GROUNDS WHICH I THOUGHT WERE MINE. Re-Shephir’s projected voice grew in resolution. IT IS GOOD YOUR INTUITION HAS DRAWN YOU HERE. I KNOW THIS CHAMBER, BUT SEARCH ALL OTHER ROOMS ON THIS LEVEL FOR ANYTHING AS YET UNSEEN WHICH MAY FOIL OUR DESIGNS. YOU MAY REPORT TO KAREANA LATER. Four shadowed figures materialised from the stone floor, twisting into the form of men with spears and shields. THESE WILL GUARD YOU. Merinira bowed. “Yes, Great One,” she replied briefly, rising and heading for the smaller rooms on the floor, separated by a door which led into a small antechamber. The four shadows tailed her, and they entered. The room was dark, and also, as Merinira could tell, completely empty, as she remembered. In fact, she had been here numerous times. In the centre, the working lift system hung; in each of the cardinal directions, a door was set. She had apparently come from the west door, and thus proceeded directly across to the east, trying the handle. It was locked, and three to four millennia of crem buildup made opening it a risky proposition anyway. Unlike the other doors in the hall, the Mother had not known about it, and thus could not slow its natural decay. So she tried the north door, expecting a similar result, and to her surprise felt it open fluidly. Unlocked and unjammed? She would have to be incredibly cautious. Checking that the four shadows were still accompanying her, she stepped into the room. Upon first glance, there was nothing special about it. It was small and square—only a few feet long in either direction—and tiled, with eight large blocks, alternating black and white, forming the floor. The ceiling and walls were bare, except for a window high above which let in light. And in the middle of the room, at the junction of the central four squares, stood a tall, thin, fragile object. The sense within Merinira flared, and she knew that this was what she needed to find. But what was so special about it? It didn’t look to be a fabrial, and had no other distinctive features. She tiptoed around it, noting with a vague discomfiture that the shadowed guardians she had been assigned were being winked out one by one, but her curiosity had her seized in a tight grip. She rounded the corner of the object, stepping between it and the window, and breathed in sharply. It was an enormous looking-glass, which cast every detail of her face in sharp relief. However, the background portrayed by the mirror looked...odd, with enormous squares similar to the floor behind her, but forested, with odd inhabitants roaming about. She glanced around her, and with horror, Merinira found she could not see the chamber in Urithiru any longer. Where on Roshar was she? Was this even Roshar? She doubted the looking-glass was a Perpendicularity. With nothing else to do, she began walking towards the next square of ground, marvelling at how slowly she moved. Would she ever get around this place, or find a way out? The ground on which she was standing seemed to never end, yet she always got closer to the edge of her square. Gritting her teeth, she began running, breathing heavily. She would make it out of this place, and— “You won’t get very far going that way,” a voice interrupted. “Why, here, it takes all the running you can do to stay in place. If you want to get anywhere, you’ve got to run at least twice as fast as that!” She gaped, and swivelled to face the voice. It was a Queen, decked all in red from head to toe, and it stood easily twice as tall as Merinira herself, on a square of the same colour which was diagonal from her. The Queen had an imperious, though not unkindly look, and she frowned down as she spoke. “What do you need to do here, anyway?” “Your...Majesty, I need to find a way out of here,” Merinira replied. “And what was that you said earlier about movement? It sounded like nonsense.” The Queen simply laughed, shaking her head. “You may call it nonsense if you like,” she replied, “but I’ve heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!” She chuckled again, then started as she saw a white figure appear two squares to the left and one square forward from her, and two squares forward and one to the left from Merinira. The chuckle sounded more nervous this time. “Well, I do hate to leave you hanging, but I will have an excellent tactic if he captures you next turn, so…” With that, the Queen flitted away, and she was left standing alone again. Nothing the Red Queen had said made sense at all. Except that last bit. Captures me? I’m hanging? With mounting trepidation, she saw the white figure consolidate into a knight riding towards her on a Meerkat—she had no idea what that was, but the name had popped into her head—and it drew an Axolotl-tipped Blade from its sheath, swinging at Merinira, who could not seem to move out of its path. It connected, and she fell, being dragged by invisible hands off the field of squares. Perhaps she wasn’t dead, but she wasn’t getting back to Re-Shephir any time soon either, and it looked to be a long period of adjustment as she learned the rules of this strange new world. From the Archives, regarding the Radiant Scouting Disaster: Today wasn’t very interesting. I walked through more hallways, jumping at my own shadow, marking down the paths. Even despite all the pretty colors, all of Urithiru is starting to feel the same. I don’t remember the last time I saw the sun. Apparently some excitement happened back here while I was gone - everyone around me is buzzing about it as I write. They caught another odium-person, it sounds like. I’m so glad I wasn’t here! I want to stay as far away from any excitement as possible. I miss you, Danerin. I hope this is all over soon. Love, Paleli Saffron Iguana was a Odium Sympathizer Worldhopper! Vote Count Onyx Flamingo (2): Magenta Albatross, Saffron Iguana Saffron Iguana (2): Salmon Meerkat, Violet Axolotl Salmon Meerkat (1): Onyx Flamingo Night 6 has begun! It will end in 22-ish hours, at 9 PM EST on 13 January. PMs are still open. Credit to El for the letter portion of the writeup! Player List 1. Amber Vulture: Jashi, Stormwarden Radiant Worldhopper 2. Amethyst Scorpion: Jesh, Lost Axehound Radiant Worldhopper 3. Chartreuse Penguin: Taladir, Gambler Radiant Worldhopper 4. Coral Swan: Germaine, Scholar Radiant Worldhopper 5. Cream Tuatara: Dfyan, Scholar Radiant Worldhopper 6. Emerald Falcon: Sein, Inquisitive Radiant Worldhopper 7. Indigo Weasel: Adhom Inem, Ardent 8. Ivory Dragonfly: Krask, Conspiracy Theorist Sympathizer Worldhopper 9. Magenta Albatross: Jonan Wikim, Lost Axehound (Gren) 10. Mauve Crocodile: Sernes, Paranoid Scout Radiant Worldhopper 11. Mint Heron: Sam, Once a Darkeyes Radiant Worldhopper 12. Onyx Flamingo: Kir, Kleptomaniac Scout 13. Opal Lion: Tnaidar, Scout Radiant Worldhopper 14. Pearl Chameleon: Purrl, Adolin’s Former Girlfriend Radiant Worldhopper 15. Plum Rhinoceros: Logalog, Scholar Sympathizer Worldhopper 16. Quartz Zebra: Arauna Khadal, Adolin’s Former Girlfriend Sympathizer Worldhopper 17. Saffron Iguana: Merinira, Scout Sympathizer Worldhopper 18. Sage Kangaroo: Gilglin, Ardent (Devotary of the Mind) 19. Salmon Meerkat: Cadamum, Ghostblood Recruit 20. Scarlet Octopus: Max Mercury, Past Lives Sympathizer Worldhopper 21. Sunburst Toucan: Tafud, Slightly Crazy 22. Taupe Gecko: Brana, Scholar Radiant Worldhopper 23. Turquoise Gorilla: Bomer, Gambler Radiant Worldhopper 24. Violet Axolotl: Adi, Anxious
  10. In the aftermath of the attack on Nolan and Radler’s disappearance, Brightness Kareana had begun to set far stricter rules for the scribes’ movements and activities within Urithiru. So long as there remained any men sympathetic to Odium within the Radiants, no scribe was to venture into the city alone, or during the nighttime, and especially both. Not that they had time to do any of that, Linna reflected, as the Radiants themselves were doing enough scouting to keep the scribes busy simply recording everything they saw. Some of the details were fascinating—Errdal’s account of the Unmade’s chamber which she had overheard, for instance, with the cryptic images on the walls, and others were simply odd, with some scouts apparently seeing nothing beyond strata within the rocks in the city’s walls on their section of the level, which they nevertheless found the need to describe in excruciating detail. Today’s pair of scouts were thankfully more brief; after a short description of some rather standard storage rooms on the fifty-second floor, they took their leave, and Linna was left sitting, listening to the scratching of reeds and the low voices of reporting Knights. She yawned, though it was midday, and glanced over at Kareana, whose supervision of the operation looked anything but detached. That woman was determined to bring a good report back to Dalinar, and somehow seemed to constantly operate at full capacity on little sleep to ensure it would happen. Linna admired the dedication she showed, but it was annoying at times like now when she would prefer to take a walk around to keep herself awake. She wouldn’t be seeing any Radiants for another hour, anyway, but escaping the eagle eye of Kareana to take advantage of that would be an impossibility—and she would be foolish to try, or she’d find herself on the receiving end of an order sending her back down the Oathgate. Plans of a lone walk foiled, she cast around, searching the other scribes. Most were still conversing with the Radiants or doing the logistical work of the operation, but Brana was done already; unsurprising, given that she was one of Vamah’s best scribes before she became Radiant, and could easily record her own findings. For the moment, though, she was free. Perfect. Rising, Linna felt Kareana’s gaze sink into her before she even turned her head to look at the woman. This is not going to be a fun conversation. Steeling her nerves against a possible outburst of temper, she walked up. “Yes, Linna?” Kareana’s voice was perfectly neutral. “As you can see, Brightness, my work for this shift is done, with my Radiants having left…” “Why should I care? Go translate an ancient text or whatever it is you scribes do when you’re bored. I’m not here to micromanage your day for you, woman. As long as you’re staying out of trouble, you’re fine.” Linna winced, hopefully only inwardly. She’d gotten only a lick of Kareana’s acid tongue, but it still wasn’t pleasant. “Well, you did give orders that nobody should wander about the city without accompaniment, and I was going to take a walk around this floor to get some air.” “My orders stand. Find someone to go with, then, and then perhaps you can leave me be.” Linna looked hopefully at Brana, who had taken her head out of her book to glance up at the noise. The Radiant scholar smiled and rose fluently. “I’ll go with her, Brightness. I need to stretch my legs myself, and I’ll make sure she doesn’t wander anywhere she isn’t supposed to.” The ghost of a smile flitted across Kareana’s lips. “I suppose you will, at that. Go ahead, and don’t make me send search parties after you. Stay on this level.” “We will, Brightness,” Linna replied, and turned to make her exit. Kareana sighed as the pair left the Breakaway. Why couldn’t the fool girl have asked Brana to go with her, and then nodded to her on their way out the door? People took everything she said so literally these days. Then again, if it helped keep people cautious and away from the Unmade, perhaps it wasn’t a bad thing at all that her ban on aimless exploration had taken effect to such a strong degree. But if people were needing approval to take a short walk, that was a separate issue entirely, and one that did not rest on her shoulders. Her annoyance with Linna stayed smouldering inside her as she watched the other scribes stratching away, though, the mundanity of her supervision job allowing it to stay fresh in her mind. She resolved to give the girl a proper tongue-lashing in private when she got back, and then frowned, looking at the fabrial on her arm. It had been an hour or so, and still no sign of either Brana or Linna. It didn’t take that long to circle the floor, even at the slow pace some seemed to prefer. As if to confirm her words, the door to the chamber was thrown open, and a breathless Brana came rushing in. She collapsed at Kareana’s feet, gasping in air. Why do things always end like this? Nobody ever returns from these innocent trips with everything intact. “What happened? Breathe deeply and slow, you’ll be fine, there’s nothing pursuing you anymore.” Kareana kept speaking gently, shooing away the bemused and curious clump of people which had gathered. Many of them were still peering over at Brana, which Kareana supposed was inevitable, but the poor girl was in shock and didn’t need their attention. To her credit, Brana had pulled herself together, her breathing shuddering but evening out as she controlled it. “Where’s Linna?” “The shadows attacked again...she’s dead. A whole crowd of them, and I barely made it myself. As soon as she got dragged away from me, one of the figures threw something at her…a short sword went straight through her chest…” Brana broke down sobbing again. “The corridor darkened as soon as it happened, the strata changed colour to red. I just ran here as fast as my legs could carry me, not even seeing if those...things...were following me. But I couldn’t save her or myself.” Kareana whispered reassurement, consoling Brana while her mind raced. The Unmade’s arm had grown long if it was striking at the level they were on with its creations, but most concerning was that she had been right to forbid travel outside the Breakaway. Inwardly, she seethed. Too many people were dying on her watch. She would see Odium’s presence removed from the tower, and any shadows which got in the way were going to regret the day they crossed paths with the Knights Radiant themselves. Brana finished making her report to Brightness Kareana, shaking slightly. This was the second time in a week that she’d stumbled over a dead body, and she did not want any more. She barely made it a dozen steps before Jesh and Jonan confronted her, with a... spren? bobbing along behind. “This is the second time you’ve seen one of those dead bodies before anyone else,” Jesh said. “You know, the ones that keep being killed by shadow spren? Like the ones Errdal fought,” Jonan added. “And Errdal said he saw two very weak-looking axehounds escape from their nest-” “But we can’t find them anywhere. I want my Gren back-” “And my Trisk-” Jesh interjected. “So tell us where they are,” Jonan finished. Brana blinked. “I- I don’t-” she stammered. “Lead us to them, or we’ll expose you as a Sympathizer to everyone.” “I’m not a Sympathizer! I’ve just... had a bad couple of days, is all,” Brana said, thinking about Linna’s staring eyes. “I’m sorry, I don’t know where your axehounds are, I wish I did.” The two men looked at each other for a moment, then back at Brana. “Last chance.” “No,” Brana said, feeling increasingly desperate. “I’m not a Sympathizer, I promise I’m not![/i]” “Three... two... one...” “Please,” she said, half-whispering. “Brana is a Sympathizer!” “She serves Odium, she just admitted it!” After that, well... her death was not pleasant, but it was swift. A mob of Worldhoppers already on edge from days of death was a force to be reckoned with. Taupe Gecko (Brana) was a Loyal Knight Radiant Worldhopper! Linna was a Loyal Scribe! Vote Count Taupe Gecko (4): Amethyst Scorpion, Coral Swan, Emerald Falcon, Magenta Albatross Onyx Flamingo (1): Mauve Crocodile Opal Lion (1): Saffron Iguana Night 4 has begun! It will end in 22 hours on 7 January at 4 AM EST. Thanks to El for writing Gecko’s lynch. Please remember that PMs are closed. Player List 1. Amber Vulture: Jashi, Stormwarden 2. Amethyst Scorpion: Jesh, Lost Axehound 3. Chartreuse Penguin: Taladir, Gambler Radiant Worldhopper 4. Coral Swan: Germaine, Scholar 5. Cream Tuatara: Dfyan, Scholar Radiant Worldhopper 6. Emerald Falcon: Sein, Inquisitive 7. Indigo Weasel: Adhom Inem, Ardent 8. Ivory Dragonfly: Krask, Conspiracy Theorist Sympathiser Worldhopper 9. Magenta Albatross: Jonan Wikim, Lost Axehound (Gren) 10. Mauve Crocodile: Sernes, Paranoid Scout 11. Mint Heron: Sam, Once a Darkeyes 12. Onyx Flamingo: Kir, Kleptomaniac Scout 13. Opal Lion: Tnaidar, Scout 14. Pearl Chameleon: Purrl, Adolin’s Former Girlfriend Radiant Worldhopper 15. Plum Rhinoceros: Logalog, Scholar Sympathiser Worldhopper 16. Quartz Zebra: Arauna Khadal, Adolin’s Former Girlfriend Sympathiser Worldhopper 17. Saffron Iguana: Merinira, Scout 18. Sage Kangaroo: Gilglin, Ardent (Devotary of the Mind) 19. Salmon Meerkat: Cadamum, Ghostblood Recruit 20. Scarlet Octopus: Max Mercury, Past Lives 21. Sunburst Toucan: Tafud, Slightly Crazy 22. Taupe Gecko: Brana, Scholar Radiant Worldhopper 23. Turquoise Gorilla: Bomer, Gambler Radiant Worldhopper 24. Violet Axolotl: Adi, Anxious
  11. “No, he clearly couldn’t be a Sympathiser! How can you accuse him after he participated in the death of Aruana?” “It was all a farce, I’m telling you! They did it to get our trust! We need to look harder into both him and Bomer!” “Now you’re just sounding like Krask. Bomer’s dead, and has been for a while, and you’re just afraid your friend you’ve been kicking around with for a while is evil! Or you are yourself…” Logalog of Mossflower shoved the bickering voices to the back of his head, muting them to a dull whine. Which, frankly, they were. He had figured that these humans, even on a highly dangerous planet in a city fatal to the unwary, would find a way to work together, but more often than not they simply argued and fought, worse than shrews at some points. Shrews knew better than to let argumentation descend into killing, at least on his watch. Despite the odd traitor or deserter, the Guosim had continued strong that way, with friendly, nonfatal duels settling disputes and the tribe moving on as normal. Humans, could never tell who the vermin was until it was too late, and everyone you thought was a friend of yours could turn their back on you in an instant. And the bickering was something he’d still not figured out how to solve. This made his tribe look tame by comparison, though it did appeal to the confrontational part of him. Logalog threw in his thoughts on the oddly named “Tnaidar” (even otters didn’t name their kids something weird like that, and those otter chaps were downright strange. Good allies to have in the water, though) who he suspected looked suspicious to the humans, what with the narrowed eyes and downcast looks he was always casting about, looking like a shifty ferret trying to go unseen and failing miserably; plus, he was always off on scouting missions, and scouts were easy to blame. He knew, having nearly gotten his tail tanned as one for missing a small water rat, so he figured missing an enormous hostile deity was even worse. Impeccable logic, or at least good enough to suit his tastes. Participation finished for the day, he pivoted to leave, tucking in his tail underneath him and settling into the next best thing he’d found to a logboat—a hollowed shell of some vile creature with cartwheels attached to it, allowing it to be used without waterways. He was still surprised and disappointed at the lack of forests on this new planet—whatever the humans claimed, sipping violet wine in their large ships on a turbulent ocean was no match for a good October ale in a well-crafted logboat on a lazy woodland stream. And there was no way to enjoy the smallest portion of that on this planet, at least around Alethkar. Maybe once he was allowed out of this cursed city, he would retire to Shinovar. From the sounds of it, at least that place was green. He suddenly noticed that the assembled voices had gone quiet, and not from a cat eating them all, unfortunately. And they were staring at him? He bothered to listen again, and it looked to be Jonan speaking. That’s not a bad name. Better than Tnaidar, at least. “...searched and questioned him last night, and he’s not only from some crazed world he insists on calling ‘Mossflower,’ he admitted allegiance to Odium!” Logalog sighed. Of course they would go after him eventually. He shook his head at himself—I really am getting grey in the whiskers if I’m answering questions from random humans—and set his makeshift land-boat rolling. It creaked, but held together, speeding away from the assembly and drawing cries of surprise. Good. Two others, including the leader, a female named Kareana, tried to cut off his path, so he pivoted, gripping the sides of his boat with his paws and turning it. There was an audible pop as the first wheel broke free of its axle, the flimsy structure unable to accommodate the sharpness of the turn, and the others soon followed, tumbling off. Logalog swore, drawing his tail back up to avoid getting it crushed underneath the disintegrating logboat, and clung on for dear life as he closed his eyes. There was a bright flash of light, and the clamor of the fighting instantly subsided; he re-opened his beady eyes, casting them about. Still no forest; instead, a sea of small spheres which seemed infinite, extending in every direction, though the surface was still. Pearls? Or perhaps ordinary beads. He pinched himself, discovering he still had a full body. Not the gates of Dark Forest made specifically for roving shrews, then, he thought wryly. Looking down, his paws were tucked into an actual logboat, made from a good rowan or beech, and an oar was in his hands. Well, this was a spot of fortune, and much better than being killed by the humans back there. He began paddling through the sea, his spirits good as he plotted his return to Mossflower. None of this made sense to him, but that could be figured out later—right now, he was in his element. Munching on the end of a loaf he’d brought with him, he took up humming to himself an old shrew ditty. Whum chakka um chakka chumchakka whum! Guosim dig yore paddle deep, Hurly-burly river wide'n'curly, There’s no time to sleep. Whum chakka um chakka chumchakka whum! Rapid wild and fast do go, Hurly-burly river wide'n'curly, Bend yore backs an’ row. Whum chakka um chakka chumchakka whum! Keep her bows up in the foam, Hurly-burly river wide'n'curly, Logboat take us home. Whum chakka um chakka chumchakka… Recruit. Survive. Protect Kareana. That’s all the Ghostbloods had given Ellira. She didn’t even know why Kareana needed to be protected - if she was a Ghostblood, Ellira had been unaware, and she was pretty sure she knew the majority of the Ghostbloods in Urithiru at this point. She returned and reported the... darkness-spren-thing... to Kareana, mainly because if Errdal did and she didn’t, it’d draw suspicion on her. Then she passed the orders on to Cadamum and the other Ghostbloods in the group. Conversation seemed different, tonight - more subdued, but also more excited, as Worldhoppers felt free to talk about their places of origin for the first time. Ellira, for herself, didn’t specify, just smiled slightly whenever asked and turned the question back on them. She’d not had magic back on Sel, of course - she had dealt with danger only with wits, charm, and steel. Most of the others here hadn’t had the benefit of that experience, and it showed. So she flirted and laughed, watching them dismiss a pretty face as nothing more. It was really quite convenient, she reflected, that safehands were a norm here. It was a fantastic hiding spot, and Ellira loved knowing how easy their deaths would be in a single movement. Shardblades were too slow, in her opinion - she could kill in ten heartbeats. But for now, she played nice and made friends. And when she went to bed, she slept only a few feet from Kareana’s bedroll. Plum Rhinoceros was lynched, but survived! Vote Count Plum Rhinoceros (13): Amber Vulture, Coral Swan, Emerald Falcon, Indigo Weasel, Magenta Albatross, Mauve Crocodile, Mint Heron, Onyx Flamingo, Saffron Iguana, Salmon Meerkat, Scarlet Octopus, Taupe Gecko, Violet Axolotl Opal Lion (1): Plum Rhinoceros Night 3 has begun! It will end in approximately 22.5 hours, at 4 AM Eastern Time on 4 January 2020. All credit to El for writing the section on Ellira. PMs remain completely open. Player List 1. Amber Vulture: Jashi, Stormwarden 2. Amethyst Scorpion: Jesh, Lost Axehound 3. Chartreuse Penguin: Taladir, Gambler Radiant Worldhopper 4. Coral Swan: Germaine, Scholar 5. Cream Tuatara: Dfyan, Scholar Radiant Worldhopper 6. Emerald Falcon: Sein, Inquisitive 7. Indigo Weasel: Adhom Inem, Ardent 8. Ivory Dragonfly: Krask, Conspiracy Theorist Sympathiser Worldhopper 9. Magenta Albatross: Jonan Wikim, Lost Axehound (Gren) 10. Mauve Crocodile: Sernes, Paranoid Scout 11. Mint Heron: Sam, Once a Darkeyes 12. Onyx Flamingo: Kir, Kleptomaniac Scout 13. Opal Lion: Tnaidar, Scout 14. Pearl Chameleon: Purrl, Adolin’s Former Girlfriend 15. Plum Rhinoceros: Logalog, Scholar 16. Quartz Zebra: Arauna Khadal, Adolin’s Former Girlfriend Sympathiser Worldhopper 17. Saffron Iguana: Merinira, Scout 18. Sage Kangaroo: Gilglin, Ardent (Devotary of the Mind) 19. Salmon Meerkat: Cadamum, Ghostblood Recruit 20. Scarlet Octopus: Max Mercury, Past Lives 21. Sunburst Toucan: Tafud, Slightly Crazy 22. Taupe Gecko: Brana, Scholar 23. Turquoise Gorilla: Bomer, Gambler Radiant Worldhopper 24. Violet Axolotl: Adi, Anxious
  12. On the fourth day of Christmas The AG gave to me Four hours of sleep Three vote counts Two NPC deaths And a penguin in a pool of blood Brightness Kareana, Captain and Radiant, surveyed the scouts trickling in a few at a time and worried. She kept track of the numbers in her head - almost everyone was back, now, thank the Almighty. She’d spent the entire afternoon pacing and wondering how many would end up returning at all. This had been a simple scouting mission, to get the proto-Radiants to make ties and work as a team in preparation for more difficult tasks. When she put the group together, she hadn’t anticipated any issues - she hadn’t even brought more than a few guards, since twenty-odd Radiants was quite the force in itself and the Highprinces hadn’t the troops to spare. She’d sent for more, but they’d take a while to get here even if politicking didn’t tie them up, and she wasn’t sure they’d even be useful. It had been a simple scouting mission, and then there had been three deaths in the span of a day and a half. Two Sympathisers already known and taken care of, but... there might be more. She didn’t know how many more. And given Locke’s death, she knew this was probably just the beginning unless they were found, and fast. Mentally, she again thanked whoever had killed Naihar, much as she hated to be grateful for any death. Had he not died, had the killings just started without warning... well. At least this way they had some chance. If they were very, very careful. She sipped her steaming soup, frowning over at Brana. The girl was shell-shocked, clearly - and though it wasn’t quite as obvious, she suspected Purrl or Merinira might be too. Taladir, well... she glanced over at the fire where Taladir was telling his tall tales. Taladir was coping just fine, it seemed. Taladir sat near the small cooking fire, telling his tale - with a few grandiose touches, of course. “And then I told ‘er I wasn’t scared of no Odium whatever, come at me!” There were suitably awed gasps, from all but... one man was frowning and squinting at him. “Oi, what’s your problem?” Taladir challenged. The man narrowed his eyes. “I happen to know,” he said as if imparting a great secret, “that the area in which you were scouting is continually filled with the most noxious fumes, poisoned air rising from the depths of the city to take us all. It hasn’t reached here yet, but when it does, oh, when it does...” Taladir blinked. “Uh... what kinda fumes? I didn’t smell nothin’.” “The most vile kind! For they cause fever-dreams in the brain, hallucinations, of whatever you most want to see. Something the city makes to try in its twisted way to keep its citizens happy, of course. And so you saw what you most wanted - Arauna, Odious and dead.” “But... we brought her back here,” Taladir said. “Still dead. And we all saw that blast of dark magic, not just me!” “Bah,” the man scoffed, but was cut short by a few boos. “None of your nonsense tonight, Krask!” someone else called out. “Taladir, go on, we want to hear your story! What happened next?” Taladir grinned, back on familiar ground. “Well, you see, next that girl’s eyes just widen in fear, and she turns to run - she’s heard of me, scared to even face me...” Later that night, Taladir ran into Krask as he was heading to the latrine. Literally - the man bumped into him, clearly paying no attention to his surroundings, and Taladir could hear him... counting, under his breath? He didn’t even stop looking up at the ceiling when Taladir ran into him, either. “Hey, what’s your problem?” Taladir said. Krask jumped and looked at him. “What? Don’t go startling me like that! I was trying to check whether the number of ceiling rings was perfect, and you interrupted me. Now I’ll have to start all over again!” “You didn’t believe that Arauna was a Sympathiser. You thought I was breathing some kind of gas. What’s your problem?” Taladir repeated, ignoring the man’s nonsense. “Oh, I believe she was a Sympathiser,” Krask replied. “As for the rest...” he looked around, as if to make sure no one was looking, then leaned closer. “I’ll tell you, but not here. Too many listening walls.” Taladir rolled his eyes. “Fine.” It wasn’t like he couldn’t take the spindly man in a fight if it came to that, and he doubted it would. Krask was just a bit... off his rocker. Besides, what was life without a bit of a risk? Krask led him into a nearby corridor, then around a few sharp turns, looking nervously right and left each time he did so. Finally, they came to a stop in what looked like a perfectly ordinary stretch of hallway to Taladir. Krask knocked on one wall, then the other, listening afterwards each time, then nodded in satisfaction. Even so, he beckoned Taladir especially close and was nearly whispering when he spoke. “You see, I know she was a Sympathiser, I just don’t believe she died. She couldn’t have - she’s out there somehow, she faked her own death and is just waiting to come back and kill you when you’re least expecting it!” “...Nah, she’s really dead,” Taladir responded after a moment. “I saw her bleed out and everything, and her corpse is even in the camp for you to look at.” Krask squinted. “I don’t believe you. Noxious fumes, remember? But... just in case you are right... I guess I might as well do the job myself.” “What?” Taladir asked. His only answer was Krask whipping out a knife, impossibly fast, and driving it up into his chest, where it slipped underneath his ribcage to hit his heart. The man smiled in response. “Don’t worry! You’ll have a fantastic life, I’m sure - the Tranquiline Halls even have chickens!” What. With Taladir dead, Krask felt it was high time to investigate the rumours he’d heard from various credible sources about a spren which lived at the heart of Urithiru. The ceiling rings confirmed it, if that fool hadn’t messed up his count—it coincided precisely with the floor he’d need to start his search on, and if he was right, the lift system on the thirty-eighth floor was an excellent starting point for quickly getting to the heart of the tower. When he arrived and found that the lift itself had disappeared, Krask knew it was no coincidence. It was simply to dissuade the faint of heart. He got to work with a vengeance. He set his sack at the top of the lift, trusting that nobody would be on watch in this remote section of the abandoned city to see anything incriminating in it—however, he would have to be quick to make it back to the meeting point by dawn, even if there weren’t typically nighttime sentinels in this area—the walls could be telling Kareana of his whereabouts any minute. Quickly tying a support system around himself with the rope from his bag, and fastening it securely to the column above the shaft of the lift, he jumped off into darkness, feeling himself fall and be caught in a buoyant net by the rope tied around him. The rope was tight, but still allowed him movement, and hadn’t cut his circulation either. Krask grinned—an almost perfect beginning. He slowly felt his way down the shaft, which ran the closest to the center of the tower as he could find. If the spren wouldn’t kill him on the spot, it would be here that he would make his great discovery. Imagine Odium’s pleasure at delivering a spren of that size into his hands! His special knowledge would finally be validated, and those fellow Sympathisers of his who mocked him behind his back for his supposed insanity would learn their lesson. As he descended, he could almost fancy he saw a faint light towards the bottom of the shaft, barely a speck, but there nonetheless. The spren was there! His hands worked faster on the rope. He had to reach it before daybreak, or all his work would ruined. A sudden gust of fire and wind came from high above, roaring down the shaft at high speed. I knew those storming walls were out to get me! Krask thought, with a healthy degree of indignation. Further thoughts of the walls or the spren were driven out of his head as the front end of the fiery blast struck his rope at full force. Krask watched in horror as the threads were burned away in an instant, the pressure on his body being relieved as he fell freely into the empty shaft below the lift, gravity working strongly enough that the odd storm of fire and dust failed to catch him before he was hurled into oblivion. Glancing down and seeing nothing but darkness and that pinprick of light growing ever larger, Krask reasoned it would be a very long fall and an even shorter landing on top of a hostile deity, and resigned himself to his fate. Perhaps the spren had got the better of him in the end, but the Mother’s work would be completed by those who survived him. Let the Lord of Chaos rule, he prayed, and opened his eyes. The pinprick of light...was a square? And it was rapidly growing, too. Krask flew out of the shaft into open air, striking bottom in the peaks of the mountains below the tower city as the first sunlight stretched over the horizon, and the third servant of Odium in Urithiru was no more. A particularly curving and uneven section of passageways on the thirty-seventh floor forced Nolan to his hands and knees after falling for the third time on an uneven ledge of rock or a sharp turn which left some area of the floor four feet lower than its surroundings. Among the designs the ancient Radiants had used in the city’s construction, this was one of the most baffling to him—there was no reason for these inconsistencies in an area which they would be using. Unless, of course, you put Skybreakers and Windrunners on this level, who use Lashings to get everywhere. Then the joke’s on an invading army—like you. The wry thought put a smile on his lips, which was quickly erased upon remembering the corpses of Naihar and Locke. Regardless of one’s loyalty to Odium, the city was dangerous, and though he was not a one-man army, that didn’t mean he shouldn’t be careful on these scouting trips. He had no desire to see his throat slit in the middle of a more important mission, and if that meant crawling on his belly to get around while he was mapping the area for Brightness Kareana, so be it. Footsteps—normal footsteps—echoed in the passage above him. Nolan froze, then quickly rolled to one side of the wall, hoping he had been as quiet as possible in doing so. He was supposed to be the only scout in this section of the city for the day! Perhaps someone had gone to fetch him? But it was too early in the day for that, if his stomach wasn’t lying to him; he’d not even felt the need for lunch yet. Swallowing, he chanced a glance up the passageway, and came face to face with a grinning Radler. Relief flooded him. “Thank Adonalsium!” Nolan cried, springing to his feet and embracing his partner. “I’m not sure how in the Almighty’s tenth name you got back here, but I thought I was getting killed. You should really stop doing that to me.” The silly grin was still pasted on Radler’s face as he replied. “Well, it was your decision to crawl like a slug through here so you couldn’t tell a hawk from a handsaw in the distance, though you’re correct about it being a storming impossible job to get over here. It took me the better part of two days to find you, so let’s walk. The path evens out ahead, and I may have found something important.” “For...Domand?” Nolan replied uneasily, and received a grim nod. “One of his fancies, or something actually important?” Radler’s face had definitely lost its grin. “The latter. Come on, you’ll see.” Without further comment he strode up the passageway, his Stormlight illuminating the way ahead, and casting strange shapes into the wall—red and purple marbled veins. Nolan frowned. They had been green further back in the passage, no? He swung his light around, and felt, rather than saw, a shadowy dot flit by him on his right as he did so. Was he going insane? Peering, he saw the veins behind him bleeding to a blotched violet or stark crimson, the green receding rapidly. Something was definitely wrong now. He spun back around to call to Radler, who was about twenty paces ahead of him, when he glanced backwards and saw the same shadowy material coalesce into a figure wielding a knife, and a host of its fellow shadows emerge from the twisted walls. With a yell, he began to sprint up the passageway, away from his assailant, when he felt an impact in the small of his back. Pain flared, then was abruptly cut off; instead, a torpor seized his muscles, and he fell onto the stone floor for the fourth time that day. Dimly, he could see Radler wielding Stormlight ahead, the other shadowy figures retreating, or being torn apart by rays of light. Or was that another light he saw? He was so tired. It would be so much easier if he just drifted off to sleep. A short rest...that sounded excellent. The din of conflict in his ears receded, and Nolan, scholar, Bondsmith, and Worldhopper, dozed off for the last time. Chartreuse Penguin (Taladir) was a Loyal Knight Radiant Worldhopper! Ivory Dragonfly (Krask) was a Odium Sympathiser Worldhopper! Nolan was a Loyal Knight Radiant Bondsmith! Edgedancer Messages “You are sneaky, little bird. The reptiles are scaly and the frogs are slimy. Kill Odium, my friends.” “GREETINGS CITIZENS I AM THE STORMFATHER AND I HAVE AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR YOU %96C6 2C6 D64C6ED :? E9:D 82>6] z:== E96 v|D]” Day 2 has begun! It will last 46 hours, until 4 AM Eastern Standard Time (or Fifth Mean Time, if you prefer) on 31 December 2019. PMs are open. There is a lynch today with no vote minimum to kill. Please thank and/or upvote El did her help with the writeup. (She did Taladir’s death.) Player List Amber Vulture: Jashi, Stormwarden 2. Amethyst Scorpion: Jesh, Lost Axehound 3. Chartreuse Penguin: Taladir, Gambler Radiant Worldhopper 4. Coral Swan: Germaine, Scholar 5. Cream Tuatara: Dfyan, Scholar 6. Emerald Falcon: Sein, Inquisitive 7. Indigo Weasel: Adhom Inem, Ardent 8. Ivory Dragonfly: Krask, Conspiracy Theorist Sympathiser Worldhopper 9. Magenta Albatross: Jonan Wikim, Lost Axehound (Gren) 10. Mauve Crocodile: Sernes, Paranoid Scout 11. Mint Heron: Sam, Once a Darkeyes 12. Onyx Flamingo: Kir, Kleptomaniac Scout 13. Opal Lion: Tnaidar, Scout 14. Pearl Chameleon: Purrl, Adolin’s Former Girlfriend 15. Plum Rhinoceros: Logalog, Scholar 16. Quartz Zebra: Arauna Khadal, Adolin’s Former Girlfriend Sympathiser Worldhopper 17. Saffron Iguana: Merinira, Scout 18. Sage Kangaroo: Gilglin, Ardent (Devotary of the Mind) 19. Salmon Meerkat: Cadamum, Ghostblood Recruit 20. Scarlet Octopus: Max Mercury, Past Lives 21. Sunburst Toucan: Tafud, Slightly Crazy 22. Taupe Gecko: Brana, Scholar 23. Turqoise Gorilla: Bomer, Gambler 24. Violet Axolotl: Adi, Anxious
  13. Only two nobles left between him and completion of the mission. This could have been completed much earlier, if it weren’t for the unfortunate accidents that had befallen his compatriots. No matter, soon Alethkar would finally be under Ghostblood rule, though of course no active member would be sitting on the throne. Everyone involved in this debacle would disappear, never to be heard from again. One of the other nine Highprinces would be selected as the new king, potentially a Sadeas. Ularid had heard the Ghostbloods maintained ties to that family, though he didn’t pay a lot of attention to politics beyond his goal of ousting the Kholins. Such a shame he’d been forced to kill Brightness Dedja, who’d allegedly shared the same goal. She’d have made an excellent scapechull for the murder of the entire Kholin family. Perhaps he would be outed as the assassin and be hunted down by the new king at the Ghostbloods’s order. Ularid couldn’t bring himself to care. He didn’t want fame or power, and at his age, even life was nearly worthless. He just needed to survive long enough to see Alethkar freed from tyranny, and to do that he had to kill Brightlords Jumae III and Straw. Ularid was confident in his chances. His skills as an artifabrian had brought him to this point, but it was his talents as an orator that would allow him to finish off the remaining obstacles. Straw still opposed him, as expected. The straw man was a near perfect likeness of Gavilar the Butcher. Ularid could barely stand to look at him without feeling the urge to blow his cover and strike him down. Even knowing that this was not the same man who had ordered the annihilation of his city and the homes of anyone else who dared resist his senseless power grab, Ularid could not help but feel sickened by the effigy’s presence. Especially because, if Straw could be believed, Ularid would have been killed by that Grandbow-wielding assassin had Straw not intervened. Any gratitude he might have felt was drowned out by his sense of duty and his emergent need for vengeance. He would settle this today. Attaching his longsword and a newly cleaned short sword to his belt, Ularid walked into the warcamp to challenge Straw to a duel. Straw was waiting for him in the middle of the camp, clearly prepared for a challenge. Ularid was not afraid, he had survived a full Shardbearer duel only days previously and a being made out of Straw should prove no challenge, even if he was working with Jumae III. This battle would not be fought with Shards, but with clean honest steel. Straw agreed with the unspoken sentiment, drawing a common blade from the table in front of him. Somehow running towards him on legs lacking in muscles or bone, Straw swung his first blow at Ularid. This effigy was skilled, Ularid thought, though far from the level of swordsmanship the real Gavilar had attained. Ularid deflected the first blow with a counterstroke from his short sword and plunged the longer blade into his enemy’s left shoulder. This caused no apparent injury. No blood poured from the wound and Strawappeared not to feel pain. This wasn’t completely unexpected, but Ularid was still not totally prepared for the riposte that slammed into his simple steel plate, denting it. He staggered backwards, resolving to be more careful. He would have to destroy Straw utterly to be sure of killing him. As Ularid set his feet in preparation for his next attack, Brightlord Jumae III strolled out of his tent, bedecked in the elegant emerald Plate that had previously belonged to Tleir and carrying the graceful curved Blade that Tintallë had nearly murdered him with. Ularid shuddered a bit at the memory, but Jumae didn’t seem to be immediately hostile. Indeed, the full Shardbearer was pointing his weapon at Straw. The Blade sang through the air and cleaved Straw’s now insignificant weapon in twain. Continuing its arc, the Blade swang into Straw’s right arm and rebounded, leaving no mark in the straw. Ularid stared at the impact site, loosening his grip on his weapons. Surely this man couldn’t be wearing Plate under there, and even if he was, the Blade shouldn’t have reacted that way. Ularid knew firsthand that in a confrontation between Plate and Blade, the latter gave way first. Whatever force blocking the Blade hadn’t prevented his own steel sword, and so Ularid drove forward once more with both blades. Ularid tragically dies here. The die had been thrown, the bets had been placed, and the knife’s arc was nearing its completion. Failure was the result. Actions, and reactions, provocation followed by provocation. Blades dancing in the daylight, glinting in the sun. Mraize took a torch to the room, lighting the various records alight, before tossing it to the wall. There was a reason the Ghostbloods holed up in one of the few wooden sections of the war camps. All traces had to be destroyed. Executions, and swords at dawn. Nightly gambles, and daily mistakes. He slipped out of the building, even as the flames slithered through it, the tongues licking his feet as he left. A sacrifice had been made, a battalion for a single soldier. The fire made his eyes into ruby spheres, the stormlight of malice filling them. He climbed onto his horse, taking in the destruction as it spread through the marketplace. It would provide a cleanser of its own sort. A tragedy of a greater magnitude to distract from the multiple of smaller mistakes. A broad sword to cover a prinpick. Desperate times whispered of its necessity. He took his horse to a canter, avoiding the soldiers as they rushed to quench the flames. He was soon out of the warcamp, and onto the cold stone plains. He slipped a spanreed from his pouch, and turned it on. The connection made, he wrote four words, “Target Eliminated. Evacuating Location” He pulled his hood high, and slipped away. Amanuensis has been lynched! He was a Ghostblood Artifabrian with a pain knife, a half-Shard, a reverser, and a spanreed! Vote Count: Aman(1): Stink Straw(1): Straw The Nobles have won this game! Jumae III (STINK) has been crowned King of Alethkar and Straw was appointed Highprince. Master Spreadsheet The Ghostbloods The Victorious Dead Player List:
  14. Domand had not come to the Shattered Plains, for once, to stop chaos, but to begin it. It would please neither his inferiors nor himself—which was, of course, why he had to do it. The ASWA was highly selective with its field agents, in the general case, but to the bewilderment of all, an exception had been made for him. An untried initiate, sent to the Shattered Plains to preserve order in a situation which hung on a knife’s edge? Who could count on such a one to uphold the integrity of this crucial mission, in the most probable vortex for a Shardic conflict since the...unfortunate… levelling of Scadrial? Nobody in the Council of Seven expected him to succeed. Darrel’s wisdom had been called into question, and only his invocation of the sole privilege to send out field agents except by unanimous consent of the Council had stifled the staunch opposition of Lerdal and Radler. Funny, how the vote had failed by one member. It always did, when matters were important. Dominion purred, pleased with Darrel’s expansion of authority, but Domand quickly shoved the Shard down and away from his mind. It was a tool. He could not afford to be borne away by the Intent, especially with so much work left to do. The Council was subdued; that was the important part. With Domand safely on Roshar, the real work could now begin. Beginning to count to ten already in his head, he moved through the still night air, weaving towards the bunk of Highprince Sebarial. Shrouded in darkness as he was, he would be hard to spot, and those who saw him should take little notice anyway—it was part of the magic of the cloak, but also partly human nature. Who cares about a nighttime wanderer, when you yourself were one if you were out to notice him? Rounding the last corner and finding himself immersed in pitch blackness, Domand summoned his Shardblade, weaving it experimentally through the air in front of Sebarial’s bunk. It would take all his willpower to take this next step. He hated being obtrusive, hated overt violence, yet certainly did not hate Sebarial. He lifted the Blade, arm trembling slightly as the point was raised, quivering, into the air. God Beyond save us, he thought. And then plunged the Shard through the stone wall. Kay watched with narrowed eyes as a man shrouded in darkness walked past her hiding spot, looking both determined and rushed. A poor combination, that. At least, for whoever the Almighty willed that the man should meet. She chided herself inwardly for attempting to reason out the result of the man’s visit. Nothing is knowable apart from the Almighty and his Heralds, she thought, reciting the first article of the faith of the Devotary she had always been a part of. It was her job to carry out the will of the Almighty and his Heralds—which, incidentally, involved a removal of the king (at this time; who knows what the Almighty may require of you tomorrow?). His embrace of practices such as a hierarchy based on eye colour and the maintenance of ardents who invented Callings and Glories at random had destroyed the kingdom and brought the Almighty’s disapproval. Worse, he sought no guidance from the Almighty or from the Heralds in this troubled time, but rather forged ahead as if not to bother with such “myths.” They would see how mythical they were, if the Almighty did not continually will that their existence be maintained. Heretics these days weren’t just outside the devotaries. Except when they were, like that detestable woman Jasnah Kholin... Her thoughts abruptly snapped back to the walking man, who she had lost track of. Moash would be disappointed in her; how was she supposed to discover who shadowy visitors to highprinces were if she could not even keep track of them for three feet? Kay could not let herself be seen, however, so she crouched further down behind a crem-coated boulder, peering intently at the wall behind which the man had vanished. And screamed as a thin line of light appeared in it, and a hole gradually widened. Sebarial was under attack. And the man she had seen wrapped in shadow was none other than a Shardbearer. Highprince Sebarial, It is with exceeding joy that I write to you, knowing that the dastardly attempt against your life last night was a failure, and that you are in good health, if somewhat shaken (like us all). I do not know who the Shardbearer was or why they had occasion to attack you, but it should rightfully make us all fear for our safety. I understand your concerns that the assassin could have killed you but chose not to, but such conversations are not for the public ear. We will have speech together at the next banquet regarding this. Until then, I will instruct my Cobalt Guard to double their watch against any hint of an attempt against any life in these warcamps. With your aid and vigilance, I am confident we can crush this threat beneath our heels. Elhokar, King of Alethkar My apologies for a shortened writeup; I will hopefully get the chance to fix that tomorrow. Regardless, welcome to LG61: A Radiant Light! The rules are in this doc, and are nicely formatted. If you want immediate formatting-free access, use the spoiler below: Yeah, it’s a lot. I suggest you read over it a few times before the game starts, and send me rule clarifications before the game starts in earnest. Please? It makes me a happier GM. Signups will last a week, and will close Saturday 2 November at 9:00 PM EDT (-5:00 UTC), unless an extension is required. Please sign up if you are able, as the game will be much more fun with a lot of people, as I can do cooler things with item and role distribution. Also, the way the faction system works means that you’re almost guaranteed to be in a doc, and with a team who will help you understand the rules and collaborate with you on them, which always makes SE more fun. (And will probably alleviate some of the stress from looking at that giant ruleset. ) My wonderful co-GMs are @Devotary of Spontaneity and @Snipexe. Don’t be surprised to see them in your PMs, in thread issuing clarifications, etc. And be sure to upvote them both for agreeing to work with me on such a crazy game. Player List: Rule Clarifications and Modifications: Quicklinks:
  15. Dedja had initially admired the Ghostbloods. They had consistently proven they weren’t afraid to confront the Kholins, and their campaign against Elhokar had filled her with hope that the entire rotten family would be replaced by someone with proper Alethi views. That hope was shattered the very next night when the Ghostbloods assassinated Brightlady Ellarel. The woman’s actions had been foolish, but she had not deserved death for the crime of trying to protect Adolin. Dedja remembered a time when she might have taken a dagger for Adolin, back before she’d realised that he was merely his father’s mindless pawn, who in turn offered blind devotion to the useless pretender to the throne of Alethkar. Any remaining possibility that the Ghostbloods were on Alethkar’s side were extinguished when they continued to pick off nobility instead of taking the fight directly to Elhokar and his axehounds. They could have secured alliances and helped install a leader who could finally defeat the Parshendi, but instead the Ghostbloods seemed to be content with making the whole country burn. That would certainly never do, and so Dedja endeavoured to find the remaining Ghostbloods, and if they could not be persuaded to target the true enemy, they would have to be destroyed. A week later, the number of nobles in the warcamps had dwindled alarmingly while Elhokar was still sitting high and mighty, almost as if these murders were merely a Kholin scheme to purge the warcamps of anyone suspected to have anything less than unswerving obedience. A second tattooed individual had been found dead earlier tonight, but if the deaths were part of a secret conspiracy then they wouldn’t stop until Dedja herself was dead. She saw no reason to wait for the murderers to come to her, and so she prepared to head out towards the Kholin warcamp and find out the truth. Just as she reached out for a small dagger, she heard footsteps inside her tent and quickly whirled around, blade in hand to face a dark robed killer wielding a short sword. “Have you finally come to kill me?” Her voice sounded more fearful than she would have liked, but she compensated by taking a step towards the masked intruder. The Ghostblood said nothing but drew a dagger into the left hand and flung the dual blades at Dedja’s throat. She managed to deflect the projectile from its lethal trajectory by crossing her arms diagonally in front of her, but the distraction gave the assassin time to close the distance between them and bury the short sword hilt-deep through her heart. Dedja dropped dead the ground, her final request that the Ghostbloods overthrow the Kholins for her remaining unspoken. Her hatred had burned for far longer than passion ever had, but in the end neither were a match for cold steel. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Far, far away, a man named Brightlord I.N. was experiencing the joys of freedom for the first time since he’d bonded with Tolb and been pressed into service. Here at the foot of the Horneater Peaks, he could finally live out his gardening dreams in peace. The land was suitable for agriculture, and the Ashyn plants were already growing quite well. The Highstorms like the one currently sweeping in were enough to provide the plants with water, and him with Stormlight that for the first time in his life could be used for his own purposes. He laughed delightedly as he inhaled power from his newly infused spheres. He could, at long last, experiment with the Surge of Transformation and perfect his garden. A shovel to dig up new places to plant, a watering can to store water from the Highstorms, perhaps even a greenhouse to focus the power of the sun. Sadly, Transformation could only work if one was prepared to use it, and no amount of stormlight could have healed the pulped remains of I.N.’s head as a boulder was thrown loose from the Peaks and smashed into him from above. Separated from Tolb for the first time in years, I.N. returned to the Cognitive Realm one last time for his final journey. Coda has been killed by the Ghostbloods! They were a Noble with a half-Shard, an Alerter, and a Spanreed! Rathmaskal/Young Bard has been killed by the inactivity filter! He was a Noble with a Pain Knife, Shardplate, and a Reverser! Day 7 has begun! It will end in approximately 46.5 hours, on Sunday 1 December at 9:00 PM EST. Any PMs that were created by Coda are now closed. Good Luck! Player List:
  16. The Ghostbloods were not the only secret society who had infiltrated the nobility of Alethkar, and not all sought political change. Brightlord I.N.’s immediate mission was far more botanical in nature: his goal was to transplant samples of Ashyn flora on Roshar’s rather more inhabitable surface. So far, things were not going well. Roshar as a whole may have been intact, but the Shattered Plains were a terrible place to grow vegetation. Any plants that managed to take root in the bare rock were washed away by the frequent highstorms that were at their most devastating this far east. I.N. had complained to his superiors after every failure, begging them to consider a more arable location for their plan to preserve the dying Ashyn species. Every time, his superiors had refused, saying they couldn’t afford to have their only Rosharan agent give up his position in the Alethi hierarchy. When I.N. brought up the possibility of inserting a second agent somewhere with agriculture, they had not even considered his request, instead demanding that I.N. acquire another of the dwindling number of native plants, submit it for approval, and begin the journey back to Roshar with his precious cargo. Even with the Surge of Transportation and the general nonexistence in the Cognitive Realm of the vast distance between the two planets, the trip back to the Shattered Plains was a lengthy one. One did not physically tire running through the solid expanse representing vague thoughts about space, but making the same run week after week took its toll. As always, his spren Tolb tried to convince him to circumvent his orders. Like all of her kind she was bound by oaths, but she felt there could always be a way to fulfill promises while still undergoing to most reasonable course of action. Last time, she’d persuaded him to try and create a duplicate plant. I.N. was paid well enough to possess emerald broams, and such gemstones could be used as a focus to Transform any material into a plant substance. The results of this experiment had not been especially promising, as being able to produce a plant did not mean he could replicate vegetation perfectly, but he had planted his hybrid species in Jah Keved anyway. He would check on it when he arrived at the Horneater Peaks; perhaps he had been more successful than he’d thought. Just as he was thinking of them, I.N. found himself at the Perpendicularity that led to the top of the Horneater Peaks. Being merely a third ideal Radiant, this was as close to the Shattered Plains as he could get from the Cognitive Realm. Leaping through to Roshar, he summoned Tolb as a shield and began to sled down the mountains. So far, he had never died doing this, and it was certainly the fastest way down. This time, I.N. managed to only obliterate half his bones and didn’t even end up with a concussion, which qualified as a rousing success. After repairing his shattered body with all his remaining stormlight, I.N. ran at normal human speed towards is makeshift garden and stopped with subpar human grace when he saw someone else already there. I.N. recognised the man as an Alethi, one of Leiken’s underlings. I.N. panicked and began to reach out his hand to summon Tolb as a weapon, but the other man raised his hands in a calming gesture. He explained that he was merely a messenger, informing I.N. that the other nobles had voted to strip him of his title and holding in his absence. I.N. remained in shocked silence as the messenger turned to leave, recommending that he stay here and tend to his garden instead of returning to the Shattered Plains. As the man disappeared from view, I.N. couldn’t help but think this was a good idea. And the LORD answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain GM, which made an LG for his community, and sent forth his co-GMs to call them that were bidden to the game: and they would not sign up. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are in Discord: Behold, I have prepared my game: my NPC character and my co-GM’s character are killed, and all role PMs are ready: sign up for the LG. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his college work, another to his pressing RL obligations: And the remnant took his ruleset, and entreated it spitefully, and slew it. But when the GM heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his bot armies, and destroyed those unwilling, and broke up their Discord. Then saith he to his co-GMs, The LG is ready, but they which were entreated were not worthy. Go ye therefore onto the Shard, and as many as ye shall find, invite to the game. So those co-GMs went out into the forum, and gathered together all as many as they found willing, both villager and Eliminator: and the LG was furnished with players. And when the GM came in to observe the players, he saw there a man which had not posted for two cycles: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having posted for two cycles twice? And he was speechless. Then said the GM to the co-GMs, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into the spec doc, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. Brightlord Ekard was sleeping again. As the congregation of nobles discussed who to kill, and seemed intent on disposing of those who spoke up and were suspicious, Ekard felt that the best way for him to carry out Mraize’s work was to simply say nothing at all. Then, he wouldn’t be killed. The solution had worked wonderfully thus far, with Elhokar’s men largely ignoring him. Moreover, he had found an outdoor pavilion which made for an excellent resting place, and carried the additional benefit of being screened from obvious notice. Much trouble—too much trouble—would have to be gone to in order to do anything with him besides criticise his absence and move on. Unfortunately, having closed his eyes earlier last night, Ekard could not use them to discern the unplanned highstorm which brewed above the horizon, moving with unnatural speed towards the warcamps. The Stormfather was determined to punish apathy this time, and Ekard’s own strategem of avoiding notice had worked too well. Not having seen him, all the people of the warcamps fled inside for cover as nature’s wrath was poured out around them. The stormwall hit the warcamps with a deafening rumble. Ekard started, awakened at last, and his eyes widened as he realised the dire straits he was in. He sprinted for the door of the nearest barracks, but was not nearly quick enough; a gust of wind threw his body into the air and over a chasm, and a defiant yell was the last heard of a man who truly placed himself at the mercy—or lack thereof—of the Almighty. Young Bard was lynched, but survived! Vote Count: Bard (3): Aman, Coda, Stink Drake Marshall died of inactivity! He was a Ghostblood with a Spanreed, Pain Knife and Reverser! Night 6 has begun! It will end in 48 hours on Friday 29 November, at 9 PM EST. Everyone have a happy Thanksgiving. For my part, I’m thankful for the chance to moderate and be a part of this wonderful community, and am also thankful for my co-GMs, who have helped tremendously this game. Please show your thanks by upvoting Devotary, who did the writeup for Bard’s not-really-death. EDIT: I’m also thankful for @Elbereth, without whom none of you would know which items deceased players held. Spanreeds may open new PMs during this Night turn at the cost of an action. Good luck! Player List: 1. Elandera as Brightness Ellarel, a flighty scribe who nonetheless remains tethered to the ground Noble 2. Rathmaskal/Young Bard as Brightlord I.N., whose reversed name conceals his role as a secret member of the Knights of Ni 3. Butt Ad Venture as Brightness Hmynyes, a connoisseur of classical Vorin music Noble 4. Xinoehp512 as Brightlord Rashor, a man who determinedly believes that blue wine is a plague from the Voidbringers Thief 5. Araris Valerian as Brightlord Arilar, a recently arrived spy with ties to the Kholins Noble 6. StrikerEZ as Brightlord Nalakor, a professional chull breeder and racer and close friend of the King’s Wit Noble Spy 7. Furamirionind as Brightness Dohila, a lighteyes who insists on wearing only orange and green lace Noble 8. Hemalurgic Headshot as Rat, a pet of Brightlord Joe and a secret worldhopper Noble Pet 9. Sart as Tleir, a Purelaker trying desperately to impersonate the missing Brightness Drella while House Sebarial hunts for her Ghostblood 10. STINK as Jumae III, a Brightlord whose eccentricity in fashion contrasts sharply with a docile and even temperament 11. DrakeMarshmallow as Brightlord Ekard, a man at the mercy of the Almighty Himself Ghostblood 12. Amanuensis as Brightlord Ularid Leiken, a man hunting a chull with a green shell which once insulted his mother 13. Coda as Brightness Dejda, one of Adolin’s former girlfriends who now hates the Kholins with a passion 14. Straw as Brightlord Straw, an effigy of Gavilar which was officially recognised as a lighteyes of the fourth dahn 15. Elbereth as Brightness Tintallë, whose title has come under charges of redundancy by expert Quenya scholars Noble
  17. Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright Round yon Ghostbloods, Hidden with Blade Silent Kill’rs, to the shadows they fade, Sleep in the grave’s embrace; Sleep in the grave’s embrace. Silent night! Holy night! Bridgeman quake at the sight! Brightlords fear of assassins above Ghostbloods laugh as the knife in they shove. Blades, the sharpest, be used! Blades, the sharpest, be used! Mraize put his head into his hands and let out a sigh. Around him the crowd applauded the young Ghostblood. He looked around the tavern, his eyes still refusing to believe what was before them. Someone, who he noted would not be around for much longer, had decided that rather than actually doing their assigned work, that of killing people, it would be a great idea to throw a party celebrating some Thaylen holiday or another, while they should have been out killing people. He slipped the mug of wine into his hands, sipping it through a tube into his mask. It was terrible. But it was better than what was assaulting his ears. Whoever was singing needn’t bother with knives. A few warbling notes, and their victim would kill themselves. He finished his drink, then held it up. He would need quite a few more to stop himself from killing everyone in the room. Domand surveyed the night, looking alternately down by the narrow light of his spheres at his feet, and up at the stone silhouette of the warcamps. A fall was not fatal to one of his talents, but it was inconvenient, and surviving one of them raised questions—as experience had borne out. He picked his way through the crem-covered rock formations which topped the chasms, peering out at the camps. An eerie quiet hung over them. No chull racing; no duels; no screams splitting the night air. It was a nice evening, and he intended to make the most of it. Smiling slightly at himself, and at the nostalgia of being a street vendor in the alleys of Silverlight, Domand began setting up his booth. It was always profitable—only the marketing needed to be changed. No longer Shard-invested items, the technically correct term which made the highly intellectual Silverlight scientists salivate at the prospect of studying them, but “blessed by the Almighty” for these more superstitious people—never mind that Honour was in very few of the things he was selling. The enemy was in more of them, in fact, as he knew himself. As was now a common occurrence at night, a light black steam began rising from the poorly dyed pink leather gloves which Domand wore. He tried not to think of what that meant. He was not here to see if Dominion could hold sway over the Lord of Hate, and he was not about to find out. After his conversation with Arrdel, the Council had largely stopped giving him grief publicly, but if he tried something like that, he’d be lucky to not be killed on the spot by the very group he’d founded. And for good reason. Realising he’d allowed his thoughts to wander, Domand shook his head. I need to stay more alert, he chastised himself. Adonalsium alone knows what could happen on this forsaken world. Indeed, as he stood underneath the black sky, Domand slowly heard a distant yet approaching rumble; looking east, his suspicions were confirmed. A mere line on the horizon now, the stormwall would strike in hours. He sighed, packing his booth back up. It appeared the lasting peace which he sought would still need to be achieved, and the temporary truce keeping the king and the Ghostbloods apart would be torn to shreds by the coming storms. And with nobody any closer to consolidating and creating order, the reaction was bound to be even more violent. Watching the chull who had adopted her after the death of the previous owner, Kay once again questioned why the beings best suited to understanding the Almighty’s will were among the least able to abide by it. Any animal was capable of blasphemy of course, but for the most part they did not attempt to predict the future or otherwise usurp the Almighty’s domain. This chull appeared more intelligent than others of her kind, but she still tended to limit her behaviours to those promised to have a specific outcome. Consuming rockbuds, cremlings, and grain had been declared to provide sustenance, and so eating these when hungry was not heresy. Experimenting was not forbidden either, so long as no firm conclusions were drawn and the outcome remained in doubt. Kay questioned whether her new companion truly understood this second part though, as failing to provide grain upon a plaintive bleat merely led to louder, more insistent cries. Yet Kay was sure that this creature didn’t spend time wondering whether the people who had killed her former master would be caught and executed. Kay tried to avoid these thoughts as well, but every time she saw the chull she was reminded of the circumstances by which they met. There could be no evident solution to this conundrum, as any plan to remedy it would require an attempt to shape the future. It wouldn’t do to imagine the possible steps required to offer the chull’s services to a Highprince as a beast of burden, or return her to the races to find a new rider, or sell her to a chouta vendor for food. Instead, Kay made the decision as she’d been instructed, impulsively and impermanently. Every time, Kay decided to keep her new friend. And every time, the decision became a little easier. Nobody was attacked! Day 6 has begun! It will end in approximately 47 hours, on Wednesday 27 November at 9 PM EST. Should a Night 6 be necessary, it will be 48 hours as well. Americans, enjoy your Thanksgiving with whomever, and don’t worry about getting orders in for SE. Spinach casserole is far more important. An obligatory reminder that spanreeds may not open new PMs. Thanks to Snip for an inventive parody of Silent Night, and to Devotary for continually excellent character development. Good luck! Player List: 1. Elandera as Brightness Ellarel, a flighty scribe who nonetheless remains tethered to the ground Noble 2. Rathmaskal/Young Bard as Brightlord I.N., whose reversed name conceals his role as a secret member of the Knights of Ni 3. Butt Ad Venture as Brightness Hmynyes, a connoisseur of classical Vorin music Noble 4. Xinoehp512 as Brightlord Rashor, a man who determinedly believes that blue wine is a plague from the Voidbringers Thief 5. Araris Valerian as Brightlord Arilar, a recently arrived spy with ties to the Kholins Noble 6. StrikerEZ as Brightlord Nalakor, a professional chull breeder and racer and close friend of the King’s Wit Noble Spy 7. Furamirionind as Brightness Dohila, a lighteyes who insists on wearing only orange and green lace Noble 8. Hemalurgic Headshot as Rat, a pet of Brightlord Joe and a secret worldhopper Noble Pet 9. Sart as Tleir, a Purelaker trying desperately to impersonate the missing Brightness Drella while House Sebarial hunts for her Ghostblood 10. STINK as Jumae III, a Brightlord whose eccentricity in fashion contrasts sharply with a docile and even temperament 11. DrakeMarshmallow as Brightlord Ekard, a man at the mercy of the Almighty Himself 12. Amanuensis as Brightlord Ularid Leiken, a man hunting a chull with a green shell which once insulted his mother 13. Coda as Brightness Dejda, one of Adolin’s former girlfriends who now hates the Kholins with a passion 14. Straw as Brightlord Straw, an effigy of Gavilar which was officially recognised as a lighteyes of the fourth dahn 15. Elbereth as Brightness Tintallë, whose title has come under charges of redundancy by expert Quenya scholars Noble
  18. Rat squeaked, feeling the tumbling of Joe’s ash taco cart as the man enthusiastically wheeled it ahead of him, heedless of his rodent cargo, which was being jostled about quite severely. He could share in the Brightlord’s thrill, however—who knew ash tacos would sell so well in Roshar, where the warcamps’ only consistent consumption seemed to be wine? Yet it was counted as a foreign delicacy, and Joe’s last worldhopping had brought with him a large supply of the ash so crucial in their construction. The chouta merchants seemed baffled by the innovation, unable to sell their wares as they had in the past, and times seemed to be looking up. Except for the rattling of the cart beneath his claws, of course. As the cart neared the warcamps, Joe began rambling enthusiastically, addressing Rat in a low voice. “Maybe I’m not completely useless after all!” he exclaimed, gesturing at the full pouch of spheres tucked inside his cart. Having said this, and just after having made the turn into the warcamps proper, Joe tripped, sending the cart rolling along the uneven rocky ground. Miraculously, it remained upright, but even so Rat was nearly thrown from the top of the cart, and was forced to make an awkward scramble and a quick dart under the canvas layering towards the bottom of the stand to remain safe and out of sight. The runaway device did not stop with Rat’s safety, however, and the small rodent found himself jarred by the sudden collision with...something. He couldn’t see anymore. “...this cursed ash taco stand!” a bellow came, sounding like Brightlord Ularid. “Joe, storm you! Get over here!” The scurrying sound of footsteps made Rat believe Joe was coming nearer, but the folds of canvas were too heavy. He couldn’t see! He clawed more frantically, looking for a way out. As he squirmed, he could hear raised voices, Joe exchanging words with the crowd of nobility he had apparently interrupted. “ clue why you keep this out-of-control stand in operation any longer. We have infiltrators and spies to root out, at the King’s orders, and your only concern is turning a little profit for yourself!” Definitely still Ularid, who was close by now. “Look, I’m useless, okay? Leave me alone; I’m not trying to get anyone hurt here. I tripped and fell, and whatever rocks you have in this area are very unforgiving on the knees.” That was Joe. Scrambling, Rat managed to free himself, and found himself looking up at three figures with weapons drawn, staring at the hapless Joe and his cart. He froze, hoping none of them had noticed his appearance, which was limited to a bulge in the canvas from which two eyes peered out. One of the three, neither Ularid nor Joe, cast a greedy eye over the pouch of spheres hanging on the cart. “Look,” he said to Joe, “I might not suspect you like Brightlord Ularid does. But we do have the rights to do customs inspections on your merchandise, which we haven’t done yet, unless the Highprince of Investigation has. Have you seen him?” Joe gulped. “No.” “Good,” said the man, and began heading toward the cart. He found his way blocked by the thick arm of Brightlord Jumae. “I don’t think so, my lad,” he said quietly. The tension in the air crackled, but no move was made. Rat grew increasingly uncomfortable with Ularid. Not looking at either Jumae or the Noble he was restraining, and keeping Joe back with one arm, he seemed to be peering...directly at Rat. His eyes narrowed, and his muscles tensed. Too late, Rat tried to scurry away. “How now, a rat?” he cried. “Dead for a ducat, dead!” The thrust came; Rat gave one last gibbering shriek, and was forever lost. The last thing he heard were the tears of his faithful master, Joe, and the cries of the other nobles as the cart was overrun and plundered. Hemalurgic Headshot was lynched! He was a Noble with an Alerter, a Spanreed, and a Painrial! Vote Count: HH (3): Aman, Coda, HH Aman (1): Stink Night 5 has begun! It will end in approximately 23 hours, on Monday 25 November at 9:00 PM EST. New Spanreed PMs may now be opened. If you have a PM open with a player already, it is acceptable to re-open that PM with your spanreed instead of creating a new one with identical membership. Good luck! Player List: 1. Elandera as Brightness Ellarel, a flighty scribe who nonetheless remains tethered to the ground Noble 2. Rathmaskal/Young Bard as Brightlord I.N., whose reversed name conceals his role as a secret member of the Knights of Ni 3. Butt Ad Venture as Brightness Hmynyes, a connoisseur of classical Vorin music Noble 4. Xinoehp512 as Brightlord Rashor, a man who determinedly believes that blue wine is a plague from the Voidbringers Thief 5. Araris Valerian as Brightlord Arilar, a recently arrived spy with ties to the Kholins Noble 6. StrikerEZ as Brightlord Nalakor, a professional chull breeder and racer and close friend of the King’s Wit Noble Spy 7. Furamirionind as Brightness Dohila, a lighteyes who insists on wearing only orange and green lace Noble 8. Hemalurgic Headshot as Rat, a pet of Brightlord Joe and a secret worldhopper Noble Pet 9. Sart as Tleir, a Purelaker trying desperately to impersonate the missing Brightness Drella while House Sebarial hunts for her Ghostblood 10. STINK as Jumae III, a Brightlord whose eccentricity in fashion contrasts sharply with a docile and even temperament 11. DrakeMarshmallow as Brightlord Ekard, a man at the mercy of the Almighty Himself 12. Amanuensis as Brightlord Ularid Leiken, a man hunting a chull with a green shell which once insulted his mother 13. Coda as Brightness Dejda, one of Adolin’s former girlfriends who now hates the Kholins with a passion 14. Straw as Brightlord Straw, an effigy of Gavilar which was officially recognised as a lighteyes of the fourth dahn 15. Elbereth as Brightness Tintallë, whose title has come under charges of redundancy by expert Quenya scholars Noble
  19. Ularid was exhausted. Physically, he hadn’t had to exert himself in combat for years, although the Plate had made everything easier. No amount of armour could erase the the sheer panic he’d felt when Tintallë had swung her second Blade to sever his spine, or the sickening shock of Tintallë driving her Blade through her own throat. Ularid found himself reliving those moments continuously as he sat alone in his tent that night. He stamped his foot angrily. He was supposed to be good at this. A master of wiping unwelcome memories from his conscious mind. These days, he managed to never think of how his former home had looked as it was being razed or the screams of the dying, soldiers and civilians alike, or- he shook his head violently and stood up. He needed to be outside, never mind the danger. Salas had just set, and Ularid could barely see anything in the moonless darkness. Instead, he was treated to yet another recap of the duel’s final moments. He began to sprint through the camp, heedless of any chasms that might be in the area. Running away never solved his lingering resentment towards Gavilar, but it did allow him to dodge the massive arrow that sailed through the air behind him. He froze, as incapable of motion as he’d been while in shattered Shardplate waiting to die. The second arrow whizzed right in front of his face, close enough to clip his nose. Only a Grandbow, or perhaps a ballista, could have fired a projectile of that size. Ularid’s old combat instincts reasserted themselves and he dove to the ground, hiding behind a nearby tent. Surely his attacker wouldn’t notice him or the slowly dripping blood now pouring onto the ground. Holding his nose with his left hand, Ularid slowly snuck into the tent, careful not to startle any of its occupants. All of them were fast asleep, and none stirred at the presence of an intruder. Slowly, he eased himself behind one of the beds, out of the line of fire for a bow. He drew his knife, prepared to defend himself should the assailant come to finish him off. He sat there for hours, crouched on his hands and knees waiting for an attack that never came until he collapsed unconscious as his weariness finally caught up to him. Sometimes, the quietest people live the longest, Brightlord Arilar mused as he watched the undercurrent of bustling activity in the warcamps, and I have been talking far too much recently. Certainly, it was unlike Arilar to place himself in what he dismissed as “real politics,” the changing of opinions, personal conversations, and generally dangerous intrigue which his masters seemed to relish with unwarranted enthusiasm. He was a silent observer, listening, listening, but never raising his voice more often than he had to. When he did, it was sharp, direct, and quickly forgotten—little wonder he escaped the notice of most, and could retain his position as an active listener with ease. His masters liked it that way. Spying on the Kholins was dangerous, and the ability to keep one’s head down was central in such a task. Yet he had broken from his usual pattern, this time. This time, his words would not so easily be ignored by his enemies. And the increased presence had done what for him? Put a target on his back. Arilar sighed, pivoting to face the too-noisy “stalker” behind him. His footpad started, but produced a short, sturdy sword in his right hand almost faster than Arilar could track. In his left came a throwing knife, which left his hand with equal speed. Arilar flattened himself, feeling the steel bend the air around his head—he had just missed that—and unsheathed his own weapon, scrambling to face his attacker. So the Kholins had found out about him after all. He chopped down with the two-handed sword he had, which the footpad barely sidestepped, and a corner of cloth from the man’s jacket came free, exposing the open skin of the shoulder. On it was tattooed three interlocking diamonds. Excellent, Arilar fumed, now the group that hates the king is after me. He swung his sword up again, this time to parry, and the two held that position for a brief second, swords locked. And then a sudden pain flared in Arilar’s side, and he looked down, feeling his sword drop from numb fingers. With his spare hand, the Ghostblood had taken another knife from his belt and plunged it into him. Arilar sank, dropping to his knees as his assailant straightened. “You’ll...never win know,” he gasped out. “Whoever you are…” The figure’s hand flew up to the mask, tearing it off in one fluid motion. Recognition dawned instantly, and despite his mortal wound Arilar pushed himself to his feet. “You!” he bellowed. “How, after everything, could—” The sword swung again, almost lazily, and further words from Arilar’s head were cut short as it rolled to the ground. Aman was attacked by a Grandbow, but survived! Araris was killed by the Ghostbloods! He was a Noble with a half-Shard, a painrial, and a Spanreed! Day 5 has begun! It will end in approximately 45 hours on Sunday 24 November, at 9 PM EST. Good luck! Player List:
  20. “I denounce you Ularid!” Brightness Tintallë’s voice rang out as she strode through the warcamp wearing the slowly reforming Plate that had once belonged to Brightness Tleir. “For too long, you have been allowed to murder your way through our ranks, but no longer! I challenge you to a full Shardbearer duel to the death, today at noon.” Ularid blinked in surprise. This was not how he had expected this day to go. Still, he could not refuse a challenge issued by a Shardbearer. He stood up from the table where he had been eating a leisurely breakfast. “If my lady desires a duel, I will of course accept. Still, I must ask you to reconsider. Our numbers are dwindling; we must work together if we are to root out the Ghostbloods.” Allë stepped right into Ularid’s face, forcing the man to step backwards instinctively. “You’re welcome to submit to a full body search, ‘Brightlord’”. Your associate had the most fascinating mark etched into her shoulder. Who knows where we’ll find it on you?” Ularid said nothing. Satisfied, Allë turned to leave, pausing only to call out “I suppose we’ll be searching your corpse instead.” As soon as Tintallë was gone from view, Ularid’s right arm began to shake involuntarily. Irritably, he grabbed it with his left and forced himself to calm down. He had been a fair hand with a blade in his prime, though he’d never gotten to wield a Shardblade except for brief practice sessions. He hadn’t fought in actual combat since the days of Gavilar’s campaign to reunite Alethkar under the Kholin banner. He didn’t know if he could hold off an opponent who would be trying to kill him, but now he had no choice. He would go before the son of the man who had ordered his home assaulted and request the tools necessarily to potential allow him to survive the day. News of the challenge spread quickly throughout the camp. Brightlords Jumae III and Arilar tried to make Tintallë change her mind, but there was no stopping a duel once it had started. King Elhokar himself presented Blades to both Tintallë and Ularid, providing a set of Plate for the latter and enough stormlight to repair the cracks in the former’s. At noon exactly, the two duelists walked into the arena, trailed by their entourages. Allë was trailed by Dedja, Straw, and the ferocious creature who had unmasked Tleir. Jumae and Arilar followed Ularid into the entrance on the arenas other side. The noncombatants took their seats, and the arena doors slammed shut, right in the face of Brightlord Ekard who had been trying to catch up with Ularid. Once everyone was seated, King Elhokar rose to address the sparse crowd. “It is my honour to preside over this death duel today. May the Almighty smile upon the virtuous, and strike down any who seek to inflict harm upon Alethkar. Combatants, ready your Blades. Begin.” As soon as the words left the King’s mouth, Allë was charging towards her opponent, the Thrill racing through her veins. While not well-used to lethal combat, she had been practicing her Smokestance for years now with borrowed weapons. The Shardblade she held now was far longer than any sword she’d practiced with, but no heavier. Giddily, she swung the massive blade at Ularid, aiming for his neck plates. Ularid executed a two handed counterswing without moving his feet and the two weapons collided with a clang. Still grinning, Allë disengaged and stepped to her right, swinging this time at her opponent’s leg. This tactic worked far better with a knife in the left hand which could be simultaneously plunged into an exposed chest, but Allë had no knife today, not that one would have accomplished anything against intact Plate. Ularid accepted the blow, choosing to shove Allë backwards with his left hand. She stumbled backwards, noticing the shattered section of plate above Ularid’s left knee. Steadying herself, she jumped right back into battle. Ularid couldn’t feel the Thrill, not anymore. He remembered what it had felt like, the pure joy of battlelust singing as he cut down enemies in Kholin blue while his city burned behind him. Back then, he had been proud to fight for his lord. Now, he felt nothing as he desperately tried to keep himself alive. Battle was just another job, just something that needed to be done. He settled himself back into Stonestance as Tintallë came in for another strike, still trying to think of a way to end this without bloodshed. His left leg was no longer moving with full power, but that didn’t matter anymore. There was no reason for him to run. He deliberately left his guard low, and Tintallë obliged, swinging a vicious horizontal blow that shattered his breastplate. Ularid stepped forward and grabbed her blade as she tried to swing again, wresting the weapon from her grasp and letting it drop on the arena floor. Once it left his hands, it vanished, disintegrating back into mist. Tintallë stepped back startled as Ularid dismissed his own Blade and stood unable to move at the arena’s centre. The king’s voice cut through the shocked silence. “The duel is over. Attendants, assist Ularid in getting out of his armour.” Allë heard her heartbeat thunder in her ears as the king spoke. One. Two. “No,” she cut in. “This is not over. That man will kill us all in our sleep. He will assassinate you, your Majesty, and bring our kingdom toppling down.” Elhokar made no response. Five. Six. Darkeyed servants had reached the arena floor now, and were stripping the intact pieces of Plate from his immobile body. Allë snarled. Nine. Ten. Her own Shardblade dropped into her hands, nearly two meters long with gentle curve. The tip of the Blade glittering in the noonday sun, she charged towards the unarmed, unarmoured Ularid. Alarmed, the darkeyes scattered. Just as she was about to cleave Ularid’s worthless head from his shoulders, Jumae and Arilar stepped in from of him protectively. Allë stopped her swing before it could cleave through all three of them. “You don’t understand, he’s the one we need to kill,” she implored the intervening Brightlords. She glanced at her own supporters for affirmation, but even they seemed hesitant. A duel was one thing, striking down a helpless man without verifying his innocence was another. Gritting her teeth in frustration, Allë took up the Blade in her right hand and held it aloft. “Fine. If you don’t trust my judgement now, then what was the point of all this? Let Elhokar die. Let the Ghostbloods burn Alethkar to the ground. I’ll be laughing from the Tranquiline Halls. I expect you’ll all be joining me soon.” So saying, she removed her helmet, reversed her grip on the hilt and drove the Blade into her own neck. Her eyes burned out and her body collapsed onto the sands. The Shardblade fell to the ground, ownerless. The blade clattered to the ground, continuing its arc as it cut through the challenger. They had her. The shardbearer. The one responsible for this mess, for Mraize burning through cells faster than addict with moss. Had it been worth it? The women had ended her life. That spoke for itself. She knew she had been in too deep, drowning in hidden knives and secret poisons. She had played her cards, and the Ghostbloods had had the upper hand. It was inevitable. All that was left was to quench the fires they had started, extinguishing lives as quickly as the blaze had begun. The knives that had flashed in the night without discrimination, were now to be turned to far more surgical strikes. He slipped from his perch and slipped a note to the women watching the chull stall. It had the necessary instructions on it. Elbereth was killed in a duel! She was a Noble with a Shardblade and Shardplate! Vote Count: El (4): El, Aman, Stink, Araris Aman (3): HH, Straw, Coda Night 4 has begun! It will end in approximately 22 hours on Friday 22 November, at 9 PM EST. Spanreeds may again be used to freely open PMs of up to three players, provided the GMs are included. Very special thanks to Devotary for El’s death scene, and the entire duel, in fact. Please send out the upvote mobs against her most recent posts. Good luck! Player List: 1. Elandera as Brightness Ellarel, a flighty scribe who nonetheless remains tethered to the ground Noble 2. Rathmaskal/Young Bard as Brightlord I.N., whose reversed name conceals his role as a secret member of the Knights of Ni 3. Butt Ad Venture as Brightness Hmynyes, a connoisseur of classical Vorin music Noble 4. Xinoehp512 as Brightlord Rashor, a man who determinedly believes that blue wine is a plague from the Voidbringers Thief 5. Araris Valerian as Brightlord Arilar, a recently arrived spy with ties to the Kholins 6. StrikerEZ as Brightlord Nalakor, a professional chull breeder and racer and close friend of the King’s Wit Noble Spy 7. Furamirionind as Brightness Dohila, a lighteyes who insists on wearing only orange and green lace Noble 8. Hemalurgic Headshot as Rat, a pet of Brightlord Joe and a secret worldhopper 9. Sart as Tleir, a Purelaker trying desperately to impersonate the missing Brightness Drella while House Sebarial hunts for her Ghostblood 10. STINK as Jumae III, a Brightlord whose eccentricity in fashion contrasts sharply with a docile and even temperament 11. DrakeMarshmallow as Brightlord Ekard, a man at the mercy of the Almighty Himself 12. Amanuensis as Brightlord Ularid Leiken, a man hunting a chull with a green shell which once insulted his mother 13. Coda as Brightness Dejda, one of Adolin’s former girlfriends who now hates the Kholins with a passion 14. Straw as Brightlord Straw, an effigy of Gavilar which was officially recognised as a lighteyes of the fourth dahn 15. Elbereth as Brightness Tintallë, whose title has come under charges of redundancy by expert Quenya scholars Noble
  21. Chullracing was a dangerous sport. As Salas hung low in the sky, and Nalakor gripped his saddle, it was all he could do to stop himself from shaking. He had trained for this, practicing everyday since his brother’s accident. He needed to win this race, needed to use the emerald sphere reward to pay for Valtor’s treatment. He slipped his saddle over Dusty’s shell, before leading the animal over to the starting line. Both had been a gift from King’s Wit, who’d taken a liking to him after he had stolen his flute. He claimed to have stolen them from a top racer, but from what Nalakor could tell, the beast was nothing more than a work animal. That said, he’d formed a bond with Dusty. She had been his only friend since the accident, his only friend since the fire that ripped through Roion’s warcamp, taking his parents and leaving his brother comatose. Dusty had helped him through his grief, and taken him farther than he could have ever imagined. He was in the final for the Grand Warcamp Prix. The last race of the season before the weeping began. He was the only here because of sheer luck more than anything else, hanging on by the skin of his teeth. But, now? He needed to win. He rubbed Dusty’s eyestalks, slipping the animal a stonebud. Around him, the top racers from around the warcamp’s chulls were being carefully rubbed and oiled, as their drivers stood by, talking strategy with their coaches. On the next plateau over, the spectators sat, making bets, or watching just for enjoyment. Despite Chullracing being illegal, it was still one of the most popular forms of entertainment, and betting on, while heresy, only added to the fun. Nalakor hopped up onto Dusty, adjusting the saddle as he did so. He carefully began warming her up, walking her forward and backward, getting her used to both his presence, and the way he nudged with her feet. His lead system was homegrown he knew, nothing a true pro would use, but it may have been the only thing that could give him an edge. For while others were restricted to using one hand to steer, and only leaving one free, Dusty could use both to swing the long pole he lifted from a strap on Dusty’s side. The bat was the reason Chullracing was illegal. While one’s chull was doing the actual running of the race, it was the jockey’s job to take as many of his opponents down as possible. Needless to say, it was not a sport without mortalities, and when everyone was needed to fight in the war, needless harm was seen as a waste. The officials walked out from the spectator plateau, and onto track in proper. They carefully walked the length of the string that bordered the track, making sure it was both up to standards, 1000 paces long, and there was no foul play. As they did so, Nalakor turned to watch his neighboring racers, as they mounted their chulls. One was a young woman seemingly from the Reshi isles. He dropped his gaze and blushed when he realized her safehand wasn’t covered. On his other side was a tall and dark figure in a mask, some of the more prominent racers did such things to hide their identities. His chull was skinny and sharp, less like a chull, and more like the fin of a Skyeel. A whistle sounded, and the twenty-four racers lead their chulls to the starting line. An official walked down, checking to ensure that they were all in fact behind the line. The man, stepped back to the edge of the line, pulling out a simple whistle. He blew once, signalling the racers to ready. The audience drew to hush, eyes watching the main event of the evening. Nalakor felt himself tense in anticipation. In the distance, Salas was making its final descent, a small crescent hanging over the finish line. A long whistle sounded, cutting through the air like a shardblade. Nalakor kicked Dusty into motion, rocking as the chull began to move forward. Around him everyone was doing the same. A bat slammed into his back, knocking the breath out of him, and nearly knocking him from his saddle. He whirled with both his body and his back, and met the eyes of the Reshi woman, even as her pole met his own. He flipped it around trying to do one of the simple patterns he’d taught himself from his father’s spear training. She was too fast, blocking him at everymove, even as her other hand pushed her chull faster. Dusty let out a trumpet responding to his desperate attempts to simply run away from her, even as Nalakor took another hit from a different racer, the sound matching his own. The man was taken down quickly, but by then the woman had taken advantage of Nalakor’s distraction to land a punishing blow. He slipped, feeling himself begin to tumble from the saddle, his leg hanging over space, held on by his arm on Dusty, and his left. Storms it hurt. They were matching the leaders of the pack now, though whether Nalakor would even make it the next 5 paces was yet to be seen. He let out a prayer to the Almighty, begging for strength. The Reshi woman lifted her bat to finish him. And was taken out from behind, the masked figure capitalizing on her distraction. Nalakor wrenched himself up, his arm screaming from the pain, and looked around him. 500 paces to go, and he was. He was in the lead! It was only pure instinct that saved him. The masked figure’s bat was swinging towards his head, and only a flick of his bat saved from a near instant knock out. His arm rang with the blow, and he grunted. The masked figure bat whirled then came into strike again, and again, Nalakor barely blocked it, batting it away, this time using both of his hands. He still winced, but it seemed that both arms could take the impact. In his peripheral vision he could see, 400 paces. The masked man’s chull had caught up to Dusty, and it trumpeted, sounding like the grinding of metal. Dusty hissed in return. The bat came in again, then again and again. Nalakor’s arms were beginning to ache with the sheer stress of blocking the thrice cursed blows. 300 paces. He let out a sob, the two chulls were neck and neck, even as their riders fought. He was squeezing with his legs as hard as possible, wishing there was someway to tell Dusty just to go a little bit faster, but nevertheless the two animals continued to match each other’s pace, seeming to almost to want their jockeys to fight, seeming to want Nalarok to lose. An especially powerful blow rattled his already numb hands, and then another knocked the bat from his hands. It tumbled to the ground and was lost. The race was lost. The audience screamed. Desperation filled Nalarok’s mind as he realized there was only seconds until it was over. Until his brother was dead. In that brief moment, he flashbacked to the night of the fire, when Voriav had saved him, leaping to push him out of the way of a doorway, and hurting himself in the process. And Nalakor knew what he had to do. He leaned right, towards the figure, then leapt directly at him. He seemed to hang in the air forever, time slowing down as he saw the masked figure’s shock. He slammed into the figure with all of his body weight. They never stood a chance. They slipped off of the back of their mount like a bag of lavis grain, dropping their bat to grab the side of the saddle, hanging on with only a hand. Nalakor himself began to lose balance, standing on a chull was nearly impossible when they were walking. Next him, Dusty still ran. Good faithful Dusty. He took a breath, then leapt back to his mount. A hand gripped his ankle pulling him down. The figure had pulled themselves enough to grab him as he leapt. He felt himself swing in the air, hand grasping for something, anything. They felt the saddle strap and clutched them tight. He lay, stretched across the abyss between the two chulls, the figure pulling at his ankle with all their might even as he held on with his. He kicked with his other leg, slamming the foot into the figure’s hand. It hand slipped, and it was enough. Nalakor pulled himself, exhausted. He looked up to check how close they were to the finish line. They crossed. First. The audience roared, and he sagged. He had done. He could save Voriav. He could see his brother again. Brightlord Nalakor smiled as his chosen chull barrelled across the line, earning him one of the largest returns he’d had in a while—all from a shadowed man who still did not identify himself. But his spheres were on the table in front of the finish line, so despite his weakened state Nalakor wasted no time in nodding to the arbiter and sweeping his winnings into his purse. “Sorry, friend, and thank you for playing the game,” he offered the shadowed figure, who had shown no reaction. He did mean it—he got little enough business, having to bribe officials into looking the other way when he did conduct it, and any participants were appreciated in such a violent and bloody sport as this. “Better luck another time.” The man’s lips were drawn in a thin line, dramatised by the light of the red sphere by which Nalakor was seeing, but he nodded and began collecting his things, heading away from the pens. Eyeing the retreating figure, Nalakor backed up himself, pretending to fumble with one of the chull’s straps as he waited for the visitor to fade into darkness. You didn’t survive as long as he did in this sort of business without some underlying mistrust, unfortunately, and the bruises he had would take long enough to heal without his accruing new ones. Nalakor sighed, moving the exhausted beasts back to their pens, to lie down with their other companions who were lowing quietly. Tending to the beasts, in the end, was remarkably simple—not much could be required by normally docile and tempered animals—but it was his only trade, so he kept to it with a vigour which infused even the changing of water and food for the pens with meaning akin to a sacred ritual, a way of giving the ordinary importance. His chulls were perhaps the best cared for in the kingdom, and he intended to keep it that way to keep bringing in the lighteyes who enjoyed such sport. Keeping it that way also involved another precaution. Over the door to the pen, a heavy razor blade, attached to a rope pulled taut, lurked. Hidden behind a design in the ceiling, and further concealed by virtue of nobody having ventured inside his pens except him, it was the perfect security measure—if the rope was placed across the doorway from the inside, an opening of the door would send that blade falling to cleave in two the one who opened it. He armed the trap, yawning already, and went to his mattress in the middle of the pen. He did not often sleep in here, but would tonight—with the spheres he had on hand. a trapped door looked increasingly appealing to guard against intruders, and he doubted he retained the strength to make it back to the warcamps after his drubbing from the masked man. He yawned contentedly, and was asleep in seconds. Nalakor stirred, started out of his sleep by a noise near the wall of the pen. A...hammering? It was lighter than that, he thought, but certainly he had heard the stone being worked at. Someone was trying to enter the pen through the wall! No doubt it was the masked figure, seeking to recover the spheres lost in the race. His body on fire, Nalakor managed to stand, feeling a vague dread as light filtered into the dark pens through a hole in the wall. Around him, chulls snorted, shifting in their sleep, but mostly too dumb to rouse themselves fully. Peering from the curtained corner he was in, Nalakor could see a man’s silhouette block off the light, and enter the building, sword out in the dark of the pens, looking for him. He bit back a scream. There would be only one way to evade him—getting out the door quietly enough and then shouting for help before he was murdered, to apprehend the intruder. He might lose his spheres, but he’d keep his life. Masked by the bleating of chulls, the beasts themselves, and the pitch darkness of the far side of the pens, Nalakor edged along the side of the pen, feeling frantically for the panels of the door. The intruder was now in his corner, searching in vain among his sheets, and Nalakor’s hand grasped the doorknob. A rush of delirium came upon him—he had escaped—and he threw open the door. The sweeping motion would be his last. Even as he opened his mouth to cry for help, Nalakor’s eyes bulged at the sound of a catch being released and a rope suddenly recoiling, losing its taut arrangement; after all his escape plan, he had forgotten to disarm his own trap. The heavy blade above the door fell like thunder, cutting off the last scream of its victim, and Nalakor was no more. There had been a lot of deaths taking place at night recently. That didn’t stop Kay from wandering outside on a whim on this third night since Sebarial was attacked. Precedent was no predictor of future occurrences, after all. The moons were dim, but light was not needed to carry the sound of bellowing chulls through the unight. Kay found herself walking towards the noise. Chulls were usually quiet at night, and so the increased volume was unusual. The cause of the chulls’ alarm was immediately apparent. A clustered mass of the giant crustaceans were entangled at the end of a flat expanse of stone marked off vertically with string on either side. The Almighty had selected one empty-saddled chull to trumpet aggressively and snap out at the other chulls, none of which were sure how to proceed. Confused, the herd, all of which still had riders, shuffled around awkwardly and bellowed questioningly. Furious, the riderless chull charged forwards at an impressive 2 meters per second. This time, the other chull were able to scuttle out of the way as the rogue chull in the direction of a nearby plateau. Kay turned to follow the chull’s trajectory and saw that the spectators did not look concerned at the animal’s behaviour. Kay’s jaw tightened as she saw some of them were exchanging spheres. Racing by itself could be an honourable way to invite the Almighty’s judgement. Attempting to predict the outcome of a race was blasphemy of the highest order. Even the other Devotaries could see that much. Angrily, Kay headed after the chull, easily overtaking the lumbering beast. Her journey to the plateau was interrupted when the enraged chull reached out one of her giant claws and grabbed Kay by the waist. Though surprised, Kay remained calm as the chull led her not to the heretics flaunting their disrespect for the Almighty but to a fresh corpse still bleeding on the ground. Undoubtedly the man, Kay recognised him as Brightlord Nalakor, had been murdered by someone who valued money over the Divine. With far greater care than she had been shown, the chull picked the dead man up with her other claw and began the journey back towards the camp. Kay made no attempt to resist what must be the Almighty’s design as the three of them returned to safety. Striker has been killed! He was a Noble Spy with a half-shard! Drake has posted, and so will not be killed. Rath has been replaced by Young Bard. Day 4 has begun! It will end in approximately 46 hours, on Thursday 21 November at 9 PM EST. Please upvote Snipexe for the thrilling account of Nalakor's last race. (Fifth speaking: Please upvote both Devotary and Snip for coping marvellously after I dropped the ball unexpectedly.) Player List:
  22. Tleir hid in the chasm the whole night, barely daring to move. The Shardblade wound turned out to be a blessing, as she surely would have passed out from the pain hours ago if she retained sensation in her right leg. The stormwardens claimed there wouldn’t be a Highstorm tonight, but they could be wrong, or maybe the chasms would flood regardless. A chasmfiend could wander by and devour her with a single bite. The Shardbearer could return to slaughter her. Or perhaps a quiet night would pass, and somebody would come rescue her in the morning. Tleir chose to focus on that prospect. After all, she reminded herself, she was Mraize’s most valuable lieutenant, entrusted with a suit of Shardplate for the task of hunting down and killing the Shardbearer who had so recklessly attacked Highprince Sebarial. A lot of good Shardplate did sitting safely in the Ghostblood’s tent while she went for a walk. Foolish, foolish! She hadn’t even been able to identify their foe. Well, there was nothing to do now but wait. Either Nu Rallik would see fit that she survived, or he wouldn’t. Mraize pulled Tleir from the chasm, his arms aching with the effort. It was such a shame to have to do such a thing to one of their higher operatives. The woman had had such promise. She could still serve their sect, though no longer to the degree that a woman of her talents should have been able to. Perhaps working the ledgers. When you had a secret society, the accounting tended to get messy. He left her at the edge of the chasm, there still needed to be some punishment. Without suffering there would be no growth. She had to learn from the scenario, understand what her flaws were. He adjusted his mask as he left her, ensuring his anonymity. He retreated to the distance, a figure on the horizon. The morning finally arrived, and Tleir was still alive. Now, she couldn’t feel either of her legs, but that was alright because the Ghostbloods had seen fit to rescue her. She was still important to them, despite her failure. After carrying her out of the chasm, the masked Ghostblood melted away, leaving her alone. Tleir understood. Despite early successes, they couldn’t afford to confront the king openly. From here on, Tleir would have to ensure her own survival. Weakly, she called out to the guards now patrolling around the chasm. As they rushed to get her medical attention, Tleir smiled wickedly to herself. The Shardbearer would not be long for this world once she was reunited with her compatriots. Apparently, Vun Makak had different ideas. That tide-scorned Brightness Tintallë had continued her denunciations, but nobody else seemed to be listening to her, preferring to focus their ire on the sleeping Ekard. Then at the last second some sort of deformed cremling had leapt up and bitten at her shoulder. Shocked, Tleir fell backwards off the chair she’d been sitting on. As she tried and failed to sit up, she noticed that the Alethi were all staring at her, or more specifically the interlocking diamond pattern etched into her left shoulder where her havah had been bitten away. With one dead leg and the other severely bruised and cramped, Tleir could make no move to escape as Tintallë stabbed her through the heart. And as the Almighty GM reclined at table in the house, behold, many inactives and lurkers came and were reclining with the GM and his assistants. And when the Actives saw this, they said to his assistants, Why does your GM, a moderator, eat with lurkers and inactives? But when the Almighty GM heard it, he said, Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, and not filter deaths. For I came not to call the active and recurring, but the inactives. Blissfully unaware of the carnage and arguing which surrounded them, the Brightlords I.N. and Ekard dozed soundly in their tents, as they had for the past several days of deliberation. Perhaps the greater conflict between the Ghostbloods and Elhokar mattered...but then again...perhaps it didn’t. Getting a good day’s sleep was far more important than such trivial considerations, anyway, and it was easy enough to stay out of the conflict this way. High above, the Stormfather gazed disapprovingly down at the pair. It was truly a waste of air to have those two continue to exist in the midst of such violence and conflict; what right had they to live sleeping while so many of their friends died around them, actively joining the fighting? Irritably, he readied a pair of bolts to strike the pair down, then paused. Could it be that their apathy was unintentional, and that his plan was overly hasty? He would dishonour the men’s families for no good reason if this was the case, as lightning from heaven was a fairly ignoble way to end a man. He would spare them for now, but would return soon with the full force of the Highstorm. It would tear the men apart if they did not arouse themselves. Sart was lynched! He was a Ghostblood with Shardplate and an Alerter! Vote Count: Drake (2): Sart, Araris Sart (2): Elbereth, HH Elbereth (1): Stink Rath and Drake are on one-cycle warnings to either post, be replaced with pinch-hitters, or die. Night 3 has begun! It will end in approximately 23 hours, on Tuesday 19 November at 9 PM EST. Those with spanreeds, once again, may send in orders to use them and then PM freely. Make sure all the GMs are in the PMs. Thank you, as always, to Devotary for her help with the writeup and with PMs. Please go upvote her for all the excellent work she’s doing. Edit: And Snip, who wrote the paragraph on Mraize. Good luck! Player List: 1. Elandera as Brightness Ellarel, a flighty scribe who nonetheless remains tethered to the ground Noble 2. Rathmaskal as Brightlord I.N., whose reversed name conceals his role as a secret member of the Knights of Ni 3. Butt Ad Venture as Brightness Hmynyes, a connoisseur of classical Vorin music Noble 4. Xinoehp512 as Brightlord Rashor, a man who determinedly believes that blue wine is a plague from the Voidbringers Thief 5. Araris Valerian as Brightlord Arilar, a recently arrived spy with ties to the Kholins 6. StrikerEZ as Brightlord Nalakor, a professional chull breeder and racer and close friend of the King’s Wit 7. Furamirionind as Brightness Dohila, a lighteyes who insists on wearing only orange and green lace Noble 8. Hemalurgic Headshot as Rat, a pet of Brightlord Joe and a secret worldhopper 9. Sart as Tleir, a Purelaker trying desperately to impersonate the missing Brightness Drella while House Sebarial hunts for her Ghostblood 10. STINK as Jumae III, a Brightlord whose eccentricity in fashion contrasts sharply with a docile and even temperament 11. DrakeMarshmallow as Brightlord Ekard, a man at the mercy of the Almighty Himself 12. Amanuensis as Brightlord Ularid Leiken, a man hunting a chull with a green shell which once insulted his mother 13. Coda as Brightness Dejda, one of Adolin’s former girlfriends who now hates the Kholins with a passion 14. Straw as Brightlord Straw, an effigy of Gavilar which was officially recognised as a lighteyes of the fourth dahn 15. Elbereth as Brightness Tintallë, whose title has come under charges of redundancy by expert Quenya scholars
  23. Tleir was unused to all this … dryness. It wasn’t right for a woman to spend so much time away from the Purelake. The sooner Brightness Drella could be found, the sooner Tleir could find her way home. For now though, it was a life of stony ground, cold weather, and dim light, with the only water coming from those all-too-frequent Highstorms. Such were the sacrifices required for a woman who gotten far too deep into debt. Tleir elected to take a walk during the night. Adolin had almost been killed last night, but surely Brightness Drella wasn’t on any assassin’s hit list. The need to take a break from the hasty Alethi was overwhelming. King Elhokar was insistent that the Ghostbloods be exterminated immediately, but Tleir couldn’t see why this whole situation couldn’t be resolved over a nice bowl of fish stew. Besides, she thought bitterly, Sebarial deserved whatever that Shardbearer had been trying to do. As soon as the thought crossed her mind, she took a deep breath and tried to think of happy memories from the Purelake. Tleir was so focused on these recollections, she didn’t notice where she was going until she found herself near the chasm where Hymnyes had died the day before. Someone else was already here, reaching their hand out in what seemed like a friendly gesture. Tleir briefly began to walk towards the obscured figure, but quickly changed her mind when a six foot, wickedly curved blade dropped into that outstretched hand. Three months in these Vun Makak blessed warcamps, and she still refused to wear shoes. There were no lakes to dip her feet in, but there was no way she would cover her feet in such a restrictive manner. This was, at times, inconvenient. Her feet were calloused enough that mere walking wasn’t painful, but running barefoot on the rough stone ground was another story. Running away from the angry Shardbearer, Tleir briefly considered whether it may have been expedient to commission some sort of footwear for special occasions. The rest of her concentration was focused on finding a good place to hide. Risking a quick glance behind her, she saw that the Shardbearer was now far too close. There would be no time to reach a tent before she was caught and killed. There would be only one chance to escape, short of fighting the Shardbearer and inevitably dying. Offering a silent prayer to Nu Ralik, Tleir dove to the ground and rolled, narrowly dodging a horizontal slice. Stumbling to her feet, she raced towards the chasm. Ellarel had survived a fall, so surely she could as well. Perhaps the Shardbearer wouldn’t be willing to follow. When she reached the edge of the cliff, she hesitated for a second too long. One swing of the blade later, and Tleir found herself unable to feel her lower right leg. More hurriedly than she’d done anything else in her life, Tleir allowed herself to tumble into the chasm, attempting to land on her now useless right leg. She plummeted through the air and crashed into the ground right foot first, shattering every dead bone. Despite the pain, she forced herself to crawl a few meters away from the landing site and hide deep in the shadows. Far above, the Shardbearer sighed and dismissed their blade. It wasn’t worth it to continue chasing after their target tonight. Brightness Deeli Dohila simply hated her name. The storming alliteration, and the hair's breadth away it was from rhyming lended itself far too well to nicknames of the most annoying sort. It was so hard to get respect when you would go from reveling in the success of your latest scheme to being referred as Brightness DD by Queen Aesudan herself. She sighed as she walked through the halls of the palace. She still didn’t know why she had been called there. The note seemed to indicate it was from the King, but the messenger had been strangely mute on the topic. He escorted her as she made her way to the location indicated in the missive. Even if there was only the smallest chance it was in reality the King, or one of the Kholins, it would be a mistake to ignore the message. She turned the corner of the hallway, then entered a small room. It was small, dank, seemingly unused. A bizarre location for a meeting with a Brightlady of the Fourth Dahn. She had turned to ask the messenger if she was in the right location, when she found the dagger planted in her side. Her breath caught, the pain unfurling through her body as blood blossomed from the wound. She fell to her knees, desperately praying to the Almighty. Her hands scrambled to patch the wound, to cover the rivers of blood as they spread over the field of orange lace on her side, then fell still. Three sharp knocks came on the door to the bridgeman barracks. Lopen stirred, muttering groggily. “We’re supposed to be day shift. Teft, see what that guy wants?” The door had already been opened by a surprised Sigzil, though, who eyed the newcomer warily. His clothes were not akin to anything he had seen in the Alethi courts, but the basic design was Vorin, albeit in the style of a military uniform similar to Dalinar’s, and not frilled with the lace favoured by so much of lighteyed society. It was underneath a bulky blue jacket, with an odd insignia on its breast, and the hood sporting the same pattern drawn up over the man’s head, casting his face in shadow. There was no sword at his side, though Lopen did note the array of knives hanging around his belt and the equally impressive number mostly hidden, which his clothing betrayed. The visitor inclined his head to the lounging bridgemen. “Hello,” he stated simply. “I am looking for somebody to take me to the Highprince of War. It is an urgent matter, and I have something to deliver to him. As you are his guards, will you escort me to him?” “I assume you’re delivering that hefty package of knives inside your coat to him, gancho?” Lopen called back, his hand resting casually on his spear. “I’m afraid the Highprince will have to wait to receive those another day.” He raised an eyebrow at Teft, who slid over and placed himself between the door and the man, who remained at ease. Lopen found himself annoyed at the insolent posture—he looked more like a haughty street merchant sizing up customers than a man surrounded by highly capable fighters. “What do you want? Who are you?” he repeated. Smiling slightly, the man drew back his hood, revealing a face weathered by the years, yet which retained all its vigour in the discerning eye cast upon the bridgemen each in turn. Sigzil beside him squirmed at the gaze, averting his eyes, but Lopen grit his teeth and looked back into them, burning with frustration, which overrode the other feelings within him. “Your bravery is admirable, if unnecessary,” the newcomer replied easily. “If you must know, it is a letter, and contains nothing more than a missive from another who need not immediately concern you. Its contents, regardless, are not for your ears.” He frowned at the second question. “I am known as Domand, but that is not important. The information I have for Dalinar is important. If you’re quite done with me, will you take me to him? I do not lie in saying that my counsel is urgent.” “Not with that coat on, gancho,” Lopen replied. “Every knife you have stays here, and don’t think we’re dumb enough to mi—” Lopen’s voice cut off as a Shardblade appeared in Domand’s hand. “I do not need such instruments anyway,” he said slowly. “I have this—if I wanted to, I could slaughter him and you. Your loyalty is admirable, but it approaches foolhardiness. Let’s go to Dalinar.” Sart was attacked, but survived! Furamirionind was killed! He was a Noble with a Painrial. Day 3 has begun! It will end in approximately 47 hours, at 9 PM EST on Monday 18 November. Any PM which STINK began is no longer open. All other spanreed PMs may be continually used, though no new ones may be opened this cycle. There will be a lynch today, with no vote minimum to kill. Thanks once again to Devotary and Snip for help with the writeup. Good luck! Player List:
  24. Highprince Sadeas, I note with mild displeasure the failure of your investigative efforts to expose those threatening the general peace within the camp. The supposedly accidental deaths of the Brightnesses Hymnyes and Kay have the court in such a stir that our decision-making is impaired; while Dalinar’s bridgemen have been able to hold back the Highprinces’ factions from open conflict, it is by no means a continual guarantee, and I am possessed of no doubts that the remaining Ghostbloods are fostering this division, seeking to thrust at the heart of our stability. Redouble your efforts to round up the leaders of this movement, and if necessary put the captive members to the question if persuasion will not loosen their tongues as to who their companions are, and where they are hiding out. Sebarial and Restares want to meet with you; they believe they have leads, and their counsel may be valuable to the continuing uncovering of all plots against the Crown. As always in these times, keep your guard up and your sword close at hand. With my continued thanks for your efforts, Elhokar King of Alethkar Highprince Sebarial had the right idea, Rashor thought as he sat in his private tent sipping auburn wine. Hunting down Ghostbloods was no job for an important lighteyes like himself. Already, he was fifth dahn, and stood to move up a rank when that land deal finally went through. The warcamps were an excellent source of revenue, but the assassination attempt and heightened security had made it very difficult to move people in and out. No matter. Brightlord Devan would eventually cave to Rashor’s extremely generous offer, especially now that the man no longer had access to Soulcast goods. Rashor grinned at the thought as he finished his glass of wine. Reaching beside him to refill his glass, Rashor found that the barrel was empty. Sighing heavily, he looked at the only other barrel in the room, one filled entirely of blue wine. He hadn’t been able to check the contents while liberating it from some noble’s private stores, and destroying wine was a crime even greater than anything the Voidbringers could unleash. He dared not go outside to find more wine, as the other nobles were rampaging throughout the camp, screaming petty accusations against each other. Rashor thought he heard his own name being called once or twice. There was no helping it; he would have to face the wrath of the Voidbringers and drink some of that accursed blue wine. With shaking fingers, he decanted a small measure of wine into the glass. Grimacing, he took a tiny swallow, shuddering at the bitter taste. He was about to get up and steal more wine despite the danger outside when he felt his mouth start to burn. The glass slipped from his fingers and shattered on the ground. By the time the remaining nobles came to check on him, Rashor was dead, evidence of his thievery clearly evident. Mriaze watched the thief die, silently admiring his handiwork. It was ironic, how the man’s dislike for Blue has revealed so very many of his other traits. The Ghostbloods had been watching the man for weeks, and he had to give the man credit. It took skill to steal from a place filled to the brim with soldiers, and Lighteyes. Stealing from the Ghostbloods had been the man’s first mistake. Hiding like a coward had been the man’s last. The death provided satisfaction, though in truth it was little when compared to his frustration with those below him’s incompetence. It had been a simple execution mission, but that thrice stormed women had to take the blow. A different team was being sent in tonight, the failures having been dealt with. They needed results, and death was the best answer to life’s questions. Mraize slipped out of the tent and turned to the lieutenant waiting for him. “Send them in.” Mraize said with a smile. Xinoehp512 was lynched! He was a Thief with a Reverser! Vote Count: Xino (3): Sart, Straw, Fura HH (2): Araris, Aman Sart (2): Coda, Elbereth Straw (1): HH Elbereth (1): Striker Night 2 has begun! It will end in approximately 23 hours on Saturday 16 November at 9 PM EST. Those with spanreeds, once again, may send in orders to use them and then PM freely. Make sure all the GMs are in the PMs. Thanks once again to Devotary and Snip, who did the second and third parts of the writeup, respectively. Good luck! Player List:
  25. Ellarel would not be attending the feast tonight. All those months worked and spheres saved to purchase a havah styled in the latest fashion and an appointment with a hair stylist squandered in a matter of hours by a few suspicious nobles. The medics had not been able to attend her immediately, as they were busy tending the more life-threatening wounds of Kholin soldiers injured during the day’s fighting. Still, Ellarel was a lighteyes, and within a few hours her broken bones had been splint and a bed provided. The attending medic assured her that she would be walking again in a few weeks. That was several weeks too late for Ellarel. Tonight had been her best chance of getting to meet Adolin, but now that opportunity had passed. Perhaps she could apply to be a scribe for the Kholins. They had been willing to take care of her injuries, so at least they knew who she was. She resolved to try once the Ghostbloods were crushed and her broken bones healed. Perhaps the Almighty would smile on her once again. The medics had let her keep the knife she’d used to kill Brightness Hymnyes. The blade was still too bloody to put back in her safepouch, so the weapon lay on the bed next to her unbroken arm. Ellarel replayed the memory of piercing Hymnyes arm in her head, imagining that she would do the same to the cowards who had attacked Highprince Sebarial. She barely even noticed when a young man wearing Kholin blue strode into the tent, escorted by four members of the Cobalt Guard. Adolin paused when he saw that one person receiving medical attention was not a member of the Kholin army, or even the Kholin warcamp. He walked closer to her bed in the corner of the tent. “Where did you sustain your injuries?” he asked. Ellarel jolted upright, making her head swim and sending blinding flashes of pain shooting up her broken arm and leg. She had gotten to meet Adolin Kholin after all! She tried to take in every detail through blurry eyes. His crisply tailored Kholin uniform, newly donned after the day’s battle. His exotic blonde-black hair, the same colour as hers. His piercing blue eyes, looking directly at her. The closest member of the Cobalt Guard, swinging a knife down towards his neck. Ellarel screamed and grabbed the knife with her left hand, pain momentarily forgotten as she leaped out at the traitorous bodyguard. Alarmed, Adolin stepped out of the way, narrowly avoiding the strike from behind. The Ghostblood’s blade kept going, embedding itself deep into Ellarel’s heart. The last thing she saw before being whisked away to Shadesmar was Adolin rushing off to apprehend the assassin. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- “I must congratulate you, Darrel,” the smooth voice of Arrdel came to Domand’s ears, his accent refined and perfectly in tune with the strange speech of Roshar—then again, he was a native. “You came here yourself to ensure that a conflagration was stirred up. Well, you certainly succeeded, but this hardly seems to be the work you intended.” He chuckled softly to himself, rubbing his hands together against the chill of the night air. Domand inclined his head gravely as they walked on, a shadow to the casual eye, though inwardly he seethed. What was Arrdel doing away from his tasks in Marabethia? And how did he think he could maintain the paper-thin glass of Alethkar against the repeated hammer blows of the coming Desolation? The stupidity of the Alethi elite could hardly be pinned upon him. “It will have to do, Arrdel,” he spoke aloud. “My subterfuge has united the country, in an odd sort of way, but any unity is better than none, and while they did unite in fear and not fraternity, the former will often produce the latter. You know why I do what I do—Cultivation watches this planet, but indirectly, and a challenge from the Father of Hate may break her in the end. The only way to stop Odium’s attack is deterrence. And for that we need a Unifier, one which I intend to create out of this mess, who can pick up Honour and thrust Odium away from this system, before he causes more harm than he already has.” “Drive him away? Like the Oathpact?” Arrdel retorted. “It is a frail patch on an old wound. Eventually, we will need to let it scar for it to heal at all.” Darrel looked at Arrdel, aghast. One of the ASWA’s most significant triumphs in thousands of years—the Oathpact keeping Odium bound to Braize—was a “frail patch?” “You overstep yourself,” he said flatly. “Honour and Cultivation can and must check Odiun’s growing strength. I care not for how it is done, so long as it is. However, if you believe an immediate war with casualties in the millions will solve Shardic disputes properly, then perhaps you do not belong in this group anymore.” Arrdel’s eyes flashed, but he said nothing more. “Let us hope that you are right, and that the Ghostbloods provide the distraction and the unifying force we need for this, then. For now, I must return to Marabethia. I must say, I have missed you in the field of work lately—it is good to see you getting your hands dirty now, instead of the Council of Seven. Peace be with you and your works.” “And also with you and yours,” Darrel whispered into the cold night, pacing his way back to the stone bunker in his solitary camp. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Elandera was killed! She was a Noble with a Pain Knife! Day 2 has begun, and will end in approximately 47 hours, at 9 PM EST on Friday 15 November. Spanreed PMs begun during the Night may be used at Day; however, new ones may not be created. Also, questions about your items are best asked at a time not equivalent to two minutes from rollover. Thank you for your cooperation. Good luck! Player List: