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  1. Night fell on Tathingdwen, a still moonlight broken by falling flakes of ash the only lighting available to the shrouded, mist-covered city. The city, and the secret sect that lived within it: the Terris Synod, a solitary beacon of hope. Marne, the highest-ranking member of that Synod, paced in his office, discontent. Swirling rumours, which he had little power or desire to refute, were being whispered around the hideout. Rumours of Steel Inquisitors, Spiked servants of the Lord Ruler, that had supposedly infiltrated the last bastion of Feruchemy left on Scadrial. Marne found them near unbelievable, but who was he to dismiss the evidence of his Windwhisperers that had seen and heard otherwise? The Synod would be foolish to ignore the members they swore to protect, particularly when they warned of impending danger. However, paranoia was not yet necessary, especially when accusations were so weighty, and evidence was so scarce. The implications of a corrupted Synod were not lost on Marne. At best, it meant that one of his friends, who he had known all his life, was covertly plotting his downfall, At worst…at worst, the Lord Ruler would find and exterminate the last free, living Feruchemists. Neither option was particularly appealing to Marne, and he chose not to believe them—for now. But perhaps further evidence would be worth examining. At last choosing a direction, Marne walked over to his desk, plopping down in the high oak chair with a sigh. Taking out a simple sheet of paper and a pen, he tapped into his tinmind, allowing him to focus on the paper in the dim lighting, and began to write. My fellow Feruchemists, Concerns have been raised about supposed infiltrators and spies within our midst by several members of our congregation. While there may be no cause for immediate concern, as evidence presented so far is inconclusive… Count Olaf, an esteemed member of the Luthadel nobility and newly ascended leader of House Ffnord, prowled through the quiet streets of Tathingdwen. Small steel spikes pricked him in a dozen concealed places, the aftermath of an audience with the Lord Ruler himself. That audience had nearly destroyed his sanity, and had ended with him being given a task; to take a small group and investigate Tathingdwen, finding and infiltrating any groups of Feruchemists found. Then, he was to either kill them all himself, or report back to the Lord Ruler, who would send his Inquisitors to do the same. Finding the Terris Synod had been no easy task. The group was naturally secretive, and suspicious of newcomers. However, one by one, all the spiked in his group had managed to enter the community of Feruchemists there. He alone remained rejected by the society. There was no way for all his spikes to go unnoticed by the vigilant wardens that guarded the Synod’s network of tunnels and safe houses, and his discovery within the society would endanger those already concealed within the Terris ranks. However, feeding the fires of paranoia that existed within the Synod was always a good idea. Not only because feeding fires, even metaphorical, was a good thing in Olaf’s view—though that was certainly part of it—but because Olaf would have the chance to kill Marne, the leader of the Synod who retained skepticism about the presence of Spiked, which would cause enough general mayhem to keep the Synod impotent until he, Olaf, could report back to the Lord Ruler and instruct him to ravage the hideout. Readying a brand, the tip of which was covered in dry tar and pitch, Olaf approached what he believed to be, from the limited directions his associates had been able to slip to him, the study of Marne. The building was nondescript; two stories of solid oak, it had likely been built shortly after the city became a major trading point as a tavern or small storefront. Now it housed the last ruler of the Synod. Striking a match, Olaf ignited the end of the brand, watching it burst alight in a flurry of sparks. He grinned, breathing in once more the fragrance of smoke, and kicked at the nearest ground-floor window with his boot. The metal-reinforced studs on the heel easily shattered the thin glass, creating a sizeable hole through which Olaf threw the burning torch. As the house began to be consumed by flames, Olaf waited by the door, ready for his quarry to come fleeing. Marne put the finishing touches to his letter to the Synod, signing it with a flourish that was just slightly more extravagant than was perhaps necessary. Satisfied with his argument, which would hopefully help stop the paranoid rumours from spreading without solid evidence, he walked towards the staircase leading down to the ground floor, where his main desk was situated. Marne frowned. A faint scent of burning wood drifted up to him, followed by a wisp of black smoke. Panic rose in him immediately, followed by grim determination. Tapping some of his zincmind to clear his thoughts, Marne advanced cautiously down the stairs, careful not to breathe in the smoke too deeply. Peering down the staircase, he saw that the front window had been broken with what appeared to be a foot, judging by the boot-shaped imprint in the glass, and that a brand had been thrown into his writing desk. He felt another flare of panic rise within him. The desk contained older, yet important documents, and they were slowly being consumed by flames. Shoving down his innate revulsion at the sight of fire, Marne forced himself to tear his eyes away from the burning desk. Escape was his priority, even if it meant sacrificing some his papers to fire. Whoever had found him out would need to be neutralised. Tapping speed and strength, Marne rushed towards the door, slamming his shoulder into it and bringing the sturdy wooden structure down. Failing to regain his balance after his mad rush, he collapsed on top of the door. Storing weight, Marne drew himself up and turned around towards his burning house, scanning the street behind it for an intruder. It didn’t take long to find the culprit. A tall, skinny man stood framed in the blaze of the wooden house. Marne could pick out few distinctive features, other than the man’s single eyebrow and tattooed ankle, but from the brand in his hand, as well as the metalminds that were visible as bulges in his clothing, Marne knew he was facing a dedicated Full Feruchemist. Preparing himself to engage in his first real conflict, Marne slowly advanced on the intruder. His knowledge of Feruchemy was extensive. He now just had to use it. Olaf smiled as he witnessed the panicked rush of Marne out of the burning house. Knowing that the Feruchemist was likely a dangerous foe, and that the blaze of the wooden house would soon attract bystanders to intervene, Olaf would need every advantage he could get. A distracted opponent was a welcome one. Preparing to tap his steel, Olaf angled himself towards the oncoming Synod member, ready to face him; his first real challenge. And felt an overwhelming nausea take him, dropping him to his knees. It happened occasionally. Too often, really. Olaf cursed the conscience that remained in him, the vestiges of a code he had held before he came before the Lord Ruler, back when he had been only a minor nobleman, and had joined with Hadrian Heatherlocke to survive the small house war that had swept Luthadel up just two years past. He often would think of Hadrian when his conscience took him, as it did now. What Hadrian would think of him, what Hadrian would have him do. Olaf would often wonder, in moments like these, which was the real him; the hired killer and arsonist who aided the Lord Ruler, or the sceptical nobleman who worked with Hadrian to stop his machinations. Were the spikes the cause of this agony? Lord Ruler, he could be numb at times. Had he even thought about what he had been doing, these past weeks? The Feruchemist was advancing towards him, wary but determined. Olaf looked up at him. His nausea was subsiding. It would be so easy to feign defeat, and then, when Marne least expected it, to— No. Something deep within Olaf, even deeper than the introspection based on the bouts of nausea and thoughts of Hadrian, rebelled. Olaf moved quickly, not giving himself time to reconsider, not letting his insanity grip him again. Reaching under his robes, he pulled one steel spike out of his arm. Another followed, and then others from all over his body, the tips caked in dried blood. He continued until a dozen spikes lay on the ground before him. Bleeding in a dozen places, registering the look of shock on the Synod leader’s face, and finally free from the murderous thoughts at last, Olaf stripped himself of his metalminds as well. He looked up at Marne. “I’m sorry. It was the spikes after all,” he mumbled, and then passed out from blood loss. Marne stood in the burnt remains of his house. Based on the testimony of Olaf, it seemed that the rumours circulating about the hideout did have credence, after all. Storing weight in his ironmind to ensure that the stairs didn’t give way beneath him, Marne ascended to the second floor. His letter to the Synod still lay on his writing desk, remarkably untouched. Marne looked at it with a sad smile; it mattered not whether the letter was burnt or whole—it needed to be rewritten either way. Walking over to his desk, he began scribing a new letter to present tomorrow. My fellow Feruchemists, Concerns have been raised about supposed infiltrators and spies within our midst by several members of our congregation. There is cause for immediate concern, as having apprehended one of these infiltrators myself last evening, I can confirm that the presence of Spiked among us is a real and present threat... Welcome to Long Game 48: The Terris Synod. This game is set in the city of Tathingdwen during the reign of the Lord Ruler, and involves the last free remaining Feruchemists and Terrismen attempting to hide from several Spiked servants of the Lord Ruler within their midst. With Olaf’s testimony revealing the presence of Spiked among the villagers, the Synod has declared Tathingdwen closed, and will not let any in or out until all the Spiked are killed...or they themselves have been destroyed. It is now up to each of you to ensure that the last free Feruchemists survive until the fall of the Lord Ruler. The basic rules of the game may be accessed here. Should clarifications be necessary (and I imagine they will), I will add them to this post or a subsequent one as well as the doc. My co-GM for this game will [email protected] of Spontaneity. Signups will last until next Friday the 10th of August, unless an extension proves necessary. Rollover for this game will occur around 9 PM EDT. Here is the countdown clock to the end of signups: Quick Links: