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Aftermath: A Desolation Called Peace NOW THE GREAT LORD COMES. NOW THE GREAT LORD COMES. BLOOD FEEDS BLOOD. BLOOD CALLS BLOOD. BLOOD IS, AND BLOOD WAS, AND BLOOD SHALL EVER BE. NOW THE GREAT LORD COMES. —words written in blood on the walls of an inn in the abandoned village of Helgen Locke led, and Wyden followed. It felt good. It felt good to be doing something again, as though he was pushing back, however weakly, against years of forcing himself to keep breathing, years of keeping himself alive, years of guilt at how he’d broken, how he’d survived when the garrison died, when the Trollocs put entire villages to the sword. It felt a little like redemption. If there was even such a thing, for one such as he. Locke ran, and Wyden ran after him, willing both of them to be just a little faster, praying to the Light that they would make it in time, before Lin Mindrigurin did anything, before the mayor did anything to the survivors. They had not acted overtly so far, Wyden thought. His scars itched. Surely this would continue? There was a shadow in the street. Locke drew to a halt. Blood dripping from his sword, still screaming, Edler attacked. More from instinct than anything, Wyden’s sword slipped free from its sheath in Unfolding the Fan, and Reaping the Barley beat aside the onrushing Stones Falling from the Cliff. “Edler!” Wyden shouted. But the Warder had gone battle-mad, and Wyden saw no recognition in his eyes, only a grim focus. Parting the Silk nearly tore into Wyden’s side, and Water Flows Downhill split open his cheek in a welter of blood. Dimly, he remembered Gaidin’s lessons at the garrison. A Warder who lost their Aes Sedai could go battle-mad, Gaidin explained, curtly. Distantly. They lashed out in an attempt to avenge their Aes Sedai. The saner ones knew friend from foe; simply sought to take down as many enemies as they could. Some of them lost the will to live, and became shadows of themselves and eventually wasted away and died. Edler had gone battle-mad. It wasn’t just Warders who broke, Wyden thought. Sometimes, men on the Blightborder did. Sometimes, the world did terrible things to you, or the Shadow did. Sometimes, you broke, and then you could never quite put yourself together again. He met Wind and Rain with the Oak Shakes Its Branches. He didn’t want to hurt Edler. He liked Edler. But Edler was doing his best to kill him, and possibly to kill Locke as well. “Go!” Wyden shouted. “Will you be alright?” Locke asked, and then seemed to realise the folly of his question. “I’ll stop him. Light shelter you, Wyden.” As Locke ran, Wyden turned aside Lightning of Three Prongs with Lizard in the Thornbush. He narrowed his eyes. “Edler,” he tried again. “I don’t want to hurt you.” He threw himself back in time, as Plucking the Low-Hanging Apple grazed his throat, and drew blood. Thank the Light it hadn’t been worse. He saw bodies on the street. Ordinary people, villagers he’d known. Bodies strewn about like fallen leaves. Wyden closed his eyes and sought the flame and the void. But the oneness lay just frustratingly out of his reach. “Apologies,” gasped Locke, as he closed the door of the meeting room behind him. He paused a moment to catch his breath. “I was held up.” Mayor Wilsa glanced at him. “Where were you?” “Gathering evidence,” Locke said. “Asking questions.” He glanced at everyone in the room: Lin Mindrigurin, sitting comfortably in his chair, sword balanced across his knees, Rambler who was glaring daggers at Jóhannsson, and Jóhannsson, who was scowling at Lin. Three people left, thought Locke. He had been so very nearly disastrously late. “Lin’s of the Shadow,” Jóhannsson stated, flatly. “Locke, you have to see this. You were missing for so long, I was looking for you—” “Sorry I’m late,” Locke said. “Really, truly wish I’d been around.” He set his ledger down on the table. “Lin Mindrigurin,” he said. “You hid well. But I know you for what you are, Darkfriend.” Edler and Wyden clashed. Wyden retreated, gave ground. He did not want to do this. He did not want to fight. He did not want to kill Edler. The Warder had been kind to him, when Wyden needed it. Surely that was reason enough for mercy. But Edler kept on pressuring him, flowing from form to form with a lethal grace that Wyden recognised in some of the best swordsmen. He’d only ever wanted a way to be good again, Wyden thought. He’d spent so much of his life running, fleeing what the Shadow had done to him. For some reason, it felt good to be taking a stand, even if that meant fighting Edler here and now. Even if that meant stopping Edler. The streets of Helgen were eerily empty, soaked in blood, and the fog was creeping in again, lending everything an air of unreality. It had been years since he’d picked up the sword, and he was rusty but the muscle memory never truly faded, and the practice bout with Edler that day had helped, if only a little. Still, it was all Wyden could do to keep Edler from killing him. “Edler,” he tried again. He knew what it was like to be on the brink, to have lost everything that mattered, for the Light to have fled from the world. He knew what it was like to be damned. “Edler, snap out of it, man!” Black Pebbles on Snow, angled differently, nearly took out his eye. Blood gushed from the cut above his eye, and Wyden swore, backing off. It was going to be hard, fighting Edler with that obscuring his vision. He only hoped that he’d bought Locke the time he needed. Rambler, Locke, and Jóhannsson. Perhaps they could take Lin or Mayor Wilsa by surprise. He wasn’t sure. And that meant they needed him. “I’m sorry,” Wyden whispered. He didn’t know who he was apologising to. Perhaps it was Edler. Perhaps it was to the bodies in the streets. Perhaps it was to the garrison, or the villages the Trollocs had put to the sword; had massacred and then set ablaze. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” He was weeping, even as he fended off Cat on Hot Sand with The Falling Leaf. Edler, in his own way, had given Wyden back his own soul again. But Helgen was Wyden’s home now, and if he weighed Edler against Helgen, it wasn’t even a damned contest at all. Perhaps the man Wyden had once been could have stopped Edler easily. He doubted it. Edler was a good swordsman, and there was always a risk when you weren’t trying to kill the other man, even as he tried very hard to kill you. Light forgive him. The numbness swept back in. It wasn’t the oneness, but it would have to be good enough. Wyden let it. He let it wash over him. The numbness, perhaps, was the way the soul defended itself. The way you dealt with the fact that terrible, terrible things had been done to you, and the fact that you had gone on to do the unforgivable. The way you dealt with the fact that somehow, mysteriously, inexplicably, you had been left to keep breathing. Those years in Helgen, Wyden had lost the oneness, had lost the flame and the void. Had lost the single-minded focus and dedication that was crucial, that elevated the best swordsmen into blademasters. Before the numbness, before that old friend, even that faded away, paled into insignificance. There was only Edler, and what Wyden had to do. Wyden glided forward. Wyden attacked. “Lin,” Rambler scowled. “Don’t know how you talked me into damning Lorum. This ends here.” “I’ve told you,” Jóhannsson snapped. “He’s been trying to turn us on each other all along. That is how he works.” “Jóhannsson is unfortunately correct,” said Locke. “That is how Lin has been operating. I’ve traced his associates, and been asking questions about his movements over the past days.” He frowned. “It wasn’t particularly easy. But a pattern emerged. Just as anyone begins to ask questions about Lin, they disappear. Or he turns them into his allies and has them accuse others for him.” Rambler flushed. “I dug in the meeting records,” continued Locke. “And I found a very curious slip from Lin. He suggested that he’d found Buffy suspicious.” “Buffy was suspicious,” Jóhannsson said. “Yes,” Locke nodded. “Or so you went on record as saying. But—Lin said previously that he believes those instrumental in discovering Stern were of the Light. He also believed that you were no Darkfriend.” “Can a man not change his views, Locke?” Lin drawled. “Perhaps,” Locke said. “But your views change so suddenly, Lin Mindrigurin. One might wonder if they were sincerely held—or adopted whenever convenient, in order to shift opinion the way you wanted it shifted.” The numbness enfolded him. He was only a shadow of what he’d once been. It would have to be good enough. Wyden advanced. Every form was a step, an attempt to reach Edler, an attempt to end the fight. The longer things dragged out, the more he feared for Locke, Rambler, and Jóhannsson. The Grapevine Twines met Dandelion in the Wind. Two Hares Leaping met the Hummingbird Kisses the Honeyrose. Tower of Morning flowed into Single Stone Standing, and parried The Kingfisher Takes a Silverback. He was a shadow of what he’d once been, and Edler made him pay for it in blood as Wyden advanced. But floating in the numbness, it did not matter. Wyden did not fear death. He’d died a long time ago. Kissing the Adder rammed into his side; Wyden twisted just slightly but the sword slid home, and something tore. Falling Embers scythed through Edler, and Wyden felt the resistance as sword met flesh and parted it without stopping. Edler fell, blood gushing from the large slash that Wyden’s blade had rent open. Wyden held on the numbness. The wound was not too bad, he thought. He could still function. There was pain, from where the sword had torn free. It did not matter. He was numb, now. “I’m sorry,” he said aloud, once more. He flicked the blood from his sword, and knelt down to close Edler’s staring eyes. He could hurt, once he was done. “The last embrace of the mother welcome you home.” But he still had one last fight to face. And perhaps then, he would have peace. Rambler stood up, drawing his knife. “Enough,” he spat. “He’s a Darkfriend. He mocks us with his presence. We should take him, now.” “I’m not the one you should be worried about, Rambler,” Lin Mindrigurin said, calmly. Sword still balanced on his knee, still smiling serenely. As though he was too damnably clever. As though he knew something that Rambler did not. “What do you mean?” Rambler demanded, warily. There was a gurgle. Rambler turned. Jóhannsson toppled to the ground like a sack of grain at the harvest, blood pouring from his throat. Locke stood there, a dagger gleaming wet with blood in his hand. “A Darkfriend?” Locke asked. “I think you’ve misplaced one in your count.” “Why?” Rambler wanted to know. He glanced about him, searching for a way out. Lin’s sword flashed free of its scabbard, and then he was on his knees, blood spilling out from his stomach. Locke shrugged. “Because the Great Lord demanded it,” he said. As though it was reason enough. “Light damn you,” Rambler spat. “Light damn you all, I trusted you, Light…Light…” But there was no Light here in Helgen, not now, not in this room. Instead, there was only Shadow. Kaim was there. Wyden staggered through the streets. He was losing blood at an alarming rate. And he was so very tired. Kaim regarded him, frowning. The fog, as it had on that first meeting, seemed to curl about him, seemed to embrace him. Kaim was wrong. Always had been. Maybe Wyden was wrong too. Maybe… He realised he was on the ground, bloodied fingers reaching out. “Why?” Wyden asked. It seemed to take a great effort. “Because the past never escapes us,” Kaim said, hunkering down. His eyes met Wyden’s. “Because no matter how you run, the wrongs you do…you have to pay up one day, to balance the scales.” “Did…Did I?” Was it enough, Wyden wanted to ask. Did I do enough? Would he ever be clean? “I think,” Kaim said, not unkindly, “All you have to do is want the Light, Wyden. And even if you can’t see the Light, all you have to do is to remember it was there, and that it will be there again one day.” “Can’t…remember…” “I told you I was here hunting a fugitive,” Kaim said. “Someone who had deserted, and betrayed an entire garrison.” Wyden managed a nod. “Go in peace, Wyden,” Kaim said. “As far as I’m concerned, that man is not the man before me right now.” He wanted that to be true. Wanted that so badly. He was in his room in the Tree again, looking out of the window, the morning sunlight on his face. He opened the shutters, and leaned out, reaching for it. Wanting it. The Light was there, then, and it was always and ever only Light. TJ/Jóhannsson was executed! He was a Village Elder! Matrim's Dice/Rambler was killed! He was a Villager! The Darkfriends have won! Congratulations to @Araris Valerian, @Bort, @Amanuensis, and @Orlok Tsubodai! (Araris seems to have insane luck with RNGesus, FYI. The Sacred Coin went his way without me needing to do a second cointoss for the 1v1.) All write-ups have been posted/edited in. I now may die in peace. Praise the Light. Docs, mastersheet, and player list to follow in second post. Please do not post until I have reserved it. Thank you.
Cycle Five - HoodWinked! *insert write-up here* Tani was eliminated. She was the Reckoner Ally Epic - Robbin' Hood! Ashbringer was killed. He was the Reckoner Ally Epic - Santa Klaus! STINK was attacked, but survived! Vote Count: Tani (4): Illwei, The Unknown Aon, Devotary of Spontaneity, Thaidakar the Ghostblood Devotary of Spontaneity (3): Araris Valerian, Ashbringer, Tani, Orlok Tsubodai Illwei (2): _Stick_, JNV Cycle 5 has begun and will end on February 20, at 22:30 IST [GMT + 05:30]. Please try to bold your votes, and give retractions in green. Player List:
The Setting You’ve followed Dalinar and his army to the lost city of Urithiru. With Alethi and other peoples arriving more and more every day, the city is becoming a rather bustling place, which is perfect for an agent such as yourself. What better way to subtly manipulate the decisions--especially with the Desolation nigh at hand? Unfortunately for you, you’re not the only one trying to control what’s going on. You’ve learned that there is another group working against your cause, and there are even rumors of a third group, undermining the other two. The Sons of Honor and the Ghostbloods have never gotten along, and now is no different. However, as people start disappearing from the city, you fear you might have to work together to solve the problem. Some of the disappearances are people you’ve never met and you think they might work for the other side, but others are people you know. Maybe the rumors are true. Maybe someone is trying to remove the other players in this politically manipulative game. Can you find them before they kill you too? The Teams There are three teams, spread between two factions. The members of each faction will not be publicly announced in the thread, but you will have an idea of who is on your team (more on that in a bit). Players’ alignments are not revealed upon death. Sons of Honor You’re a devout Vorin, and if you could go back to the times of old and bring the Hierocracy back, you would. In fact, you’re convinced that all you need to do is find the Voidbringers, because once they return, the Heralds will be back. And how can anyone deny Vorin dominance when their very gods are saving the people from the Desolation? Ghostbloods You’re a Ghostblood. Fascinated with the Desolations and the Parshendi, you’re not interested in causing another Desolation, and you certainly aren’t interested in another Hierocracy. You’d like nothing better than to stop the Everstorm and the Desolation from taking place, and you hope by being in Urithiru, you can have some effect in keeping it at bay. Diagrammists You believe in the Diagram written by King Taravangian. Devoted to bringing stability to Roshar, you’ve noticed that these two other groups, the Ghostbloods and the Sons of Honor, only seek to destabilize the political structures, making them easier to bend to their will. To stop them, you and a number of other Diagrammists have infiltrated the Ghostblood and Sons of Honor ranks, and you are intent to end their manipulations in Urithiru once and for all. You have one group kill per cycle and will have access to a Google Doc in which to conspire. The Roles To further your faction’s cause, you all have abilities that help you perform your tasks. Roles will be evenly distributed between the factions, and then randomly distributed among all faction members (including Diagrammists). Roles are not revealed upon death. Knight Radiants Amazingly, some of you have shown surgebinding potential and are well on your way to becoming Knight Radiants. With causes such as the ones you’re fighting for, you don’t expect to have any Radiants from Orders like the Windrunners, who rely far too much on honor, or the Skybreakers, who are driven by justice, which is something you tend to bend if it suits your purposes. However, not all the Orders are stuffy, and some of them are even pretty useful to your faction. Both factions have four Knight Radiants in their ranks, equally distributed between the factions. However, because there is only one Bondsmith in the game, the faction without the Bondsmith will get a random, fourth Radiant. Bondsmith - You’re all about uniting people under a common cause, and you believe your faction’s goals are the only way to bring about true unity in these trying times. You have access to the surges of Tension and Adhesion, but you can only use one per cycle. Tension - Each cycle, you can create a PM with one player. Send in your request to the GMs, who will set it up for you at the end of the cycle (accounting for any redirection and/or other blocking abilities). This PM can continue for as long as both participants are alive. Adhesion - Uniting people is what you do. Nothing brings you more joy than bringing two people together--particularly if those two people used to be enemies. You can choose two people each cycle, and on the following cycle, those two people must ultimately vote identically. The GM will PM the lucky two to tell them of this new, unbreakable (at least for a day) friendship. Edgedancer - You don’t care much for your faction's grand plans, but you figure that if you’re not there, the little details will get overlooked. Plus, you like putting your abilities to good use. You have access to the surges of Friction and Progression, but you can only use one per cycle. Progression - With the power of Regrowth, you like saving things, whether it’s making a nearly dead plant grow or healing an injured person. You can protect any player from one kill attempt each cycle, including lynch. However, you cannot save yourself. Friction - You’re so fast, you can sneak into someone’s private rooms, read all their messages, and get out before being seen. You can spy on all outgoing PM’s from one player per cycle. The recipient of the messages is not included. Lightweaver - A true artist, you’re less concerned about who wins and more concerned that such an historic time is documented. You’re still choosing to help out your faction, though, because what better way to make sure things stay interesting? You have access to the surges of Illumination and Transformation, but you can only use one per cycle. Illumination - redirect one random action from target to a different target Transformation - change a vote (including no vote) to another player Elsecaller - Some people might wonder why an Elsecaller, one of the more benevolent orders, is caught up in such schemes, but kindness is all based on perception, right? You believe your faction’s cause is what’s best for everyone, and you’ll do all you can to help people based on that belief. You have access to the surges of Transformation and Transportation, but you can only use one per cycle. Transformation - change the appearance (alignment and role) of a dead player for two cycles. Transportation - prevent any action on them that cycle--except lynches. (self-target) Other Professions Surgeon - You studied medicine in Kharbranth itself, learning at the best hospitals in the world. Your skills are second to none (although there are a few who are equally as good as you are). You can protect any player from one kill attempt per cycle, but you cannot protect yourself. Runner - Trained by one of the fastest messengers alive, you take pride in your speed of delivery. You’re among the fastest in Urithiru, making you a hot commodity. Each cycle, you can create a PM with one player. Send in your request to the GMs, who will set it up for you at the end of the cycle (accounting for any redirection and/or other blocking abilities). This PM can continue for as long as both participants are alive. Artifabrian - Although ardents are the only people allowed to use Soulcasting, it would, to say the very least, be rather naive to expect that rule to be strictly obeyed. As an artifabrian, you have engineered and experimented with a variety of fabrials in order to improve on your designs, some of which push the very boundaries of what is thought possible. Every cycle, you may pick a target. One random action that would affect the target comes to you instead. Ardent - As a member of the ardentia, you are a member of a key group in Alethi society. Being an ardent has its contradictions: while you are free from the customs and constraints governing each gender, your life is not your own; you are considered the property of a lighteyes, and are not permitted to own anything. More importantly, you have exclusive access to knowledge of Soulcasting and fabrials. Using this, you may change a vote (including no vote) to another player (or no one) each cycle. Cook - You learned your impressive culinary skills among the Horneaters, and you can cook a meal like these lowlanders haven’t ever tasted before. You know how to mask the most potent flavors in a dish, and occasionally, you’ve been known to use that skill for less-than-pleasant purposes. You’ve racked up quite the body count with some of your culinary surprises. Each cycle, you can attempt to kill any player. Veristitalian Scholar - For you, the past is never dead; it takes a clever mind to sift through the detritus to reconstruct history objectively--as things truly happened. Where historians seek to paint themselves in the most flattering light, you see yourself as a dispassionate seeker of the truth: for you know that in the past lies the answers to the future. Each cycle, you can research one of the dead to discover alignment and role. Explorer - You’ve been recruited by Dalinar to map out Urithiru. Spending your nights in the uninhabited regions of the lost city, you don’t see much other than your maps, and no one sees you either, until you surface in the morning. Every other cycle, you can prevent any and all actions targeting you, including lynches, from affecting you. Assassin - You’re a master assassin, and you have many skills at your disposal. You’re invisible when you want to be, you have a knack for learning the information you need to get into inaccessible places, and you see things others tend to miss. Unfortunately for you, your assassin services aren’t needed as much here in Urithiru, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use your other skills. You can watch a player any cycle, learning the identity of one random player who targeted them (regardless of whether the action succeeded or not) The Positions Every well-established group has a command structure. The Sons of Honor and Ghostbloods are no different. While not every member knows who all the others are, each one knows someone, and a few have even more knowledge. Positions are assigned randomly, with no distinction between loyal members of the faction and the Diagrammists. Thaidakar (Ghostbloods) and Restares (Sons of Honor) - You are the leader of your group. You know the identity of every member and the position they hold within. Commander - You report directly to your leader. As such, you know his identity. You also know the identities of the people who report to you. This is only a fraction of the members in the group though, as there are multiple Commanders. Captain - Reporting to the Commander, you know his identity but haven’t a clue who the leader is. That’s okay, though. You have enough responsibility as it is. You know the identities of a fraction of the Regular members. Regular - You’re just a regular member of the group, but that doesn’t mean you don’t get to have fun. You’re just as important as the others, except that you don’t quite know who’s on your side. You only know the identity of your Captain. Win Conditions Primary Win Condition Sons of Honor and Ghostbloods: Kill the Diagrammists Diagrammists: Kill everyone else. Secondary Win Condition Sons of Honor or Ghostbloods need to kill the other faction’s KRs. Each faction has four (only four Orders are in the game, but there is only one Bondsmith; the faction without the Bondsmith gets a random additional KR). The faction with the most KR’s alive if/when all Diagrammists are dead wins. The other loses. If both factions have an equal number of Radiants alive or all Radiants are dead, they tie and win together. Alternate Win Condition If an equal number of each team (Sons of Honor, Ghostbloods, and Diagrammists) is alive at any point in the game and the Bondsmith is still alive, the remaining players win together, united in one cause by the Bondsmith. All the dead players lose. Micellaneous Points of Order GMs: Wilson and Kasimir Order of Actions: Transportation/Explorer, Illumination/Artifabrian Assassin (starts watching) Progression/Surgeon, Tension/Runner, EC Transformation LW Transformation/Ardent, Friction, Adhesion Scholar Diagrammist kills, Cook Lynch Rollover Time: 9am MST/midnight SGT (4pm GMT) Number of Players/Role Distribution: In order for all roles to be in the game, there will need to be at least 26 players. This game can run on less, but not all the roles will be included, and we will not tell you which roles are not in the game. If there are more than 26 players, fantastic! Quick Links: