Wyrmhero

quest
Chromaticity: A Warbreaker Quest

117 posts in this topic

Keeping that in mind, if we want @DrakeMarshmallow's idea to work (why not, it's a CYOA RP, right? :P ) my sense is that it might very well be worth a shot. Go big or go home. Buuut to do that, we'd need a lot of factors to align, or that we'd have to aim for. I don't know if we'd succeed in them all right away. I fully admit this is from a guess about Wyrm's GMing tendencies :P

1. How much about BioChromatic Breath does Songbearer know?

We need him to be able to understand what the Fifth Heightening does, if there's any loss or fractional loss of breath. It might also help if Songbearer is aware of any precedent. Basically, we need him to be reasonably familiar with the mechanics of Breath and to not be a tabula rasa. He's studied some Breath, certainly. Might need a bit more. Might not.

2. Support from his Priesthood

We need his priests to be playing the same game as him. I could be wrong ( @Wyrmhero, is this information we can ask after?) but my sense is we might have gotten a slightly lukewarm to vaguely positive about us sort of priesthood. Too early to do anything significant. Well, we have to win them over. As Drake mentioned, strong disincentives yes, but the Breath has to be held in an honest Priest in the meanwhile (even if only to retrieve Breath stored in an object), which means one of Songbearer's own. We need there to be no or minimal embezzlement, we need his Priests to be okay and comfortable with this and not about to backstab Songbearer in horror because w00ts idealists.

3. Wealth

In Warbreaker, they talk about how the people who give their Breath to sustain the gods are well-compensated. While SB isn't insolvent, I bet he's probably not got the treasury it takes to collect two thousand breaths (though we might have more if we raided our priests or Awakeners, but that would cost us, I think, in support.) The question then is how we're going to drum up the funding to do this.

4. Politics

Songbearer especially cannot afford to be ill-regarded by the Court of the Gods or to have influential enemies. There's nothing worse than political opponents realising the reclusive new guy is building up on...power. That breeds paranoia, and not all the moves made against SB may be overt. (Yes, he can talk about using it for good stuff...but who's that naive, right? Lmao.) The more Songbearer burnishes his reputation, of course, the more people might buy that. But conversely, it's great to have political allies who might also fund or support or extend such programmes of Breath loans, for instance. Basically, we have to pay attention to SB's political context because if we don't, Wyrm won't shield us from the politics regarding us with extreme disfavour - and potential bad consequences.

We need a good policy with the Breaths, that's true. But we'll also need to cover the groundwork over several actions, more or less, or we probably won't even get to implement these successfully.

Edited by Kasimir
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6 hours ago, Kasimir said:

Keeping that in mind, if we want @DrakeMarshmallow's idea to work (why not, it's a CYOA RP, right? :P ) my sense is that it might very well be worth a shot. Go big or go home. Buuut to do that, we'd need a lot of factors to align, or that we'd have to aim for. I don't know if we'd succeed in them all right away. I fully admit this is from a guess about Wyrm's GMing tendencies :P

As Kas will know well by now, but people who haven't played my games before might not be so aware of, I generally try not to say 'no' to anything a player wants to do, unless of course it directly contradicts game rules. I prefer to ask 'how?', as in, 'how are you going to try to do this?'. Though that's useful in general, as more detail in how you want Songbearer to act or carry out his actions is always useful, in this case it's more a question of your long-term strategy.

This would be a big societal change, and as has been noted, Songbearer is a new god, and not too influential yet. At this point, big changes should be done more gradually, and politicking will be important in convincing other people to let you make use of their power and influence to make up for your own new-ness to the world. Something big like this wouldn't be impossible at all, but would be hard, and need to be navigated rather than just trying to ramp up to maximum change immediately. I should warn you though that the wider plot might interfere at some point with your goals (not intentionally on my part - I don't want to deliberately frustrate you guys or put barriers in your path for the sake of it), but I always encourage players in this kind of game to pursue what they want. It's a goal to aim for, right? :P

And to answer Kas' direct question, you feel the Priests are cautiously optimistic about you. Your time spent with Hera has won her over a bit, so the priests that follow her are also endeared to you more than they were at first. They aren't exactly for you, as they haven't known you long at all, but they're definitely not against you in your day-to-day life. You'd get the feeling though that it's too early to lean on them for favours beyond what they'd normally do for a Returned, though.

Edited by Wyrmhero
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For the Tarachin, I'd suggest gods we haven't yet interacted with. Might be good to sound/feel them out. Neutral otherwise. 

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Week 2, Day 2: A Game of Throws

Your dreams are troubled, a whirling mass of formless questions and cryptic answers. They flicker in and out of existence, living for just a brief moment before vanishing in puffs of brightly coloured smoke. Was that the right decision? Can you live with it? All this power, this incredible, miraculous power, and you did nothing with it. You left it idle, and decided none of them were worthy to receive your final blessing. Harsh words, perhaps, but they haunt you in the night, and cause your sleep to be restless.

Hera seems to take pity on you the following morning, seeing how tired you are, and doesn’t rush things. You are handed a warm drink, dark and somewhat bitter, and are surprised to find that it helps quite a bit. She waits patiently until you are prepared for the day as best you can be after a sleepless night, then takes you to the gallery for this week’s offerings.

Your songs have clearly been distributed throughout the city by now, as a few more offerings this time are in some kind of musical or lyrical form, though not all are sung. Most are poor quality, however, the musicians clearly throwing something together quickly to try and make use of your apparent affinity. Their technical skills are perfect, you know that, but there’s more to music than simply hitting the correct notes perfectly.

The first offering that truly stands out is not a song, however, but a limerick. The man reciting it is animated as he tells it, performing the actions along with his words with no shame for them nor what he says. It catches you off-guard, and you can’t help but laugh. Hera, for her part, looks scandalised by the subject matter, but tries very hard not to let it show.

The second is another sculpture. Perhaps they heard of your pick the previous week, or perhaps it is even the same person commissioning it. Even if it is simply an offering someone wished to make, it still catches your eye for the detail and colour applied to the stonework. The sculpture depicts yourself, with a book in your hand as you walk between the tall stacks of a library. The book is ornate, gold leaf providing the ghost of lettering on the front and spine, though it is a representation of books in general rather than a specific book. It seems your researching has become known to a few people.

The third surprises you; it is a pair of little doll-like figures made of cloth and stuffed with straw, both of which have a BioChromatic aura (though on closer inspection, they are in fact one doll, joined at the hands). They waltz before you to unheard music, keeping to a perfect time and with perfect balance over the tiled floor. You can almost hear the tune they dance to, anticipating their moves as the imaginary music reaches its highs and lows. But there is a sadness, as you realise how many people must have become Drab just for this one moment.

You make your decision, and then turn to Hera. Yesterday’s judgments are still playing through in your mind, so you ask for three things – Books relating to economics and health, books on Tarachin, and an invite to be sent out to the other gods.

 


 

Auguries

As a Returned, part of your job is to select impressive artworks, using your enhanced capability to detect colour hues, vocal tones and all the other aspects of BioChroma that your Divine Breath gives you. Regardless of how or what you pick, it will then be intensely scrutinised by philosophers (who apparently have nothing better to do than guess at why you chose something instead of just asking you for your reasoning) to determine what it means for the future.

Each Augury you can choose between has a hidden stat boost associated with it, which may or may not be obvious from the description. This boost will last until the next time you need to choose an Augury. Note that the stat may not suit any roll at all for the period, depending on choices and paths taken. Auguries will be chosen every five days in-game, though if we skip an Augury choice the previous one will continue to apply.

[X] The limerick

[X] The Scholar God

[X] The waltzing dolls

 


 

Tarachin is a game of strength, skill, deception, knowledge and, above all, extreme extravagance.

It truly is a game for the gods, and the gods alone. As you make your way to the balcony, the entire courtyard below you has been transformed into a playing field, with stakes driven into the ground and ropes used to divide it into sections. After you finish playing, it will be disassembled again as though it was never there. Many of your priests and other gods’ priests stand at the sides of the field, ready to keep score.

But it’s not just the sheer lengths that one has to go to in order to play it that marks it as a god’s game.

The balls that you will throw are extremely heavy, made of a dense wood designed to not bounce, and it would be practically impossible for a normal human to get enough distance with them, and certainly they could very possibly injure themselves in trying to do so.

The rules are lengthy and convoluted, and it took you much of the morning to memorise them as best you could, though no doubt there are rules you will be surprised by even still. The game requires a mind for strategy, as it’s not as simply by any means as ‘pick up a ball and throw it as hard as you can’. No, certainly the distance matters, but it’s not at all the only thing that does.

Certain sections of the field are worth more points than others, with some high-scoring areas surrounded by low scoring areas and making it a risk to attempt them. Certain balls interact with others in certain ways, which means that devising a strategy before the game begins can be as important as the actual playing. But at the same time, your opponents could take elements of that strategy away from you with their own, meaning that it could all come crashing down around you if your opponent figured out what you were doing. But was it even right to interfere with one opponent's strategy, when it was traditionally played with multiple opponents? You could simply be hurting yourself and one opponent to the benefit of your others.

One of the books you read went heavily into the ‘metagame’ of Tarachin, developed by the gods over many, many years, and how it had evolved through layers of strategy and deception until it was almost unrecognisable at this point from the game it started as. One recent figure, Lightsong the Bold, was talked about in great length for his effortless skill and ability to deceive the other players in his strategies, and it seemed he was a major part of this evolution in the past decade. You only hoped you had picked up half his strategies by now.

Though honestly, it is debateable whether it would be good for you to win. There are, you believe, two ways to be liked for sports such as this; either achieve a modest victory that allows others to feel challenged but not hopeless, or to be endearingly, amusingly bad without simply playing badly. You will try for the former, but wouldn’t be surprised at this point if it ends up the latter.

“It’s your throw, Songbearer,” one of the priests in the balcony says to you.

You nod and get up, placing your drink on the table, and look out at the field, judging your opponents’ strategies against your own. Your strategy currently remains intact, though only barely, and it feels as though you and Coinspender will be clashing quite soon. Perhaps it would be best to change track before that happened.

You select a red ball from the rack, and step up to the balcony again. Judging your aim, and thinking over your new strategy once more, you throw the ball across the field. It lands about halfway, and your priest at the side runs over with a measure, notepad and pen, and starts checking. He then jots it down and heads over to the balcony, giving the number to the announcer, who then announces, “Two hundred and fifty six!”

“You could have done better,” Coinspender says lightly, “if you’d gone for the blue and thrown a bit further.”

You look over to him. You’re not quite sure about him. Perhaps he realises there’s no point complaining about the one you did vote for, as he lost that vote quite badly. Particularly as Brightweave is one of your other guests today.

“Perhaps this turn,” you agree, “But what about next? If I have judged your strategy right, we’ll both want a green next turn, and as I am going after you, that seems like a losing strategy.”

He chuckles and raises his glass of wine in a lazily salute. “Quite right. Cut your losses while you can. No point throwing good money after bad.”

You’re not sure if you like his praise, but for now you ignore it and sit down again, picking up your own glass. You take a sip of the cool liquid, and consider your next few moves. It’s a bit of a reactionary strategy, but you have little choice in the matter.

Fatespinner, of course, seems to have leapt at the chance to play a game with the new god, but despite her immediate reply to the game, she’s far less impulsive during the actual play. She stands now, smoothing her dress down as she approaches the balcony. You’re unsure whether the slow movement is because she’s thinking about the game so carefully, or to draw attention.

“I must admit, I was disappointed by your abstaining on a few of those votes,” Coinspender says lightly. “Though I suppose I can understand it. A new god, you don’t want to upset anyone, so it seems like a safe thing to do. You can’t abstain forever, though. Eventually, you have to take a side.”

“I probably would have voted against yours, and for Firesoul’s, in that case,” you say fairly bluntly. “You may not wish for me to take a side.”

“Bah,” Coinspender says. “I am a pragmatist, and you seem like a logical god. I can convince you of the worth of my proposals, I am sure of it. The others… Firesoul’s heart is in the right place, but she’s always been too kind for these decisions. She doesn’t realise that the dockworkers can’t be protected if there’s no dock for them to work at because she’s driven all the merchants out of the city by cutting their margins so thin.”

“I don’t see anything wrong with wanting people to be hurt less,” you say.

“And I understand that,” Coinspender says, “but, like most things, emotional desires such as that must be tempered with pragmatism. We are gods, we’re used to getting our own way, but that doesn’t work in the real world, outside the Court. We need to think of things from the perspective of the people, not us. If we take extreme positions all the time because we want it, and because we see an ‘obvious’ conclusion to take them to, we will see the people become disgruntled.”

“So you’re taking a longer view on the matter?” you ask. “That doesn’t help the people hurt now. It seems as though you only care about the profits they make.”

“Profit leads to higher standards of living,” Coinspender replies easily. “It’s the only way to grow this city in size and the comfort its people can afford. You seem to think I’m a selfish person, Songbearer,” he frowns. “I assure you, I am not. I just have a different perspective than most. I’d like to believe you’ll give me a chance to prove that, instead of just assuming me to be ‘bad’ because you’ve been told I am. Like your recent proposal – Convince me that it’s good for the city long-term, even after Firesoul’s one passed, and that it will help the city grow. Then I might vote for it. Treat this with the dignity and scrutiny it deserves, instead of just hoping for bleeding hearts agreeing with you.”

“I’m still fully developing the specifics,” you say, lightly. “But I’m sure I will be able to talk you round when it gets to the Council, if not before.”

Fatespinner finally takes a ball from the rack, and you grimace. There goes your second strategy.

She notices this, and smiles brightly at you as she hefts the ball in her arms. “You aren’t very subtle, Songbearer,” she says in a teasing manner, before throwing it. It’s a different throw than you were going to go for, but that’s just the difference in your strategies showing. The announcer gives her score, another consistently high result, and she sits down.

“I don’t know that any of us are especially subtle, even in this bright city,” Brightweave says, with a wry smile. Your third and final opponent today surprises you; you expected Kindsmile or Quickfell to agree, but they both declined, as did Lawmaker and Firesoul, and the ‘older’ Returned that reminds you of a grandfather accepted. He isn’t particularly good at the game, but he doesn’t seem to mind too much. “That’s the point of being a god, no?”

He gets up and selects a ball. Despite his apparent lack of long-term strategy, he carefully selects a ball from the rack and steps up. He throws it, and it comes to ground beside another of his from earlier.

“Three hundred and twenty-six!” the announcer declares. A good scoring single-shot from Brightweave, but against a longer strategy it was not going to win him the game. At least it was better than some of his other throws.

“Well, I suppose it’s right, that we aren’t subtle,” Coinspender allows, returning to the conversation again as he drags himself up from the recliner he was using with a sigh. “We are Returned; we are meant to be visible. To be leaders, even. Though there’s often cause for subtlety, I feel, and we shouldn’t simply discount that.” He finishes his glass and hands it to a servant, who immediately goes to refill it with more of the sweet-smelling alcohol.

He does indeed select the last green ball from the rack, and steps back. You can see his strategy now, and you know he needs distance on this one. The further he throws it, the more points he gets, enhanced by his previous throws. He hurls it forward, and then swears.

“Out-of-bounds!” the announcer declares, as it comes to a rest. Coinspender huffs and sits down, almost petulantly. He picks up his glass and drains it, glaring a little at Fatespinner. She shrugs, as if uncaring, but can’t keep the smile off her face.

“I may be the Goddess of Fortune,” she says, “but I’d hardly cheat, would I? Hmm, though you wouldn’t believe me on that, I suppose, when you would if you could…”

You step up and select another red, this time placing your last ball of the game in the section ahead of the previous red one.

“Perfectly placed,” Fatespinner comments, as you sit down. “And impressive that you changed your strategy so quickly, considering your first two didn’t work out.”

You smile at the compliments. “Thank you,” you say. “I spent a while thinking about this earlier.”

“Oh, not another one who researches this bloody game…” Coinspender grumbles. “At least Brightweave’s bad at it.” Brightweave had admitted to doing the same thing earlier today when invited.

“I have to agree,” Fatespinner says, as she stands up. “A strategy should be developed by the player, not by other players you’ve read about. All that leads to is paralysis when it doesn’t work perfectly, I’ve seen it in so many players. They think they’re an expert because they know what good players do, without realising that a good player is a good player because they develop their own strategies during the game, rather than treating them as static.” She shakes her head and selects a ball. “I suppose at least you’re better than people just repeating strategies without understanding them.”

“Thank you, I think,” you reply dryly.

Fatespinner throws, and the ball collides with one of Brightweave’s at an angle, coming to a stop just outside of the section she was aiming at. She looks at him oddly as she sits down.

“It’s been there all game,” Brightweave points out, “it was hardly a surprise it was there.”

“I suppose so…” she says, hesitantly, frowning. “Well, this is the problem with games where physical skill matters as well as mental alacrity. Things don’t always go well.”

Brightweave stands and selects the final ball from the rack, an orange one. He takes aim, and throws.

“S-six hundred and three!” the announcer says, before rattling off the final scores. Brightweave first, yourself second, Fatespinner third thanks to that poor final throw, and finally Coinspender last.

Brightweave sits down again, and spreads his hands and smiles as he sees the others stare at him. “Perhaps there is at least one Returned who is more subtle,” he says.

“How?” Coinspender demands, as he finishes processing the final scores.

Fatespinner sighs. “I feel hustled,” she says, as she lies back on the chair. “Your ‘bad’ throws set the final one up, and you made up the rest with relatively high-scoring individual throws which also helped to cover up the others. Well played.”

“That won’t work again,” Coinspender says, clearly quite frustrated. He probably thought he was at least salvaging some of his dignity by not coming last.

“No, it won’t,” you agree. “It only worked because none of us expected it from you.”

“That’s a rather cruel thing to say,” Brightweave replies, and you wince. Perhaps it was unfair to take the amiable, grandfatherly figure and assume he wasn’t particularly cunning. “But I suppose it’s true. I made use of that lack of expectation. I haven’t been invited to a game before, so I play with my priests instead, throwing for them but letting them devise their own strategies against me. So despite my lack of experience against other gods, I’ve played quite a bit.”

“Fine. We’ll play again another day,” Coinspender says, gritting his teeth. “And this time, we’ll be ready.” He storms out.

Fatespinner smirks as she follows his departure. “He really feels played for a fool, doesn’t he? Well, so do I, but at least I bear it with grace,” she says, standing up. “I bid you both good day, and unless I see you before then, I shall see you at the Council. I’ve heard there are some quite interesting proposals, in light of last week.” She smiles, and gives a slight bow, and then she leaves.

“I shall be returning to my home too,” Brightweave says. “Thank you for the invite, though I will caution you choose your words with a little more tact.”

“I apologise,” you say, looking down a bit in chastisement.

“I’ve heard worse from the children I entertain,” he says lightly. “Though being compared with them is, perhaps, not where you want to be. You took a strong line against Coinspender as well, earlier. As you can see, as much as he claims to be pragmatic, he is a prideful god. If you hoped to win him over to your proposal, I’m afraid that was the wrong way to go about it. You need to… entertain his ideas, at least. Though, I suppose you don’t need him to pass it, if the others agree.”

“It would be good to get him to agree with it,” you say. “If only because I feel he’ll be the main person disagreeing with it.”

“Certainly, he would be a strong ally in the Council, though it may alienate others depending on how you get him on your side. In any case, Songbearer, I must be going now, as I have other engagements. Thank you for the invite.” He shakes your hand, and heads off. You are left alone on the balcony, watching the servants return your courtyard to its previous, unblemished state.

 


 

 

Free Time

What will you do tomorrow? Select two.

[X] Visit Quickfell the Digilent [Charm]

[X] Visit Fatespinner the Fortunate [Charm]

[X] Visit Brightweave the Creative [Charm]

[X] Visit Firesoul the Merciful [Charm]

[X] Visit Coinspender the Generous [Charm]

[X] Visit Kindsmile the Cordial [Charm]

[X] Visit Lawmaker the Honest [Charm]

[X] Ride through the city

[X] You may suggest others not on this list

 


 

I suggested the title as a joke to Kas, and then was talked into it, so you know who is really to blame here for it >>.

 

Results

 

Action 1: Study for Dockworker Health Insurance Proposal

You briefly study up on dockworker injury rates, studies done on productivity and economics, and feel you have a better grasp on your proposal and will be able to articulate it better.

 

Action 2: Play a game of Tarachin [Charm]

You play the game of Tarachin with Fatespinner, Brightweave and Coinspender. You divided your attention among each of them, and while you know them a bit better now, you managed to frustrate Coinspender and mildly insulted Brightweave by accident.

While not a check on the effects of the game, I tested your Physique, Charm and Wits against them to see how well you would do, and while Brightweave beat you on Charm and Wits, and thus blindsided you with his strategy, you played well and achieved a good second place.

Charm Roll: 2d6 - 1 = 5, Fail

 

Augury

Your previous augury is no longer in effect. Your choice today will instead be in effect for all choices until the next one is chosen.

Edited by Wyrmhero
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Another great write-up, Wyrm'alor, though I don't really know how you managed the Tarachin, nor how we flubbed our roll :P We're about as charming as a Hutt's rear end, it seems.

Will think about the rest. Don't suppose we can send Brightweave the Creative a fruit basket an apology with a priest performing a limerick for them? This should get both Brightweave and our priests upset with us :P j/k

I favour the limerick for the augury. Just because it seems fun. Guess Hera will have to keep on being scandalised by us :P 

[X] The limerick

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Another entertaining chapter :)

It is a rather large pity that Songbearer stepped on Brightweave's and Coinspender's toes, but alas. We had been rolling well for a while there, it was hardly going to last forever.

 

The limerick seems fun. Maybe a way to strike a balance being seen as spiritual but also still down-to-earth and not too stuffy. I could definitely get behind that.

The statue stands for scholarship which is something we want to lean into, but I confess I have some reservations about Songbearer choosing a statue of himself :P

But I really like the [x] dancing dolls, for some reason. Maybe partially because that just sounds like an amazingly intricate and artful work of awakening, to command dolls to dance perfectly in time to an unseen rhythm. You need to create a song to dance to, and create dolls to dance, and perform an incredibly complex awakening on them, which is a remarkable degree of effort. Maybe it is also because Songbearer is dwelling on the sacrifice of breaths to the Returned, and choosing this work to preserve is maybe a way to honor that.

 

Given the time, I would want to make amends to both Coinspender and Brightweave, ride through the city and actually talk to people, and do more scholarship about the Returned to master the innate abilities of the Returned. But since there is only so much time in a day, the ones I would favor:

[x] Visit Coinspender because he is the one we most gravely offended, and I would rather put in the effort to avoid having enemies (yeah, you can't have everyone agree with you, and we certainly don't agree with Coinspender about everything, but being enemies and disagreeing are two entirely different things, and I suspect Coinspender actually gets that). The way I see it, visiting him will either let us find common ground like I was kind of hoping for, or solidify Coinspender as one of Songbearer's enemies, and I would kind of prefer to just cut to one or the other. As things stand, inaction will most likely result in Coinspender eventually ending up being opposed to us, so it's not like there is much to lose in trying to make amends.

[x] Ride through the city because I don't want to keep putting off actually talking to the people we are kind of ruling over.

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[X] The limerick

I like the dolls, but I don't want for Songbearer to receive more gifts that need lots of breaths to function. I think we should focus on interaction, on art that has something to do with humans, and the limerick is perfect for that.

[x] Visit Coinspender

I agree, that we should try to rescue what we can. I doubt, that we will ever be good friends with Coinspender, but maybe we can forge a relationship based on respect. Even if we don't agree, "respected opponent" would be preferable to "hated enemy"

[x] Ride through the city 

We should finally leave our palace. Maybe we can visit a school, or a hospital. Something that helps our evolving image as a scholar, and prerably someone who helps.

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So, fun fact I discovered while trawling through WoBs during my lunch break - Nalthis has a seven day week, not a five day week. I have no idea why I thought it was five (I guess it makes sense? Five is a powerful number on Nalthis...), but I was completely wrong about it. Thankfully, I caught it early enough that it's an easy fix, though it does mean you guys have more time than I at-first intended, so I might force a few events on you instead ;)

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Week 2, Day 3: The Merchant

 

It is with some trepidation that you arrive at Coinspender’s mansion, to meet him properly without any of your other peers there as well. His palace is just as opulent as yours and Quickfell’s, though more gaudy – Coinspender’s colours of silver and gold shine brightly in the sun, threatening to blind with the reflection. Though perhaps that would be a kindness.

You are ushered in by a man that would look more like an accountant than a priest, if it weren’t for his garish robes. The insides of the palace is decorated with paintings on the wall, none of which is particularly impressive but all technically perfect to your enhanced chromatic senses. There’s something slightly off to them though. It takes you a moment to realise it’s because they’re meaningless; intended as decoration, rather than having the artist’s soul poured into them to represent something. You wouldn’t be surprised if these weren’t unique, and the artist had produced multiple of them from a template, to be consumed by the masses. Somehow, it seems to fit Coinspender.

The god himself is reclining on a chair, a bowl of grapes and a glass of orange wine on the table beside him, but he doesn’t seem to particularly be relaxing. Instead, he rifles through a set of papers on his stomach, which you can barely make out are full of numbers and text.

You are announced by his priest, and he looks over. “Ah, Songbearer…” he says, heaving himself up to sitting, and dropping the papers on the table, face-down. “I am surprised by this visit, I must admit.” He gestures to a seat, which you take. “Some more refreshments,” he commands to the priest, who bows and disappears.

“You said you wanted to prove to me that you’re not selfish,” you reply. “Avoiding you because we had a… discussion… would hardly be productive, would he?”

He chuckles and takes a sip of his wine. “Well, quite… I knew you’d see reason about it. You might be something of a bleeding-heart, but perhaps that’s tempered by pragmatism… That’s my hope, at least.”

“I don’t see that there’s anything bad about that,” you reply with a frown. A glass is placed before you, and a selection of differently coloured bottles offered to you. You are dislodged from your thoughts for a minute as you consider them, and select a bright red one. “What’s the point of any of this if we aren’t improving peoples’ lives?”

“Yes, yes, I know,” Coinspender says, sighing as he waves it away and takes another sip of his vibrant wine. “But there are ways, you see, and there are ways. We can hardly help people if the country is bankrupted due to short-sightedness, can we?”

“So you’ll turn a blind eye to suffering now, if there’s less in the future?”

Coinspender sighs, exasperated. “Did I say that, Songbearer? No, not at all. I am pragmatic about it. Certain things provide a good return on investment, but most of the low-hanging fruit is taken. Take, for example, the amount of physical labour in the city. You could argue that the Lifeless reduce the amount of labour we need to do, in and could even eliminate it. Lifeless are subservient, untiring slaves, they can hardly decline any work you give them, and with some minor maintenance they would last for years. One could even sell one’s body after death, as a small inheritance to the family,” he says, chuckling a little.

“And you might think that’s a good thing, if we no longer had to do any manual labour. But,” he continues, “If we put even more to work, well… There wouldn’t be any unskilled jobs available, would there? As much as the poor might grumble about their work, they do it anyway. There’s not a man among the dockworkers wouldn’t be there if they didn’t have to be. So, if you take away their livelihood, what are we left with? A starving family, and a restless, angry man. The most dangerous kind of person, one might say, and considering we’ve already had one rebellion in recent history…”

“But in the mean time, people are still suffering now,” you point out. “It’s all very well to say that in the long run, there might be a better method, but can’t let ‘perfect’ be the enemy of ‘good’, or we’ll never get anything done.”

Coinspender considers his glass, and places it on the table. “Have you been into the city yet, Songbearer?”

“What?” His change in topic throws you a bit. “Oh, no. Not properly, not yet. I’ve meant to, but… it’s hard to find the time.”

Coinspender lets out an undignified snort. “Time. What do we have but time?” he sighs and pushes himself up, standing up from his chair. “Well, I think now would be a good time to do so, I think.”

 


 

You and Coinspender make your way into the city by carriage, a priest each at the front, directing it. The trip is silent, though not quite awkward. Coinspender spends much of the time resting his hand on his hand, leaning against the side with his elbow.

Eventually, as you make your way to the slums, you decide to approach a conversation. “Have you read Quickfell’s bill?” you ask. “He’s proposed to ban carriages on market day, to help encourage it to expand.” It takes your mind off the mind-numbingly dull and dark buildings, and the quiet desperation and despair that seems to infuse the dilapidated slums around you. Even to your enhanced colour recognition, your surroundings are uninspiring and depressing, a mix of greys and browns that easily displays the difference in wealth, pride and joy between here and the bright parts of the city that you are more used to.

“I have, yes,” Coinspender nods a little. “I can’t see any major issues with that being approved. Really, we shouldn’t even need to vote on it, but I think they love giving us these meaningless, agreeable decisions sometimes. Lets us vote unanimously, so we don’t get too frustrated with one-another. Certainly know we need it…”

“So you see it all as pointless?”

“That’s a strong word for it, but I suppose so…” He shrugs. “The world continues whether we want it to or not. People don’t really need us, as much as they think they do. Any important decisions are carried out by the truly important people.”

“The God-King?”

Coinspender snorts at this, rather undignified. “He’s a figure-head too, you realise. The Priests make all the decisions, do all the organising, make all the laws that keep the world gently rolling along… They’re the ones with real power.”

“You’re beginning to sound like Kindsmile,” you comment. “A little paranoid.”

“Some of what he says makes sense,” he replies. “It’s healthy to be a little paranoid, particularly when you live the lifestyle we do. People always want something… Nothing is free, and they certainly wouldn’t entertain us unless they got something out of it too.”

You shake your head, and then are jolted a little as the carriage comes to a sudden halt. “Is there a reason we’ve stopped?”

Coinspender scowls. “There’s someone in the way.” You wonder for a moment how he can tell, but then you realise. Paying attention to your Life Sense, there are three people in front of the carriage – Two priests, and a third person. “A beggar, most likely.” He shifts and reaches up to open the viewing slot between drivers and passengers. “Just keep going,” he instructs. “They’ll have to move out the way of the horses.”

“No, don’t,” you interrupt, earning a glare from Coinspender as you override him. “Please…” You open the door, and a filthy man scrambles there, prostrating himself before you with as much fervour as any petitioner ever did.

“Your Graces,” he says, “Divine Ones, most holy Returned…”

“Yes, yes, get on with it,” Coinspender grumbles. “Then leave us in peace.”

The man stammers a little, and you try and offer him a gentle smile. He seems to draw himself up a little, though deflates again as he tries to begin again. “I… I don’t ask much… Just some money so I can eat… Please, Your Graces, I have been a devout follower-”

“Songbearer didn’t even exist before two weeks ago, you can hardly be a devout follower of him,” Coinspender cuts him off. “Your pitch is just that you want money, say that and be done. Don’t waste our time with meaningless deference.”

“I-I’m sorry, Your Graces…”

“Good. Now be gone with you.”

“No, wait…” You say, frowning. You go to address your Priest, who has now stepped down to keep an eye on what is happening, but realise you don’t know his name. You sidestep the issue and address him directly. “See to it that this man is taken care of, for a while. Get him a bath, some new clothes, good food and a bed.”

“Your Grace?” he asks, a bit startled.

“I’m sure Coinspender’s priests can attend to my needs, thank you. We will return to his mansion soon, I imagine.”

“As you wish, Your Grace…” he nods.

“Oh, thank you, Your Grace,” the man says, still prostrate. “Thank you…”

Coinspender grimaces and closes the door. The priest indicates to the beggar that he should follow, and they head off into the centre of town.

“Bleeding heart,” Coinspender mutters. He bangs on the wall behind him. “Drive!” The carriage sets off again, heading back towards the Court.

“I could hardly do nothing while he needed help,” you say, frowning. “You might be able to idly stand by, but I couldn’t.”

“I don’t help people who don’t help themselves,” he says.

“I don’t think he could help himself,” you say. “Sometimes people need some help to get to that stage. I hardly think that’s a fault against him.”

“Your heart is in the right place, but I’m not so sure about your brain,” he sighs. You scowl at the insult, but say nothing. “Think. I could sense him. What does that mean, Songbearer?”

“I’m not sure what that means, exactly…” you say, before it registers properly. “He had a Breath? So…?”

“So, he had the ability to pull himself out of that situation,” Coinspender explains. Realisation slowly dawns on you as to his point, the economics of Breath not being something you had focused on in your recent education. “A Breath would pay for a solid foundation that he could use to repair his life, if only he could swallow his pride. Why, I…” he trails off, and then shakes his head.

“I don’t know that I could do that, even if my situation were that bad,” you honestly say. “With all I’ve read about it how it affects people, not having any Breath, it could just be a temporary solution with long-term effects.”

“That is why you don’t do it for something as basic as food or shelter, but to build something of it,” Coinspender says. Then he sighs. “I understand why you did it, I suppose. I do the same with my loans, if I believe it to be a cause worth investing in. There are certainly worse things you could have done. You could have given him money, but this has the potential for some longevity, at least.”

You nod a little. “It seemed the best way to help treat the cause, rather than the symptoms.”

He gives a short laugh. “You sound like Firesoul…” he says, quietly. “Prevention is better than cure, as she always says. Not that I disagree, but I feel your method is ultimately naïve. Your problem is, I think, that you believe any cost is worth bearing to help someone, that a life is priceless. It isn't, and some are worth more than others," he adds, ignoring your frown. "You can’t change society one person at a time, and you can’t rush a permanent change. Change needs to be gradual, and targeted at the most effective individuals, or else you'll do more harm than good.”

You fall silent as you return to Coinspender’s home, thinking about his words and the events of the day.

“You are a curious God,” Coinspender says, as he steps down from the carriage. “You clearly want to win me over to your way of thinking, or else you wouldn’t be here today after our last talk … I will say that you should stop; you will not convince me of sacrificing long-term profits for short-term gains, so to speak. However,” he adds, before you can say anything, “that does not mean I am not amenable to certain causes, if I feel they align with my philosophy.”

“So what about my current proposal?” you ask.

Coinspender considers his reply for a moment, and then shakes his head. “I don’t believe it’s correct. You focus too much on the goal in your mind, instead of the path to get there. It’s always the way with people like you, assuming that everyone will be happy provided they could only understand what you want out of things… But the world doesn’t simply go from one state of being to another at the snap of your godly fingers. It would be worth remembering that.”

Your personal carriage pulls up on the pathway, Hera sitting inside.

“We aren’t enemies, Songbearer,” Coinspender says, as you step inside. “I'm glad that you seem to realise that.”

 

Free Time

What will you do tomorrow? Select two.

[X] Visit Quickfell the Digilent [Charm]

[X] Visit Fatespinner the Fortunate [Charm]

[X] Visit Brightweave the Creative [Charm]

[X] Visit Firesoul the Merciful [Charm]

[X] Visit Kindsmile the Cordial [Charm]

[X] Visit Lawmaker the Honest [Charm]

[X] Visit an Area of the City

[X] You may suggest others not on this list

 


 

Apologies that this took so long. I was unwell the previous weekend, and the last week has been rather hectic. But we're back on track now, and I hope this was enjoyable :)

 

Results

 

Current Augury in Effect: Limerick

 

Action 1: Visit Coinspender [Charm]

You visit Coinspender, and try and talk him round to your proposal. While he doesn’t agree with your methodology, you manage to get him to consider your proposals on a case-by-case basis. He seems to have a grudging respect for your goals, even if he doesn’t agree with the path you intend to take to get there.

Roll: 2d6 - 1 + 1 = 7, Partial Success

 

Action 2: Ride through the City

You travel around the city with Coinspender, familiarising yourself with the areas. You memorise the location of the markets and the docks, as well as seeing the richer and poorer areas of town, including the slums. It might be difficult, but it's possible you could more-or-less navigate the city by yourself without a Priest to help you, if you needed to. A successful Resources roll allowed you to help a beggar.

Edited by Wyrmhero
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On 10/13/2019 at 6:59 PM, Wyrmhero said:

Apologies that this took so long. I was unwell the previous weekend, and the last week has been rather hectic. But we're back on track now, and I hope this was enjoyable :)

Just get well soon, Chief >>

I'm not feeling any of the particular things right now. I'm going to put down two tentative suggestions though I'm amenable to changing my vote if need be because my mind's kinda blank right now :P

[X] Visit [Random god] with proposal

The idea being to canvass the other gods and get some idea of where they stand on the dockworker proposal issue, and see if we can secure/sway a vote or two. It'll probably be dependent on charm, unless we can talk them into an arm-wrestling match, I suppose :P We know where Coinspender stands, and I don't think we'll sway him, but the others are worth checking out.

[X] Research into establishing a network to help petitioners

This is admittedly vague. But we weren't able to help the petitioner the last week, and I'm dubious about our success going forward. At least, we need to know what resources we have, and what SB's priesthood needs to be in a position to help his petitioners. Who handles our funding, do we have connections to get them work placements, or medical treatment, etc. (Off the top of my head, if we did better with the other gods, maybe we could work out a deal such that our petitioners get care from Firesoul in exchange for her petitioners getting some kind of service or other from us. I also think we don't necessarily need to run a hospice if Firesoul can already handle it quite well - we should be looking for something that SB himself can do.)

Part of this research should be engaging our priesthood for ideas, I think. They're the ones who're gonna be running most of this system, which means we need to know how they think about the issue, and what they would need for it to be effective.

Edited by Kasimir
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16 hours ago, Kasimir said:

[X] Visit [Random god] with proposal

The idea being to canvass the other gods and get some idea of where they stand on the dockworker proposal issue, and see if we can secure/sway a vote or two. It'll probably be dependent on charm, unless we can talk them into an arm-wrestling match, I suppose :P We know where Coinspender stands, and I don't think we'll sway him, but the others are worth checking out.

I think we should visit Firesoul. She should be in favour of our proposal, maybe she can offer some input (both regarding the content of the proposal and how to sway the other gods) and additionally she's been around longer, therefore has better connections. If two gods try to convince the others, our chances to succeed in the end are higher. It would be great if we were able to convince her to work together with us on this one.

[X] Visit Firesoul with proposal

 

I have to admit, I like your second idea a lot, but I'm not sure if now is the right moment. I think we should be more communicative for now, do more research later. People already think of us as studying all the time, and there still are gods we didn't even talk to. I'm a bit torn between following our path and study, or try to build up a network of our own, so that we can get more support for our proposal. I'll think about that for a day, and vote then.

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4 hours ago, Sorana said:

I think we should visit Firesoul. She should be in favour of our proposal, maybe she can offer some input (both regarding the content of the proposal and how to sway the other gods) and additionally she's been around longer, therefore has better connections. If two gods try to convince the others, our chances to succeed in the end are higher. It would be great if we were able to convince her to work together with us on this one.

[X] Visit Firesoul with proposal

Sounds reasonable to me. I'll amend my earlier vote. 

[X] Visit Firesoul with proposal

I get your point on the network, but honestly, I'm just not feeling one particular option over the other so I'm happy to vote for anything interesting that comes up (I certainly don't consider my suggestion to be especially interesting, so I'm happy to go with something else.)

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I've had fun reading it, but if you don't want to continue it, that's fine.

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It's not that I don't want to continue, not at all. I'm enjoying writing it, and I'm glad you're enjoying reading it. I just want to make sure that people have the chance to take part, and I'm not too keen on posting a new chapter when only two people have voted. I will post this coming Sunday, regardless, but I encourage people to vote to affect where or how the story goes :)

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Sorry Wyrm, this is super cool. Unfortunately, I for some reason decided 18 college credits, working part time, leading a robotics team, studying for SATs, doing college applications, being on the executive council for a new organization, and studying law all at the same time was a good idea...

I really wish I could be participating. :'(

Edited by Furamirionind
colours 'cause I can.
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At the moment Songbearer is eager to dive into politics, but I don't think that he's the type to go in unprepared. I would guess that he'd do extensive research, perhaps even visiting the docks and speaking to the workers. It's possible that he'd want to speak to another Returned as well, but I don't think that that'd be his priority. I would propose that he studies for his proposal in Court, and then actually speaks to some of the people. This could be done during petitions, or it he could seek them out himself.

[X] Research for dockworker proposal

[X] Speak with the people

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4 hours ago, Rushu42 said:

[X] Research for dockworker proposal

Do you mean the "health inssurance or the solution for petitioners proposal?

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2 hours ago, Sorana said:

Do you mean the "health inssurance or the solution for petitioners proposal?

I had been referring to the health insurance one, but either works.

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6 hours ago, Rushu42 said:

I had been referring to the health insurance one, but either works.

We've done that before and I hope that Firesoul might have one or two interesting insights, but I like your other vote.

I also go with:

[X] Speak with the people

If possible I would like to find out, how they would react to our proposal, and if our ideas really fit their needs, or if we overengineered somewhere and forgot about other parts.

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4 hours ago, Sorana said:

We've done that before and I hope that Firesoul might have one or two interesting insights, but I like your other vote.

I also go with:

[X] Speak with the people

If possible I would like to find out, how they would react to our proposal, and if our ideas really fit their needs, or if we overengineered somewhere and forgot about other parts.

[X] Speak with the people

Agreed. Knowing more about what the people think about this proposal could be interesting.

[X] Visit Firesoul with proposal'

Including the other gods' opinions.

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18 hours ago, Rushu42 said:

At the moment Songbearer is eager to dive into politics, but I don't think that he's the type to go in unprepared. I would guess that he'd do extensive research, perhaps even visiting the docks and speaking to the workers. It's possible that he'd want to speak to another Returned as well, but I don't think that that'd be his priority. I would propose that he studies for his proposal in Court, and then actually speaks to some of the people. This could be done during petitions, or it he could seek them out himself.

[X] Research for dockworker proposal

[X] Speak with the people

I like this! You have my bow vote! It's definitely consistent with SB as it is, and it's a nice touch for a more consultative god, rather than presuming he understands best.

[X] Speak with the people

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Suddenly, lots of activity! :) 

 

Thank you all for your posts, I understand it's difficult to keep up with things with life sometimes, which is why I was saying that I was going to wait before the next chapter. I was worried that maybe things weren't progressing quick enough to keep people interested, and I'm glad to know that isn't the case. This is very much meant to be collaborative, rather than just me posting a fic, hence why it's in the roleplaying section, and the more people to discuss/vote, the better.

 

To encourage that, is one week enough for people, or should I switch to every two weeks so people have more of a chance to interact?

Edited by Wyrmhero
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Week 2, Day 4: The Healer

 

This dream is new to you, though it is vague. A room full of people, sitting down. They are faceless, with no features, but their dress is of bright and varied colours. These colours are horrific to your eyes, with a clash of shades and subtle differences in hue that your average person wouldn’t get, but that stand out to your eyes.

There is indeterminable talking going on in this room, a low murmur that you can’t make out. There is no one voice that stands out from the others, the words all mingling into one cacophony that almost hurts your ears to hear it, as you try and focus on a single thread and fail.

There is a slamming noise, and the room falls silent. You turn your head to see what it is, and the world starts spinning. You catch a glimpse of an older man – Brightweaver? They look somewhat similar, but perhaps all old men do, or your dream has substituted him in for someone else – but he fades away, like dust blown from a surface.

The rest of the dream washes away too, a swirl of hues that assault your eyes and make you reach up to try and scrape the sand-like colours from them. When you open your eyes again, you are staring up at a familiar sight again – The ceiling of your bedroom.

You don’t tell Hera about this dream.

 


 

You decide to take your mind off the dream by going out into the city again. As much as you saw some quite horrifying sights while out with Coinspender, there was also great beauty out there too. The centre of the city was vibrant and colourful, and you hope that the precise nature of the painted buildings will wash away the dream of disturbingly inaccurate colours.

“Are You certain about this?” Hera asks you, still somewhat cautious.

“I’m a god, aren’t I?” you reply. “What’s the worst that could happen to me?”

“I… suppose so…” she nods, still uncertain but clearly unable to think of any reasons for her objections. You know that this is an uncommon thing to do, but it’s not as though there’s any danger someone would attack you, or try and kill you. If nothing else, Firesoul would be a far easier god to kill, with how prominent she is.

“Then you should stop worrying so much,” you add, trying to say it kindly. “I may still not fully understand what life is like out here, but I’m not naïve, and my nature gives me an innate ability to defend myself. I can’t be snuck up on, for one thing.”

“Assuming they’re not a drab,” Hera corrects you, and you have to agree.

“True,” you nod, “but I am also stronger than your average person, and can’t be poisoned. I can also assume that my nature gives me a tolerance to pain, and I will generally take longer to die than most people. Certainly I am also viewed with reverence, so a crowd of people would not be the best place to try anything.”

Hera nods a little, but she looks anxious. More than when you started trying to reassure her. Perhaps mentioning all of that wasn’t the best idea.

“In any case,” you say, distracting her, “my purpose here is to help people. I can’t do that unless I know more about the people I’m helping.”

“That’s true,” she agrees, more convinced by this argument. “Regardless, I will insist on a certain distance being enforced. I will not have You mobbed for no reason.”

You sigh. “Very well…”

 


 

You set up shop, as it were, not in the centre of the inner city, but at the edge, by the slums, though not fully in it. It’s a compromise with Hera, to a certain extent, but also encourages all types of citizen, rich and poor, to approach. Even if the richer population’s problems aren’t ones you’re particularly focused on, you do need to convince them to be on your side.

You spend much of the late morning and early afternoon speaking to people, and while their problems are numerous, they tend to have a similar root cause – poverty.

There are those who have no work, whom you sadly can’t help, but talk about your idea to. You speak to them about the concept of a scheme to support people out of work, with the idea of empowering workers not just to be supported through sickness or injury, but to help them return to the workforce. Many like this idea, though some feel you’re only suggesting it because it helps the wealthy have more workers.

There are those who have no life in them, a depressive aura practically emanating from them. They have sold their Breath at a desperate, reduced rate to pay for food, lodging, or whatever they need to survive, and while they do not regret that decision, it is clear it has affected them. They are, in a sense, ‘lifeless’ themselves, drab and dreary, wearing muting colours, speaking softly, and with small movements. You promise them that you want to stop anyone from having to make that choice again, but you are sad that you can do nothing to restore their Breath to them yourself.                                         

There are those with a lack of food, who you have your priests aid as best they can It isn’t a long-term solution, you know, but there’s not much you can do to help them beyond that. Their problems are not ones simply solved, as they are in work, but the work is too poorly paid to support themselves properly. They are unskilled labour, performing work that can be done cheaply by Lifeless. They have to work for little not just because they compete against that, but they compete against each other. Coinspender was right about this, it seems. Many are angry at their employer, and to a certain extent some of that feels directed at you. You can hardly blame them, when they are taxed partially to support the lavish lifestyle you lead. They are fuel without a spark, kept in line only because their family would suffer more if they did anything.

Some have come to make an unofficial petition, and your priests very quickly stamp that out and pull them aside. It is made clear to people that this will not be tolerated, and that they should follow the traditional method of petitioning. They talk about how you take a fair approach to petitions, hearing them all before making a decision, and how their attempt to ambush you shames them. Most are accepting, chastised and apologetic. Even in those cases, you can’t help but feel bad at watching the flame of hope be snuffed out so heartlessly.

You do keep a certain distance from the people, as Hera demanded, though it feels odd to do so. People are corralled towards you by your priests, and while it feels a bit impersonal, it is at least organised. There is no rush, no trampling as people try to get close to you.

As your time here draws to a close, an old woman steps forward to talk to you. She trips on the uneven cobblestone road, and even before you realise it, you’re kneeling on the floor in front of her, supporting her and stopping her from falling fully to the floor.

“T-thank You,” she says, both awe-inspired at your aid and somewhat quiet, vague. She seems unfocused, and you put a hand to her forehead. Very warm. Standing outside in the midday sun for so long has most certainly not done her any favours. She was probably dizzy even before she lost her balance.

Slowly, and with her, you stand up again. The crowd has gone silent. You look around to Hera, who seems a bit torn in how to react.

“We’re going to see Firesoul a bit early,” you say to her, in a definite tone that brooks no argument. The old woman starts protesting, but you smile at her. “It’s alright, we were going to see her anyway. And I apologise for making you wait outside like this in the heat…” Perhaps if you did it again you would hold it inside.

Hera looks at you, and then sighs and shakes her head, unwilling to say no. You smile at her, and nod, before helping the old woman into the carriage.

 


 

The journey is quiet and awkward, and it reminds you that, as much as you would like to be, and to think yourself, one of them, you aren’t. You are glad when Firesoul’s hospice finally appears outside your window. You step outside, and help the woman out, who seems entirely bemused and bewildered by the situation. 

Entering the building, you almost feel as though you’ve been here before, though you shortly realise that it is, in fact, just because of the book you read on all the gods. The hospice is entirely clean and white, almost impersonal, the only colour in the reception area being that of the wooden desk and the waiting chairs. You’re somewhat surprised by this, as you would have expected Firesoul’s colours to be present.

The receptionist looks up at you with a mix of awe and trepidation. She might not even be an adult, you realise, though it’s hard to tell at her probable age range.

“This woman has suffered from heatstroke,” you explain to her, indicating the elderly woman, “and while I stopped her before she hit the ground, she had a fall because of it. I would like her to be checked up, if possible. And I’m also here to see Firesoul,” you add at the end.

“C-certainly, sir. I mean, Your Grace,” she corrects herself. “I’ll see if someone’s free.” She scampers off down a white corridor.

“I will return to the carriage, Your Grace,” Hera says to you, “as I have some work that needs doing. Would this be acceptable?”

“Hm? Certainly…” you nod, waving it away.

“Very well. I hope your meeting goes well,” she says, before heading out.

You are left alone with the woman again, but thankfully not for long. A man in a uniform bearing Firesoul’s colours comes back with the receptionist, taking a quick stride.

“Your Grace,” he says, bowing to you. “My name is Aeson, I will be the nurse assigned to Your… case.” He looks to the woman, and smiles at her. “If you would follow me, please,” he says. They both leave by a different corridor.

“S-Your Grace,” the receptionist says, now giving a slight and imperfect cross between a bow and a curtsey herself, as though unsure which to do, “Her Grace – um, Firesoul, I mean - will see you in Her office. Please follow me,” she says, and walks off, again quickly.

You are led down more white corridors, though looking into the rooms that you pass, you do see splashes of colour – Flowers in varying states of decay, mostly – before you come to a large wooden door. There is nothing that states what the room is, but it’s obvious to you from the aura that emanates from there that it is Firesoul’s office.

The receptionist knocks on the door, almost entirely pointlessly considering Firesoul will know you are there too. But pretences should be kept up, one supposes.

“Enter,” Firesoul says, her voice imperious and commanding.

The receptionist enters and curtseys to the other god. “H-his Grace, Songbearer, to see you, Your Grace,” she says. You wonder if people who interact with multiple gods ever get tongue-tied because of it.

“Good,” Firesoul nods. “You are dismissed.” The receptionist runs off quickly, and looks glad to be out of it.

Firesoul shakes her head. “She’s new,” she offers as way of explanation, before gesturing towards the seat opposite. “We won’t have long, but I can take a break for a short while.”

“Well, thank you for putting some time aside to see me, then,” Songbearer smiles. “I’ve heard how busy you are.”

She smiles a little. “Well, in truth, the staff tend to be the ones that make me busy, more than anything.” At your look of confusion, she sighs and sits back in her chair. “They are… useless without me. Or rather, they rely too much on my presence to set things straight, when they are perfectly good at doing so themselves.”

“That sounds… defeatist,” you say. “As it sounds as though you encourage, or at least permit, that way of thinking.”

Firesoul sighs. “True, but the alternate would be leaving people to suffer just to prove a point. Something I can hardly do in good conscious. Songbearer, are you aware-”

A knock at the door interrupts her. For a moment, she looks irritated, but it goes away. “Yes?”

The receptionist opens the door and curtseys to you both. “Your Grace,” she says, and then winces a little. “Uh. That is, Your Graces. Um, I mean… Mistress Firesoul,” she eventually decides on. She is blushing quite heavily from the scrutiny and embarrassment by this point. “There has been a delivery of flowers for you.”

Firesoul’s irritation returns. “I understand that you are new, but you should know this by now,” she says, in a measured tone. “Distribute them among the patients. Tell no-one who they’re from.”

“What? But they’re from-”

“I don’t care. You have your orders. Dismissed!”

“Y-yes ma’am!” the receptionist jumps and runs off. You gently close the door too, as she seemed to forget. Then you favour Firesoul with a curious look.

“Coinspender,” she grimaces. “I don’t want them, so might as well give them to someone who appreciates them, until he gets it through his thick skull that they’re wasted on me. More money than sense…” she shakes her head.

“You have my sympathies,” you grimace.

She smiles a little. “Thank you. But let’s talk on better things, I think,” she decides, “such as your proposal for this week’s Council meeting.” She holds a hand up to stop you before you start to explain. “There’s no need. I think it’s a good idea, and will help many people, and perhaps even reduce the number becoming seriously ill by itself, if people stop pushing themselves and instead take time off. It might even lead to less chance of others catching disease from their colleagues too. It builds well off my proposal last week. Almost, in fact, as though it were designed to impress me,” she says, looking at you now with some suspicion.

“It’s nothing like that…” you assure her. “I just… felt it would work well with it. Your proposal made me think, and it’s hardly a bad thing if we work together to improve people’s lives, is it?”

She laughs a little. “I think… I think we are just quite similar, aren’t we, Songbearer? We wear the skin of a god well, but inside there’s so many questions, aren’t there?”

You can’t help but nod. “I’m not comfortable being worshipped,” you agree. “Hera – My High Priest – has explained that it’s more the ideal we represent that is worshipped, but I can’t agree with that, not after meeting people and seeing their reactions to those like us.”

“Agreed,” Firesoul says. “The nuance is lost on those not studied in theology. It’s why I created this place,” she says, gesturing around vaguely at the building you’re in.

“Because… It justifies it, somewhat?” you ask, mulling the idea over in your mind. “It’s something that is worthy of praise, so it feels less like you haven’t done anything to deserve it?”

“Indeed…” Firesoul says, sadly. “I felt it would be the best place to make an immediate difference, after some research. I could have chosen other areas, as I’m not at all versed in medical practices, but this seemed best. In fact, even while working here, I’ve only picked up the basics, and sometimes what I’ve found has been entirely counter to established practice.”

“What do you mean?” you ask.

“To put it simply, whatever skill I have is not in medicine, but in statistics. That, combined with my wider view from not being closed to the practice, has lead to taking an impersonal approach to medicine. I am thought of as effective but domineering. It’s not a bad thing, though, as my position as an outsider allows me to make observations others won’t, but my position as a god lets me enforce them. For example, I have enforced higher levels of cleanliness and washing before procedures, which has led to a downturn in deaths. There was reluctance from my doctors to start, but now they all do it because I’ve shown it to be beneficial. And not one of them will admit they were against it, of course, but I don't care about their feelings on the matter. What matters is that they do it now.”

“We’re brought back to do something,” you say, remembering the theologies and philosophies you’ve read about the Returned. “It sounds as though you’ve found it.”

“Perhaps,” she smiles. “But I don’t feel selfless about it, which makes me wonder if it is, in fact, what I was brought back for. I do it out of guilt, Songbearer. A guilt I’ve felt since I first woke up as a god, and that hasn’t gone away.” She shakes her head. “It’s more than just feeling I haven’t deserved their praise. But as though… as though I’ve actively done things that I regret.”

“Oh… I see…” You nod.

“Have you started having strange dreams yet?” Sshe asks.

“I… have,” Songbearer nods. “The priests say they’re meant to be auguries, or interpretations of things.”

“I don’t think they are,” Firesoul replies. “They seem to be memories, to me. As though who we were is there in the back of our minds still, just… locked away. And that terrifies me, Songbearer.”

“Why?” you ask.

“Because… I think I might hate myself, if I met who I was,” Firesoul says. She seems almost small, now, even with the height of a Returned, run-down and worn, rather than as blazing and beautiful as her name. “What would you do, Songbearer, if you remembered who you were, and they were a bad person?”

“I… can’t imagine that you were,” you say, trying to reassure her. “I can’t imagine that we’re different to who we were, or why would we be Returned, rather than someone else? There has to be something about us, our old selves, that matter. In your case, I think you must be kind, or at least want to help people. Or else you wouldn’t have set up this hospice. That's something you wouldn't do out of guilt, but a genuine desire to help.”

This makes her smile. “I hope you’re right, Songbearer. I hope you’re right.” You aren't sure if she missed or ignored that you didn't answer her, but you're glad she hasn't mentioned it. You don't know the answer yourself.

 


 

“Ah, it’s good you’re back, Your Grace,” Hera says, as you get into the carriage. The meeting ended shortly after, as Firesoul’s presence was required for a terminal case. “I have some news. Our guards have caught and incapacitated a probable thief.”

“A thief?” you ask, surprised. “Was something taken?”

“Well, I should clarify that he may have just been a trespasser,” Hera replies, “but we cannot check that at the moment. Our guards were… heavy-handed… in their arrest. It is likely he won’t wake until tomorrow. What should we do with him?”

 


 

Thank you to everyone who posted. As I said above, I know real life takes precedent over something like this, and I don't mind if people aren't always here. Having said that, I do want a decent number of votes before moving forward, so should I switch to every two weeks so people have more of a chance to interact?

 

Free Time

What will you do tomorrow? Select two.

[X] Visit Quickfell the Digilent [Charm]

[X] Visit Fatespinner the Fortunate [Charm]

[X] Visit Brightweave the Creative [Charm]

[X] Visit Kindsmile the Cordial [Charm]

[X] Visit Lawmaker the Honest [Charm]

[X] Interrogate the thief personally (see below) [Stat rolls depends on chosen approach]

[X] Visit an Area of the City

[X] You may suggest others that are not on this list

 

The Thief

[X] How will you deal with the thief? Write in with what you want to do with them, and how you will have this done/the approach taken to them. If you do this personally, this will use a Free Time slot.

 

Results:

 

Action 1: Speak with People

You went out to the city and spoke to the people, getting a feel for their mood, problems, and reactions to your proposal. In general, people feel it’s a good thing, but aren’t all sure it’s being done solely for their benefit. Your actions this day have endeared you to them though, as you have helped where you can thanks to a partially successful Resources check.


Action 2: Visit Firesoul [Charm]

Your visit to Firesoul went well, and while she seems a bit forceful in general, she is pleased to see you help the common people. You spoke briefly on your proposal, and she is supportive of it.

You have now visited three of your fellow gods, and in doing so, have gained a greater understanding of them. Charm UP.

2d6 + 1 – 1 = 11, Full Success

 

Speak with People: 4

Visit Firesoul: 3

Prepare Proposal: 1

Edited by Wyrmhero
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Urgh. This week's kind of a rush for me so I'm just gonna throw something down with little thought. No guarantee I can make changes in time, either.

Thoughts on write-up: I like Firesoul a lot. And the plot thickens!

[X] Visit Lawmaker the Honest

I feel like we haven't visited her yet, and besides sounding her out about the proposal, I wonder if she's the right person to approach about our thief? Just in case we need a stick.

I'm not really sure what we'd want to do with the thief. To be fair, we only know that the thief was a trespasser - we don't know if they were really a thief. (SB's priests say probable thief.) I imagine we'd want to question them but I just can't think of anything concrete to say so I'm going to leave it for someone else.

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