346 posts in this topic

1 minute ago, Kasimir said:

2. 'Glory' and 'Heritage' are flavour and can be safely ignored.

The spy and handler still have to be listed as either Heritage or Glory, otherwise it will be really obvious who they are.

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1 minute ago, Devotary of Spontaneity said:

The spy and handler still have to be listed as either Heritage or Glory, otherwise it will be really obvious who they are.

What I'm saying is that that's technically correct, but it's true of everyone, including Discovery, so that doesn't say much that's helpful to the Village and the Eliminator. It's not the indicative part of the death announcement. The only thing that's significant, gameplay-wise, in the death announcement, is whether they're listed as being Conspirator-aligned, Discovery-aligned, or Non-aligned.

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The nerve of that man! Accusing Joon of being a murderer! At least the others in the room had sided with Joon, even if they had decided to show it by pushing Roashina into the path of the mystery assassins outside. The desperation in their faces, the thud of crossbow bolts...well, Joon didn't think he was getting out anytime soon.

Father had been right, all those years ago. Joon was not ready for politics.

Joon miserably slunk back to his corner table and slouched in his chair, trying to make himself as unworthy of notice as possible. Ellira was long gone, probably to that other spot that she mentioned. She was a brave one, that girl with the sparkling green eyes and luscious hair. He couldn't bring himself to follow her.

Rancorus shouting sounded from the middle of the room. Joon tried to block it out. He picked up his teacup with shaking hands and forced himself to focus on that instead. Liquid wobbled precariously at the brim. Slowly, carefully, he brought it to his lips. The tea was room temperature, now that it had been left alone for so long, but something about the overpowering sweetness of the honey accented with the bitterness of the tea calmed him. His worries about the rest of the world fell away.

Some time later, Joon grounded himself back into reality. The situation with Roashina had made it clear that Joon wouldn't survive this without making some new friends. To do that, he had to look presentable. He ran his fingers through his hair, combing the front part to curl just the way that girls liked it. Then he smoothed out the wrinkles in his shirt.

"Server," Joon snapped out. "I need a clean pair of pants, now."


I was told that someone had drugged Joon with dream honey. Whoever it was, shame on you!

Edited by Arraenae
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3 hours ago, Kasimir said:

I can actually clarify this as this was the subject of a tiny bit of trouble on our side. Basically, Striker didn't green his original vote. So we had a question of how rigidly we wanted to adhere to our requirement that original votes must be greened out. (The original rule was phrased more as "please do this or we can't guarantee we won't miss stuff, and if we do, sorry, tough luck.") 

We ended up adhering rigidly, which is why Striker's vote for Alv didn't count, on the view that it was in our rules and we should stick with that. But before we did that, I chose to interpret the rule liberally and flipped a coin for the tie-breaker. All I can say is that either RNGesus or the Euro really has it out for Striker this time >>;;;

So in this context, the liberal or rigid treatment of our rules did not make a difference.

Well strictly the extra vote from DaTess to make 3 votes on Striker is what made the difference. It then no longer mattered if there were 2 votes on Alv, or 1.

Edited by Haelbarde
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Marzia pressed the cloth down onto the wounds, desperately trying to ignore the somersaults her stomach insisted on doing at the sight of blood. She had her eyes firmly closed. There was a reason she did not travel with the army as one of their smiths. There was too much blood involved in war.

"How long do I need to hold this?" Her voice was unsteady - a stark change from her usual quiet, but steady tones.

---

I wanted to write more in RP, but I lost my train of thought with no hope of recovering it since I'm at work. :P

4 hours ago, little wilson said:

My gut doesn't really like some of the things Elandera said about the discussion and the votes with cycle 1. It seemed a little....wishy-washy? Or maybe not wishy-washy, but more stating the obvious but doing it in a way that looks like you're trying to contribute without actually contributing. It's not necessarily an elim tell, but it's definitely something I watch for now, after seeing so many elims do it.

Wishy-washy is a good way to phrase it. C1 lynches always feel like a necessary evil to me. I try to be involved and vote, but second guess myself a lot for meta-game reasons.

It's more than halfway through the turn (I think? I still don't know when exactly rollover happens, since I'm always asleep) and there's no vote yet. I guess I'll start it off. I'd still like Venture (@Butt Ad Venture) to respond. Was there any particular reason for your vote on Rath? What do you think of your vote being manipulated?

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Ellira slipped back inside the inn, glancing around. It looked like Joon had finally woken up from the dream honey, and was - thankfully - calling for new pants. 

She’d go back to him soon enough, as he was a useful meat-shield at the very least, but for now she walked in such a path that she nearly stumbled across Urskevan’s corpse, and sat down hard in a nearby chair when she saw it. She stared, unable to take her eyes off of it, and shaped her face into blank shock.

She wished she could properly examine it, but there were too many prying eyes around. So all she could do was try to take in every detail possible from where she sat. 

Sorry, Rae. :P Ellira got tired of Joon following her around and being a nuisance.


 

I fall asleep for fifteen hours and I come back to this? 7 posts by players and a single vote. I’m disappointed. :P 

Uh... Wilson, why withhold your vote? This is a QF, we need discussion with intent to lynch now, not after twelve hours or whatever. :P You’re playing a little less... assertively than I’d expect you to? Which could be just because your play style has changed in the literal years since I’ve played with you, but I haven’t got anything better at present. 

I can see your reasoning on Alv (and if anyone can catch him it’s probably you :P) but haven’t gotten anything odd from him myself so far, so will be keeping a sharper eye out. Mildly disagreed about Elandera, though - I liked her responses to me, as they felt fairly village-y. 

@Devotary of Spontaneity, you’ve been very neutral and noncommittal so far (and very much pointing that out about yourself, which I’m not sure what to think of). Do you have any suspicions? What do you think of Wilson, Alv, me, or Elandera? 

@Arraenae, your summary of last turn is nice, but your suspicions would be nicer. :P Not going to lie, providing useful information without outlining your own suspicions is something I’ve seen elims do often enough to be suspicious of it. 

@STINK hi 

@xinoehp512 what were your thoughts on the Striker lynch? Do you think anyone’s suspicious as a result of last cycle? 

@Elandera I appreciate the vote, but am curious about your thoughts on anyone else - do you still have a weird tone read on me? What do you think of Wilson’s paranoia of Alv? 

And I’m bored and need to go sleep. :P Anyone not listed above, please respond to any of the questions above that you like. I didn’t really pick anyone for any particular reasons or suspicion (unless stated), I just want discussion to happen. Please. 

Signing off for the night, hopefully (unless insomnia, which is plausible >>), but should be back sometime before turnover. Please talk? :P 

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4 hours ago, Devotary of Spontaneity said:

we only have one instance of vote manipulation that I can see where Venture's vote was moved to Stink. 

I did not pick up on this O.o

Uh, to all the people saying I'm like not really sus but to add comment on what's the dealio? I was stuck in a car for like 5 hours yesterday with no data so that was fun and I've maybe been drinking for like at least 10 hours today also its like 3am so yeah thats a thing

Listen to Neil Cicieraga everyone he's got some straight bangers

@Elbereth hi have u listened to Neil Cicieraga also u didn't give me a question

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No I have not but will do, and fine what do you think of Alv 

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Well, if you want something then I guess I might as well provide right? Be rude not to

On 18/10/2019 at 10:41 PM, Alvron said:

He had to get out.  Another door.  A window.  Anything!  He needed to get out!

Here we can see that his character is mainly driven by a need to escape confinement, both physically and mentally. Maybe this is something you - the reader - can relate to, but maybe it isn't in which case you can skip this paragraph. In the physical sense, Alv does not describe it but to me it is quite clear that there is most likely physical symptoms going on here, maybe eyes flickering from space to space and what not. Mentally, there is a drive to escape and all that yeah the joke is gone now.

On 18/10/2019 at 11:28 PM, Alvron said:

He could do with a hug.  He's having a rough day.

Amen brother.

22 hours ago, Alvron said:

You and I are tied on two votes while Stink, Rath and Venture have one each.

A very helpful and informative post, we stan Alvron.

19 hours ago, Alvron said:

I think I'm going to limit RP to just once per cycle.  Asterion is starting to calm down a bit but I don't want to push.  He's fragile enough as it is.

I'm going to vote again for DeTess.  I'm getting the same feelings I was getting last time.

Here we see a self-imposed limit on RP. There could be many reasons for this. Feeling paranoid? Maybe it's because the point of Striker nearly revealing through RP was brought up last game. Feeling busy? Maybe Alv is a busy guy that can't really RP that much. Feeling lazy? Maybe Alv isn't so busy after all. 

As for the vote on Tess, I wasn't really there for any of the last game so can't vote on the vote for her or anything like that.

4 hours ago, Alvron said:

I've actually done this in a prior game.  It didn't work and I was lynched shortly after but who knows, second times the charm?  :P 
----------
Sleep had come fitfully for him over the night as it had for many nights over the past five years.  Five years.  Had it really been that long?  He had only fragments of memories from after his so called death.

Pre-RP, he wishes for second time being the charm which everyone knows is not the saying, therefore Alvron.

RP wise, it's good to know that the sleep health is going well, and I know sleep health isn't the term but I can't actually think of it proper-like right now you know? Probably sleep hygiene or something stupid like that

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7 hours ago, Arraenae said:

Summary of reactions to the Striker lynch:

Had suspicions and voted: El, Rae, Tess (village)

Had suspicions: Rath (kind of more a callout with nothing else attached to it)

Defended: Bard, Venture (by proxy, voted on Rath), Elandera (directly and by proxy, attacking El) Itiah (directly and by proxy, voting on El)

Ignored it completely: Xino, Burnt, Alv, Stink, Devotary, Wilson

Tess is obviously village and I know that I'm village, so the Striker lynch was mostly (if not completely) villagers attacking villagers. Seems like the type of thing that elims might be content to let run on its own, so right now I'm mostly interested in the people who didn't comment on the Striker lynch at all. @little wilson, @Devotary of Spontaneity, @STINK, @Alvron, @Burnt Spaghetti, @xinoehp512, what do you think happened with the Striker lynch? Who in it, if anyone, seems suspicious?

Firstly- Love that you did this with analyzing the different reactions people had to it. Might have to steal that one day :P

Secondly- You're not wrong that i basically ignored it completely heh. As useful as D1 lynches are I rarely participate in them myself  as i don't really like voting for anyone unless i really do want them lynched and D1 thats hard. I will say that I kinda feel bad for striker getting insta lynched in both the a and b sides of this game, thats some bad luck.
 

 My tldr version of events with the striker lynch cause I need that:

1- Striker brings up the probabilities of old elims being new elims again and gives rae a welcoming poke vote
2- Rae pokes back
3- El votes striker asking for his reasoning on the rng of the eliminators probability- same team unlikely, but could easily have at least one member repeat because thats rng
4- striker clarifys but then votes elbereth due to her using Tess as her example and not itiah and is reading into that
5- El responds, explains it was example
6- Rae suggests we not metagame the distribution too much
7- DeTess chimes in here to agree with El about the rng and distribution
8- Striker again clarifys his take on the rng stuff, responds to rae, says a trust on Tess
9-El says that shes keeping her vote on striker even though he responded, because his responses didn't sit right
10- rae says her vote is staying cause striker voted on her first so she isnt removing hers first
11- Striker removes vote on el, points out that no one is defending him which is concerning and should point out to people that he probably isn't an elim. Asks bard about his vote on stink
12- Striker votes on alv 
13- DeTess votes on Striker due to the talk on probability feeling like a pocketing attempt
14-Striker is annoyed hes up for lynch again and gets lynched

 

---

 

So. To me I think that had Striker changed topic after his first clarifying post, all would have been fine. I think that because whenever someone commented on it, he felt the need to respond again, even though he was somewhat repeating on himself just in different wording, it dragged the conversation regarding the rng stuff on a lot. Striker seemed defensive. especially after his first response to El (which i believe would've been sufficient to close off that discussion there) he then accuses El of maybe being evil due to her using Tess as her example. To me that was a pretty weak argument but idk. For me, that was the point where I went from "oh alright fair enough" to "uuuhh okaay...". I don't know if i've explained that very well. Analysis posts aren't exactly my strong point :P I word bad.

So do I think anyone involved in that lynch was suspicious? To be honest, not really. To me it felt like a case of Striker defending himself too much and drawing too much attention. Els and Raes votes on striker make a lot of sense to me. Tess' vote reason re the pocketing i don't fully agree with but thats kinda a moot point anyways given that their, yknow, dead and not evil... 

So yeah, thats my take on the lynch

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4 hours ago, STINK said:

Pre-RP, he wishes for second time being the charm which everyone knows is not the saying,

To be fair, I've only done it once so if I was to do it again, I would be hoping the second time is the charm.  I doubt I'd try it a third time if it fails the first two rounds. :P 

Personally, I want to vote for Wilson simply for kicks but Asterion is purposely avoiding her because she isn't real.  Just a spectre sent to haunt him.
Xino is being quiet, only posting a short bit of RP.  If nothing changes between now and when I log for the night, I'll likely vote on them.

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38 minutes ago, Elbereth said:

@Elandera I appreciate the vote, but am curious about your thoughts on anyone else - do you still have a weird tone read on me?

Nothing recently has given me that weird tone read. Aside from that first conversation, most of your posts seem fairly village motivated. I'm comfortable putting you in a neutral-village category. I'm also inclined to agree with Rae here, and say the Striker lynch was probably villagers, which is another reason I'd slide my read on you to the village side.

55 minutes ago, Elbereth said:

What do you think of Wilson’s paranoia of Alv?

A little paranoia of Alv is always healthy. :P I'm not sure I understand her reasoning from this turn, though. It feels like it might be more tunneling than anything. She did at least acknowledge it was an IKYK, which might be why she didn't vote on him. I'm not as aware of her past play style, so I can't really comment on her being more or less assertive.

As for Alv, I intend to keep a close eye on him as always, but I don't think his posts have warranted a vote as of yet. Most have been RP or RP-related, and his vote on DeTess seems very Alv-ish, wishing to keep a perceived tie.

This post from Itiah is interesting. He includes a strong defense of Striker, but ends up voting on Elbereth, who had no votes at the time. I can't really argue much, since he did vote on his stated suspicion, but there's something about the general tone that strikes me as odd. Maybe it's just that he used me as a reasoning for voting. :P @I think I am here., what say you? I'd love to hear your thoughts now that Striker has flipped. Are you still suspicious of El? 

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@Elbereth, I said that my suspicion list is everybody who ignored the Striker lynch, and the people there haven't exactly said much before or afterwards...

Will post more next cycle when it's not 1 AM in the morning.

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El, keep in mind that I've never played a QF before and there's a difference between intellectually knowing that each cycle is only a day and actually experiencing that. I haven't played a game in roughly a year. Ish? I can't even remember, but the games I did play were 48 hour turns and I didn't usually like to come out swinging with votes. If you expect it to take less than a turn for me to adjust, think again. And as for playing less assertively, every time I post, it's a debate with myself whether I should actually engage with the game/discussion or just RP and ignore the conspiracy, since Zhier doesn't really care about any of this, and by extension, I shouldn't either (and honestly, I'm not sure I want to get too invested). Kas told me to have fun and gave me a perfect RP prompt for that and I don't really want to ignore it merely because you want me to be more assertive.

As for Elandera, I'm not actually suspicious of her. I'm wary. It's a light gut read and it probably won't develop any further that.

Alv. This is probably confirmation bias, but that felt like you toying with me. I'm sure you'd make that comment regardless of alignment since it's just your style (or it was when last I played with you, and it doesn't look like much has changed), but I don't think you'd leave it there, with the paranoia and wariness, if you were village. QF's move too fast for sparring around each other with IKYK's.

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Well, I was going to vote on Xino and the log for the night but it seems that I now lead the votes and that's just not allowed. :P  So I can either choose to vote for Venture or Spooky Ghost Girl Who Totally Isn't Real And Is Just A Fragment Of Memory.
 

32 minutes ago, little wilson said:

Alv. This is probably confirmation bias, but that felt like you toying with me. I'm sure you'd make that comment regardless of alignment since it's just your style (or it was when last I played with you, and it doesn't look like much has changed), but I don't think you'd leave it there, with the paranoia and wariness, if you were village. QF's move too fast for sparring around each other with IKYK's.

I am toying with you.  You haven't played in ages and I'm not going to miss out on having some fun with you.  Even if you aren't really here.  So long as both of us are alive, I intend to make the most of it.
QFs are the perfect place for IKYKs.  You don't have the time to spiral out of control but rather have to trust your gut and take the Chance it's right.

While I really, really want to vote for you so you can join in the fun, I can't because voting for someone who totally doesn't exist makes no sense.

Wait, why am I talking to a figment of my shattered psyche?

Venture.

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Alvron(2): Stink, Wilson
Venture(2): Elandera, Alvron
Wilson(1): Elbereth
Bard(1): Devotary

4 hours ago, Elbereth said:

Do you have any suspicions? What do you think of Wilson, Alv, me, or Elandera? 

I don't feel withholding a vote is suspicious so long as the reasoning is there and a vote eventually does get placed. I'm not sure why Wilson kept her vote on Alvron when he became a viable lynch, but there wasn't really anyone else up for the lynch other than a confirmed villager so it wasn't to protect a teammate. The fact that nobody attempted to save Alvron does help my opinion of him, as there's a decent chance of an elim arbiter and Bard and Venture(supposedly, though despite being ~5 hours afterwards Venture didn't note DeTess's vote change) are the only living players who definitely saw that Alvron was no longer tied for the lynch. I would be more likely to think you were evil if Bard was evil, though outright stating he wouldn't vote for you is a bit blatant. Elandera is going after Venture again, the latter of which might respond soon. There did seem to be a reason for Venture's vote though.

I won't be back before rollover, so I'll have to see what sort of lovely vote changes happen in the next six hours. I don't particularly like Bard defending Striker, then supporting Striker's lynch over Alvron while voting for someone else. If I voted for Bard though, I would be doing pretty much the same thing. Ah well. Taking a tie closer to rollover and expanding a vote base will hopefully help more than trying to cement one of two lynches. 

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3 hours ago, Elandera said:

This post from Itiah is interesting. He includes a strong defense of Striker, but ends up voting on Elbereth, who had no votes at the time. I can't really argue much, since he did vote on his stated suspicion, but there's something about the general tone that strikes me as odd. Maybe it's just that he used me as a reasoning for voting. :P @I think I am here., what say you? I'd love to hear your thoughts now that Striker has flipped. Are you still suspicious of El? 

Hello! Now that both Striker and DeTess have flipped village, I thought it would be helpful to check out last cycle and see the interactions between them and other players. But first, my thoughts on El: I have become convinced that the quick vote on Striker is just part of their playstyle of encouraging lynch discussion, as seen when they voted on Wilson for holding their vote and gave that large list of questions to encourage discussion.

I’m not suspicious of Rae because I could see the reasons she voted on Striker, and Tess was obviously village so I agree when some people say the Striker lynch was probably all elims. I have to admit, the killing of Tess to confirm her as a villager seems kind of interesting since one of the main discussions early last cycle was about the statistics of whether she (or I) could be elims.

I’m voting on Alvron. He voted on Tess due to a gut feeling and she turned out village. And the other lynch candidate right now, Venture, defended Striker (who flipped village) as well as defended Alv, who is voting on him now to make a tie. And I don’t think I actually see anyone defending Venture right now? Add that to the fact that he got his vote moved to Stink, for some reason. Honestly this sounds more like elims messing around (because why would a villager cause confusion like that?), since there chull no risk for Rath or Stink being lynched. Add that to Alv’s IKYK as well as the fact that we’ll learn a lot, and I’m voting on him.

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Vote tally:

Alvron (3) - Stink, Wilson, itiah
Venture (2) - Elandera, Alvron
Wilson (1) -Elbereth
Bard (1) - Devotary

------

Okay so I should probably do something more than just reflect on the last cycle so lets take a look at this cycles votes so far

- We got Elandera voting on Venture as a questioning vote to hear why they voted rath and what they thought of their vote being manipulated (Side note- The vote manip being out there is something to keep in mind:  a lynch may not be guaranteed, and we don't know if thats a villager or eliminator who messed with the vote so its something to keep in mind)
-Elbereth voting wilson as a question as to why wilson was withholding her vote, refers to past play style
-Stink voting alv because... he misquoted a saying?
-Wilson votes alv cause he's toying with her
-Alv votes Venture because... it was either them or wilson? Mentioned maybe voting xino earlier cause quiet so I assume probably the same reasoning here but venture already had a vote? (/conjecture)
-Devotary votes Bard for defending striker then supporting the striker lynch
-itiah votes Alv for voting Tess based on gut who died and was good, and because we'll learn stuff from lynching alv (oppose to someone like venture)

 

My thoughts?

Alv lynch has reasoning!

Venture lynch is killing off a quiet person. Learn less from this lynch but is an alternative for anyone who doesn't like the alv lynch 

And two straggler votes that probably won't go anywhere further this cycle, but the reasoning for the bard vote intrigues me and has more reasoning than the venture lynch imo.

 

Current Non Voters:

Xino
Bard
Rath
Venture
Rae
And meee! I know I probably should but I don't personally feel strongly on any of the candidates. I'm half tempted to vote venture so the lynch gets to be a rng matter which is always fun but we learn more from the alv lynch. Though would make things interesting for seeing if the vote manipulator made it flip a particular way tbh. I dunno


 

 

 

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Sorry I’ve been a little quiet. This weekend has been going fast, along with this QF.

I...disagree with the lynch on me, for obvious reasons. It’s a weak lynch that was used to get me to talk. Which I am now. And Alv’s just using it to defend himself. My vote on Rath was to stop the conversation about the RNG. I didn’t realize that Striker started it, I just saw Rath continue to talk about it after it was dismissed. As for the vote manipulation, someone probably just needed a stray vote. As for why they chose STINK? I have no idea.

I like the Alv lynch for a few reasons. One, it gets the pressure off of me. Two, Information is useful. Alvron has expressed opinions in thread and it would be useful to flip him Disco or Conspiracy.

Edited by Butt Ad Venture
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Aaaand that is end of cycle. Who lives? Who dies? Kas tells that story after the break. :)

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Cycle Three

Old Stones

It had been five years since Shi KwaiRan had killed an Emperor; the tiny pebble that had started the avalanche that was to come. The Succession Riots began almost the same evening that Emperor Yazad and Arbiter Kaleva had died, and the ensuing bloodbath had nearly eradicated the Moderation Faction and the Discovery Faction.

And Gamman, the ambitious but unassuming arbiter of the Reform Faction, had ridden the chaos to power, stepping in to cut the legs out from underneath the warring Factions.

As far as most of the citizens of the Rose Empire were concerned, the MaiPon artist who had assassinated the former Emperor, may he reign in radiance, had been captured by the Strikers, and well, it was best not to think too deeply about those things, though they had also hoped that his death had been long and agonising.

In truth, Kwai had had a quiet and rather uneventful life since the end of the Succession Riots. Life went on; the Frozen Moon weathered a terrible midsummer storm, and then the following months were taken up by repairs. He waited tables and generally stayed out of the way. Occasionally, he painted. He wanted no more role in Imperial politics, much less the terminal sort. He kept his head down, and for a time, he allowed himself to breathe and to believe that it was over. 

Gamman, in any case, was busy consolidating his power.

All of this came to an end one evening, when he came out of the kitchen to an empty tea room, and Gamman was sitting at the table, having helped himself to a cup of fresh Emperor’s Blessing tea.

There was a crash. Pottery shattering on the floorboards. He’d dropped the stacked cups he was carrying, of course. Wenshon would take it out of his paycheck. That didn’t seem like a pressing concern now, when the Emperor of the Eighty Suns was sitting in their teahouse.

“It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” Gamman said, and his smile was like a knife.

Kwai felt a sudden chill. “Your Majesty,” he said, cautiously. “What do you want?”

“You seem to have lost a little of that court polish, haven’t you?” Gamman observed, idly. He might have very well been talking about the weather. Kwai could not make out any Strikers in sight, but he suspected there would be at least a dozen of them close by, ready to intervene if necessary.

“I work in a teahouse now, your Majesty,” Kwai said.

“So I’ve heard,” said Gamman. As if he hadn’t come to the Frozen Moon, five years ago, when he’d wanted the other ambitious arbiters from the Glory and Heritage Factions—Urskevan and Frava—assassinated for him. In the end, they’d lived.

His smile grew as he set the cup back on the table.

“What do I want? The same as Yazad and Kaleva, I suppose. I want power, to set the policies I must. I want power, and that means I need to be able to get rid of the old guard, the corrupt ones who have money and power and influence, and who have been kicking their heels and screaming about every single reform our Faction wanted to pass. I want to live to a ripe old age, and to see my enemies humbled, and the Rose Empire strong and proud and powerful again. Six in every ten citizens outside of the Imperial Seat starve each year; within the Imperial Seat, four in every ten citizens do not have a roof over their heads. You didn’t think Kaleva was a saint, did you? He had a nasty habit of throwing his enemies into jail or blackmailing them. There’s a reason our eyes and ears grew so extensive under Kaleva.”

“Your Majesty, please get to the point.”

Gamman reached into the bag at his side and threw out a set of books, all bound together with red cord. “Burn them when you’re done. The names and addresses of people who are of interest to me.”

“I’m not a killer anymore, your Majesty.”

“Then don’t kill for me,” said Gamman. “Write for me.”

Kwai pushed the books away. “I work at the Frozen Moon now, your Majesty.”

Gamman smiled. “Where is Wenshon?” he asked, a seeming non-sequitur. 

“He went out yesterday to—” Kwai began and then froze up as the implications hit him like a charging Gurish warhorse.

“Write the letters, assassin,” Gamman repeated, softly. He pushed the books back at Kwai. “Study the names. Know them. And then, we will begin.”

ㄢㄋㄌ

Wai ZhierSen had never expected to return to the Frozen Moon. She wanted no more part of such games. She remembered from past experience that there was a small bathhouse at the back of the Frozen Moon, and slipped away from the milling crowd of disoriented conspirators, and made straight for it.

If any of Gamman’s Strikers were out there, they would have to fight her for the bathhouse. She ran a hand through her hair and winced tiredly as her fingers came away thick with glitter. Was there no end to the sticky menace? Even getting plastered with soggy beard hair was better than this.

In any case, Zhier was not as concerned with the rest of the conspirators. Let Gamman reign over an Empire in revolt, if he must. Or an Empire of ashes. That did not matter to her. What mattered was whether the creator was to be found amongst this rabble. And if they were, Zhier intended to take appropriate, bloody vengeance.

Preoccupied as she was, she didn’t notice a shadow slipping out from the courtyard, slinking towards the brightly-lit confines of the teahouse.

A shape stirred in the darkness, letting out a cry of pain.

Zhier hesitated. To pursue?

No, she decided, a fraction of a heartbeat later. She rolled her shoulders, and stretched out her arms, fingers interlocked. It wasn’t her problem today. Heroics was for someone else.

Whoever she was, Wai ZhierSen wasn’t a hero, and she didn’t intend to start being one today.

ㄢㄋㄌ

Blood welled up from the meat of Kwai’s thigh, from which a crossbow bolt protruded. He bit back a cry of pain and leaned against the pavillion wall. Strikers, he thought, disgustedly. Of course it had to be Strikers. Why else would Gamman ask that of him?

He examined the bolt. All things considered, the wound was not particularly bad, and the Striker in question had gotten the drop on Kwai, or he would not have shot Kwai to begin with. Of course, Gamman hadn’t bothered to tell the Strikers anything else, Kwai thought.

He had yet to decide on whether it was back to being a deniable asset, or if Gamman had wanted him dead too. Left alive, he was a loose end that could not be relied on, especially since he had resisted doing Gamman’s wetwork for him.

He wasn’t going to make it back across the courtyard. Not like this.

The bolt had gone through muscle, and as far as he could tell, had not been tainted or poisoned. Still, attempting to put his weight on that leg immediately brought about pain, and he tried very hard not to curse.

The Strikers weren’t moving in yet. That puzzled him. 

They should have been. And yet, they seemed content to form a loose cordon about the teahouse, and to shoot at anyone who was unfortunate enough to enter their line of sight.

What were they waiting for?

ㄢㄋㄌ

“Leaving so soon?” a voice asked.

A flick had the knife dropping into her hand from its concealed sheath, as Zhier went straight for the speaker. In a moment, she had a stranglehold on his collar, a knee wedged against his thigh, in perfect position for a reap. Her knife pricked his throat, and blood beaded up.

“Prickly, aren’t we?”

“Bad time to be sneaking up on someone in the dark,” Zhier retorted, not letting up. It was the Grand from the teahouse. “What do you want? Think the group back there will manage to not wet their pants if you aren’t there holding their hands?”

The Grand cocked his head, curiously. “In a matter of speaking. Are you going to put that away so we can talk?”

Zhier raised an eyebrow. “Give me a reason,” she challenged. “You seem to be doing a pretty good job of talking even with a blade at your throat.”

He shrugged. “Suit yourself. You’re looking for someone, and they’re in the teahouse. Or rather, they will be in the teahouse. But they will also be in the pavillion, rather than the bathhouse, which is where they’re heading.”

“What’s in it for you?”

“I studied the Succession Riots,” he said. “To understand the Riots, I had to understand the key players during the Riots. Yourself, Lady Wai. Asterion. Cang Lu, Ableah, and the others. I had to understand the enemies we faced, from the Glory and Heritage and Moderation Factions.” He smiled, faintly. “Cunning of Gamman to rise when we were too busy slaughtering each other to notice. I think they let him, too. By the end, we were all tired of wading through blood.”

She applied a little more pressure to the knife, and he spoke a little faster.

“The last report that mentioned you was...curious,” he said. He didn’t flinch or twitch away from her knife. She did not loosen her grip on his collar. “Mentions of some fantastic portal and a hail of sweetbreads trailing beard hair. A rain of maple syrup and glitter. And then you came back—the sketch artist’s portrait did not do you justice, Lady Wai—and then I asked myself what the reason could be. Asterion, perhaps? He was staring at you as if he’d seen a ghost. But no. I suppose you want vengeance.”

“Suppose I do,” Zhier growled. “Why tell me about the pavillion?”

He frowned at her, as though she was a particularly inept pupil. Zhier did not like that at all. “Because it is history,” he said. “Because that is the collection of our lives; one person intersecting another, and another, and another, writ large. Because tonight was not inevitable, and yet we have been steadily crawling towards it, since the day Yazad and Kaleva died and we slaughtered each other in the streets. Because I want to see what happens next.” His smile was thin. “I am, after all, a scholar first and foremost.”

Zhier withdrew her blade, slamming it back into the concealed sheath in a swift blur of movement. She let go of his collar at the same time. She’d have to clean the knife later. After she dealt with the creator.

“The creator will be there. You are certain of it?”

“How many things are certain in this life, Lady Wai?” he asked her softly.

She kicked at the soft tissue behind his kneecap, just to make him flinch. “I am tired of being played with,” Zhier said, steadily. “Think about that before you try to entangle me in more Discovery games.”

“You will be waiting a very long time, then,” the Grand replied. “The best way of modelling situations is to look at games.”

She left him in the courtyard. Overhead, a thin sliver of moon was beginning to appear from the shroud of clouds.

ㄢㄋㄌ

Asterion moved through a world of ghosts.

Too many memories. He saw ghosts wherever he moved, or sat. He blinked, and the afterimage of Cang Lu laughing over a cup of tea disappeared. He ground the back of his hand against his eyes, and Ashim disappeared. Probably returned to the dust. Old bones.

He even saw Jain, the panda arbiter of the Moderation faction, nosing at a large bowl of tea. Then Itiah walked through Jain, and he realised Jain wasn’t real. Too many of them, long dead, long departed. Flushed down the drain. All of them except Asterion, and now, her.

The main door was barred but he watched as the ghost of the MaiPon server slipped out through the kitchen and almost laughed, silently. Of course. Kitchens meant waste, and waste meant that there was always another exit.

He slipped out through the kitchen window, practically daring a crossbow bolt in the dark. None came. Perhaps the Strikers were asleep. Or perhaps Gamman had given them other instructions. Asterion did not know.

Asterion did not care.

Cang Lu smiled, his eyes burned out forever by a Shardblade, and raised a cup of tea in a silent salute. He faded again into insubstantiality as Asterion walked on, further into the dark.

ㄢㄋㄌ

He crossed the courtyard, his soft shoes barely making any noise on old stones. He had learned to walk silently, had learned to Awaken, had learned to infuse life into the dead. He had not learned how to survive with ghosts and the pain.

How to survive when they’d shot him and thrown him out and left him for dead. The cart rattling down the cobbled road, dead bodies surrounding him. He couldn’t breathe couldn’t breathe couldn’t

Asterion stumbled into the open air pavilion, beneath the peach trees. 

He was not alone. 

She was there, looking right at him.

“You,” she said.

Asterion’s throat worked. He tried to find the words, but there was nothing at all. He had not spoken in years.

“You set them on me then, didn’t you?”

He wanted to tell her he had nothing to do with that, but he had no words to set against the suspicion in her eyes, and in any case, she wasn’t alive. He should stop talking to the dead, except it was Cang Lu who had warned him, and the MaiPon was probably dead, and he’d told him to come, so there was that.

He was a dead man walking, and that was the problem; he was haunting the living and he wasn’t going to be allowed peace until it was over and he could sleep.

“The glitter never leaves,” she growled. “Never. I spent weeks trying to get the stench of syrup and beard hair out of my mind, and I’ve been finding streaks of glitter everywhere. Do you know how much trouble you’ve caused me?”

A knife flashed.

“Didn’t…” someone wheezed. Asterion realised belatedly that it was his voice. He hadn’t spoken in so many years. There was a hot, wet pain in his abdomen and his hand came away bloody. 

If she could kill him, was she a ghost?

He reached out and grasped her hand by the wrist. It was warm to the touch, or maybe he was the one who was cold. “Didn’t,” he croaked. “Someone else…”

He read the suspicion in her eyes, bleeding away into realisation and horror. “Who?” Wai ZhierSen demanded. She grabbed at his shoulders, as if she could stop him from dying by force of will. As if she could pry answers from him.

They’d done this dance before, hadn’t they?

Lives, and lives…

“I died...years ago…” Asterion whispered.

Blood of a ghost…

Death came, in the end, as an old friend. He had not seen Ableah in years, either. 

He smiled and closed his eyes.

ㄢㄋㄌ

There was only breath.

There was only the repeating crossbow. Ableah cranked it and lined up his shot and exhaled and then fired. Once. Twice. Thrice. A remarkable piece of engineering, the crossbow. In Scyla, they used the crossbow too, but in the Rose Empire, they’d worked out how to make the crossbow fire several bolts, one after another, before it needed reloading.

The bolts ripped through the killer. He’d seen her, and in five out of three worlds, he’d been too late to stop her from killing Asterion. Far too late.

He tasted blood on his tongue as he stood over the two of them, one fallen over the other.

Dead.

The ducks in the pond let out a mournful call as Ableah faded back into the embrace of the shadows.

ㄢㄋㄌ

Kwai ground his teeth together and forced himself to his feet.

He wasn’t going to die here, exposed, in the courtyard.

Not today. Not like this.

ㄢㄋㄌ

  • little wilson (Wai ZhierSen) was killed! She was from the Glory Faction and aligned with the Conspirators!
  • Alvron (Asterion) was lynched! He was undercover in the Heritage Faction and aligned with the Discovery Faction!
  • The cycle will end (and the new one begin) on 21st October, at 9PM, GMT+8. Stay tuned for the next round of Who Wants To Kill Somebody Today!
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Reserved for rule clarifications. Also, did you know the cycle titles are song links? You have three guesses for which song this cycle is based around, and the first ten don't count :P 

Vote Tally

Spoiler

Alvron (4): STINK, little wilson, Itiah, Butt Ad Venture
But Ad Venture (2): Elandera, Alvron
little wilson (1): Elbereth
Young Bard (1): Devotary of Spontaneity

Player List

Spoiler

1. I think I am here (Itiah)
2. DeTess (DeTess) Conspirators
3. xinoehp512 (Ecnelis)
4. StrikerEZ (Roashina)Conspirators
5. Elandera (Marzia)
6. Burnt Spaghetti (Somi)
7. Young Bard (Kavela)
8. Rathmaskal (Yesterday "Yes" Jones)
9. Alvron (Asterion) - Discovery
10. Elbereth (Ellira)
11. STINK (STINK)
12. Butt Ad Venture (Lawrence Scholdei)
13. Devotary of Spontaneity (Faitren)
14. Arraenae (Joon)
15. little wilson (Wai ZhierSen) - Conspirators

Rule Clarifications

Spoiler

1. It has been brought to my attention that the Order of Actions has not been updated. Sorry for the oversight! Here is the new Order of Actions given there is no more Assassination:

Spoiler
  • Striker's Protection / Vote manipulation / Embedded Operative's choice
  • Lynch / Kill
  • Extra Life

Specifically, the Stack now entails that Survivors will be hit by the kill, before the Extra Life kicks in, 'saving' them. So if a Survivor is protected by a Striker, then the Survivor will not need to use up their additional life. The protection absorbs the kill first.

2. If two Arbiters, Wyrm and Haelbarde, attempt to redirect Jain's vote, then Jain will roll over, go back to sleep, and munch more bamboo simply stick with his original vote, whatever that is.

3. Strikers cannot protect from both a lynch and a kill on the same target. (Whichever one gets through is strictly academic by this point, but I'll flip a coin for it, just for the records.) On the other hand, two Strikers protecting the same target could protect from both the lynch and the kill.

4. If every Eliminator except a C3 Disco!Embedded Operative is killed, then yes, the Embedded Operative gets a kill every cycle instead. There's no one to hog the kill anymore :P 

5. No actions can be taken during the Assassination round. But only Eliminators are free to vote. That's it.

6. If the last Villager lynches the last Eliminator, and the last Eliminator kills the last Villager, then there will be an Assassination Cycle, on the grounds that technically-speaking, the Eliminator win-con requires survival whereas the Village one does not.

7. An Embedded Operative who chooses during C5 can first make the kill during C6.

 

Edited by Kasimir
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:( Why did you have to kill Wilson? All she wanted to do was find whoever threw glitter at her! I’m sad now...

I’ll probably be going through the past two cycles to look at attitudes towards Alv (as will everyone else, I don’t doubt), but don’t have time to do so now - so off the top of my head, Venture, for jumping on Alv’s lynch very late, by which time the elims would almost certainly have decided to let his lynch go through. 

Was there any vote manipulation? 

EDIT: @Burnt Spaghetti you’ve followed the thread but not posted. Care to share your thoughts? 

Edited by Elbereth
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20 minutes ago, Elbereth said:

:( Why did you have to kill Wilson? All she wanted to do was find whoever threw glitter at her! I’m sad now...

I’ll probably be going through the past two cycles to look at attitudes towards Alv (as will everyone else, I don’t doubt), but don’t have time to do so now - so off the top of my head, Venture, for jumping on Alv’s lynch very late, by which time the elims would almost certainly have decided to let his lynch go through. 

Was there any vote manipulation? 

EDIT: @Burnt Spaghetti you’ve followed the thread but not posted. Care to share your thoughts? 

But.... its bedtime... why u do this to me el :[ i followed so id have notifications to wake up to and worry bout tjinking when im actually awake darnit >>

 

Current thoughts:

Aww rip wilson, was good to have you back ingame even though it was only a short stay. Though that was long enough for you to catch out an evil so very well done there! A great write up though from kas as per usual! Sorta poetic that both wilson and alv died at the same time. Sad though. We're losing a lot of good players quite quickly.

Wilson was quite rightly paranoid it seemed. Her comment on alv maybe being evil and killing the person he voted for seems to be the case. Good to know Wilsons intuition is still as sharp as ever! She was suspicious of elandera wasny she? Or did that change. Ir was that someone else. I dont remember. Something to look back on.

Hm. The last minute vote is always a ehhhhhh thingy. But to me makes sense as far as venture was concernd as he was the runner up and who knows if someones gonna manipulate the votes so that esentially guaranteed lynch safety for them. Is it alignment indicative? Hm. Im honestly leaning village especially since alv voted for them. Though could be distancing... hm. Hrm. Curious on more peopels thoughts conceringing that

And i dont believe there was vote manipation this cycle

I need sleep though so goodnight!

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Hello there! 1 We are back with more rule clarifications for this cycle!

1. It has been brought to my attention that the Order of Actions has not been updated. Sorry for the oversight! Here is the new Order of Actions given there is no more Assassination:

Spoiler
  • Striker's Protection / Vote manipulation / Embedded Operative's choice
  • Lynch / Kill
  • Extra Life

Specifically, the Stack now entails that Survivors will be hit by the kill, before the Extra Life kicks in, 'saving' them. So if a Survivor is protected by a Striker, then the Survivor will not need to use up their additional life. The protection absorbs the kill first.

2. If two Arbiters, Wyrm and Haelbarde, attempt to redirect Jain's vote, then Jain will roll over, go back to sleep, and munch more bamboo simply stick with his original vote, whatever that is.

3. Strikers cannot protect from both a lynch and a kill on the same target. (Whichever one gets through is strictly academic by this point, but I'll flip a coin for it, just for the records.) On the other hand, two Strikers protecting the same target could protect from both the lynch and the kill.

4. If every Eliminator except a C3 Disco!Embedded Operative is killed, then yes, the Embedded Operative gets a kill every cycle instead. There's no one to hog the kill anymore :P 

ht: @Elbereth for spotting the catastrophic phrasing :P 

5. No actions can be taken during the Assassination round. But only Eliminators are free to vote. That's it.

6. If the last Villager lynches the last Eliminator, and the last Eliminator kills the last Villager, then there will be an Assassination Cycle, on the grounds that technically-speaking, the Eliminator win-con requires survival whereas the Village one does not.

7. An Embedded Operative who chooses during C5 can first make the kill during C6.

Edited by Kasimir
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