361 posts in this topic

The cycle is closed! Return in an hour or two to see the results. 

...HH, you could at least text me to warn about last minute votes. :P 

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Tleir hid in the chasm the whole night, barely daring to move. The Shardblade wound turned out to be a blessing, as she surely would have passed out from the pain hours ago if she retained sensation in her right leg. The stormwardens claimed there wouldn’t be a Highstorm tonight, but they could be wrong, or maybe the chasms would flood regardless. A chasmfiend could wander by and devour her with a single bite. The Shardbearer could return to slaughter her. Or perhaps a quiet night would pass, and somebody would come rescue her in the morning. Tleir chose to focus on that prospect. After all, she reminded herself, she was Mraize’s most valuable lieutenant, entrusted with a suit of Shardplate for the task of hunting down and killing the Shardbearer who had so recklessly attacked Highprince Sebarial. A lot of good Shardplate did sitting safely in the Ghostblood’s tent while she went for a walk. Foolish, foolish! She hadn’t even been able to identify their foe. Well, there was nothing to do now but wait. Either Nu Rallik would see fit that she survived, or he wouldn’t.

Mraize pulled Tleir from the chasm, his arms aching with the effort. It was such a shame to have to do such a thing to one of their higher operatives. The woman had had such promise. She could still serve their sect, though no longer to the degree that a woman of her talents should have been able to. Perhaps working the ledgers. When you had a secret society, the accounting tended to get messy. He left her at the edge of the chasm, there still needed to be some punishment. Without suffering there would be no growth. She had to learn from the scenario, understand what her flaws were. He adjusted his mask as he left her, ensuring his anonymity. He retreated to the distance, a figure on the horizon.

The morning finally arrived, and Tleir was still alive. Now, she couldn’t feel either of her legs, but that was alright because the Ghostbloods had seen fit to rescue her. She was still important to them, despite her failure. After carrying her out of the chasm, the masked Ghostblood melted away, leaving her alone. Tleir understood. Despite early successes, they couldn’t afford to confront the king openly. From here on, Tleir would have to ensure her own survival. Weakly, she called out to the guards now patrolling around the chasm. As they rushed to get her medical attention, Tleir smiled wickedly to herself. The Shardbearer would not be long for this world once she was reunited with her compatriots.

Apparently, Vun Makak had different ideas. That tide-scorned Brightness Tintallë had continued her denunciations, but nobody else seemed to be listening to her, preferring to focus their ire on the sleeping Ekard. Then at the last second some sort of deformed cremling had leapt up and bitten at her shoulder. Shocked, Tleir fell backwards off the chair she’d been sitting on. As she tried and failed to sit up, she noticed that the Alethi were all staring at her, or more specifically the interlocking diamond pattern etched into her left shoulder where her havah had been bitten away. With one dead leg and the other severely bruised and cramped, Tleir could make no move to escape as Tintallë stabbed her through the heart.

 


And as the Almighty GM reclined at table in the house, behold, many inactives and lurkers came and were reclining with the GM and his assistants. 

And when the Actives saw this, they said to his assistants, Why does your GM, a moderator, eat with lurkers and inactives?

But when the Almighty GM heard it, he said, Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 

Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, and not filter deaths. For I came not to call the active and recurring, but the inactives.

 


Blissfully unaware of the carnage and arguing which surrounded them, the Brightlords I.N. and Ekard dozed soundly in their tents, as they had for the past several days of deliberation. Perhaps the greater conflict between the Ghostbloods and Elhokar mattered...but then again...perhaps it didn’t. Getting a good day’s sleep was far more important than such trivial considerations, anyway, and it was easy enough to stay out of the conflict this way. 

High above, the Stormfather gazed disapprovingly down at the pair. It was truly a waste of air to have those two continue to exist in the midst of such violence and conflict; what right had they to live sleeping while so many of their friends died around them, actively joining the fighting? Irritably, he readied a pair of bolts to strike the pair down, then paused. Could it be that their apathy was unintentional, and that his plan was overly hasty? He would dishonour the men’s families for no good reason if this was the case, as lightning from heaven was a fairly ignoble way to end a man. He would spare them for now, but would return soon with the full force of the Highstorm. It would tear the men apart if they did not arouse themselves. 

 


Sart was lynched! He was a Ghostblood with Shardplate and an Alerter! 

Vote Count:

Drake (2): Sart, Araris

Sart (2): Elbereth, HH

Elbereth (1): Stink

Rath and Drake are on one-cycle warnings to either post, be replaced with pinch-hitters, or die. 

Night 3 has begun! It will end in approximately 23 hours, on Tuesday 19 November at 9 PM EST. 

Those with spanreeds, once again, may send in orders to use them and then PM freely. Make sure all the GMs are in the PMs. 

Thank you, as always, to Devotary for her help with the writeup and with PMs. Please go upvote her for all the excellent work she’s doing. :) Edit: And Snip, who wrote the paragraph on Mraize. 

Good luck! 

Player List: 

1. Elandera as Brightness Ellarel, a flighty scribe who nonetheless remains tethered to the ground Noble

2. Rathmaskal as Brightlord I.N., whose reversed name conceals his role as a secret member of the Knights of Ni

3. Butt Ad Venture as Brightness Hmynyes, a connoisseur of classical Vorin music Noble

4. Xinoehp512 as Brightlord Rashor, a man who determinedly believes that blue wine is a plague from the Voidbringers Thief

5. Araris Valerian as Brightlord Arilar, a recently arrived spy with ties to the Kholins 

6. StrikerEZ as Brightlord Nalakor, a professional chull breeder and racer and close friend of the King’s Wit

7. Furamirionind as Brightness Dohila, a lighteyes who insists on wearing only orange and green lace Noble

8. Hemalurgic Headshot as Rat, a pet of Brightlord Joe and a secret worldhopper

9. Sart as Tleir, a Purelaker trying desperately to impersonate the missing Brightness Drella while House Sebarial hunts for her Ghostblood

10. STINK as Jumae III, a Brightlord whose eccentricity in fashion contrasts sharply with a docile and even temperament 

11. DrakeMarshmallow as Brightlord Ekard, a man at the mercy of the Almighty Himself

12. Amanuensis as Brightlord Ularid Leiken, a man hunting a chull with a green shell which once insulted his mother

13. Coda as Brightness Dejda, one of Adolin’s former girlfriends who now hates the Kholins with a passion

14. Straw as Brightlord Straw, an effigy of Gavilar which was officially recognised as a lighteyes of the fourth dahn 

15. Elbereth as Brightness Tintallë, whose title has come under charges of redundancy by expert Quenya scholars

Edited by Fifth Scholar
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Hah. More thoughts to come when I’m not about to sleep, but I’d recommend protection on HH or myself for anyone with Painrials. 

And I’d welcome peoples thoughts on who they think is evil now - remember, you could die tonight, get them out now! :P EDIT: and also to give our Shardblade wielder advice, though they appear to be doing pretty well so far. 

Also, could someone please PM me this cycle? Pretty please? (Not for secret thoughts I just want to talkkk)

Edited by Elbereth
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Now that's a really nice surprise. I had that feeling that something was off with Sart both D1 and D2, and now I wish I pursued it more. Sorry that I didn't end up getting back on yesterday, I had a big assignment for programming that took a lot longer than I anticipated, and by the time I was finished, my brain only had room for one word: bed.

I can't recall what the grounds for Sart's suspicion on Drake was, and I'm actually posting this during a class right now so I can't go looking for it myself, but I'm not so sure it was a distancing attempt. Had Sart been voting for an elim when Araris joined in, he probably would have been around at the end of the cycle to make sure he didn't actually die. I believe it's more likely that Drake is just village.

Speaking of, @drakemarshallow, @Rathmaskal, we really need you guys to start posting at least once a cycle. I'm just barely managing to do that much, but that's all we need to make sure the eliminators don't get any free extra kills. Disclaimer: Unless one of you two is actually an elim, than feel free to perish in silence <3

Elb and HH look good, assuming one of them didn't bus Sart. I think Araris is probably good, for reasons I can't really explain.

I've previously mentioned I'm reading village for Coda and leaning village for Straw.

That leaves Rath, Striker, and STINK as the top three players I want to figure out right now.

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Double posting is generally bad, but no one has responded in 14 hours and I feel like more needs to be said. Unfortunately my day today has been just as busy as my weekend and this post is all I can manage before I go to sleep and do it all again tomorrow.

I've expressed this in some PMs, but I find Sart's death very weird. I'm having trouble understanding why there was no votes manipulated to save him when we know the elims got a Pain Knife from Elandera on N1 (assuming she had no heirs, which I doubt. I only now decided to heir my item to someone. The Elandera kill was out of the blue enough that I don't think she'd have done it just in case, even though I think it's really smart for all villagers to heir their items immediately, just to make sure the elims don't snag them if they kill them).

By that way, that's me suggesting any villager who hasn't heired their items to do it now. Even if you accidentally give it to an elim, the chance of giving it to a villager is better than giving it to the eliminators for sure.

Honestly? I'm low-key hoping the eliminators kill me. I've had a rough couple weeks because of uni alone and I'm trying very hard not to relent on my writing goals for NaNoWriMo. I've already fallen behind so I'm in a desperate catch up mode right now. It would be a huge relief if I was targeted.

I've left my thoughts on who I think are villagers, even if I haven't explained why. I want to remind everyone that confirmed-good does not mean confirmed-right, so if you have a good reason to believe anyone I've vouched for is evil, don't let it keep you from pursuing that lead. But I also want to say I feel pretty comfortable with my positions on everyone so far.

As of right now, I feel relatively confident about Araris, Coda and Straw. I am pretty sure one of Elbereth or HH is 100% confirmed village based on the votes, but I'm also becoming increasingly convinced one of them is evil. Otherwise I'm not sure why Sart's partners didn't make an effort to save him, or guarantee his death. It seems way too fishy how easy that was.

@Rathmaskal and @drakemarshallow appear to be literal dead weight at this point, so that will thankfully clear some things up. I'd bet money on Drake being village at this point, but Rath is still up in the air. His inactivity could be a part of why Sart wasn't saved.

Regardless of how Rath flips, I think Striker and STINK are good candidates for investigation. I'm not saying lynch them immediately. I'm not so confident about my PoE this game that I can recommend they both die in good conscious. I just want to make sure they get some pressure / encouragement, should I no longer be around to do it myself.

ED1T:

Oh! I should comment on Straw. I said I'm leaning village for him, but that's mostly because of Sart's vote on him D1. I'm always suspicious when people go for Straw on the first day because of his play style, and I always try my best to discourage it. That said, both Sart and Straw should be aware of this fact, and may have planned for it accordingly, so it's definitely worth looking into.

Edited by Amanuensis
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Okay, actual thoughts time! 

First, I think it's fairly likely/clear that Drake and HH, and to a lesser extent myself and Rath, are good. HH because of his entirely unnecessary and unasked-for last minute vote on an elim, Drake for getting absolutely no pushback the entire cycle, and both Drake and Rath for Sart suspecting them of... voting on Venture, I think? I can't remember exactly, but Aman then commented on how it felt like Sart was limiting discussion to those three players (the third was Fura, who's now sadly deceased), which makes me think it's likely they were village. 

Secondly, I think one of Aman and Araris are evil, currently leaning towards Araris. This is because in the lynch of C2, which is when I first became suspicious of Sart, those are the two players who moved the lynch off of Sart and onto Xino and then HH. My reasoning on Araris is - Sart didn't vote to save himself, but instead voted Xino. We know now that this was also because he had Plate, so would survive not one but two lynches, tying the village up in discussion around him. Then Aman was like 'hey Araris want to move to HH with me?', and Araris, seeing this, seized the opportunity to not get Sart lynched at all. So if I die tonight, that's who I'd recommend you lynch. :P 

@Amanuensis why are you certain Araris is good? Also, killers automatically get the first item from the corpse before any go to the heir (I think I've already clarified that in thread before, in fact?), so the elims definitely got Elandera's Pain Knife regardless of her Heiring or not. 

And on whether me / HH is evil and why the elims didn't protect Sart, the answer to me seems obvious: HH voted three minutes before the cycle ended. They didn't think Sart was in danger until it was nearly too late, and it's totally plausible to me that whoever happened to have the Pain Knife wasn't around exactly at turnover when they hadn't any reason to believe there'd be movement. So I could be evil, if I was just putting a vote on Sart to distance myself but not expecting anything to come of it, but... I don't think HH can be unless Drake is, and that's unlikely to me for other reasons (see: totally uncontested lynch). 

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I'm not certain Araris is village, but generally it's a gut thing plus something I don't think I should share in thread, just in case. I guess I could be wrong there but I don't really feel it.

Good point on HH. I never noted the time. My working theory with the Sart lynch, though, is that Sart wanted to die. Once the Shardbearer hit him he was as good as dead. If he survived yesterday, I bet the elims would assume the same Shardbearer would finish the job. This way getting him lynched could net a teammate some village credit instead of losing him the next night and having nothing to show for it.

So yeah. That's why I'm not so sure your and HHs vote clear much.

Edited by Amanuensis
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Hm, okay. Again I don't think HH is evil (though I can accept suspicion on me), but could be wrong there. 

@Coda @StrikerEZ I see you watching the thread. What do you think about Aman vs Araris? Or me and HH? 

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I trust Aman more than Araris for pretty much the same reasons as you. I trust you over HH, but I still think HH is good. You seem villager because of your playstyle in the beginning. An elim probably wouldn't play so erratically.

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I did get kind of distracted from that playstyle, yeah... Although I don't know if I would've gone with that exact playstyle as an elim, I could've pulled off something very close (without the 'I'm trying to make my lynch maximally informative' bit) and gotten by from comments just like yours. So what I'm saying is, be wary. :P

Edited by Elbereth
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@STINK is here too.

Hm. I find that wording a bit off, El. You can accept suspicion of you, but you can't accept suspicion of HH? I think it's a pretty valid strategy to come in last minute to guarantee an allies death like that. If I was on Sart's team after he lost his Shardplate to a vigilante I would definitely either do it myself or encourage another teammate for the exact reason you are pointing out. It makes really good cover when most eliminators would choose to do nothing. 

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I would agree more if HH had guaranteed Sart's death, I guess? The fact that it tied the vote, rather than making Sart's lynch guaranteed, makes me feel like it's a villager ploy - after all, if Drake had failed the coinflip, all that would've happened to HH is a bunch of scrutiny for voting so last minute. 

I'm not saying I can't accept suspicion of HH, but I think suspicion of me is much more plausible - like, I certainly could be wrong, but HH is presently my strongest village trust, and I'm wary of people trying to diminish the use of the alignment reads we can try to get out of knowing Sart's evil. 

Also, I question a little bit the argument about Sart being better to be lynched - I'm not disagreeing, but I don't think it's guaranteed either. In terms of straight numbers, the Shardbearer hitting Sart again but a village mislynch would be the same as lynching Sart and the Shardbearer hitting a villager (which itself is more likely if they don't have Sart's alignment to analyse off of, imo), plus it'd give Sart an extra turn of actions, which could be especially important given the elim team is probably only three people (I could even see two, given Sart's ability to survive two lynches). 

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Ekard strolled into the group of assembled Brightlords and Brightladies. He yawned. It felt like he had been asleep for quite some time.

"Ello friends. What'd I miss?"


Terribly sorry, I've been busy and not putting the amount of effort into the game that I wanted to :(

I'll commit to making a comprehensive post during the next day cycle with the best of my analysis in it. In the least, we are far enough into the game that I am reasonably confident I will be able to narrow the playing field.

I don't especially appreciate apparently being voted up, but I'll withhold my judgement until I read through the reasoning behind it.

For now, that is all.

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Welcome back! Very glad to have you. :) 

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14 minutes ago, Elbereth said:

I would agree more if HH had guaranteed Sart's death, I guess? The fact that it tied the vote, rather than making Sart's lynch guaranteed, makes me feel like it's a villager ploy - after all, if Drake had failed the coinflip, all that would've happened to HH is a bunch of scrutiny for voting so last minute. 

I'm not saying I can't accept suspicion of HH, but I think suspicion of me is much more plausible - like, I certainly could be wrong, but HH is presently my strongest village trust, and I'm wary of people trying to diminish the use of the alignment reads we can try to get out of knowing Sart's evil. 

Also, I question a little bit the argument about Sart being better to be lynched - I'm not disagreeing, but I don't think it's guaranteed either. In terms of straight numbers, the Shardbearer hitting Sart again but a village mislynch would be the same as lynching Sart and the Shardbearer hitting a villager (which itself is more likely if they don't have Sart's alignment to analyse off of, imo), plus it'd give Sart an extra turn of actions, which could be especially important given the elim team is probably only three people (I could even see two, given Sart's ability to survive two lynches). 

Ah. Now I'm reminded of conversations I've had with Fifth. It seems like we see things too differently, because I feel the complete opposite regarding the tied vote. If anything that is 100% better for HH if Drake died because it not only means he nearly saved a villager, but when Sart eventually did die, it would only further reinforce his position.

As another example of our different perspectives, I'm wary of people trying to diminish suspects by disregarding people too easily (or, at least, not actively considering multiple possibilities or angles of a situation). I've been asking myself for a while now if you and HH are both the remaining Eliminators because Praise Braize, that would be quite the bus if Sart died only to his allies and they used it to carry themselves deeper into the game.

TLDR; I dont know what to believe at this current moment, but the situation appears odd enough that something is most definitely afoot. Right now I'm trying to parse the ways Eliminators benefited from Sart's death enough to let it go.

It could be a matter of inactivity, but aside from Drake and Rath, I think nearly everyone could have done something if they wanted.

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Right, interesting. I can certainly accept the different perspectives argument - my counter is partly that I know I'm good, and partly that while I agree that considering multiple angles is good and will certainly reconsider given new information, I think there comes a point when you have to come to some conclusion? That is, HH being my strongest village trust doesn't mean I can't be convinced he's evil, but if I just constantly go 'oh from this perspective X is good but from this one X could be evil', I'll never be able to use process of elimination in the first place. 

So I am not discounting the possibility that HH could be playing me, but at present I find it more useful to look elsewhere for suspicions, and I happen to have somewhere to look - ie you and Araris for pulling the lynch off of Sart C2. I think it far more likely that one of you is evil than that HH is, at least. 

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Suppose I can't argue there :P but I'm in the same boat as you, it seems. I know I'm good and have a relatively good feeling Araris is too, which is a conclusion I reached separate from D2's votes. I could definitely be wrong there - in fact, I've actually been more wrong than not in most games lately - but for now I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and pursue other leads. Just so happens we're on opposite pages -_-

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Fair enough. :P Just try to tell someone, if you have PMs, why you think Araris is good? I'm curious to know. 

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1 minute ago, Elbereth said:

Fair enough. :P Just try to tell someone, if you have PMs, why you think Araris is good? I'm curious to know. 

I can pass it along. I should probably pass along that I think STINK is probably village as well, for similar reasons.

Being enigmatic is also fun, however... ^_^

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I know it is. :P Didn't you see how much fun I had at the start of this game, before I got all boring and analytical? 

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An hour and a little bit left in this cycle. Please submit and finalise all your actions, if you’ve not already done so. :P 

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@Elbereth I wasn’t actually checking the thread. I just had it open on my phone and it was the first thing that popped up while I was practicing a bit ago.

Also, I’m not sure where I stand on anything. Mostly because I don’t remember anything. But, based on Aman and El’s arguments, I think I agree with El more. 

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2 hours ago, Amanuensis said:

Oh! I should comment on Straw. I said I'm leaning village for him, but that's mostly because of Sart's vote on him D1. I'm always suspicious when people go for Straw on the first day because of his play style, and I always try my best to discourage it. That said, both Sart and Straw should be aware of this fact, and may have planned for it accordingly, so it's definitely worth looking into.

As always, I'm village. :P

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And the cycle is closed! Let he who submits a last minute action do so at his own peril. (@Elbereth)

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Chullracing was a dangerous sport. As Salas hung low in the sky, and Nalakor gripped his saddle, it was all he could do to stop himself from shaking. He had trained for this, practicing everyday since his brother’s accident. He needed to win this race, needed to use the emerald sphere reward to pay for Valtor’s treatment. He slipped his saddle over Dusty’s shell, before leading the animal over to the starting line. Both had been a gift from King’s Wit, who’d taken a liking to him after he had stolen his flute. He claimed to have stolen them from a top racer, but from what Nalakor could tell, the beast was nothing more than a work animal. That said, he’d formed a bond with Dusty. She had been his only friend since the accident, his only friend since the fire that ripped through Roion’s warcamp, taking his parents and leaving his brother comatose. Dusty had helped him through his grief, and taken him farther than he could have ever imagined. He was in the final for the Grand Warcamp Prix. The last race of the season before the weeping began. He was the only here because of sheer luck more than anything else, hanging on by the skin of his teeth. But, now? He needed to win. 

He rubbed Dusty’s eyestalks, slipping the animal a stonebud. Around him, the top racers from around the warcamp’s chulls were being carefully rubbed and oiled, as their drivers stood by, talking strategy with their coaches. On the next plateau over, the spectators sat, making bets, or watching just for enjoyment. Despite Chullracing being illegal, it was still one of the most popular forms of entertainment, and betting on, while heresy, only added to the fun. Nalakor hopped up onto Dusty, adjusting the saddle as he did so. He carefully began warming her up, walking her forward and backward, getting her used to both his presence, and the way he nudged with her feet. His lead system was homegrown he knew, nothing a true pro would use, but it may have been the only thing that could give him an edge. For while others were restricted to using one hand to steer, and only leaving one free, Dusty could use both to swing the long pole he lifted from a strap on Dusty’s side. The bat was the reason Chullracing was illegal. While one’s chull was doing the actual running of the race, it was the jockey’s job to take as many of his opponents down as possible. Needless to say, it was not a sport without mortalities, and when everyone was needed to fight in the war, needless harm was seen as a waste. 

The officials walked out from the spectator plateau, and onto track in proper. They carefully walked the length of the string that bordered the track, making sure it was both up to standards, 1000 paces long, and there was no foul play. As they did so, Nalakor turned to watch his neighboring racers, as they mounted their chulls. One was a young woman seemingly from the Reshi isles. He dropped his gaze and blushed when he realized her safehand wasn’t covered. On his other side was a tall and dark figure in a mask, some of the more prominent racers did such things to hide their identities. His chull was skinny and sharp, less like a chull, and more like the fin of a Skyeel. A whistle sounded, and the twenty-four racers lead their chulls to the starting line. An official walked down, checking to ensure that they were all in fact behind the line. The man, stepped back to the edge of the line, pulling out a simple whistle. He blew once, signalling the racers to ready. The audience drew to hush, eyes watching the main event of the evening. Nalakor felt himself tense in anticipation. In the distance, Salas was making its final descent, a small crescent hanging over the finish line. A long whistle sounded, cutting through the air like a shardblade. Nalakor kicked Dusty into motion, rocking as the chull began to move forward. Around him everyone was doing the same. A bat slammed into his back, knocking the breath out of him, and nearly knocking him from his saddle. He whirled with both his body and his back, and met the eyes of the Reshi woman, even as her pole met his own. He flipped it around trying to do one of the simple patterns he’d taught himself from his father’s spear training. She was too fast, blocking him at everymove, even as her other hand pushed her chull faster. Dusty let out a trumpet responding to his desperate attempts to simply run away from her, even as Nalakor took another hit from a different racer,  the sound matching his own. The man was taken down quickly, but by then the woman had taken advantage of Nalakor’s distraction to land a punishing blow. He slipped, feeling himself begin to tumble from the saddle, his leg hanging over space, held on by his arm on Dusty, and his left. Storms it hurt. They were matching the leaders of the pack now, though whether Nalakor would even make it the next 5 paces was yet to be seen. He let out a prayer to the Almighty, begging for strength. The Reshi woman lifted her bat to finish him. And was taken out from behind, the masked figure capitalizing on her distraction. Nalakor wrenched himself up, his arm screaming from the pain, and looked around him. 500 paces to go, and he was. He was in the lead! 

It was only pure instinct that saved him. The masked figure’s bat was swinging towards his head, and only a flick of his bat saved from a near instant knock out. His arm rang with the blow, and he grunted. The masked figure bat whirled then came into strike again, and again, Nalakor barely blocked it, batting it away, this time using both of his hands. He still winced, but it seemed that both arms could take the impact. In his peripheral vision he could see, 400 paces. The masked man’s chull had caught up to Dusty, and it trumpeted, sounding like  the grinding of metal. Dusty hissed in return. The bat came in again, then again and again. Nalakor’s arms were beginning to ache with the sheer stress of blocking the thrice cursed blows. 300 paces. He let out a sob, the two chulls were neck and neck, even as their riders fought. He was squeezing with his legs as hard as possible, wishing there was someway to tell Dusty just to go a little bit faster, but nevertheless the two animals continued to match each other’s pace, seeming to almost to want their jockeys to fight, seeming to want Nalarok to lose. An especially powerful blow rattled his already numb hands, and then another knocked the bat from his hands. It tumbled to the ground and was lost. The race was lost. The audience screamed. Desperation filled Nalarok’s mind as he realized there was only seconds until it was over. Until his brother was dead. In that brief moment, he flashbacked to the night of the fire, when Voriav had saved him, leaping to push him out of the way of a doorway, and hurting himself in the process. And Nalakor knew what he had to do. He leaned right, towards the figure, then leapt directly at him.

 He seemed to hang in the air forever, time slowing down as he saw the masked figure’s shock. He slammed into the figure with all of his body weight. They never stood a chance. They slipped off of the back of their mount like a bag of lavis grain, dropping their bat to grab the side of the saddle, hanging on with only a hand. Nalakor himself began to lose balance, standing on a chull was nearly impossible when they were walking. Next him, Dusty still ran. Good faithful Dusty. He took a breath, then leapt back to his mount. A hand gripped his ankle pulling him down. The figure had pulled themselves enough to grab him as he leapt. He felt himself swing in the air, hand grasping for something, anything. They felt the saddle strap and clutched them tight. He lay, stretched across the abyss between the two chulls, the figure pulling at his ankle with all their might even as he held on with his. He kicked with his other leg, slamming the foot into the figure’s hand. It  hand slipped, and it was enough. Nalakor pulled himself, exhausted. He looked up to check how close they were to the finish line. They crossed. First. The audience roared, and he sagged. He had done. He could save Voriav. He could see his brother again.


Brightlord Nalakor smiled as his chosen chull barrelled across the line, earning him one of the largest returns he’d had in a while—all from a shadowed man who still did not identify himself. But his spheres were on the table in front of the finish line, so despite his weakened state Nalakor wasted no time in nodding to the arbiter and sweeping his winnings into his purse. “Sorry, friend, and thank you for playing the game,” he offered the shadowed figure, who had shown no reaction. He did mean it—he got little enough business, having to bribe officials into looking the other way when he did conduct it, and any participants were appreciated in such a violent and bloody sport as this. “Better luck another time.” The man’s lips were drawn in a thin line, dramatised by the light of the red sphere by which Nalakor was seeing, but he nodded and began collecting his things, heading away from the pens. Eyeing the retreating figure, Nalakor backed up himself, pretending to fumble with one of the chull’s straps as he waited for the visitor to fade into darkness. You didn’t survive as long as he did in this sort of business without some underlying mistrust, unfortunately, and the bruises he had would take long enough to heal without his accruing new ones. 

Nalakor sighed, moving the exhausted beasts back to their pens, to lie down with their other companions who were lowing quietly. Tending to the beasts, in the end, was remarkably simple—not much could be required by normally docile and tempered animals—but it was his only trade, so he kept to it with a vigour which infused even the changing of water and food for the pens with meaning akin to a sacred ritual, a way of giving the ordinary importance. His chulls were perhaps the best cared for in the kingdom, and he intended to keep it that way to keep bringing in the lighteyes who enjoyed such sport. Keeping it that way also involved another precaution. Over the door to the pen, a heavy razor blade, attached to a rope pulled taut, lurked. Hidden behind a design in the ceiling, and further concealed by virtue of nobody having ventured inside his pens except him, it was the perfect security measure—if the rope was placed across the doorway from the inside, an opening of the door would send that blade falling to cleave in two the one who opened it. He armed the trap, yawning already, and went to his mattress in the middle of the pen. He did not often sleep in here, but would tonight—with the spheres he had on hand. a trapped door looked increasingly appealing to guard against intruders, and he doubted he retained the strength to make it back to the warcamps after his drubbing from the masked man. He yawned contentedly, and was asleep in seconds. 


Nalakor stirred, started out of his sleep by a noise near the wall of the pen. A...hammering? It was lighter than that, he thought, but certainly he had heard the stone being worked at. Someone was trying to enter the pen through the wall! No doubt it was the masked figure, seeking to recover the spheres lost in the race. His body on fire, Nalakor managed to stand, feeling a vague dread as light filtered into the dark pens through a hole in the wall. Around him, chulls snorted, shifting in their sleep, but mostly too dumb to rouse themselves fully. Peering from the curtained corner he was in, Nalakor could see a man’s silhouette block off the light, and enter the building, sword out in the dark of the pens, looking for him. 

He bit back a scream. There would be only one way to evade him—getting out the door quietly enough and then shouting for help before he was murdered, to apprehend the intruder. He might lose his spheres, but he’d keep his life. Masked by the bleating of chulls, the beasts themselves, and the pitch darkness of the far side of the pens, Nalakor edged along the side of the pen, feeling frantically for the panels of the door. The intruder was now in his corner, searching in vain among his sheets, and Nalakor’s hand grasped the doorknob. A rush of delirium came upon him—he had escaped—and he threw open the door.

The sweeping motion would be his last. Even as he opened his mouth to cry for help, Nalakor’s eyes bulged at the sound of a catch being released and a rope suddenly recoiling, losing its taut arrangement; after all his escape plan, he had forgotten to disarm his own trap. The heavy blade above the door fell like thunder, cutting off the last scream of its victim, and Nalakor was no more. 

There had been a lot of deaths taking place at night recently. That didn’t stop Kay from wandering outside on a whim on this third night since Sebarial was attacked. Precedent was no predictor of future occurrences, after all. The moons were dim, but light was not needed to carry the sound of bellowing chulls through the unight. Kay found herself walking towards the noise. Chulls were usually quiet at night, and so the increased volume was unusual. 

The cause of the chulls’ alarm was immediately apparent. A clustered mass of the giant crustaceans were entangled at the end of a flat expanse of stone marked off vertically with string on either side. The Almighty had selected one empty-saddled chull to trumpet aggressively and snap out at the other chulls, none of which were sure how to proceed. Confused, the herd, all of which still had riders, shuffled around awkwardly and bellowed questioningly. Furious, the riderless chull charged forwards at an impressive 2 meters per second. This time, the other chull were able to scuttle out of the way as the rogue chull in the direction of a nearby plateau. Kay turned to follow the chull’s trajectory and saw that the spectators did not look concerned at the animal’s behaviour.

Kay’s jaw tightened as she saw some of them were exchanging spheres. Racing by itself could be an honourable way to invite the Almighty’s judgement. Attempting to predict the outcome of a race was blasphemy of the highest order. Even the other Devotaries could see that much. Angrily, Kay headed after the chull, easily overtaking the lumbering beast. Her journey to the plateau was interrupted when the enraged chull reached out one of her giant claws and grabbed Kay by the waist. Though surprised, Kay remained calm as the chull led her not to the heretics flaunting their disrespect for the Almighty but to a fresh corpse still bleeding on the ground. Undoubtedly the man, Kay recognised him as Brightlord Nalakor, had been murdered by someone who valued money over the Divine. With far greater care than she had been shown, the chull picked the dead man up with her other claw and began the journey back towards the camp. Kay made no attempt to resist what must be the Almighty’s design as the three of them returned to safety.


Striker has been killed! He was a Noble Spy with a half-shard!

Drake has posted, and so will not be killed. Rath has been replaced by Young Bard.

Day 4 has begun! It will end in approximately 46 hours, on Thursday 21 November at 9 PM EST. 

Please upvote Snipexe for the thrilling account of Nalakor's last race. (Fifth speaking: Please upvote both Devotary and Snip for coping marvellously after I dropped the ball unexpectedly.)

Player List:

Spoiler

1. Elandera as Brightness Ellarel, a flighty scribe who nonetheless remains tethered to the ground Noble

2. Rathmaskal/Young Bard as Brightlord I.N., whose reversed name conceals his role as a secret member of the Knights of Ni

3. Butt Ad Venture as Brightness Hmynyes, a connoisseur of classical Vorin music Noble

4. Xinoehp512 as Brightlord Rashor, a man who determinedly believes that blue wine is a plague from the Voidbringers Thief

5. Araris Valerian as Brightlord Arilar, a recently arrived spy with ties to the Kholins 

6. StrikerEZ as Brightlord Nalakor, a professional chull breeder and racer and close friend of the King’s Wit Noble Spy

7. Furamirionind as Brightness Dohila, a lighteyes who insists on wearing only orange and green lace Noble

8. Hemalurgic Headshot as Rat, a pet of Brightlord Joe and a secret worldhopper

9. Sart as Tleir, a Purelaker trying desperately to impersonate the missing Brightness Drella while House Sebarial hunts for her Ghostblood

10. STINK as Jumae III, a Brightlord whose eccentricity in fashion contrasts sharply with a docile and even temperament 

11. DrakeMarshmallow as Brightlord Ekard, a man at the mercy of the Almighty Himself

12. Amanuensis as Brightlord Ularid Leiken, a man hunting a chull with a green shell which once insulted his mother

13. Coda as Brightness Dejda, one of Adolin’s former girlfriends who now hates the Kholins with a passion

14. Straw as Brightlord Straw, an effigy of Gavilar which was officially recognised as a lighteyes of the fourth dahn 

15. Elbereth as Brightness Tintallë, whose title has come under charges of redundancy by expert Quenya scholars

 

Edited by Fifth Scholar
Added Nalakor death scene
9

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